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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Mass of the Effect

I finally got to the end of the story of Mass Effect 3 by BioWare for the Personal Computer last week. My anticipation for the resolution of the trilogy, in which I played the ever non-compromising, confident Commander Ingrid Shepard, was building up to a fever pitch ever since I continued playing the game on 08/25/2013. Several days later, after making many more intriguing decisions that will no doubt haunt me throughout the rest of my life, I reached the conclusion. I don't like spoilers so I am doing my best to not leave any trace of that in this article - and I want to ask my readers to show me the same courtesy when it comes to the details of all the possible endings to the game - but I do want to say that when everything was said and done, I felt really empty inside. That, and a bit of guilt as well as a huge helping of regret. Based on the gamers I know, their first instinct would probably push them to replay the last save to get another ending or go to YouTube to accomplish that goal. But not me. I silently sat there on my gaming chair to think about the ramifications of my choice.

The weight of the entire galaxy was resting on her shoulders.

Here's what I like about the Mass Effect games: I get so involved in my character that to change a decision that she, or we, made would almost feel like cheating. Don't get me wrong, there was one moment in the third game where I felt really disgusted with what had happened that I almost reloaded a previous save point to change up the situation. I was successful in refraining myself from doing so because the decision was a step that Ingrid would have taken naturally. With the ending I was presented, I feel that going back to replay the last section of the game would be a disservice to the hard work that I had put into all the three games combined. This situation reminded me of an achievement whore whom I knew several years ago on the X-Box 360. I remember having a conversation with him about our progress in Fallout 3. We got into a conversation in regards to an important moral decision that the player's character gets to choose at the very beginning of the game. He told me that he loaded a previous save point just so that he could select both decisions and that way, he was able to score both achievements. It was obvious at that point that while I was interested in actually role playing in the game, the guy was just "playing a game". I would never allow myself to strip away that magical feeling of being a part of a game world. So yes, I am at peace with what happened to my Commander Ingrid Shepard, no matter how bitter the aftertaste of the adventure turned out to be. The only way that I would know what else could happen at the end of Mass Effect 3 would be to start a new Shepard from the very beginning. That is the only justifiable action. And should I perish from this world before that could happen, I would still very happy that I had played through the entire trilogy and that I had characterized and built my Shepard properly the way I envisioned her to be. It was an honor to fight along your side Commander Ingrid Shepard! Go Renegade or go home!

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