WARNING: IF YOU HAVE NOT PLAYED MASS EFFECT 3, STOP READING AS THERE ARE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. ALSO, SOME OF THE OUTCOMES IN YOUR GAME MIGHT HAVE BEEN DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON THE CHOICES YOU MADE.
In the past five years, the Mass Effect trilogy has risen to the forefront of gaming. The epic story of Commander Shepard struggling against the Reapers has become one of the preeminent works of science fiction not just in video games, but across all storytelling media.
The final act, Mass Effect 3, was released earlier this month to critical acclaim, from both fans and professionals, and commercial success. The game has sold more than 3.5 million copies in less than a month and has received an aggregate score of more than 90 percent on both Metacritic and GameRankings.
The ending has cause controversy amongst fans, and some of the more vocal players reached out to BioWare and asked the company to alter it. They appear to have succeeded, as a statement on the company’s official website on Wednesday announced that new ending content is in the works.
Regardless of your thoughts on the ending, Mass Effect 3 is undeniably a work of staggering scope and immersive interactivity filled with poignant moments that stick with you long after you face off against your last Reaper.
Let’s recall some of them as we present the Top Ten Mass Effect 3 Moments:
10) The Prothean: Provided you purchased the “From Ashes” DLC, you acquire the last living Prothean, a race of aliens that has been extinct for 50,000 years, into your party. Javik is a badass who, at first, is only concerned with finishing his unfulfilled mission of destroying the Reapers. He slowly opens up during the game and you learn more about him and his race. Plus, I think he’s voiced by Mr. Eko from LOST.
9) Meeting Old Friends: There aren’t too many new squad members in ME3, but you do get to find and interact with your former teammates as the story progresses. It’s a nice touch to see how your choices affected them and where these characters wound up after your adventures in previous games.
8) Virtual Nookie: The sex scenes in the Mass Effect series have always been a little strange, but no matter who you romance in ME3, the act of love before your final mission stands out because you get the sense that this might be the last time you and your loved one will be together. Plus, if the end is nigh, you might as well get some!
7) One Last Chat: Before you make your final assault on the Reapers, you have a chance to talk to your squad mates one last time. In the midst of all the chaos and fighting, these quiet moments are chances to say goodbye to those you have grown to care for in case you don’t survive. Moments like these are what Mass Effect has always done brilliantly, and the final conversations in ME3 are no exception.
6) The War Comes Home: In the opening sequence of the game, you try to help a little boy hiding in a vent. He runs away, and you later see him getting on to an evacuation shuttle as the Reapers descend on Earth and start blowing up everything in sight. Just as the shuttle flies off, a Reaper blows it to smithereens and you realize that sh*t just got real. It’s a powerful moment that sets the tone for the entire game.
5) Thane’s Final Moments: Thane was a badass with a heart of gold. He could take down three attackers with the grace of a samurai, but his crippling disease made him a tragic figure because no matter what, it would get the best of him in the end. Thane steps into battle once again to help you and gets stabbed as a result. As he lay dying, you join his son in a prayer for peace and forgiveness. When you ask his son why Thane would need such a prayer when he died a hero’s death, his son replies that the prayer was not for him. It was for you.
4) The Scientist Salarian’s Swan Song: Mordin was always a complex character. He was responsible for the genophage that kept the Krogan from reproducing but he always felt conflicted about what he had done. So it was that much more heartbreaking when he sacrifices himself by running into an exploding tower to spread a cure across the Krogan home world. He tells you how he would have liked to have retired to a beach before he leaves you for good, and it was a strange mix of humor and heartbreak when he sings Gilbert and Sullivan (a reference to a scene in ME2) as the tower explodes around him.
3) The Quarians and the Geth Unite: In ME3, you help the Quarians finally retake their home world of Rannoch from the machines known as the Geth. If you play your cards right, you can actually unite the two races and convince them to help you fight the Reapers. Unfortunately, in doing so, your pal Legion bites the dust. BioWare killed three of my favorite characters in this game, but it only made me appreciate the story more and spurred me to keep fighting.
2) “There’s a Reaper in My Way, Wrex!”: Throughout the entire Mass Effect series, Reapers have been incredibly hard to kill. It takes you an entire game just to take out one of them earlier in the series. Unfortunately, a Reaper stands between you and the only way to cure the genophage and save the Krogan. So how do you resolve this problem? You summon a giant worm-like beast that tackles the Reaper like Ray Lewis nails a quarterback. It’s a moment that truly makes you sit back and say “Wow!” You get to blow away another Reaper later and actually talk to it, which was another, similar standout moment.
1) The Fleets Arrive: The culmination of all your efforts in ME3 is the arrival of the united fleets over Earth. After hours of politicking, negotiating and battling, your work bears fruit as nearly every race in the galaxy brings their full military might to our planet to fight the Reapers. It’s a truly epic moment that makes you realize just how far you’ve come in the Mass Effect series.