Last week saw the release of the Extended Cut DLC for Mass Effect 3 by BioWare, expanding on the “lackluster” endings the game originally had. This means that everyone is happy now, right? Hello?
Let’s start with the good: We do get a little bit of explaining regarding exactly why the Normandy was fleeing the scene, as well as a brand new ending that lets us refuse the words of the all-knowing Starchild. The rest? Well…
Look, it’s wonderful that there are epilogues for all the endings now. It’s great that we get to check in to see what everyone’s doing with the war now over. But isn’t that what actual DLC is for? If anything, for every question answered by the Extended Cut, a new one arises.
Let’s start with the planet the Normandy crash landed on. We were led to believe that this is where civilization would start anew, bringing in a new world without synthetics, with synthetics under our control, or with a merging of organics and synthetics. Now we’re leaving it? It’s almost as if they’ve already completely retconned the game’s ending, which was, as you may remember, already rewritten (Reapers were connected with dark matter in the original ending). In addition, there’s still the little matter of Shepard breathing in air post Starchild incident, which is not only now not resolved, but also compounded by the fact that we now know that all races left the Sol cluster. Sure, the mass relays may be being rebuilt, but Shepard is still stranded.
Then there’s my personal position that there’s nothing quite wrong with the endings in the first place. For as much flak as they got, the controversial endings sparked much fan debate and speculation, as well as debate over what may happen next, since, you know, we’re still awaiting playable DLC. In addition, we need to remember that in terms of a trilogy, the final chapter is often an ending as a whole; we got a resolution to the genophage, the Geth/Quarian conflict, the Cerberus threat, as well as various other plotlines we’ve encountered between characters in all three games. Instead of taking the time to write out an epilogue, which the Extended Cut essentially is, why not make something that’s playable so it’s more substance than just style?
The Extended Cut DLC was supposed to give us answers. Instead it still leaves me wondering: What happens to Shepard?