So, That Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC…
First and foremost plot and story details about the afore mentioned game, the series in general, are going to be mentioned so if you’ve yet to but plan on playing it and don’t want things ruined for yourself please stop reading now. Likewise the following will generally be about critical – read negative – observations of the ending for the Leviathan download content so if you happen to be a reactive/protective fan, again, best for all concern if you go elsewhere. As games I really have nothing against the Mass Effect series, but as something that’s been held up as example for a good modern role playing game, its story and narrative fails far too greatly for such a status to go without challenge much less complaint. Like Dragon Age 2 Bioware cannot be forgiven for mistakes which they will likely not only repeat, but compound upon much like the “fix” for Mass Effect 3.
Second upfront statement: I haven’t played Mass Effect 3. Don’t plan to and don’t need to. Again, this is not about the game, its basic mechanics, but rather its story and narrative. The vehicle or device meant to give definition purpose and meaning to the player as they shoot endless legions. And for me such narrative was already broken in Mass Effect 2 – the scene toward where literally all the main combat characters piled into a shuttle flew off with no explanation with the Normandy subsequently being boarded and all but one naturally disabled crewmember being kidnapped – so when the furor over ME3’s ending hit it wasn’t much of a personal surprise.
What was surprising was Bioware’s attempt to fix or extend what was meant not to be the conclusion of one story, but to answer questions spanning whole trilogy. As someone who has complained about a game I’ll likely only watch on YouTube, the least I was expecting were admissions at failing fans and promises to do better. Trying to fix what was so obviously incomplete if not broken yet presented to the public, doing so without showing any acknowledgement of guilt, personally came off as something worse.
Regardless I don’t need to wade through waves of baddies to point out story blunders meant to move to the next level or the end of the game when I’ve already done it before in the game before it. Frankly I had stopped looking at ME3 clips but then – YouTube being the proto-Skynet it is – something came up on recommendations: the ending to the Leviathan paid DLC. Four things came to mind after I’d made the mistake of watching it:
1 – Leviathans Could/Should Have Made the Crucible.
Much like the Indoctrination Theory, a fan spawned notion to explain away surrealistic elements throughout ME3 and especially its ending, Bioware missed/ignored opportunity to reveal the origin if not function of the game’s centrally massive Macguffin: the Crucible. Being both at the beginning and cause of the Reapers – having observed “lesser species” create mechanical life which then turned on their creators, making the Reapers as a means to prevent this only to be surprised when their creations turn on them – with survivors able to hide and erase their presence, an instant step in logic would be that Leviathans influenced the building of the mysterious device. Kept it hidden over millions of years.
But no. They were as clueless about it as the Reapers, the Star-Child who controlled the Reapers, or anyone else who worked on it – again, no one – NO ONE! – in the damn game’s universe knew what it did!
2 – Detect Sheppard’s Indoctrination.
Really a minor if not non-existent point since the Indoctrination Theory was dismissed within game context by the extended ending, again this is while dream and dream-like story elements and sudden irrationalities within plot context suggested it, but given that Leviathans by their own claim possessed an ability greater than Indoctrination which allowed them to hide from Reapers, if Sheppard had been going through the process they would have detected it. This point still came to me as result of questioning a few Indoctrination Theorist in message forums as to why Javik or Prothean Beacons – which are really Leviathan beacons? – failed to detect Sheppard’s partial Indoctrination.
One more time: moot point dredged up on mental reflex. Moving on.
3 – Defeat Reapers Between Cycles.
The Reapers copying the ability to Indoctrinate Lesser Species from Leviathans but still not as powerful as the supposed real thing, which was used to keep the true wielders hidden for millions – hundreds of millions – of years, it stands beyond reason that nothing was done but hide. Unless empty boasting and exaggeration came into play during the talk with Sheppard, there were multiple fifty thousand year gaps in which to take advantage in. With ability to manipulate Lesser Species, advance the most or least advanced into well armed tools while dominating the only Reaper left to mind the store while all the others slept. Fifty thousand years in which to stage an ambush after having millions to think about how to do it.
4 – Replace Reapers.
It also stands to reason, if a player chose Destroy Machine Life over Control or Synthesis, that with the Reapers as well as the Mass Relay network gone and the general galaxy in shambles that Leviathans would want to take back their rightful place as the most dominant life form. They’d be the low risk, go-to villain option of ME4. Not that Bioware has done anything lazy in regards to scripting and plotting in their games.
Essentially what I’m trying to say by presenting these points is that no matter what Bioware once was, they have become horrible story tellers. The introduction of Leviathans was done with little to no forethought as to what effect their presence would have or mean. Where ME1 has its flaws, often jumped to conclusions in plot to noticeable yet forgivable levels, later games lost further cohesion. Which culminated in ME3’s original ending. Though in my opinion with additional content such as the Leviathan DLC and even the Extended Cut things are even worse. And this is example of an “innovative” RPG. Of what modern games should be like.
I really don’t like modern RPGs.