Okay, so I deleted my initial review of the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut. Honestly, it hadn't been sitting well with me since I posted it. It was cathartic at the time but, in retrospect, it wasn't fair to the things BioWare got right and only harped on them for the things they got wrong. In my defense, I wrote it after being awake for about 30 hours non-stop... which isn't helpful for anything let alone gathering your thoughts and writing about them. I hadn't allowed myself time (or a good night's sleep) to think about what I had experienced, I just went straight for the throat. At any rate, it was a bad, hacky piece of writing and I'd rather it went away. So I deleted it. I still want to write out my thoughts but in a slightly less sleep deprived, angry and spiteful way. So let's try this again:
More than three months, eighty thousand dollars donated to charity, sixty thousand plus Likes on the Retake Mass Effect Facebook page, countless blog posts, news story comments, and message board posts, BioWare has released the final final word in their landmark sci-fi/action/role playing trilogy Mass Effect 3 with the Extended Cut DLC. It comprises of some additional scenes, dialogue choices, an epilogue sequence and a brief additional ending fleshing out a finale that many felt was perfunctory at best and broken at worst.
BioWare and EA were hammered for months by outraged fans on every front. While there was a lot of disappointment over their previous offering, the rushed, buggy and unsatisfying Dragon Age II, those feelings never really went beyond message board posts and the occasional middling review. This was another beast entirely. Over $80,000 was donated to charity in protest. Fans organized letter campaigns, cupcake and M&M drives, and even reported them to places like the BBB with complaints of "false advertisement." Very much against their will, gaming websites were forced to cover the story ad nauseum. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that BioWare had to offer some kind of substantive response. They were understandably defensive in the press, citing the plethora of critical praise they received and passive/aggressively blaming fans for not understanding the ending. (For more on how gaming journalists failed gamers on this subject, see my first entry in the archives from March.)
It wasn't always like this. BioWare was a much loved company with a lot of experience mixing storytelling and role playing into memorable games. They're also one of the most progressive companies out there in terms of portraying women and the LGBT community as equal to men. They were often mentioned in the same breath as companies like Bethesda, Valve and Gearbox for their commitment to quality and their close relationship with fans. For things to go this badly wrong this fast, BioWare had to act. But is it enough?
Well, as with everything on the internet, it's seen as a mixed bag. For the people who really only wanted clarification and a proper epilogue, the fight seems to be over. They're as content with the endings as they can be... in the sense that it's gone from abominable to merely bad. For everyone else, like myself, who see a much bigger, deeper problem with the endings, we have to resign ourselves to calling the game an artistic failure...
Sorry guys, I was well over the maximum character count for a blog post. If you want to read the entire thing, you'll have to visit my blog: Electric Dragon 80,000V
Sorry and thanks!
Mass Effect 3: Failure To Communicate
Blog entry posted by The Defenestrator, Jul 14, 2012.