VG Review: Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC
by Karissa Barrows
I will warn you now – if you haven’t played the full extended cut DLC for Mass Effect 3 yet, SKIP THIS ARTICLE. Or, you know, if you don’t mind spoilers. Because It can AND WILL have them.
I’ll tell you first off that I loved the pre-DLC ending to the game. A lot of people weren’t happy with it, but I think it was because they didn’t get it (however frustrated with a very low EMS – Effective Military Strength – score) after playing only ME3 and then loved it after having played all three, importing my Shepard all the way through. So, if you think my overall opinion is biased? You’re probably right. Sorry I’m not sorry.
One of the major problems people had with the original ending was lack of closure to whatever relationship (or not) you had fostered throughout the game/series. That was definitely addressed (quite well actually) without completely taking over, and was satisfying. Another amazing thing the DLC did was answer several questions about the Catalyst, the Reapers, and your three final choices. There is actually an added choice as well, which to me seemed like BioWare’s GETOFFMYBACK statement to those who had complained there were only three choices to begin with. I thought it was brilliant. The cutscenes associated with each choice’s explanation were fantastic too, and I was pleasantly surprised to see them. The flow of the conversations hiccupped in a couple places where they tried to integrate with existing dialogue, but for the most part, continuity was seamless.
There was a lot more insight as to what was going on and just how much weight falls on what you decide to do with the Reapers, whether destroy, control, or implement synthesis. While I loved the additional information, I would’ve liked less filler in this section of the game and more added at the very end. It seemed like there was less emphasis on story and more on explanation at this point, which didn’t necessarily rub me the wrong way by any means, but left me wishing they had added more to the personal interactions and epilogue than decision time. Maybe that’s just me though. Either way, many questions were answered definitively rather than left up to headcanon, which is a good thing in this case.
Having been about 65% supportive of the Indoctrination Theory (search “Indoctrination Theory – A Documentary” on YouTube and watch the genius), mixing in my own theories of “yes, some of this is actually happening,” I was completely satisfied to see that I was more or less right, at least as far as I interpreted the pre-DLC ending. I think some people were angry that it wasn’t better explained, but why not leave some up to the viewer/player’s imagination? That’s exactly what makes this story so amazing – there are enough details to discern canon, but enough leeway to be able to insert your own headcanon without going outside the Mass Effect universe’s established parameters.
Bottom line, give it a chance. You may be one of those people turned off by the ending, either as you experienced it yourself or only heard about the controversy. Go into it with an open mind, and let yourself act as a writer of Mass Effect canon. Let your own mind make the necessary leaps and bounds to fill holes as you see fit, since it’s not like anyone is going to tell you you’re wrong at this point. Embrace what makes Mass Effect so amazing – this story is your story, on and off screen. Why would you want someone else dictating every single second of your own life? That’s your job, and it completely applies here. So get yourself on your Xbox/PS3/computer, download the DLC, and start ‘writing’.
Rating: 5 out 5 stars