Official, spoiler-free review here.
So, while the Control ending sort of breaks my headcanon, I’m okay with that because it was a good ending. It was God Shepard, which isn’t entirely what I wanted (ie my Shepard managed to hold on to her humanity and destroy herself and the reapers rather than allowing the transcendence), but it’s fine because it makes sense. Tiara commented that the Destroy ending is more for those who hold on to Shepard’s humanity, while Control makes sense for those who prefer a transcended Shepard. She was resurrected, after all. [INSERT FURTHER RELIGIOUS COMPARISON AND SPECULATION HERE]. I will hold to my headcanon because for me, Molly was about doing whatever it took to get the job done. And if that meant working with terrorists or taking control of the enemy, then so be it. Whatever sacrifice was necessary – without harming the cause itself as with TIM.
(Side note re: TIM – I have never gotten the option to convince TIM to shoot himself and I’m glad for that, because I love love love his last line about his vision of earth. There are certain words now that immediately connect to certain characters problematic, calibrations) and TIM’s word is “…perfect.” Perhaps that ending for TIM helped push me towards Control originally, though really, all of TIM’s conversations rang true with me, even from ME2 when I wrestled with the final decision of giving TIM the reaper tech. I ended up giving it to him because Molly believed that he was right about using whatever weapons available – including the enemy itself -- to learn how to defeat the enemy.)
Anyway, headcanon aside, I still love the Control ending – and not just because Harbinger is rebuilding the relays – okay a lot because Harbinger is rebuilding the relays. I don’t want to hear Mark Meer’s version because. Mark Meer, but I loved Jennifer Hale’s narration and appreciate the concept itself and I can see a lot of fans being happy with the idea of benevolent god Shepard looking down on her flock. Hell, this is pretty much exactly what one deviant artist decided was his headcanon – ie a ShepardReaper that was the boss of the reapers.
I have purposely avoided watching the Destroy ending as I want Jax to experience that. Actually, I did watch a low EMS fail destroy (where the dumbass complained that he’d wasted his time playing because everything got destroyed and he didn’t even know who Traynor was and clearly just didn’t bother to actually play the game but I digress…), however, I did play through Rejection and Synthesis.
Rejection I think is kind of funny because it feels like a “FUCK YOU” from Bioware and I don’t blame them for it. It feels like the ending where they got to take out their anger against the people who just hated the concept of the endings and, literally rejected them. Even the dialogue wheel option is basically just that “I reject your choices!” Because that’s what some of us said*. I loved how, if you pick that, Starchild puts on his devil voice and I think he says “Then so be it,” but I’m pretty sure that translates as “LOL FUCK YOU THEN,” because that’s how it ends. Shepard wants to end this on her own terms and so SC shuts down the choices and Shepard is kinda standing there with a “um.. .okay how do I do that?” Because exactly what are your own terms? As great as your efforts were to pull together the war assets, you are still fighting a massive force that is bent on purging you and has all the power to do so. Without the Crucible – which is where a good chunk of your war assets went – you really cannot defeat the reapers so rejecting that option can only lead to failure. But hey! It’s failure on your terms!
Not that I hate this concept. In fact, I appreciate it a lot. It’s not my choice, but it makes sense. Go ahead and reject the choices, but accept your punishment and make room for yahg and rachni domination. I liked this because it lent itself to the concept of inevitable defeat that had occurred to me during my initial ME3 play through. What if, with all our efforts, we’re just not strong enough to defeat the Reapers? The protheans couldn’t do it after 100 years. What makes us think we could do it in 4 years without the Crucible?
BUT, I loved too that they didn’t just slap us in the face with this. They follow through with Liara’s memory constructs and offered hope to future cycles. In all 4 endings, there is always hope.
Synthesis: Tarisa Shepard, my paragon, might choose this because it seems the most peaceful and the epilogue certainly shows that (awww Harbinger’s rebuilding London. OMG be careful where you step!), but I’m still a bit LOLscience and space magic about the concept. But that’s okay. Space magic and blood magic are important. I did not like the images for this at all. It was photoshopped EVERYTHING IS GREEN! No one is going to be able to play hide-and-seek in the dark anymore because GLOWING EYES! Samara’s image was the worst because they just went crazy with all the green.
So I was kind of LOLing through the Synthesis narrative because of this and didn’t really appreciate EDI’s voice over as I should have… but then came the memorial. And omg. EDI. You are crying. I don’t even care if the tears were glowing green because that was enough for me to cry. Tricia Helfer, how do you always make Pinocchio so real? You are my blue fairy. Thank you.
Side note regarding the montages: I did like them and liked that there was variation. Have to confirm what was up with Jack, ie whether seeing her alone at the graves was a result of putting her kids on the front lines, which isn’t fair!, but looking at the pictures in front of the graves, it does not appear to be her kids. I liked the change between Kasumi’s images from Control to Synthesis, where in the latter, she gets to be reunited with Keiji.
*We also said “I want details” which is exactly what they gave us from Starchild. We finally got our [Investigate] and I’m reasonably happy with the explanations. It works with my headcanon regarding the creation of the reapers and the Starchild AI, though my motivations for the Cycles were different. Which is fine. I like the idea presented and it was the conclusion I was coming to in discussions these past few days with Tiara. However, I wish more emphasis had been placed on the geth – not in that there could be peace between synthetics and organics – but that the geth defied the Reaper concept of synthetics becoming better than their creators and rebelling and destroying their creators. Because the geth did not rebel. They evolved in a way that the reapers did not.
And Joker. This was so perfect. THIS was our Joker. And I just want to hug him till he breaks every time I look at this picture now.
I am so glad that Bioware understood that all we really needed was really quite simple. Things that should have been there from the start. The extra cutscenes were a bonus, but really, just seeing the loved and the lost meant so much. Except Thane. I mean, I love Thane and all, but seeing him in the ‘Anderson, [X], LI’ montage made me feel like he was tossed in there because “look! See? We didn’t forget Thane this time!” But I can forgive them for that.
In the end, there is just enough inconclusive to allow us to dream, and enough conclusive to prevent us from feeling an emptiness.