Mardi 24 avril 2012
I didn't want to take part in any of it. It seemed too big, too obvious, too childish. I just wanted to play in peace; but then, I experienced it. I played through more than 25 hours of Mass
Effect 3 since last week and the final conclusion of this epic triology brought tears to my eyes. For all the wrong reasons.
"I'm commander Shepard, and this is my favorite shop on the Citadelle!"
We're way past spoiler alerts period, so I'm not going to bother with those. Let me be clear though : even if you discover the ending before your time, playing through all Mass Effect games is
worth it. There are most probably the best sci-fi video games of all time and among the best RPG. So... Go for it, opus I and II are probably up for grabs for a few pounds somewhere, and the
third's price is falling fast.
Quick summary : Commander Shepard and his commandos have already twice twarted the Reapers plans to eradicate all life-forms in the galaxy. But it was only a slight delay for the universe-old
synthetic race and they've now awaken from their slumber to repeat their endless cycle of eradication, starting by the Earth. Hm... Told like this, it doesn't really do it justice but, well...
Anyway... After around a hundred hours of shooting, talking, exploring, making shady decisions and having inter-species sex (yes, unsurprinsgly, my Shepard is partial to the Asari...), I was
ready to face the blunt of the Reaper invasion on Earth and destroy them once and for all. Pretty decent dramatic setting, mandatory inspiring last speech, challenging gameplay sequences, I'm
just waiting for the big finale. Problem is, it just goes downhill from here.
First things first : no final boss, just a few waves of the thoughest enemies in the game. Interesting but it's just a warm-up right? Right?! Next up, boring I'm-wounded-but-I'm-badass slow paced
sequence and fifteen minutes of talking. No shattering revelation, no incredibly smart, long-prepared twist, just a remix of the various points of view already experienced during the game. Oh,
and three ending choices. "Great" you might think, that way I'll impact the story! Oh, you naive little nooby-noob... Main difference between the three possible outcomes? In one of them, you
survive. No description of your decision fallouts, no clear epilogue with your comrades' fate, nothing. NOTHING. It's not even necessary to point out that the choices in question
are delivered via the mother of all Deus Ex Machina (Guess what, the reapers had a master!) or that they're completely manichean or even that all your previous decisions within the games are
completely irrelevants. It sucks. It sucks space-monkey balls.
Disgrunted as I was, I finally looked into all the debates and the rage generated online by this cursed conclusion. I expected fans
screaming and kicking but instead, I found salvation. Through this Kotaku
article, I stumbled upon the "Indoctrination Theory" and it saved my game. Within the storyline, the Reapers use agents recruited through what is described as
"indoctrination" or a sci-fi version of a subliminal hypnosis. The fans' theory is that Shepard is actually fighting this influence all along the game's ending and that everything in the
conclusion is an hallucination. Which would explain the wibbly-wobbly aspect of the whole sequence. For the amateurs, this video breaks down the "conspiration" :
Of course there is a very small chance that this vision of the story is the intended one, even though Bioware is being really poker-faced about it, but I can't deny the fact that I'd rather
"believe" in this version than in the official one. I am just amazed that the gaming community version of an urban legend could do better than one of the top developers on the
market. Even more interesting, whatever happens now, even if Mass Effect's
ending is changed in that precise way, this version will remain the fans creation. It's an entire new level of user-generated content, completely outside the
producers' boundaries and a few steps up the simple fan fiction. We know that storylines are formated to please a certain target audience, why not go further and let the audience determine part
of the story? Next-gen games now relying so heavily on DLC, why not use those to implicate the gamers even more into their virtual worlds? We know Bioware can track statistics concerning
choices made during the game; why not use those to decide what epilogue or sequel to give to its series? (the only use of this I've seen so far is in the puzzle game "Catherine", where you can
compare your decisions against all the players'). Something tells me that if it's not already in preparation, it soon will be...
Geek'em Up !