Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC: Fix or Fail?

Bioware game-oriented company

WARNING: If you haven't played or finished Mass Effect 3 (If this applies to you I can't help but wonder why you're even reading about the DLC),then stay away from this review. SPOILERS AHEAD. You've been warned....  Say what you will about the ending of Mass Effect 3, Bioware just might have earned themselves a second chance from a few thousand, make that tens of thousands, of people who were upset with the endings of Mass Effect 3's endings, which didn't do what was promised. Whether because Bioware truly cares about their buyers, or if it's purley a financial reason, or a mix of both, Bioware stepped up and made things right when they didn't have to. At the very least, that deserves some kuddos, even from those swearing off Bioware and EA for life.

Normandy Withdraw Order

Before the DLC, the Normandy is seen fleeing the Sole System to escape the explosion of the Mass Relay. This made no sense to the majority of players as we were convined there was no possible way that Jeff and Shapard's cew would just leave him without even attempting to retreive him. In the DLC Admeral Hackett commands all surviving ships in the fleet to withdraw. And a reluctant Joker and Shapard's squad decide to leave. FIXED

Extended Cut Casey Hudson Interview

  Normandy's Engines

In Mass Effect 3's Extended Cut DLC, the Normandy's engines aren't seen exploding in the resulting shockwave of the destroyed Mass relays. In the original ending, it was implied that the Normandy crashlanded on a jungle planet, and likely stranding the crew as they probably lack the means and resources to make the necesary repairs to leave the planet. Since the engines are intact and the damage appears to be damage to the hull, not only does it fix the original ending leaving the players to belive their beloved squad and crew were stranded, it outright says THEY'RE FINE. SEE? THEY'RE LEAVING THE PLANET. FIXED

Shapard Commands Squad to return to Normandy

The very end o f the game showed Shapard's crew exiting the Normandy on an unknown jungle planet. What made no sense whatsoever was that the game seemed to pick who you romanced in the game, along with the second squad mate you brought with you during the final push to reach the Citadel. Players thought: How is this possible, weren't they just with Shepard on the ground? How did they get there? Well, in the DLC, Shepard is given the option to command his squad to return to the Normandy as they're injured and he doens't want to risk their lives. FIXED

Extended Cut Farewell Tali

The Mass Relays

Players were concered that the original ending implied that despite the best efforts of the galatic community, they were still doomed to die out as the mass relays were destroyed. Earth wouldn't be able to feed all the different races and the Quarians and Turians would starve as they can't eat human food. So player thought, "What? After all that they're still gonna die? Are you kidding me?" Well, this is adressed as the mass relays don't blow up entirly, just what looks like the execution mechanicm, which is stated can be repaired. FIXED

The Citadel

People were condering how Shepard could have survived the explosion of the Citadel. Many inferred Shaperd wakes up in a pile of concrete-like rubble back on Earth, miraculasly surviving the fall, not to mention reentering the atmophere.... prety sure it killed him in ME2.... or, those who argued for the Indoctrination Theory stated it was because everything that happened on the Citidel hadn't happened yet, it was all in Shepard's head and that the scene depicts him waking up just after the blast from harbinger's beam, implying he'd make it to the citadel and end the Reapers. Well, this is one thing that defeats the indoctrination theory. Shepard is seen taking a gasping breath in the Destroy ending and this is possible as the citadel doesn't go boom like in the original ending. FIXED

Extened Cut Destroy Ending (Spoliers)

  The God Child

Many were perplexed with the meeting with what has been dubed the "God Child". I for one hate when a new character is introduced at the very last minute. But anyway, many players asked Bioware to add onto the dialogue with the God Child to get more background and perhaps a bit more insight into his circular logic. Like me, many players going through the original ending thought "this kid makes no sense." You'd have to really jump through hoops and search and force what's not really there to make any sense of what this kid was telling Shepard, and you definitley couldn't do it applying objecivist principles. A mixed bag. Fix as far as granting what we asked for, FAIL in that it still doens't make much sense other than "I don't have all day to explain things to you, just know someone built Reapers, I gave them function, they gave me purpse"and bla blah blah I get to miss school to mess around with you and your war effort." So an overall FAIL

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut Endings

I've never liked slide shows as a sort of montage to an ending of a movie or video game. I find them to be a bit lazy to be frank. But with this DLC I'll make a slight exception. Given the restrains on time and budget, I think it's understandble that Bioware opted to do this. It's a quick and easy way to show what players wanted to see. How the galaxy endedup basped on their choices such as a hope for the Krogan, Geth and Quarians living and working together, what some of your old squademates are up to such as Jack and her students or Samara with her daughter. Obviouslly those are just a few examples out of many. FIXED

4th Option

This is a "hidden" 4th option. Players asked for a reegade option when conversing with the God Chile.When the player regains control of Shepard, you can shoot at the God Child, piss him off, and watch as everyone dies, even if you had your war readiness maxed out. Yet another slap in the face to players who complained about this. FAIL

Funeral Scene

This is perhaps one of my favorite additions from the DLC. True to Bioware's gift for casting just the right tone to get some emotion out of vested players, the scene where the crew and squad mourn Shapard by adding his name to the list of the fallen on the Normandy will definitley pull at your heart strings, especially if your Shapard didn't make it. FIXED

War Assets

war assets still don't mean anything beyond very slight variation in terms of cynamatic scnes, for example if you saved the Destiny Ascention you'll see it and vice-versa. Yet even now with the new DLC, the only reason war assets matter if that if you have, I think, roughly 3,100 war points, Shapard lives in the Destroy ending. FAIL

Multiplayer and War Readiness 

Finally! You no longer have to play online to get the necessary readiness points to see a final scene that shows Shapard alive, if not a bit scruffed up. This was promised by developers before launch. We were told that multiplayer wouldn't be necessary to earn the best consequences and rewards of the game, particularly when it comes to story. How this was overlooked, if it was indeed overlooked, is beyond me, but I for one am glad this was finally changed. I believe players now only need roughly 3,100 readiness points to see that ending they want to see. And for those worried that their Renegade messed up, no worries. I made most of the renegade choices in one of my files and I had close to 3,500 before I took on Cerberus HQ. FIXED

Synthesis Ending: One Colossal Contradiction 

I still don't like the synthesis ending and I still argue that it seems to be implied that it is the "best" ending. If you've read my Mass Effect 3 review, you already know I think the synthesis ending is a vile contradiction to what the Mass Effect series is all about. And even with the new DLC addition, I'd sooner pick Destroy and Control endings over Synthesis. But hey, I'm one person, I'm sure many of you prefer the Synthesis ending. That it's a contradiction is simply my opinion. FAIL

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC Final Verdict

There are some problems lingering with the new DLC that just haven't been addressed. I think the biggest one players will talk about is that war assets STILL don't mean that much other than do you want Shepard to live or not? And that's pretty much for the Destroy ending. And, I guess the Fleet fares a little better once you've reached a certain level of war readiness and the cut scenes show a more even fight rather than the Reapers winning at the sound of the bell. Also, the DLC gets rid of the Indoctrination Theory that hundreds, if not thousands of players bought into. I personally was hoping that the Indoctrination Theory, though admittedly with it's own set of flaws and things that can't be explained or defeated in arguments for the non-Indoctrination Theory, was true. But to me, it's actually not such a big deal other than I think that would have made for a great part of the story. Oh well, It's ultimately Biowares game and they call the shots in the very end, as it should be. And yes, there is the cheap slideshow with a narrative explained rather than  showing. But guys, common, given what Bioware did in the small amount of time and with a set budget I'm sure they could't go over as they would just be losing money, it's not so bad and could have been worse.

Bottom line, Bioware did something most game companies wouldn't do: admit there was a big problem with the ending, they failed to deliver what was promised, but in the end, they decided to fix it when they didn't have to. Keep in mind folks, they're the ones who made the game. It's their creation, they are the producers, we are the consumers. Consumers do not dictate what a producer makes or how it's made, only th producer has that right. But luckily for gamers everywhere, Bioware just so happens to be a producer that values what the consumer has to the say to the point where they take the criticism, and use it to create something better. And that's what the Mass Effect Extended Cut DLC is: Better. Not perfect, but better. This is a slightly different video game review than what I normally post. As such, it has a different rating.

For taking the time,energy, and money to fix a game their loyal fans pleaded to be fixed, and doing an outright good job of it to boot, Bioware's Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC earns a well deserved FIXED!!!

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