Mass Effect 3 is a big deal for me.
As I'm sat typing this, a week from today I will be a few hours into my adventure to somehow stop the Reapers from destroying the galaxy. And I can't wait. I wanted to talk about thoughts I've had on what will create a great end to my Shepards story.
My Choices. Mainly; Punish them.
I Role-played alot throughout Mass Effect 1 & 2. We have a lot of games today that give us the option of moral choices and decisions, as well as the option to create an avatar but I have always preferred to create a character and make the choices that make sense for them, as opposed to creating myself and choosing what I would feel or think. For me, Commander Shepard is a spacer; she was born on a ship and has spent more time aboard vessels than on solid ground. Her parents have been with the Alliance all her life so she spent her life growing up around warfare. It makes sense to me that she'd have joined the Alliance given her history and that she'd be a capable solider- capable enough to have survived the Skyllian Blitz, becoming a war hero prior the the events of Mass Effect 1.
As an extension, I figured; no one would climb to the rank of Commander by being a dick. So I played Paragon. I always tried my best to save as many lives as I could, to be diplomatic and to solve problems without pulling a gun on my enemies. It just made sense for my character.
For ME3, I don't want every one of those 'Paragon' decisions to have been the right one in the longrun. If I let a murderer go to prison instead of shooting him- let it come back and bite me in the ass, make him escape and hurt more people because of what I did. I want to know that there's no good decision that makes everything alright. This is the final game with no going back, having tough story elements hit Shepard would be great for the future decisions I have to make in ME3, I'd feel more pressure to see the bigger picture.
Kill someone we Love.
One of the highlights in Dragon Age 2 for me was the moment my sister Bethany was taken from me. To explain; She was my little sister, I protected her through various encounters and events, I had been through a lot with her in the earliest parts of the game. She was a mage and I was a warrior, I had built her stats into healing and she was a vital part of my attack strategy. I couldn't get through fights without her.
As the story progressed we were about to set off on a dangerous mission when our mother, having just lost our father and brother, pleaded with me not to take Bethany with me. She grew upset and desperately begged me to listen, not wanting to lose the only loved ones she had left. I truly felt emotionally connected at this moment- I didn't want to upset my mother because her reasons were completely justified, however I knew without Bethany my own chances of survival were slim. In the end I forced Bethany to stay behind and carried on without her.
It was a horrendously tough mission, I emerged hours later barely holding together but pleased with the spoils we'd found. I returned to find Templars surrounding my house. This was immediately worrying as Mages in the world of Dragon Age are hunted for basically being, crimes against God- for having magical abilities. In the game up until this point we have learned that mages forced into 'The Circle' are reduced to nothing but vacant bodies, void of emotion and functioning only as a slave to Templars will. I immediately thought of Bethany.
When I entered my home the game presented me with a choice, my sister was being dragged away by Templars to join 'the Circle'; to await a fate worse than death. I chose the option to fight the Templars, I chose the option to keep my promise to protect my sister but she wouldn't let me. I was forced to let her go and lost her participation in the game from that point onward.
This was incredible for a lot of reasons, yes, I admit a big one was the fact I had no dedicated healer(which from a gameplay point of view made the game much more challenging)but throughout the game to follow, I felt my blood boil when I encountered any Templars. Every one I killed was one more for Bethany. I changed my point of view on events, I chose a side- the Mages, I freed every Mage the game would allow me to and I destroyed any one who opposed Mages.
ME3 should do this aswell. Alot of us care greatly about the characters in Mass Effect and we've had two games to get to know some of them. My Shepard romanced no one in ME1 and Garrus in ME2. He's one of her oldest friends, they've been through alot and he was a permanent choice of Squadmate for me in both games- it made sense for me that she'd choose him.
Now if Garrus were to die in ME3? And I don't mean die like they could in ME2 right at the end, I mean early game- he's dead. You can't save him, he dies in your arms.
That would properly upset me but I kind of want that to happen. No part of me wants Shepard to lose the war or for the Reapers to win but sacrifices have to be made. I can only imagine the pain my Shepard would feel becoming an immense power for the battles ahead. It would really rub a lot of people up the wrong way but I've seen it done so right in Dragon Age 2, It'd be a bittersweet moment for me if I had to watch a character I truly love die. You have to ask yourself why Shepard is even fighting the war against the Reapers, a war they can't win. Is it for Humanity? Or the Galaxy? Or so they can spend their life with that one person?
Ultimately, I can't see what ME3 has instore until I play it. I won't be disappointed if all my choices were the right ones and if Garrus and Shepard live happily ever after but I feel like the stakes need to be so high, it needs to get personal and Shepard needs to grow as a person as they fight the fight. I think it'd be a fitting end to have the galaxy saved(somehow!)but with a lot of wounds left to heal.