The End of Shepard’s Story is the End of My Gaming Life.
Mass Effect as franchise is the best gaming experience I’ve ever had. I struggle to think of the time when the first Mass Effect hit shelves and I picked it up as a curiosity rather than the necessity it became. Today I sit contemplative on weather or not I need to ever play another video game as I live and breath.
Mass Effect 3 ditches the more, I’ll say video game tone of the first two installments in favor of a much more rich and emotional narrative experience and while I can’t say I shed tears, I will say that I had several moments were I sat back and and thought about “what I had done?” or more specifically “what have my decisions made others do?”. At the end of the game I paced around my apartment for a good ten minutes while I contemplated what kind of man I was an what is the right call for the galaxy. I have never had a game make me think like that, Heavy Rain came close but that was more about “can I do this?”. Every major choice I made feels as if it carries weight and it does, I have a memorial wall on my spaceship to prove it, but I as a man and the role I was playing felt that what’s the point of saving the galaxy if we can’t save our “humanity” – for lack of a better word.
The thing I didn’t expect and in fact never expected from a video game was to be put in a entirely different head-space. The end of the game is really sticking with me even days out. I’m not going to spoil the end for people who haven’t finished it and I know there are a ton of people who don’t/wont like it (or all 17 of the possible endings) but for me it was great. The perfect mix of hope, joy, regret and sadness. Every game I’ve beaten and every challenge I over came in those games up till this were usually met with a moment of joy or oh shit, that was cool or interesting but Mass Effect 3 was a completely new animal. Every loss was crushing and every victory felt uncertain. Two days after I beat it I woke up in a somber contemplative mood. I didn’t want to hear upbeat music or joke around, I just wanted to think about life and what we all do with our time that that we are given. I felt like I wanted to go out and see the world (to be clear always wanted to go places this game just kicked the feelings loose again). Just do some thing, anything – the world wont be here forever and neither will I. The one thing I didn’t want to do is play another game.
My gaming future is uncertain right now as I feel no need to really play anything else. I’m not a big gamer by any stretch of the imagination and I know I have one more Assassin”s Creed game in me and I’ll most likely play The Last of Us because its made by Naughty Dog – Uncharted is right behind Mass Effect in my list of favorite franchises but I have no drive to do it right now. Mass Effect 3 and the franchise as a whole was a full meal like thanksgiving and I don’t feel like I’m ever going to eat again.