Originally Posted by warcrow
I honestly felt the most emotional with ME3 and that's because a lot of questions are answered, 1000 year-old grudges are erased, apologies are made, and some severe scarifies are made (Mordin's and Thane's in particular were handled perfectly, I was really proud and sorry to see them go). However in the end I couldn't help but feel that the Reaper threat was sort of deflated instead of escalated, and that's a let down. For 5 years they seemed to get less and less imposing as we unraveled the yarn.
I thought the reapers got less menacing over time as well. It seemed ridiculous that such an advanced civilization took hundreds of years to "harvest" us all...couldnt they wipe us out more efficiently than that? It wasn't until basically the very end that you find out our total annihilation was never really their true intent. With the game taking place almost entirely from shepard's perspective though, their true intentions were never fully known until the very end. So it makes sense that they become less imposing as we learned about them, fought them, and eventually understood their motives - the more you know, the less you fear.
However I don't know how I feel about the super-AI (represented by the child) being our real foe. We're told We impose order on the chaos of organic evolution. You exist because we allow it, and you will end because we demand it. But why? Isn't the chaos also the beauty in the way organics evolve.
How did this super-sentient beings come about? And how are the organics "already part synthetic"? We're part of an experiment I suppose, but WHAT EXPERIMENT?
In the end he/they weren't a foe of organic life. They posed a threat to the existence of the advanced species of each cycle, but they ultimately were trying to save organics from themselves - their theory being that organics will inevitably create synthetics which will inevitably destroy all organics and sterilize the galaxy. Somewhere along that path another legion-like (sympathetic to organics) synthetic must have rose to power to intervene before this total extermination could occur - his solution being the cycle of collecting/reaping/harvesting. Tending a garden of organic life but not allowing it to grow out of control, but flourish for a time - and eventually bringing them into the fold as reapers themselves.
If they had wanted to destroy organics - they would have. Organics are made up of individuals with a will to survive. But the life of any individual organic is about as significant to them as the life of a single insect to us. Think about how much luck you've had reasoning with insects, trying to convince them not to bug you before you've stomped them. Their only way to achieve the balance they sought was through violence. But the result was a cycle of rebirth, renewal, evolution. Without the reapers, how long would the protheans have enslaved the galaxy like they did? Protheans themselves would probably never have even had the chance to exist had the reapers not harvested the species of the previous cycle.
Ultimately, like everyone else, they saw in shepherd something special. Shepard kept saying over and over "We all need to be prepared to die, or else we're already doomed". The reapers/synthetics apparently took this to heart as well. For Shepard to make it as far as he did proved to them that "the cycle" wasn't the ultimate solution, and 50,000 years to them is insignificant - so something needed to change ASAP. The paragon side of shepard had the synthetics ready to allow him to take control of them - his noble actions (including an acceptance of synthetics are equally alive/sentient) proving that he might be up to the task of maintaining this balance himself. The renegade side of shepard possessed the ultimate will to survive and they seemingly judged him worthy enough fall in line and give up their own lives - prepared to die to save the galaxy, just like the organics. They seemed to believe the cycle would just begin again, perhaps shepard had at least convinced them they were worth taking a chance on after all - if they were wrong, they'd be back eventually.
I find this such a satisfying ending, because it's not so cut and dry. Whatever path you take breaks the cycle. There was no right or wrong choice, not even a clear paragon or renegade choice. Would the paragon really choose to take free will away from the reapers, given that he respected synthetic life as equally sentient as organic? Would the renegade really choose to exterminate the reapers, given the option of taking control? The last words shepard says when faced with the choice is "I don't know..." Because no matter what choices you made leading up to this point, none of these choices really feel like destiny. So I don't think its fair to say your choices leading up to this point weren't taken into account - those choices were insignificant compared to this one. The reapers proved to be more than just boogeymen that needed to be destroyed, further complicating the decision. I wasn't too concerned about what happened with the individual characters beyond that point - I felt like I had clearly said my farewells in london, and by the time you reached the final decision, the narrative had grown so much larger than that.
What planet were the father and daughter on? Was the entire series suppose to be the father telling a bedtime story to the daughter? He said one more story about "The Shepard" (I like that btw) and END SCENE. Does this imply a new series staring Shepard or just DLC? I HAVE QUESTIONS!!!
That part is intentionally vague. All I think it really meant to get across was that whatever path shepard chose, organic life in the galaxy lived on for millennia enough for people to question whether the legends they hear about him were even real. Clearly there's a religious slant to that as well - "the shepard" sacrificed himself to save the galaxy, may even still be out there pulling strings as an ultimate deity (gee, who does that sound like?). It definitely wasn't earth (too many moons), and they may not have even been human. A small part of it is a contrivance just to let you keep playing and finish all the content and DLC - but I liked the way they handled it. Ultimately you goal was to save the galaxy...and organic (probably human) life is still around.
They've always said they're ending the shepard story with ME3 (and they clearly did). There's plenty of avenues to explore within this universe, before and after these events. So I think we'll see plenty of mass effect to come for decades. Surely there will be some DLC that will still feature shepard - but none of it is going to take place after the ending.