The special release for the third installment of the Mass Effect franchise - Mass Effect 3 (ME3) - was finally made available a few days back and brought with it the promise of a more complete ending to the game. Developers BioWare released extending endings to the game's conclusion, to bring more clarity to the trilogy's finale, with new cinematic sequences and epilogue scenes. As you'd expect, the release has had gamers animatedly talking about the additions and comparing the two.
If you haven't yet discovered the differences in the endings and would like to do so now, check out our little report on the matter. We do warn you though... there are spoilers ahead... so tread with caution.
The scene depicting London's relay station, where the protagonist is tasked with an assault on the beam, has been modified to keep Commander Shepard's team members alive for a greater cause. In the new twist to the tale, Shepard summons the Normandy to extract both squad members, following an enemy attack that injures one of them. The enemy target that critically injures Shepard's squad mate is then killed in a special slow-motion, bullet-time action sequence.
Depending on character import and squad configuration (whether you chose to sacrifice Kaidan Alenko or Ashley Williams as Killed in Action), the epilogue brings Shepard's love interest to the fore. According to Joystiq, the final cut scene adds a special dialogue option for Shepard - "no matter what happens, I love you" - which should answer concerns from some critics. Although the developers have not made wholesale changes to the game, there are enough subtle alterations to keep you engrossed through to the end.
Meawhile, Shepard now has to eliminate a few waves of husks and Marauder Shields in his quest to clear a path to the Citadel. BioWare has inserted more cut scenes to depict a Reaper's onslaught on patrolling Alliance ships, as it takes one of them down. The Crucible is then taken aboard another Alliance ship, amid the ensuing chaos triggered by the Reaper threat. Admiral Hackett is back in contact with Shepard following an incoming report revealing someone has access to the beam leading to the Citadel.
At this point, when the Crucible arrives at the Citadel, it seems an important part has gone missing. The rest of the story revolves around tracking the missing component and assembling the device that could eradicate the Reaper threat forever. Although Shepard's encounters with the Illusive Man are constant in both endings, the original portrays Shepard waking up from the rubble and finding the missing pistol to shoot Anderson. In the new ending, Shepard has the pistol lying close to him.
The Star Child appearing in Shepard's dreams is still acknowledged as the Catalyst, which plays a key role in Shepard's decisions for the end game. The new endings feature three primary dialogue options with detailed definitions describing the results of choosing each option.
What is Refusal Ending?
There is a fourth option opposing the three options provided by the Catalyst - Refusal. During this conversation with Shepard, the Catalyst sheds some light on the purpose of Reapers and the Crucible, while also revealing its prime objective - bringing peace between organics and synthetics.
"The Catalyst insists that the situation is hopeless, and that Shepard and the rest of the galaxy will ultimately lose to the Reapers should he choose not to fire the Crucible," hints GameFront, explaining details of the Refusal ending.
In effect, the Refusal ending is touted as the ultimate Renegade choice, wherein entire civilisations are wiped out in an epic battle against the Reapers. A cut-scene follows, showing Liara's data capsule narrating the tale of humanity's defeat on an unknown planet. In other words, it implies a Reaper victory and the total annihilation of the Galaxy. This could mean the repetition of the evolution cycle once every 50,000 years.
Did Refusal Ending Backfire?
Unfortunately, the Refusal ending has also drawn criticism. In a recent post on BioWare's Social Network (BSN) forum, fans expressed concerns over the ending.
Check out a few comments:
"It's really just giving in to our emotions and pride as humans. The need to feel morally superior to our foes may make us feel better but against robots it's pointless. The choices for endings suck but war sucks. The whole point of Mass Effect 3 is making hard choices and saving the universe from the reapers but if you refuse to nuke them or use the other choices because they're morally grey then you basically let the reapers win. Whether or not we win on our terms mean nothing...The reapers are AI controlled starships executing their orders, they don't feel hatred or any other emotion towards us. Would you feel the same if they show terrified women and little kids being herded into the grinding machines? What if you were one of them instead of a bad ass space marine," asked MysticSpace.
"In my mind it's a person exactly like shepard (not saying its a human) that probably created the reapers in the first place. A much older, frustrated shepard, sick of seeing the end results the VI says will always happen," another second user commented.
"Refusal is a product of pride and ego, and for a lot of people, a way to spite BioWare because they didn't like the endings. There's not a single logical reason for choosing it," opined a third user.