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Dark Souls RPG at DriveThruRPG

Mass Effect 3

Many spoilers ahead so tread carefully...
This time, rather than reviewing a game, I thought it would be cathartic to rant about some of my intense hatred for online multiplayer & MMO's. Try to understand, I am fully aware of the appeal for these options in gaming, I just fail to see why most core gamers feel the need to be such douche bags while playing and there will be numerous examples of this mind set to follow.As our amazing founder already knows, I'm an avid gamer. I owe much of that to him actually because, if not for Jeff, I would have been years behind the curve. He is solely responsible for talking me into buying my first PC - at first a relationship killer but I digress - and also knows how competitive I am when it comes to a game. We won’t even get into how I am with a title I’m passionate about… I used to cue up music to play when I would score goals against him in NHL ’98 through 2000. Sad? Well... Yes it was. But having the ability to play "We've Got the Power" by Snap at 3am was still hysterical. So I know what it is to be competitive. That said, I have always been able to turn that characteristic off with the console.On to my disdain for the multiplayer genre.My first forte into online multiplayer gaming, not sports related, was an amazing mod for half life called "The Hidden". In The Hidden you played as either a death squad hunting "The Hidden" or as the same said Hidden. Hidden as in nearly invisible too. They were similar to the fictional Predators when cloaked: You see a brief shimmer on screen but it’s so fast you have a hard time keeping it in view. I found a few gamers out there who taught me the game and were extremely respectful. Over time I became quite good at it, if I may say so. Of course, I figured everyone online was going to be that way.Naive to say the least?Upon entering the Halo 3 lobby I felt confident I'd pick up the game quickly enough and enjoy the multiplayer interaction. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid me… I played the single player campaign so I had a solid knowledge of the game play mechanics and thought I should be fine. I was dead within the first ten seconds. I then respawned only to have my head blown off another ten seconds later. Yet that wasn't the bad part. The bad part was the abundant number of gamers who not only derive pleasure from destroying new players (Noobs) but, as a pile on, rubbing the Noobs’ faces in it even more. I was told “You suck!” Asked “Why are you even here?” and “Can you still return the game?” Those are just the family friendly exchanges.The more I tried to excel and show these people I was a cool person (and a solid gamer) the worse it got. I moved on to Soul Caliber, Mortal Kombat, Marvel vs Capcom, and other fighting games, where the ridicule and scorn was magnified. I was continuously told how amazing my opponents were while, on the other hand, informed I should just go kill myself in shame. At one point I actually asked an opponent why they were so hostile. Their reply was they were the “best there was” and had no reason to try to make friends online. I followed that up by asking if they felt they were the best at everything or just the best in regards to the game. To my shock they replied, “If I'm the best at this, what do you think?”Because of all the above I have avoided the multiplayer scene to avoid the drama. Many of the friends I have on my Xbox friends list agree. There's nothing wrong with healthy competition as when I lose I still tell the other player good game. My friends do the same. It's just proper human etiquette. I also have a friend online that assumes he could hold off a full frontal assault from the Middle East single handedly - all due to his amazing technique playing Modern Warfare 3. Dear God… If we get invaded, and he's our last line of defense, I had best learn to speak another language now to be safe.Mass Effect 3 came out in March (don't worry I'll avoid discussing the God awful ending and Bioware's mistreatment of its audience), and with it came the introduction of a multiplayer option. I told myself no. Nope, I’m going to bite. After a subpar single player conclusion I thought, “Oh, what the hell do I have to lose?” I was pleasantly surprised - shocked even - as most people I played with have been cordial if not downright polite. I stress the word most as there are still way too many gamers who equate online proficiency with real life accomplishments. That's just poor logic.What makes us the best we can be is empathy, compassion, and a properly functioning moral compass. Those alone don’t make us the best person but it makes us the best version of ourselves. Sure, there's no gaming score given for that. No leader boards and no contests with prizes offered. I believe there's something more valuable at stake: Our individuality. I'd rather swim upstream, so to speak, and be remembered as a good guy. You know, the kind of person who tried to achieve greatness in the real world? Not the guy who had the high score, the most head shots, or the bare minimum when it came to quality of life.The best advice I can give to players who are like myself and want to enjoy gaming in their spare time, including online interaction without negative treatment, cyber bullying, and all around douche bag mistreatment is this:Find a few real friends who enjoy the same game and stick to playing with them. You'll come across some good people like yourself in your virtual travels who will gladly join your group or gaming gang. Eventually those gangs will be large enough for you to avoid the online predatory archetypes altogether.It's a shame that most games are producing subpar single player campaigns to seemingly only pour their resources into the multiplayer experience. At the end of the day, a solid single player experience is always more fulfilling than the same multiplayer maps over and over again. Oh, and don't even get me started on the pay to play MMO's like World of Warcraft, The Old Republic, and so on. Who can rationalize paying $60 for a game and then paying $10-$15 monthly to play it? Not to mention these games almost always have a limited lifespan. Then we have the so called "free" to play titles. These free to play MMO's are equally just as bad as the pay games but in different ways. Sure you can have the most basic playing experience for free but if you want to remotely excel at the games (or unlock all the features) you have to use real money to buy items, level bonuses, weapons, vehicles, and I'd be surprised if you didn't have to buy a virtual toilet for your poor character who’s stuck in this “pay for anything worthwhile” world. Ugh !!!Sorry… Charlie Brown moment.‘Til next time my friends. Enjoy gaming but most importantly, enjoy life. After all, that's the real achievement isn't it? 
Aside from the ending controversy, Mass Effect 3 has many hours of entertainment value packed inside. Here is the first of a series of playthrough videos for the game, at insanity level, as an engineer.The creator of this series is very near and dear to me, and his You Tube Channel is getting up toward the 100k mark. The channel also has videos from Knights of the Old Republic, and the beta test of Diablo III.So if this is the kind of information you've been looking for, check out D4nnYB0Y1066 You Tube Channel.
There's a lot going on in the video game industry right now. Multiple big budget releases, old school classic remakes in HD, teaser announcements for some really amazing franchises. Unfortunately none of that matters at the moment due to the rift that has been caused between the industry and the people who made the industry what it is today... The fans, or customers, as we are also known.The release of Mass Effect 3 on March 6th was one of the most anticipated games of the year. The title was set to wrap up an epic story driven trilogy. A story created by the fans, driven by the fans, for the fans. So my question is,  "Is the customer always right?" As someone who has worked in retail, the food service industry, sales, security and tech support I can unequivocally say NO! The customer is not always right. Simply paying for a product doesn't grant license to an individual to impose their wants or misconceptions on the seller. A product is generally sold as is unless specifically told otherwise. That is unless the item is misrepresented in some way.And there lays the rub.Casey Hudson of Bioware was quoted prior to release, "This story arc is coming to an end with this game. That means the endings can be a lot more different. At this point we're taking into account so many decisions that you've made as a player and reflecting a lot of that stuff. It's not even in any way like the traditional game endings, where you can say how many endings there are or whether you got ending A, B, or C."Hudson continued, "It's more like there are some really obvious things that are different and then lots and lots of smaller things, lots of things about who lives and who dies, civilizations that rose and fell, all the way down to individual characters. That becomes the state of where you left your galaxy. The endings have a lot more sophistication and variety in them."In another interview Hudson stated, "There are many different endings. We wouldn’t do it any other way. How could you go through all three campaigns playing as your Shepard and then be forced into a bespoke ending that everyone gets?”“Mass Effect 3 is all about answering all the biggest questions in the lore, learning about the mysteries and the Protheans and the Reapers, being able to decide for yourself how all of these things come to an end.”“Every decision you've made will impact how things go. The player's also the architect of what happens."“You'll get answers to everything. That was one of the key things. Regardless of how we did everything, we had to say, yes, we're going to provide some answers to these people.”Casey Hudson has spoken openly for the first time about Mass Effect 3's controversial ending, which has stirred up plenty of anger among some series fans:"I didn't want the game to be forgettable, and even right down to the sort of polarizing reaction that the ends have had with people - debating what the endings mean and what's going to happen next, and what situation are the characters left in," Hudson said, "That to me is part of what's exciting about this story. There has always been a little bit of mystery there and a little bit of interpretation, and it's a story that people can talk about after the fact."He went on to say that BioWare takes fan feedback very seriously, and that the Mass Effect community will help shape upcoming campaign and multiplayer DLC. "Oh, we pay very close attention to it. It's very important to us and we will always listen to feedback, interpret it and try and do the right thing by our fans," said Hudson, "That's why if you look at Mass Effect 2 we knew that people wanted to spend more time with a character like Liara, and so we created an ongoing storyline with her as part of the comics and then built it into the DLC stuff, and we're always listening to fans. We have some really great multiplayer content and some really great single-player content coming over the air, and their feedback will become part of how we design that."Now I can say in this respect, the customer is definitely right regarding Mass Effect 3 being completely misrepresented to the consumer. As fans we were expecting the game to fit smoothly into the Mass Effect universe, seamlessly, it was anything but. I'll avoid all the glitches, facial import feature being non-functional, game saves not always importing correctly, squad mates so important in ME2 suspiciously absent save for the generic mission involvement and the laziness involved in using a Google stock image to portray Tali without her mask. It wasn’t even animated in the game. Just a poorly lit photo in a frame? Really???Let's pretend to ignore that and so much more for a moment.We as fans, as customers, the ones who've molded these adventures as our own since 2007 feel cheated. More so, we feel out right disrespected. We were looking forward to the game because A) It's the finale to a phenomenal trilogy and B) because the creative brain trust at BioWare told us we were getting a vastly different title. What we were told to expect was radically different ways in which the story would end. Fans came out of every corner to show their disbelief, their hurt, their utter disappointment in being misled and let down.This was and is an emotional series for the fans who have been with it since day one. You feel for every character. There's a bond that's forged in virtual battle. The story makes you wish you were there to see it all unfold before your eyes so you could witness first hand an epic tale in which through it all, the hero prevails while maintaining his or her humanity.I won't lie. There were moments where I felt like I wanted to actually cry over a death in the game. The unavoidable ones were the worst: Thane, Mordin, and - for the love of god - Legion. When a video game can be that engrossing, you know you're involved with something special!But…When you end a series using material openly obtained from a seven year old boy, in Germany, for the idea of a star child? When you end the epic on a note nobody can even believe was real? When you promise 16 varied endings based on in game and series long choices but deliver three endings that only truly vary in color and squad mates? When that happens fans have every right to not only want change but to rally and petition for change. This is not entitlement. This is not sour grapes. This is the emotionally cheated asking for redemption at the hands of BioWare. When people would rather pretend there was a different ending instead of accept the actual ending, you know your writers and creative team dropped the ball. The ball didn’t just drop but bounced down the stairs, out the front door, rolled through a mud puddle, and came to rest in the middle of the street. Where it was immediately run over by a Mac truck…There’s a rumor, although unconfirmed, Casey Hudson and lead writer Mac Walters secluded themselves to write the ending alone. Why? Were the other members of the writing team all of a sudden eaten by a Reaper?Many sites have been started to help fans both cope with their disdain in an attempt to productively push forward with a movement to do what no organized group has done before: Change the ending to an already completed and released title. The crazy thing is, there's true momentum to this movement. Demand a Better Ending to Mass Effect 3 on Facebook has over 56,000 members expressing their grief, disbelief, theories, and ideas to improve the game. Most are very productive as these are the core group who appreciate this series on a level that only the creators can. Shouldn’t these gamers have the right to petition for changes? In a way they directly shaped the game with their choices, relationships, and personal morality.These various movements taking shape online are amazing on so many levels. So many different people all came together and said: No. Not to our story. Shepard deserved better. The series deserved better! WE deserved better! Let's do something about it!Emails began being sent. Forums created with thousands of posts. Actual hand written letters were mailed. Interviews with various online blogs and gaming press organizations took place. The ball not only started rolling, but was shot out of a cannon!G4 did a story on the issue. CNN covered the issue. Forbes has released a few columns about the effort. I thought to myself, "Holy crap this is the greatest show of both support and will I've seen for something of this nature." If that weren't enough, the fans on Demand a Better Ending for ME3 also raised over $80,000 for Child's Play charities as a way to help others while venting their frustration in a positive way. These are serious gamers with a serious love / hate relationship with BioWare. I’ll be honest many will openly admit they hate EA, seeing the company doesn't hide the fact everything's about the bottom line first, all else is secondary. BioWare on the other hand used to stand for the fans. Everything was for and about their most staunch supporters and it showed.Now Bioware have a chance to make things right. Fans may never forget the violation of good faith but, given the right solution, they may very well forgive BioWare by sticking with them in the future having knowledge that should they be truly disappointed down the line, the company will actually listen. Not pretend to listen, which is how all fans - myself included - feel as everything stands right now. The ball is in their court. Will they let us play with it again or are they taking the ball and going home? Time will tell. A problem is the longer BioWare waits, the more damage is done. Eventually the rift will get so great there will be no going back. Fans definitely don't want that to occur. We'll see in April and I'll keep you posted.  
It looks as if the outcry from gamers everywhere regarding their dissatisfaction with the conclusion of Mass Effect 3 may have led to a ray of hope for those looking for a different ending to be in the works. Bioware co-founder Dr. Ray Muzyka released a statement regarding a possible new direction for the science fiction title published by EA. There is no definitive mention of a rewritten finish but it looks as if this is something seriously on the table from the developers.The statement from Dr. Muzyka:To Mass Effect 3 players, from Dr. Ray Muzyka, co-founder of BioWare.As co-founder and GM of BioWare, I’m very proud of the ME3 team; I personally believe Mass Effect 3 is the best work we’ve yet created. So, it’s incredibly painful to receive feedback from our core fans that the game’s endings were not up to their expectations. Our first instinct is to defend our work and point to the high ratings offered by critics – but out of respect to our fans, we need to accept the criticism and feedback with humility.I believe passionately that games are an art form, and that the power of our medium flows from our audience, who are deeply involved in how the story unfolds, and who have the uncontested right to provide constructive criticism. At the same time, I also believe in and support the artistic choices made by the development team. The team and I have been thinking hard about how to best address the comments on ME3’s endings from players, while still maintaining the artistic integrity of the game.Mass Effect 3 concludes a trilogy with so much player control and ownership of the story that it was hard for us to predict the range of emotions players would feel when they finished playing through it. The journey you undertake in Mass Effect provokes an intense range of highly personal emotions in the player; even so, the passionate reaction of some of our most loyal players to the current endings in Mass Effect 3 is something that has genuinely surprised us. This is an issue we care about deeply, and we will respond to it in a fair and timely way. We’re already working hard to do that.To that end, since the game launched, the team has been poring over everything they can find about reactions to the game – industry press, forums, Facebook, and Twitter, just to name a few. The Mass Effect team, like other teams across the BioWare Label within EA, consists of passionate people who work hard for the love of creating experiences that excite and delight our fans. I’m honored to work with them because they have the courage and strength to respond to constructive feedback.Building on their research, Exec Producer Casey Hudson and the team are hard at work on a number of game content initiatives that will help answer the questions, providing more clarity for those seeking further closure to their journey. You’ll hear more on this in April. We’re working hard to maintain the right balance between the artistic integrity of the original story while addressing the fan feedback we’ve received. This is in addition to our existing plan to continue providing new Mass Effect content and new full games, so rest assured that your journey in the Mass Effect universe can, and will, continue.The reaction to the release of Mass Effect 3 has been unprecedented. On one hand, some of our loyal fans are passionately expressing their displeasure about how their game concluded; we care about this feedback, and we’re planning to directly address it. However, most folks appear to agree that the game as a whole is exceptional, with more than 75 critics giving it a perfect review score and a review average in the mid-90s. Net, I’m proud of the team, but we can and must always strive to do better.Some of the criticism that has been delivered in the heat of passion by our most ardent fans, even if founded on valid principles, such as seeking more clarity to questions or looking for more closure, for example – has unfortunately become destructive rather than constructive. We listen and will respond to constructive criticism, but much as we will not tolerate individual attacks on our team members, we will not support or respond to destructive commentary.If you are a Mass Effect fan and have input for the team – we respect your opinion and want to hear it. We’re committed to address your constructive feedback as best we can. In return, I’d ask that you help us do that by supporting what I truly believe is the best game BioWare has yet crafted. I urge you to do your own research: play the game, finish it and tell us what you think. Tell your friends if you feel it’s a good game as a whole. Trust that we are doing our damndest, as always, to address your feedback. As artists, we care about our fans deeply and we appreciate your support.Thank you for your feedback – we are listening.Ray.
I think I’ll share the editorial posted two days ago by the video gaming review giant IGN’s PS3 editor, Colin Moriarty, before I move on to the bulk of my piece...Wow! Mighty interesting I’d say. In fact it’s interesting on so many levels… First, to have someone who is purportedly the editor of the entire area of coverage of a particular platform take to the site with a diatribe against a large segment of people who actually provide him with something to cover; without the game buying public there are no video games and thus no need for video game news or reviews. I suppose in a world like that Mr. Moriarty would have to get a job that actually involved real work as opposed to one that, to a great extent, is just talking or writing about games. You know? A real job like the 95% or more of the people, who purchase Mass Effect 3, have to hold down in order to purchase games and the systems needed to play them on. Yes, obviously we here at TGG write and talk about games (obviously of a different nature) but we also happen to have day jobs and are involved in this endeavor because of our love of the hobby. In fact, it’s because we have real jobs that allows us the privilege to operate this site. To have someone who is an important lead editor for a website that I greatly respected – up unto this point obviously – release a video editorial that, in no uncertain terms, calls everyone who disagrees with his opinion an idiot is extremely insulting to the video gaming public. I’d expect that kind of nonsense from a forum, or message board, or a YouTube video but surely not from a website which claims to be tackling video games as journalism. Second, I’m not overly fond how Moriarty injects the poor soul who took to YouTube to vent his frustration over Mass Effect 3 having some release day DLC available. Obviously, this inclusion is done to underlay the impression that unless you agree with Moriarty’s views you must be just like the overweight lispy guy ranting. Not only do I find including the clip extremely mean spirited but doesn’t advance Moriarty’s argument in the least. Honestly, it defeats the argument even more because, as we only see fifteen seconds of the lispy guy, we’re left with the editor ranting throughout the rest of the video. Moriarty makes himself look like a bigger idiot than he ever could of the lispy guy. Third, Moriarty tells the viewer that going online and starting petitions or vocally dissenting on the outcome of Mass Effect 3 is going about things the wrong way is laughable. Truth be told, I have absolutely no investment in the Mass Effect story; I don’t care if the universe is destroyed, Shepard gets laid, gets killed, or ends up returning to the Planet of the Apes… I played the first game in the series and enjoyed it but didn’t come back for more because it just didn’t grab me enough. Which is simply my opinion and I know of a lot of people who really loved the first two games and were anxiously awaiting the conclusion to the series. Now everyone I know who has purchased ME3 and played it to completion is not just disappointed with the ending but downright disgusted with the outcome and feel not only cheated emotionally but monetarily as well. Yet Moriarty’s option given for those people who aren’t happy is to simply not buy the game. Don’t take your grievances to the internet but simply don’t buy the game! That’s a pretty tough thing to do because the people who are upset have already bought the game. Doh! I think that’s how they came to the realization they didn’t like the end, bubba. Add to this the fact IGN encouraged people to purchase the game by calling it “amazing” and giving it a 9.5 overall score out of ten makes the “vote with your wallet” line of thinking nothing less than asinine! Not only asinine but pretty disingenuous if you ask me. I especially dislike the tone of the video where the viewer is being told by all means they can disagree with the subject’s viewpoint as if he’s magnanimously allowing that. Please… Lastly, Colin Moriarty states that when he “was a kid” games were a lot more expensive than they are now; that games are the cheapest they’ve even been as compared to 1995 as he displays. In inflationary dollars that is certainly more than likely the case. Yet he doesn’t factor in the economic times we live in. Right now more than 85% of Americans are spending over half of their take home pay on rent or mortgages. We’re not even including food, clothing, or utilities in that equation. As of this moment people are spending the largest percentage of the money in their pocket on rent and food than at any time in American history. Ever! This means a much larger portion of disposable income has to be spent in order to enjoy video games; a fact of which “old man” Moriarty doesn’t make mention. It’s no wonder video gamers are pissed they’ve spent $150-$200 dollars (or obviously less if they bought them used but they still paid something) playing through an adventure only to find everything they’ve invested their time, emotions, and money into is invalidated during the last 10-15 minutes of gameplay. That okay with IGN’s PS3 editor though. He told you he didn’t like the end to Resistance 3 but you didn’t hear him crying about it. Then again I’m sure he didn’t pay $79.95 for a limited edition of it either. Actually, I’m sure he didn’t pay anything for the game as it was a complimentary review copy. I know this for a fact because, even though we tackle a completely different genre of gaming, that’s how we receive a great many of our review copies and we may get 1% of the traffic numbers IGN does. Oh, and he didn’t like the ending to Rosemary’s Baby either but I’ll take a stab he didn’t have to pay a hundred bucks to watch the film to its final credits either. I suppose I should point out to Colin that Rosemary’s Baby is actually a sly social commentary of the late 1960s filled with quite a bit of black humor. Maybe he’d like the ending a bit more if he understood that.  I guess Moriarty was expecting It’s Alive instead… Overall I’ve made my last visit to IGN. Regardless of the weak disclaimer at the beginning of the op-ed video stating it may or may not reflect the views of IGN the reality is that it does reflect their views. Does IGN take everyone as idiots? Colin Moriarty is the website’s PS3 editor and inclusion of his (although bleeped) profanity laced rant as one of their features tells me a lot more about what they consider critical journalism, and their opinions, than I ever needed to know. Not only is the video completely off the deep end as far as tone and mean spiritedness but it also displays a complete lack of respect for the site’s very own audience. I was a bit older than a kid in 1995, as are a great majority of the people who spend their hard earned money on video games, so I think I’m mature enough to have an appreciation of what sort of gaming coverage I’d like to be exposed to. If IGN feels Colin Moriarty’s video is good gaming journalism then IGN no longer needs my traffic nor do their sponsors need my business…
Game Name: Mass Effect 3Publisher: Electronic ArtsDeveloper: BiowareYear: 2012Players: Solo (with multiplayer)Rating: M (for Mature)Retail Price: $59.99Category: Science fiction RPG*** Warning! Spoilers Ahead! ***For The Bioware Faithful & The Bioware Brain-trust:Despite my long-term support of Bioware, after playing Mass Effect 3 (ME3), I cannot recommend this game. That alone is very hard for me to write as I've invested 150+ hours of game play into establishing a relationship with the Mass Effect universe only to have myself punched in the gut or, in Jack's words from Mass Effect 2, told to F&%@ off!The title looks nice, plays well (although I find the weight mechanic to be a bit unnecessary), and the dialog along with the general story are well done. However, it deviates considerably from what I've come to expect from a Mass Effect game - the game feels awfully linear and that's not something to be happy about. While the prior games weren't completely open worlds, you could at least pick the order of many of the missions you undertook. This was especially the case during the second half of ME2 where you could go about things in any way you'd want.With ME3 I don't get this feeling of freedom at all.This leads to the biggest problem I have with ME3. The ME series was, and is, marketed on the concept and idea of choice. Your choices along with what you do matter and have impact on how the game progresses and the stories of the characters unfold. This latest installment lacks that, and to be honest, comes off as invalidating the entire feeling of choice one has grown accostumed to in the series.Like many other gamers, I associate a large part of this to the endings of each of the games. For the last two Mass Effects our gameplay decisions have impacted the endings, altered them, and shown us different outcomes. This is particularly true for Mass Effect 2 where you could fail miserably and even actually die/lose for your ending if you performed poorly enough to that end point. Yet with the available endings of ME3 any and every choice you've made in the series to date are rendered pointless and moot; they don't matter and have no impact on the ending of the series!All of your choices have been thrown out the window and you're given the choice to pick A, B, or C. Sure, options A, B, or C are a choice but not one in which I would end Shepard's story upon.All of this is utterly contrary to how the game is promoted. What's more, it makes me feel if I ever replayed the series I may as well just barrel straight through and ignore all side quests. Why pay attention to them? Why consider the choices I'm making in even the main quest? They won't matter as you'll never see any results to them. The only choice that actually changes anything, in the end, is the rather generic and uninspired garbage which could have been written by a ten year old who had never even played the series.Which leads to another problem: poor writing. Coming up with a clutch magic solution in the last installment to miraculously defeat the Reapers is just all-in-all bad writing. It's a hallmark of poor writing used by authors when they've written themselves into a position in which they can't concoct a logical way out. The conclusion, as presented, ruins the efforts of the characters in the story. I had expected all the struggles of raising a massive military force and a genius battle strategy, not that. With the loss of their Citadel trap, and the proof that reapers can be destroyed (Sovereign and the Human Reaper), a conventional war was quite plausible, if improbable in victory. That draws out tension, keeps people interested, and is why Star Wars has worked on that level; insurmountable odds but the Rebels still succeeded!I see all this as bad writing at its worst as the Mass Effect games have never flowed towards dark and depressing ends. I like bittersweet or even just bitter endings so I have no problem with that but this was high fantasy in space. It was always suggested by Bioware that you could save the girl, defeat the monster, and ride off into the sunset if you wanted. You choices were supposed to make this at least a possibility. They don't.The lack of a happy ending and this forced dark, downright bleak option with three different flavors is equally disappointing. In part because of the choice issue: No matter how hard you try, what you do, or all your efforts in a game that's vaunted for supporting them... you can't get a proper, clear , or even remotely worthwhile conclusion.It let me down in more ways than I can even explain. The way Mass Effect has been written to this point did not suggest this but right at the end, when you're getting to the satisfying conclusion where you see the culmination of your choices, the game veers sharply to the left and kicks your support out from under you. There's nothing to suggest that you just have to take this awkward, unsatisfying conclusion and deal with it. The final 10-15 minutes we see a complete 180 from the storyline of the rest of the franchise. It's the equivalent of the Rocky saga ending, after stirring training and pre-title bout fight montages getting us pumped up, with Rocky eaten by a whale just prior to the big fight.The available endings lack closure, finality, or any real substance. They're just poorly done and smear the way I'll remember the series. After three games I expected a much more well thought-out and fulfilling ending, not this. Some epilogue, conclusion, and by golly I wanted to see my Sheppard walking down a street on earth, Bromance Garrus, and whatever LI I chose for that play through while I hear about how the choices I made changed the galaxy.Instead, I get everyone my character cares about missing - or dead - and some old guy telling his kid a fairy tale with my Sheppard being screwed any way you shake it. It was completely off the flow of the game and felt utterly forced to be bitter and negative for the sake of, well, being bitter and negative. I suppose that's writing but it certainly isn't not good writing. Cutting out this old man portion and having a resolution that would allow you to have Sheppard survive and be with at least some of his friends and loved ones would have done worlds of good toward fondly remembering the Mass Effect experience. Sure, that finale may have been bittersweet but at least not just bitter. I could see it now. Some people died that you knew, a lot didn't, but you won and have the rest of your friends to work with to start picking up the pieces.Yes, the journey is important but it doesn't matter how nice that walk in the park I had was today if at the end I tripped and my face landed in a pile of dog crap on the street. The conclusion of ME3 feels just like that to me and it's what will stand out for me looking back at the franchise.Because I know anyone who invested their time and emotions into the first two games would be utterly dissatisfied with the way this game ends and would no doubt make them feel the way I do, I can't recommend this title as it stands to anyone. Just as I can't recommend Dragon Age 2 to anyone either. As it stands after the quality of Bioware's recent games, I will be taking future releases with a grain of salt and reserving my purchases until I hear whether the trend at Bioware is continuing.I would strongly urge the ME writing team to go play Dragon Age Origins. This is an example of making choices matter; both in how the finale plays out (including your support during the final battle), as well as altering both the in game ending (the coronation), and the epilogue text. Honestly I always prefer more cinematic story telling in games though over text.If you have never played the Mass Effect series you could go one of two routes. You could play 1 & 2 while avoiding 3 at all costs and that way you will be left wanting more. Or, your second choice, play 3 only and be prepared for a massive downer of ambiguity in the ending that will not leave you wanting more but simply better.That choice is yours...