Now even though it didn't end how I thought and wanted it to, I was pleasantly surprised with the additional content from the director's cut DLC. I was one of the people who thought the Indoctrination Theory was the way to go but that's just me, though I found it odd with what happened to Shepard's eyes when he/she gets teleported to the Citadel. But back to the question, yes the original endings were bad, an ending is supposed to do as its name implies, end a story. However the original endings didn't do that they left A LOT of questions unanswered and after putting in SO much time and effort towards the characters and the story and all the story based dlc's it was just saddening that that's how they ended it.
Throughout the Mass Effect series, there were numerous recurring themes that drove the plot and provided unique ethical dilemmas for the player to face. Tolerance and diversity, however, were clearly the biggest and most driving themes. It was made quite clear, both from generally more positive outcomes to circumstances where the player stands for tolerance, rather than bigotry, and from dialogue provided by both Shepard and various NPC's, that this was clearly the 'Paragon' option to choose.
The ending to the trilogy spat on those core themes, and demanded that we either sacrifice the very values we had been fighting for, or let the reapers kill everyone. Our three options consisted of:
1) Kill off both the reapers, which admittedly *has* been our goal since the end of the first game, while also killing off the geth. Many of us had spent hours of our time to allow a peaceful solution to the geth-quarian conflict, and to allow the two to coexist in peace. That very action proved the Starchild's ridiculous claim, that 'synthetics and organics will always, inevitably enter conflict and wipe each other out', to be completely wrong. We proved that his pathetic 'synthetic-organic dichotomy' is meaningless, and that conflict between the two is a product of bigotry and intolerance, yet we are never allowed to point this out.
2) Control the reapers. To any who are unfamiliar with the series, this is a bad idea. It has been consistently shown throughout the entire series that any attempt to 'gain control' of the reapers, or their creations, or to 'game' their system in any way, is one of the worst possible things you could do. Not 5 minutes before this choice we are forced to gun down a man with this exact goal in mind. Yet we are somehow expected to just cast aside all of this knowledge and believe the Starchild's claim that Shepard is somehow 'different', and will be able to control the reapers? Then there's the fact that allowing a single being, no matter his intentions, to gain that sort of power and be able to hold it over the rest of the galaxy, is a bad idea simply in and of itself.
3) Synthesis. Throw yourself into a big glowing green beam, and force all life in the galaxy to change on a basic molecular level to eliminate differences. Never mind the fact that this is ridiculous, it's also effectively galactic level rape. No consent has been given for such a vast and intimate change, yet we are expected to violate the basic rights of every being in the galaxy simply to stop this one conflict? To destroy the very diversity we've been fighting for three games to defend?
Or, we could just let the reapers kill us all, because that's a much better idea, and totally isn't just the writers throwing a hissy fit that some fans didn't like their original ending.
From the very beginning Mass Effect was about choices. Your choices throughout the game would define the story of Shepard & Co, and your character and choices could be exported from one game to the next. Your choices were intended to have ongoing consequences to the game world, and to carry over to the subsequent games. The requirement to dovetail into a sequel limited the branching of the first two games, but the culmination of the third game did not have such a limitation. This was the chance to really cut loose, for the developers to finally make a truly diverse and unique ending sequence based on each of your choices and the personal story of your character.
And they failed miserably. At the culmination of the story, not a single choice mattered. Renegade, Paragon or somewhere in the middle, as long as you got a high enough "War Asset" number your choices were exactly the same. All those hundreds of hours, all those choices, importing your saved character from one game to the next to make sure your choices were recognised... NOTHING MATTERED.
That's not even going into the insane troll logic of the Catalyst being objectively wrong, your character's inability to rationally argue against that logic, the three crap colour-coded ending choices, ending cutscenes that were functionally identical (but in three colours of explosion!), implausible space magic, patently absurd plot holes, and complete lack of any character/plot epilogues.
The Extended Cut was an exercise in polishing a turd, which placated many people by adding epilogues and trying to fill plot holes (which opened other plot holes), but didn't do anything to fix the core problems with the ending. Combine all of the above with the insulting response of BioWare refusing to admit fault or apologise, and the Extended Cut is really just a big middle finger
The ending of Mass Effect 3 not only sucked, it rates as one of the worst endings ever created. It was a betrayal of the founding principles of the series and a betrayal of the most dedicated fans. And to this very day many fans would prefer the game had no ending at all, rather than the insulting and incompetent betrayal we got.
TL:DR - The fleet warps into the Sol System and prepares to engage. My playthrough ends, masochists continue at their own peril.
I already disliked many of the changes made to the series, so maybe I am biased. I did like some of the changes, and some of the additions, but did not think that they where worth putting up with other changes/losses/additions. So ME3 was already treading on thin ice up to the 'deep and meaningful ending that will fully reflect your choices up to this point'
Except that nothing you do beforehand actually affects the outcome. You are subjected to a lengthy exposition of insane troll logic, and asked to pick one of three platforms, resulting in an explosion in one of three colours. Alternatively, you can tell the game to get stuffed, resulting in complete failure for all concerned.
And yes, this is with the extended cut. And leviathan. The original did not even hint at any possibility of this ending well for anyone. When a sizeable majority of the fanbase prefer to believe "And then you wake up and it was all a dream" as the ending, you know it must be bad.
You play all three games,put in a hundred hours or so,spent about 180 dollars on the games(more if you bought DLC which I did)and without extended cut you have no ending.No extended cut:all of the sudden your crew abandons you unrealistically,many plot holes,you die and the reapers are defeated in your choice of color and has no information on what happened.Extended cut you get a goodbye(good part),a few less plot holes and a five minute slide show of still pictures.A good ending would be a 70 minute cut scene(like MGS 4) in which it shows the entire effect of every single decision you made,giving your choices impact.Also,gaining every single war asset(like I did)should make it so Shepard is able to survive.Also,they had a really interesting concept they were going to do involving Dark Energy and Indoctrination.Each ending should also of been completely unique.However good 'ol EA made it come out a year previous to when Bioware wanted to release it and EA also made them streamline it.If they released it when they wanted,the ending would probably be good.Long story short,yes it did,not any weight or satisfaction to any decisions.
Mass Effect is one of the best games of our generation, it created a diverse universe full of original and interesting characters/stories. It also set the stage for many other great RPG's and multi-ending action adventure games which is no small feat. It's epic story draws you in right from the beginning and rewards your interest with an epic experience. That is why the ending of it was so bad and angered so many people. Yes it is only a game and it will have no practical relevance to our lives whatsoever, but the ending was unoriginal, anticlimactic, disappointing and poor. Everything up until Shepard meets the Catalyst is epic, but the three choices you were given had potential but explained very little. Written explanations to accompany the images we saw would have been far better, like in Dragon Age Origin's ending. Explanations as to what happened with Krogan relations to the rest of the galaxy and more closure was needed. How your choices affected the galaxy in the long term and what happened to each of the characters was also a must. The fans knew the Shepard would die from the beginning, because for some reason producers believe that's artistic and symbolic...No it really is not! The fans wanted to see Shepard finally live in peace rather than be killed off. The Citadel DLC was entertaining but was clearly an attempt from the producers to make up for the terrible ending of the game. So yes, the ending to mass effect really did suck.
I'm not a "hard-core" fan, but I enjoyed the ending. I found it powerful and somewhat sad. Also, the scene seemed drawn out and after playing the game forever, you could really connect with all the characters that must be dying.
I understand that the running joke is that "everything blows up in a colour of your choice", but I still found each interesting. Maybe it's just me being easily impressed, but I found the ending perfectly acceptable.
The game series has captivated many and increased its fan base over the years. Bioware was rushed by the EVIL corporation known as EA but like i said it could have been worse. A lot of things may seem unexplained but maybe you just haven't look close enough and taken things at face value. It was truly an alright ending but could have been better. Simple
It didn't have everything some people wanted, but it was perfectly adequate.
The game was great up to the end, and the end had a high note for people.
Remember this is talking about the official ending, which includes their revision.
The ending has nothing monstrously wrong with it.
A great end to a great series, and I look forward to the rest.