My Mass Effect 3 play through started off so well - so promising, so full of hope. I was going to get the best ending possible, the one where everyone lives happily ever after and nothing was going to stop me. Yes, OK, the reapers were here and they were tearing the earth a new one, but I was confident I had the friends and the ballsy get-it-done attitude to sort them out one way or another. They were messing with the wrong galaxy this time.[break]
My confidence was partly down to the fact that I was coming off the back of a perfect ending to Mass Effect 2. Everyone had lived, I’d had a bit of a fling with Miranda, and I’d given a firm two fingers to Cerberus by blowing up the collector base - all in all a solid play through by all accounts. I was even allowing myself to feel a little smug for setting up the finale so well for myself - how could I not breeze through Mass Effect 3 with such a good save game as a basis?
How wrong I was.
The hope I had at the start of the campaign is now nothing more than a distant memory - I’ve done things, horrible horrible things, to characters that I cared about, that I still care about. It’s been for the greater good each time but that’s scant consolation. That doesn’t help me sleep at night.
How many will survive my mission to save earth?
I’ve played god with entire races in my bid to save my own. I made myself a promise that I’d do whatever it took to save earth, but the cost of this promise seems to keep rising by the hour. What will happen when I’m asked to choose between my race and one of the hard core of friends I’ve developed? It’s one thing drawing a gun on Kaiden, but what if that was Garrus, Wrex or even Miranda?
I’m now a broken husk of a man, attempting to forget the things I’ve done by dedicating myself solely to the eradication of the reapers. I used to think I’d get to live in this better future I was creating for the galaxy but the further I go on the more I realize there isn’t a place in it for people like me. As soon as I stop, as soon as things are over, I don’t know how I’ll live with myself.
The worst thing is that it’s not even over yet, I’ve got more of these horrendous decisions to make where I’m asked to choose between one good friend or a billion unknown faces. It’s incredibly cruel of Bioware to put me in this position, but it’s making for one of the best, most involving gaming experiences I’ve ever had.
I’ve no idea what ending I’ll get now, but I can say for certain that it won’t be the one I wanted when I started - too many other characters’ endings have already been and gone for that to happen, some by my own hand.
My name is Commander Shepard, and I don’t deserve a happy ending.