Monday, April 9, 2012

Mass Effect 3 rant

howdy. haven't been on for that's an understatement.
in any case, unrelated to any stories i might post here, i need to vent a bit when it comes to the incredibly controversial (read: badly written, plot-hole-filled, and continuity-breaking) ending of ME3.
now, just typing 'Mass Effect 3' into Google will get you many, many articles detailing EXACTLY why the endings are simply and quantifiably sub-par, so i see no need to detail that here. (note; "A Logical Breakdown of Why the Mass Effect Ending Makes No Sense" Googledoc is particularly good if you're curious as to what exactly the fan's main points of contention are.)
i, personally, have posted the following to FaceBook to help summarize this viewpoint;
"Mass Effect 3--especially if you've played all three games--is like ~30 hours of "Braveheart" with 10 minutes of "Sucker Punch" or "The Fountain" for an ending. The result is, understandably, the fan backlash you've been hearing so much about lately."
Yup. That's pretty much how it is. If "LotR; The Return of the King" ended with Frodo and Sam trapped on the side of Mount Doom as it explodes, about to be killed by molten lava, you'd be upset. That's what it's like for die-hard Mass Effect fans right now.
The worst thing is how AMAZING the story is right up until the end. Then you go from a hearty and boisterous "Yippie-Kai-Yay, M*****f*****" to a depressed and utterly confused "WHAT THE F**K?!""

now, i consider myself to be a certifiable, hardcore, never-sees-the-sunlight gamer. to my husbands' great confusion, i find the ending of ME3 is SO terrible and--(dare i say it,) traumatizing--that i have hardly touched ANY video games since beating it.
compare this to my usual 2-3 hours of daily gaming before i beat ME3. so, not only have i only beat ME3 once (when normally i finish a play-through of a new game and immediately upon beating it begin another run to re-experience the joy of the storytelling again,) but the ending was SUCH a literary, conceptual, and self-implosive DIS-pleasure to experience, i have hardly touched ANY game since.
for me, this is unprecedented. in a month, i have gotten more useful, practical things done than i have in the past six. (hahaha, #yesihaveaproblem)
i LOVE stories. i love to experience them, meditate upon them, and play that great philosophical game of 'what if' with myself while i read them. the only video games i play--with very few exceptions--are the ones with a good and thought-provoking storyline to them. i like to pick them apart, learn the internal rules governing the different 'universes', (theoretical physics, anyone? :->) and enjoy a good yarn coming to a logical and internally cohesive--yet innovative--ending.
Mass Effects 1 and 2 did this with flying colors. they were internally cohesive, respected the 'laws of physics' attributed to them--which, scientifically speaking, are theoretically plausible and therefore all the more enjoyable--and did not skimp on the ethos and pathos of their respective characters.
technically, Mass Effect 3 did this too, all the way through--but not continuing past--the last 10 minutes of the game.
then it suddenly goes from 'Star Trek'-style exposition, character development, and logical techno-babble to unexplained and arbitrary philosophical nonsense which has no bearing on the larger story arc, and even contradicts well-established universal 'laws' stated clearly and repeatedly throughout all three games in the series.
this is ignoring many other problems with the ending, not the least of which is character choice, the primary modus operandi of the entire series. to quote a Bioware Social Network forums;

"ME1: Shepard is told Saren is loyal. Shepard proves otherwise. He is told that Sovereign is just a ship. He proves otherwise.
ME2: Shepard is ignored. He fights on. Shepard is alienated. He fights on. He is told that the Reapers are coming. He fights on.
ME3: Shepard is told that he has 2-3 choices of how to change the cycle. He says ‘ok’ and mindlessly goes along with the nonsensical options without questioning it.
...Am I the only one confused by this?"
To make things worse, in response to the fans' non-assailable and entirely reasonable problems with the ending, Bioware has essentially stated (paraphrase) "The endings will not be changed. We will clarify the endings since no one seems to understand them"--(implying that we're idiots for not seeing sense in their well-documented self-contradictary nonsense)--"and will not address the obvious plot-holes or continuity-breaking errors."
worst of all, Bioware used to be a company which listened to their customers, often changing game mechanics or story aspects which were unenjoyable to large portions of their fanbase. now that we have well-documented, substantially game-breaking grievances, they choose to ignore us?
...yeah. it really is that bad. i'm more depressed now.
but at least i got out some frustration.
be back soon with angsty fanfic to help assuage my sorrow. :)