3/20/12

The End of All Things

With Mass Effect 3 reaching the "beaten but thoroughly replayable" category of my game list, I have a few thoughts to share. If you don't really care that much, you can skip to the next section. I'll make it easy to notice.

I am satisfied. Not happy, but satisfied. The game lived up to most of my expectations, and those were exceedingly high. I laughed out loud for minutes at a time, I cried quietly into a tissue, I raged at the audacity of my enemies, and I sat in stunned silence. Often all within the same hour.

Despite the many virulent and violent arguments against them, I am okay with the endings presented (I have seen two of the three possible choices). I don't love them, but I don't hate them. I wish they were a little less vague and showed a little more. I was disappointed that the nearly 100-hours I spent playing the series was rewarded with about 10 minutes of cutscene.

I was braced for Shepard (the name of the character you carry through the games) to die. I believe that a person like Shepard couldn't just retire somewhere sunny and live off the royalties from the vids. Everyone builds and leads their Shepard differently, and in the end, all the choices that everyone has made leads to a totally different Shepard each time, and many people were upset that Shepard dies. I, personally, have a number of Shepards that all went through slightly differently, but Jane, whom I've carried up since Mass Effect 1 to be a caring, understanding person, has reached the end of her metaphorical rope. She has given every thing she has to accomplish her goals, and there is no victory without sacrifice. Jane Shepard won her ultimate victory against the Reapers by sacrificing her life.
Tecumseh, the Native American chief, is quoted as saying, "...When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home." This, I think, describes Jane Shepard perfectly. Even my not-so-nice characters.

You know what's unfair? Bonding with a character that is terminally ill. Thane Krios has a disease called Kepral's Syndrome which essentially effects how much oxygen his blood can carry. It is noncommunicable and thus far, incurable. By the time you see him in Mass Effect 3, Thane's doctors gave him three months to live... nine months ago. He's struggling to keep going, but it's a losing fight. You meet him in a hospital, where he is a resident, and after some chatting and begging him to join your crew again, he flatly turns you down.
Later on in the game, Thane (once a great assassin) helps you to thwart an attempt on an important politician's life. He gets stabbed through the abdomen for it. After chasing off the enemy (who runs like a little coward, that bitch), you find Thane back in the hospital with his son, Kolyat. Thane asks Kolyat to read a passage from their holy book, and it talks about redemption and finding peace in death. Thane passes away quietly. When Shepard asks Kolyat why the passage reads, "she" and not "he," Kolyat replies that Thane has already sought forgiveness for the deaths he has caused. He wasn't asking for the passage for himself, but for Shepard.
That's right. Thane's dying wish was a prayer for Shepard to find forgiveness and redemption in the afterlife.
I cried a lot at that point.

The emotional scope of the game is just gob-smacking to me. Each personal moment I have with my crew feels like it means something, like it's bringing us one conversation closer to saying, "Goodbye." And when you actually do have to say goodbye, in the end, right before you begin the final mission, all I could bring myself to say was something along the lines of, "This isn't the end."

The number of people who want to buy Shepard drinks when "this is all over" reached astronomical heights. I decided that if the Reapers didn't kill me, I'd die of alcohol poisoning.

There will be a lot of kids running around in the next baby-boom generation named Shepard.

Interaction with my crew and when my crew interacted amongst themselves felt much more organic. Previously, everyone would stay in their little corner and only talk to Shepard. My Child Development class called this 'parallel play.' In 3, they move around the ship, they have conversations, you find them in random places on the Citadel... It was handled much better in 3.

THIS ENDS VIDEO GAME TALKING

I haven't done much knitting. Work is keeping me pretty busy right now, and most of my projects are big and heavy (alpaca blanket-shawl, anyone?) and I don't want those on my lap when it's 75 degrees out.

On the subject of work, I'm halfway to being promoted to shift-runner. I have some computer training to complete, and in about two or three weeks, I have two classes I have to take. Then I get a dollar raise whenever I run shift, which will be most of the time.
When I'm ready to run shift, they're moving me to third shift, which is overnight. 11P.M. to 6A.M.

I'm not excited about that part.

"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home."

~Tecumseh

2 comments:

Roxie said...

Graveyard sucks, but has its compensations. You can sleep during the hot part of the day. You can get all your shopping done when the stores are not too crowded. The traffic is always rushing the opposite direction you are. They pay you more to work graveyard. And once you've put in your time, you're eligible for better shifts.

Donna Lee said...

So, thanks for the tears while I'm here at work!

You are definitely my child.