Mad Mack: Dear BioWare – I Forgive You
Warning: Contains Major Spoilers For The Mass Effect Titles And Knights Of The Old Republic
We have been friends for a very long time now. I remember the first game I played that was made by you: Knights of the Old Republic. Remember that? Remember that Sith double sword that was more awesome than a lightsaber that I found in that tomb? Or the time it turned out that I was Revan all along? Yeah, those were some fun times we had.
Anyway, I was just writing to say that I forgive you. I forgive you for Mass Effect 3. Or to be more precise, I forgive you for the ending to Mass Effect 3. I have had time to sit down and think about it, and I think I may have reacted a tad strongly to what was a poor ending to an otherwise stellar game.
I was listening to the Mass Effect 3 soundtrack, because I got it ‘free’ with the ME3 Collector’s Edition (and if there is one thing I love, it is justifying crass, exploitative marketing and sales strategies from game companies).
And then I listened to the Mass Effect 2 soundtrack, because BitTorrent is a thing and I wanted it, and I was reminded of all of the great Mass Effect moments that we have experienced together.
I got to thinking about the characters we loved, the lives we lived, the people we saved, those we lost along the way – these are the things we should focus on. Not our falling out over the last few minutes.
So what were my favourite moments? Wow. I mean, where do I start?
I remember when I was on Noveria, and I fought those Geth in the garage. It was my first big engagement against the forces of the Reapers and their supporters. I did not know what I was getting into. And then I found Matriarch Benezia and Jesus Christ was she a challenge! I was so unprepared, but somehow I managed to beat her and her commandos and save the Rachni Queen.
Or how about on Virmire? Remember Virmire? Talking to Sovereign? That was proper ‘holy shit’ territory right there. It was also where I managed to talk Wrex down from going all out batshit crazy on us because we were going to destroy the facility. I thought he was a bit of a dick to be honest, but even then I could see that he was going to be the future for the Krogan somehow. And of course, we cant forget Kaiden. That guy had all the personality of an empty cardboard box, but I was still sad to see him die. I was doubly sad when I realised that Ashley was a needy cow who would not put out anyway and would then return in all her glory in the 3rd game as a whiny, controlling bitch. Spectre my left nut! But hey, these are the choices we make.
Some of the characters we met on our journey together were truly memorable. Mass Effect 2 had some of the best. I could not believe it when I found that Archangel was actually Garrus. And though it was a brutal fight to get out of there, when he fell it spurred me on to try all the harder. And what about Grunt? I was worried about him at first, but once I had gotten him settled in and he got a Thresher Maw mounted above the fireplace (so to speak), he became a good friend and an awesome bloke to go on the piss with.
If I have any regrets about the guys I met in Mass Effect 2, it was probably that I didn’t really connect with Thane all that much, and that Legion only really appeared towards the end. It was cool because I got to take him on all my side missions and DLC after completing the Suicide Mission, but still, that guy was coolness incarnate. Bastard cheated like a motherfucker at poker though. And Thane? Well, he was cool and all, but he was a bit quiet, and with all that was going on I just never got the chance to sit down and talk to him about religion. Actually, now that I think about it, he was a bit of a boring fucker once you got past the ‘Master Assassin’ thing he had going on.
It would be remiss of me to neglect Mordin. Man I love that guy. You know that if I wanted to put my cock into the business end of a Cain he would be on hand to give me advice on how to protect my sperm from mutating radiation, and then he would probably burst into song about fun places to put said cock that are not weapons of mass destruction. He was never short on advice is what I am saying, but what I really mean is that he gave advice without any moral prejudice. Which is fairly fitting for the nicest bloke on the ship, who also happened to be an (almost) mass murderer…
And while the first game was about meeting the universe, exploring the Reaper threat and trying to finger a purple lady; and the second was about expanding our MySpace network, it was the third where you really brought out the big guns and showed us just what Mass Effect is capable of.
Honestly, my memories of Mass Effect 3 are fairly hazy. I took a Friday off work you see, and I played that fucker to completion in 3 days, only stopping periodically to eat, drink and sleep. So it all kind of blurs together. But I can still remember the great moments.
From the very start, we knew this was going to be one fucking dark game. Seeing the Reapers smash up Earth was one of those generation-defining moments that I will probably tell my grandkids about. As the Normandy flew through the wreckage of the Earth defence fleet…well I gotta say it brought a tear to my eye. It was the perfect way to start the game – none of this ‘build up to invasion’ thing. No, you started that off with your cards on the table. You were all like: ‘look, shit has got real. Now what you gonna fucking do?’ And we were like: ‘holy shit no way!’.
You know how I know every Mass Effect game was something special? It was when Mordin climbed the shroud, knowing that it was a one way trip, but knowing that he had to do it to give a future to the Krogan. That bit. Man….that bit. I was almost in tears. I could not believe it. I wanted him back on the Normandy. I wanted him to join in and we could go off and have adventures like something on a Saturday morning cartoon. The show would be called ‘Commander Shepard and Friends’ and Mordin would be the geeky scientist one who is always busy with his new wacky inventions and would not understand love so would never notice the signs that one of the other cast members keeps giving him that she wants to fuck his brains out.
He was not the only character I was genuinely upset to see die, either. When Thane took that sword to the chest, and then you had that scene in his hospital bed. It was…emotional. But nothing approached the final scene with Legion. As I have said he was one of my favourite characters from the previous game, so seeing him imprisoned in the Geth battleship was like an affront to all that we had been through together. And there was still one last adventure to be had. In my mind I knew it would be our last, but I still hoped that he would survive to lead the Geth. He didn’t, and he died in one of the saddest ways possible. Whereas Thane died gloriously in battle against an assassin to save the Council, and Mordin died heroically saving an entire species with a fucking explosion, Legion died with a whimper. His cold, emotionless tones were juxtaposed against the body language that said more than words ever could as he said his goodbye and then just….stopped. He fell to the ground and the light faded from his eye. He didn’t save just one race, but two. His actions, his final sacrifice, allowed the reconciliation of two mortal enemies.
That said BioWare, I do want to talk to you about the squad in Mass Effect 3. Now, I appreciate that it would be hard to top the roster from ME2, but you could have fucking tried. James was a massive penis, Ashley was a cow, EDI was…well it was just creepy the whole her and Joker thing (especially when she came to you to ask if it was possible or advised – she is a fucking warship AI – should this even be on her radar?) and you seriously missed a trick with Legion – who would ever side with the Geth and lose the Quarians (if you were not good enough to save both obviously) when it means you would lose your potential squad mate? It should have been a one or the other choice – save the Geth and get Legion, save the Quarians and get Tali, instead of it being save the Geth and get fuck all! There is one character you got right: Javik. Not only was it pretty good to get a look at the Prothean civilisation, but I quite liked the fact that he was a complete fascist. It was strongly implied that the Protheans were basically somewhat akin to the Nazis when they ruled the roost. I got to respect that. It is rare that you have a ‘good guy’ who is objectively disagreeable, but has sufficient utility to be kept around, despite his slightly genocidal tendencies.
I am sure everyone has their personal overriding memories of the third game, but I think these are the most important for me. There were other great moments – Grunt killing all the Ravagers, the Ardat Yakshi temple (fucking Banshees man), wondering if EDI had lady parts for Joker to fondle (and then spotting the camel toe that confirms she does), trying to bang every female member of the crew when they want to come and see you in your room, and then trying to bum James because fuck it, no luck so far; telling Ashley that you still loved her, and then telling the same to Liara in the hopes of the most awesome threesome ever (nope) – not to mention destroying the entire Hanar home world by accident. These are just some of the great experiences that were to be had in Mass Effect 3.
So you see, we have been through a lot together BioWare, and I know that when I play future games you make, they will be equally amazing. I am not going to let a bit of poor storytelling get between us. I am going to remember the good times. Because there are just so many more good times than there are bad. So please BioWare, keep up the great work.
Now get a fucking move on and make me some Mako DLC!
Dave ‘Mad_Mack’ McConkey
P.S. I would sack off EA if I were you – they are shitcunts.
Stay glued to this space for the upcoming ‘Take Back Mass Effect’ flash fiction event we will be hosting.