Home > Games, My writing > Mass Effect 3 is about more than the last 20 minutes (Article)

Mass Effect 3 is about more than the last 20 minutes (Article)

This article might contain spoilers for the Mass Effect franchise.


Most of what’s been written about Mass Effect 3 over the past few weeks has been about the title’s ending. For those of us who experienced the ending sequence(s), there’s no denying the lack of satisfaction. The last 20 minutes are confusing and lack any real closure. Far too much is left to the imagination. When you’re three games deep, in a series that has been built on seeing meaningful repercussions to your actions, having the story end in such a baffling way is extremely disappointing.

That being said, as much as those last few minutes left me feeling cold, I still think Mass Effect 3 was a fantastic end to the series. It did lack finality and left me wondering about the fate of the galaxy and those in it, but therein lies the reason I was satisfied with the game as a whole. If we jump a half hour back from that ending sequence, then we have a rather different sequence of events — one which has some of the most emotional moments I’ve experienced playing games.

Before you head out to what could very well be your final battle, you are given the opportunity to talk to your crew — not just those who will be standing by your side during the last fight but almost all your other living comrades, past and present. You can talk to Jack and hear how she’s grown since the first time you met when she was a crass, angry, and somewhat naïve girl. Now you talk to her knowing that she has become a great teacher and leader who is passing on what she learned from you to her students.

That’s the stuff that is important to me in Mass Effect, seeing the characters and universe change through my actions. Seeing Urdnot Wrex go from some random bounty hunter you met on the Citadel to the leader of the Krogans is truly meaningful, and with the genophage now cured, he is set to lead his people in rebuilding their empire. Wrex in particular is unique because he can so easily perish in the first game, completely altering the events in the sequels. The story beats might not change dramatically, but the inclusion of a character you have spent so much time with increases your investment and gives those moments a lot more meaning.

Listening to Wrex give a rousing speech to his men before the final battle, knowing he’s standing there thanks to your actions, adds a lot to the experience. I could go on and on about those conversations. I got choked up talking to Garrus after having bonded with him for three games. His speech about meeting in heaven pushed me over the emotional edge. Tali asked me if I was OK seeing Earth in ruins, and she made my heart swell by saying she was proud to have served with me.

These moments aren’t just restricted to that segment either. They are scattered throughout Mass Effect 3. Sure, it can sometimes feel a bit odd that so many characters return during pivotal missions, but it’s hard to get upset when you’re just so damned happy to see them. Time spent with party members is so heartbreakingly fleeting that you end up cherishing it even more. This being the final game in Commander Shepard’s story, you know any moment with someone could be the last, and it makes that time feel all the more special.

So while those final 20 minutes might have lacked the closure I and so many others wanted, the hours that preceded them had all the emotional impact they should have had. As such, I will always look on my journey through Mass Effect fondly.

Originally published on BitMob.com

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