Mass Effect 3′s Ending DLC Restores Some Fans’ Trust
“Marauder Shields,” a comic strip created by DeviantArt user Koobismo based on a meme born of the controversy, is one of the biggest and best-received things to come out of the ending controversy. Marauder Shields is the final enemy Shepard shoots down on Earth after encountering the Reaper Harbinger; the character was given that name because the enemy is a Marauder type, and when players first see it, the enemy has a “Shields” bar referring to how much damage it can sustain to its energy shields. The Internet ran with it, dubbing Marauder Shields as the final boss of Mass Effect 3 and claiming that his goal in attacking Shepard in those final moments is not to kill him, but to stop fans from reaching the controversial ending of the series.
Koobismo’s “Marauder Shields” comic started out as adding to that joke, but quickly became a much more poignant, touching and involved take on the Mass Effect 3 ending. The story is still ongoing, in fact, after 27 episodes, and also has an audiobook version. For Koobismo, the Extended Cut was just not satisfying; he’s hoping to provide what fans wanted and needed from BioWare’s endings with his own.
“The original endings were bad from the storytelling perspective and broken from the presentational standpoint,” Koobismo said in an interview with Game Front. “The Extended Cut fixed the ‘broken presentation’ part — more or less — but it didn’t fix the fact that the Star Child and its demigod powers just don’t belong in the Mass Effect universe. You can call him an ‘ancient A.I.’ as often as you want, but if you look closer, look beneath the first layer, you’ll see a Space Wizard defining the whole universe with the use of his Space Magic, stripping each and every of your prior actions of real consequence, because the rules of the world are shifted from ‘conflict-resolution-impact’ to ‘everything can be done and undone by colored lights.’
“In my opinion –- both private and professional –- the ending of Mass Effect 3 breaks the whole trilogy on a very basic level, shattering the emotional engagement of a vast percentage of players. This is what I’m trying to fix, whether it’s something doable or not… It’s up to you all to decide, people.”
Probably the most detailed and well-conceived analysis of the Mass Effect 3 endings created in the wake of the game’s release is a YouTube video created by Bob Case for his burgeoning “Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage” series. Case has done a lot of analysis of ME3′s ending, and his most recent video focuses on the Extended Cut.
In Case’s view, taken on its own, the Extended Cut is actually pretty good — but the fundamental problems of the endings still remain.
“I would say that the most glaring problem with the original ending was a lack of narrative coherence on the surface level, and that there were things like characters showing up on the Normandy who were on Earth with no explanation, or the Normandy being in full flight to a mass relay ahead of the explosion when that seems like it should have been impossible. These are things that were so unexpected and implausible that they take you out of the story entirely,” Case told Game Front. “So, those two things have been addressed — I mean, I don’t think it was possible to do it in an ideal way, but they did as best they could. So I guess, if we were to separate the content of the Extended Cut from the ending as a whole, then I would say they did a pretty good job.
“The downside is that all of what I’d consider to be the core problems are still there. The problems to me are just the existence of this hologram kid, the fact that the existence of the crucible makes no sense to me, and I just feel like it was a big dump of implausible and strange things at the worst possible time.”