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Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut – Review
Every story has an ending. The Death Star gets destroyed, Indy saves his dad, Aragorn assumes his role as king of men, and we all go home with a feeling of closure. The end of a tale often determines whether the work, as a whole, is a success. Whether you believe that or not, it is very much a deciding factor and very rarely will a plot outweigh a conclusion.
A little over three months ago Mass Effect 3 came out and brought an end to a trilogy known for its masterful story telling. The fans however, felt that BioWare had dropped the ball. Finally, after 3 months of anger and speculation the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC has been released. Described by BioWare as a clarification of the original ending, the Extended Cut DLC sought to answer some of the questions that fans had regarding the games endings.
While the Extended Cut does not add gameplay it does add around 20 minutes or more in cutscene and several new conversation branches. Those things being said, I felt that the Extended Cut again fell short of Mass Effect 3’s potential.
The DLC supposedly starts shortly after (or maybe during?) Shepard’s assault on the Cerberus Headquarters. I honestly didn’t see any really clear differences until the very end of the game when you approach your destination. After that point the material added to the end of the game clearly shows; cutscenes, dialogue, short context clues and explanations, all of which are integrated almost seamlessly with the original story.
All of the additions leading up to the conclusion of the game are very well done and they answer most of the grievances I originally had. Questions of consistency are cleared up and the seemingly hopeless situation that the original ending left is cleared up as well, though there is still one way that you can ruin things.
Each ending has been expanded on, better detailing what happens to the crew of the Normandy and the rest of the universe fairly well as images and cinematics flash past your screen. If the DLC does one thing well it is in delivering finality. Where the original endings left a lot unanswered the Extended Cut closes the door on speculation.
In the end however I was sadly displeased, and yes I have been happily displeased before (Inception). One of my biggest questions was left completely unaltered and, therefore, unanswered, leaving me with a terrible empty feeling after completing the game. It was actually the same exact feeling I had after beating the game the first time. Only this time it felt somewhat magnified because I half expected to have all of my questions answered. And I fell like this one thing was wanted by most that chose my ending.
Now this displeasure is based solely out of one of the ending decisions, so the majority of you ME3 fans out there may be really happy with your ending. I am even willing to admit that my displeasure might just be the result of my imagination wanting to be lazy. I’m pretty sure I’ll be ok. I really enjoyed every other ending than the one I chose and, if I hadn’t been so invested in my original decision I would have very easily been completely satisfied with this expansion.
So play it, dissect it, and experience every ending they offer you. All things considered, the Mass Effect 3: Extended Cut DLC – as a whole – is a job well done. Bravo to BioWare for listening to their fans and clarifying their planned image without changing the story. This is truly the way the Mass Effect Trilogy should have ended (though I’m still a huge fan of the Indoctrination Theory).