DLC Downlow: Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut
- June 27th, 2012
- By MogKnight
Sometimes DLC comes in a nice neat little package that doesn’t really need a full review. This is where The DLC Downlow comes in, a feature detailing the small DLC bits that serve to add a snack to your game without downing a full meal.
Oh yes: There Will Be Spoilers.
When Mass Effect 3 released back in March, the public gobbled it up and enjoyed a tasty meal… until the final dessert came out. To some (or many), it was too bitter, as the offerings left a terrible taste in people’s mouths.
There were several issues. The endings barely had anything different between them and lot of details as to what happened in the aftermath of your decisions were missing. The choices that the player has made throughout the three Mass Effect games also did not seem to have any real effect with the endings. Some elements were not explained, many details are unclear, people demanded a better ending.
The Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut DLC seeks to add more clarity, provide further insight, and to throw a little something in to make each player’s choices throughout the series mean something. The DLC does not “change” the endings, but there are some retcons. If you did not like the idea of having to pick from three different endings (which is now four in the extended cut), chances your opinion will remain unchanged.
After downloading the DLC, the new content will integrate itself with the main game. It’s recommended that you start right before the final Cerberus Base assault mission. Though most of the real changes occur deep into the Earth mission, this spot is also where the game spits you out once you beaten the game. You can also start off by using an auto save that you may have right after Shepard wakes up from the laser attack, but there are some changes that happen prior to that event.
So… what changed? Glad you asked!
- The final running stretch to the Citadel teleporter changed. Halfway through your run, an added cut scene gives proper explaination as to how Shepard’s squad mates made it out from Earth. If one of the squad mates is Shepard’s romance partner, they will have a little moment before parting ways.
- Several FMV added cut scenes as you make your way up to the Citadel.
- A ton of added information while talking with the Child in regards to the Reapers and the reasoning between the choices.
- There is now a fourth ending where Shepard can refuse to do what the Child says.
- Extended existing endings to add more clarity and some differentiation between the three choices.
- Each ending will now show a slide show with different images based on your decisions throughout the Mass Effect series. This will also showcase those that have died.
- Each ending will have the remaining Normandy crew gather around the memorial wall on the ship as they mourn the loss of Shepard.
- The Stargazer ending after the credits is still there, but it’s different for the Refusal ending.
Refusal – Fight For The Future
This one is new to the DLC. Shepard can choose to straight up stick to his guns, say “screw your solutions” and end the war on his own terms. The Child walks away with a deep voice (which sounds a lot like Harbinger) saying “So be it.” The Catalyst shuts down, Shepard stands there alone, the war is over and the Reapers are the victors.
Cut to sometime in to the future, the time capsule that Liara made shows a recording. Evidently, the valuable information was enough to remove the Reaper threat in the future, as the Stargazer cut scene seem to imply that the galaxy is at peace and that the Reapers are perhaps no more.
It’s interesting to see this part of the ending put into the game, if only for the fact that it does fill that gap of Shepard actually being able to do things the way that he would want to. The idea is that Shepard wishes to end the war on his own terms, which in fact he did. They may have lost that battle that would reset the galaxy into another cycle, but the war would eventually end by the information found in that capsule.
Initially, it looks like this is a bad ending. I tend to disagree. However, it is a pretty short ending in contrast to the other three, but it certainly has its own ambiguity.
This ending can either be accessed by declining to do anything in the dialogue choices, or shooting the Child in the face with your weapon.
Reused Portions of the Endings
In the three endings Destroy, Control, and Synthesis, a few things are still kept the same among the three.
After Shepard does whatever the player chooses to, Admiral Hackett tells everyone to get the hell out of the impending catalyst blast. Joker is desperately trying to keep things stable while hoping Shepard will find his way out. A random crew mate (Not sure what the conditions are but Liara filled this role in my game) tells Joker that the Normandy needs to get out. Joker reluctantly lets go any hope of finding Shepard and warps the Normandy out.
Additional FMV footage shows the Humans and Reapers disengaging during combat, each of them disengaging differently based on choice. The mass relays do not explode in any of the endings. Instead, only some parts of the mass relays are destroyed.
The Normandy is still running away from a huge blast generated by the catalyst. However note that Joker seems a lot more calm compared to the non-DLC ending. The forest planet portion is still the same.
Normally, it would end here. After the fade out, the endings continue with a monologue cutscene that is different per ending. Slide show pictures shown during the monologue gives a glimpse about what happened to the various people who you’ve encountered throughout the series. It’s not anything in-depth, but it is a lot more than what the original endings offered.
Destroy – The War Was Won
Shepard shoots the red thingy, destroys all synthetics, and everything in the ending plays out like so. After that, Hackett gives a monologue stating that the Reapres have been defeated and that the galaxy will slowly rebuild itself.
Based on certain conditions where Shepard is “alive”, the memorial wall scene will have Shepard’s romance choice staring deeply into the words “Shepard” on the plaque before placing it on the wall. Otherwise, this little part is omitted. The ending will end with Shepard doing a short breath before it cuts to credits. Oh yeah, Buzz Aldrin… but that doesn’t change, or mattered really.
Control – GodShep
Shepard grabs control of the Reapers and gets them to make him a sammich.
… Okay I lied. Shepard gives a monologue about his new-found life as a Virtual Intelligence. Essentially, the VI spawned from Shepard’s sacrifice will do all that it can to protect the galaxy with the Reapers under his control, first by rebuilding everything that the Reapers screwed up. Shepard is pretty much a God at this point.
Synthesis – The Final Evolution of All Life
Perhaps what is most interesting about this ending isn’t so much the outcome (which is still pretty crazy) but the explanations given by the Child added in the DLC. To sum it up: Adding Shepard into the Crucible’s power will disintegrate and disperse him through the beam. The effect will cause everyone (synthetics and organics) to merge into a new DNA. The understanding is that Organics have longed for the power of Synthetics, while Synthetics just want to understand feelings and emotions.
I guess that means everyone just gets blasted with Shepard glitter and suddenly their DNA will change. Not really the greatest explanation, but it sounds better than getting the meat juices from humans while trying to create a gigantic reaper thingy.
None of this sounds right at all.
Possibility of Adding Too Little?
There were a lot of complaints about the endings that far exceed what BioWare could have done for what would roll them very little money (or even at a complete loss). The differences between each player and their choices throughout Mass Effect, I feel, is very underplayed here. The dialogue does not change outside of the final decision, but there are different variants of those images based on your choices throughout the Mass Effect series. However, these are simple images with no text associated with them. Those that are seeking more closure than that will simply just have to draw their own conclusions.
Possibility of Adding Too Much?
It is without a doubt in my mind that the additions added to the Extended Cut were great and it adds on a much more satisfying end to Shepard’s journey. With that said, there are a lot of debunked theories. Losing the mystery on some of the details and having it most of it laid out on a silver platter will almost always sound a lot less interesting than whatever theory you cooked up. The Indoctrination Theory, a very popular theory among fans that gives proof that the Reapers were controlling Shepard during the final segment, has been mostly debunked by the changes added in the DLC.
And The Future?
Mass Effect 3 ends Shepard’s journey. Even though one of the possible outcomes does hint at Shepard living, I doubt that Shepard will ever take the main stage again in future Mass Effect games. DLC will be coming in as the Extended Cut DLC seems to have some code for the upcoming yet-to-be-announced Leviathan DLC.
BioWare is clearly not done with Mass Effect and the universe they created. However, what we have now fixes some of the fundamental issues seen in the original ending. Satisfying everyone is impossible, especially with all the hype built up around Mass Effect throughout the years and the eventual Extended Cut release. Even then, I invite everyone to sit down and play through the end again instead of taking what you would get from YouTubing the ending cut scenes. It’s free, it’s better than the original in my opinion, there’s really no reason to skip out on it unless you have this huge animosity towards a game.
… Which in that case, that’s creepy.