Mass Effect 3

Why the Ending You Chose for Mass Effect 3 is WRONG

Note: The information and opinions that follow are based on the original release version and does not take into account the additional conversations, scenes, options or expanded endings added by the “Extended Cut” DLC pack. Also, it should be obvious from the title, SPOILER ALERT!

No pressure!

Lately I’ve really wanted to replay the Mass Effect trilogy and thinking about that has reminded me of all the things I read and conversations I had about the way the series wrapped up. Despite all the controversy and complaints, everyone that finished that series did so after making a major decision on how to end their tale, and there’s one thing I know for certain:

Most of you chose wrong.

I know, I know. Those are bold words, right? Well, this is space-war. We can’t afford to be gentle all the time so I’ll be straight-forward here. When you get to the end of the third game, assuming you’ve amassed enough space-power, you’re faced with one of three choices:

  1. Control the Reapers
  2. Destroy the Reapers
  3. Combine your DNA with the Reapers triggering a galaxy-wide evolution

BioWare would like you to believe that because this third option is only open to over-achieving Commander Shepards it is the “correct” option. But BioWare is lying to you and I intend to prove that “Control” is the correct choice, or, failing that, at least prove that “Synthesis” is the wrong choice.

You chose poorly.

My Shepard is nothing if not honorable.

When I play a well-written game, be it sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian or whatever, I become the character. I lose myself in my character and everything becomes life or death. During Mass Effect 2 I had days-long conversations with friends about my moral dilemma over abandoning my romance with Liara and moving on to Tali whom I genuinely connected with. Never mind that I never actually played the first game and just sort of arbitrarily chose her as a romance option during the opening motion comic catch-up sequence (for PS3 users who couldn’t play Mass Effect), not to mention the fact that I had at this point been dead for two years and Liara was nowhere to be seen. I still felt a sense of obligation to her and my Shepard is nothing if not honorable. Now take that logic and apply it to a decision that will affect all life in the galaxy and you might understand the anxiety I felt when faced with the final decision of how to end the war. Let’s just say maybe in a real-life Mass Effect situation, I shouldn’t be your go-to savior.

That little Citadel kid showed up and started explaining what my options were and I simultaneously loved the predicament and had a panic attack at the prospect of making the wrong choice. Did you know that if you take too long to make a choice the Reapers complete the attack and you get a “game over” screen? I do now. I guess there’s no time for deliberation at the end of the world.

So, here we are, at the end of all things. Let’s examine our options.

Option #1 – Destroy

Destroy is the quick and dirty choice for Shepards with things to do and people to see. No time to parlay, this war needs to be over NOW. Plus, this was the original intention behind getting all those races together wasn’t it? Kill the Reapers and be done. No muss, no fuss. One HUGE problem, though. The Destroy option doesn’t just wipe out the Reapers, it wipes out all synthetic life in the galaxy. You may have already elected to wipe out the Geth (you monster) so it might not be any great loss, but if nothing else think of poor Joker.

Option #2 – Control

Control the Reapers is exactly what the Illusive Man was trying to do which is what made him so dangerous. But he wanted to use that power to rule the galaxy, not save it, right? Your intent is simply telling the Reapers to go away, and surely nothing could go wrong with that. That old saying about how power corrupts probably doesn’t apply to Shepard.

Option #3 – Synthesis

If you brought together enough military might the “Synthesis” option unlocks which will instantly recode all life in the galaxy to be the pinnacle of evolution, meaning everything and everyone will now be a combination of organic and synthetic life at the DNA level. If this happens the Reapers are no longer needed and the galaxy is saved by robot genes mixed with Shepard’s body. Just like Jesus.

Weighing the Options

Let’s quickly set the scene: Shepard is tired, he’s beaten to a pulp and he’s realizing that all his hopes to end the war the way he wanted are pretty much dashed. Basically he’s faced with choosing the least of three evils, which is a shitty choice to have to make when the fate of the galaxy is in your hands and no matter what option you pick it doesn’t look like you’re making it out alive.

  • “Destroy” would eliminate the threat, but also eliminate every other synthetic life-form, not to mention the destruction it would cause to Earth should your military strength not be high enough (anywhere from “no problems” all the way to “totally boned”).
  • “Control” might possibly remove the threat with no ill effects, but it may also turn you into a warlord with his own ancient evil armada. It’s really a toss-up. Destroying Earth is also a possibility.
  • “Synthesis” seems like the right choice because it would remove the threat by means of evolutionary advancement, and who doesn’t want to evolve into something better? The problem with this is it’s pretty much exactly what Shepard has been fighting against since the start of the war.

The Reapers exist to eliminate a flawed organic system and will only relent when it is either destroyed or made “perfect” through evolution. This is the threat you’ve been fighting for three games and choosing “Synthesis” is basically bowing to their demands. Who knows? Maybe it will give everyone super powers and everyone will be really good-looking according to their respective species and everyone becomes Mordin-level geniuses and all races live in harmony forever from now on.

But maybe it doesn’t matter, because maybe that’s not a choice for one man to make. Maybe the beauty of life in the galaxy, and the thing you’ve been fighting for this entire time, is the right for people to continue being flawed and imperfect individuals as well as the right to change and improve. All of that no longer matters if you make the choice for them and force the change. Maybe no one will care. Maybe everyone will be happy and it will aid in the rebuilding process, but is that really your choice to make? You’ll be dead, but people will remember what you did.

That’s why, after much hand-wringing, I chose “Control.”

Of course I worried about becoming the Illusive Man and starting an entirely different reign of terror with the Reapers, but at least the people I left behind would have been free to challenge me and continue standing for what they believed in.

Briefly I will mention a fourth option that was added with the “Extended Cut” DLC in which you can refuse to decide for pretty much the same reasons. In that case the Reapers continue their attack, eventually overrunning your defenses and the genocide is completed. Eventually it will begin again, but your cycle passes on its knowledge to the next cycle in much the same way the Protheans passed their knowledge on to you. I can see this being a close contender for “correct” ending, but I feel like having come all that way Shepard would choose to do something even if it is a hard choice.

But you know, everyone plays their own game and makes their own moral decisions. I really overthink mine, but some people go with their gut and that’s fine. When I go back through the series now I might find my mind has changed and I’ll synthesis the shit out of everyone, but the fact that I’m even still considering these things–and that you’ve read this far–shows that the story affected us no matter how it ended. Good or bad, we’re still talking about it, and that’s the real end-game.

  • ShezCrafti

    But…super powers and being really good-looking sounds rad!

    • Wesley Hampton

      If I ever have to make a choice that just affects you or me I know what to choose.

  • Mark Miller

    For me, the ending was so lackluster that I don’t even remember what I chose. I want to say it was “Destroy” because that was the point…but I can’t say for sure. I am actually planning on going through all three again soon so we’ll see what happens this time.

    • Wesley Hampton

      I wasn’t disappointed by the options so much as I was by the lack of differentiation based on choices you made during the games. In the end it really didn’t matter much who you saved or killed or what other choices you made. That was my problem. I actually liked the original versions of the endings better. The extended cuts tried to tie everything up in a nice package and the only thing I really liked about the ending was the ambiguity.

  • Mark Stevens

    It’s times like this when I’m reminded that I still haven’t played more than 30% of Mass Effect 2 and, despite having owned Mass Effect 3 for about a year (when EA kindly discounted it by about 50% barely a month after its release), have yet to even load it up to stare wistfully at the title screen.

    So, thanks. FOR THE GUILT.

    • Wesley Hampton

      Well, if you ever get around to it at least you’ll know which is the right choice.

    • Jake Gaston

      Did you finish it yet?!

    • Samantha Jo

      I thought I was the only one. I finished ME2 way before 3 came out, but when 3 was announced, I wanted to start fresh. Well, I’m still working on getting all the loyalty in 2. I don’t want to play 3 until I have a finished saved game from 2 to load.

  • Psi Omar Coronado

    I just want to be happy with Liara :(

    The game’s been on pause for an hour… Still don’t know what to do…

    • Hapmaplapflapgap

      I’ve literly slept on this decision. too bad they aren’t clear on the specifics of synthesis. how exectly does synthesis effect an individual? are they all “enhanced” synthetically the way Sheppard is, or are they changed into husks with individuality (aka is their appearence altered or not)? or is every individual organism stored inside of synthetics to become something like AI?

  • Ygorbla

    I strongly agree with this. Look at the options:

    * ‘Destroy’ involves murdering many completely innocent allies, purely for being synthetic. It’s obviously evil and clearly out of the question.

    * ‘Synthesis’ involves forcibly transforming everyone in the galaxy against their will. Again, obviously evil and clearly out of the question.

    * ‘Control’, by comparison, involves doing something horrible to the Reapers, but they at least have generally done something to deserve it — even if there are a few Reapers who didn’t participate in the war or whatever, this minimizes the damage you’re doing. And as you said, nothing actually stops you from choosing ‘Control’, then using your power to make the Reapers leave and stop killing people while letting them otherwise do what they please.

    Additionally, perhaps the most important part for me — ‘Control’ is the only ending in which you reject Catalyst’s insane, implicitly-racist logic about synthetics and organics being doomed to inevitable conflict; it’s the only one in which you accord your companions and allies the right to make their own decisions rather than forcing a possibly-horrific fate on them against their will.

    • Catch Twentythree

      The only correct answer is Destroy. Seriously, how does the ending make any sense at ALL from a perspective of Shepard actually being presented with this choice? Why would the Reapers give him the choice at all when they could simply kill him then and there? Because he’s indoctrinated is why. For the entire third game, he suffers from hallucinations because he is experiencing Indoctrination, and the ending is the culmination of his fight to take back control of his own mind. The indoctrinated Saren wanted to merge all life forms with synthetic life because the Reapers wanted him to do it. The indoctrinated Illusive Man wanted to control the Reapers, because that’s how the Reapers controlled him. By giving into either of those options, you are succumbing to the reapers. They do everything they can to paint the Destroy option as evil, even using the symbolism of making it Renegade, but the choice is being presented to Shepard, literally, by the goddamn Reapers. Destroy is the only option where Shepard survives: the only option in which he overcomes his indoctrination. It is unlikely that the ending he experiences really happened.

      It’d feel like an ass-pull if the lead-up to it wasn’t handled so well.

      • Ygorbla

        If you go by the Indoctrination theory, then Refusal would be the best ending; but the writers pretty much used Refusal as a giant “no, fuck you for not accepting our oh-so-deep-and-meaningful ending” middle finger to the fanbase. They make it very very obvious in the intended cut that they somehow consider the ghastly Synthesis ending to be the best.

        I don’t disagree that the Indoctrination theory would make a better ending, but it requires pretty much ignoring most of the endings we actually got and the way indoctrination usually works for everyone else (an extended fake vision of future results of your actions — which is what it would have to turn most of the endings into to work — doesn’t fit at all and doesn’t really make sense.)

      • Kelsey Booth

        So I have been playing back through the games and wanted to master it all over again but I’m currently at the choosing part now and reading through comments.

        You have just made my mind up this by far the best insight on the choices I have seen!

        I’m destroying those reapers for Shepard!!

        • Dave Mittner

          Or you could just take control of them and then have them all fly themselves into the sun. You’d destroy them without destroying any other synthetic life. Ergo, control is the best option because it affords you the capacity to do every other thing on your own terms.

          • Boatinhovic

            Destroying synthetic life does not mean it can not be reconstructed. Plus, destroying the Reapers was from the beginning the goal of Shepard, not controlling them. Destruction is the right choice, not control.

      • Mark

        Absolutely, I played over and over viewing the codex as I went with each game, by the time the third installment came out I realized, this game does not follow the pattern given by the other two, only to find, the head writer was not involved, obvious when the entire story from the second game was completely missing. So what was the purpose of the second game, TIM uses reaper/Collector tech to bring Shepard back to life after the Collectors kill him, a trip to Hailstrom to collect Tali, unexplained dark energy killing it’s sun, expose him for a while on an asteroid with a reaper artifact that has indoctrinated the entire staff there, upload him into the mind of an autistic guy who is wired into the geth consensus using reaper tech, the reaper worshiping geth mind you, off to the dead reaper for the IFF, which while a corpse, it has indoctrinated the entire crew of personnel, and last but not least, into the reaper controlled, highly encrypted omega for relay to the Collector base, a reaper design to stop them, finding a human reaper, which like dark energy remains a mystery. For the bioware team to tell us he was not indoctrinated after all that above, along with his dreams throughout the third game which were the following, oily images, and whispering, what has been repeatedly explained as being the first stages of indoctrination, who the hell are they trying to kid with this crap! I tried to play with an open mind, got frustrated and went back to the previous games to refresh, and insure I wasn’t losing my mind, there is no beam, Shepards armor would not last a reaper blast even indirectly, you saw what it did to the Mako seconds before the Normandy swooped in, completely ignored in front of the reaper eye, you are in your mind after that, pick destroy and you’re back to earth, in the rubble of Paris, pick control, you turn to a husk after grabbing the controls on the platform, pick synthesis and watch yourself turn into a husk when you jump into the beam, that’s right, a husk, watch your eyes and notice your skin, you’ve been fighting them the entire game not to notice one now! The game is the biggest mind fk there is and they wont even own up to it, it’s brilliant, my best explanation would be they wont tell you because so many didn’t get it, and would be mad, not buying the next installment! Play it again and remember how I laid it out and then you’ll come to the same conclusion.

      • Mark

        BTW another point, it is understood that the reaper artifacts and relays are left to direct the growth, advances, and evolution of species, you are then told it is necessary to happen within the carefully planned 50,000 year span, because this is the maximum time reapers can go without recharging, it’s why they are hibernating in dark space. Put this together and they are much like farmers, wake up in time for harvesting, or dare I say vampires, without life/technology they can’t make more of themselves, resources are required to refuel/recharge, Leviathon was similar, like the Thorian, they use thralls for completion of tasks, no one has free will.
        TIM, and humanity was likely to take on the role of the collectors, maybe, just maybe they wanted Shepard, as he/she carried a great word with humans, perhaps his indoctrination was to head this off, given the sole purpose of harvesting the galaxys, be it as a reaper, or in place of the AI child controlling the entire thing.

      • Dawid Hanus

        Thank you, I have been searching for this

  • Andrew Jawort

    My goal in this game was to end re cycle and prevent anyone from having to live through a mass extinction again. Destroy only prolonged the inevitable eventually all the people who knew about the dangers of synthetic life and the reapers would die and their children would die and so forth eventually until the point where someone would recreate a reaper like species. The chances for the cycle to restart agian was too high for destroy. Control sounds good but Shepard is only human and eventually after everyone they’ve ever known and everyone those people have ever known and all the children for millennia have died Shepard may forget their purpose and want end the senseless violence of life forms and so Bring it upon themselves to wipe the current life forms at the time or become a dictator. It may take Milenia but eventually Shepard would snap and I couldn’t risk this. So I was left with synthesis or do nothing. Nothing would go against every grain of Shepard and not solve anything so synthesis it was. It may go against Shepard values and the will and freedom of all life but it was the only way to end the cycle the goal of the whole game to me. So it had to be done so what if Shepard goes down in infamy for making choices against the free will of everyone if it was right and achieved the end of the cycle so be it. Shepard had to make the hard choice and did what Had to be done even if it was at the cost of their own honor, name and place in history.

    • SD

      Synthesis, makes the a new reaper threat unlikely. Destroying the reapers, will only see another rise, of such an intelligence. Controlling them, makes rule inevitable, you’re always one breakdown, or one mutation of code from square one.
      Destroying the reapers, simply prolongs your own destruction, either by ai that come to exist, or do exist, and are multiple galaxies strong, by the time they come to kill you.

  • Jake Gaston

    I agree, it’s either destroy or control.

  • Ramon

    It’s ridiculous, I have read this for the third time (keep finding this page apparently), and I’m still not sure what ending to pick… First part I played on the PC, don’t know how long ago. Part two came and I replayed part one. With part three I also got the DLC’s, playing everything once again and part three twice. Then I switched to Xbox 360 and got the Trilogy, played part one and two, lost the saved games after trying to update (no, no, nooooooooo!!!!?!!!) after doing just about everything right, and this afternoon, I am at the final battle once again, reading the Wiki and your post for the 3rd, maybe even 4th time.

    I do however remember not hesitating the very first time: Destroy, and I have stuck with it (will do again after reading this). Can’t control: You just can’t trust humans, period. Can’t do synthesis: ‘Living’ will be pointless, existence will be pointless, no more needs, wants or dancing on clubbeats. Destroy was the goal from the beginning (in each part), it means a new cycle, but with a fresh start. The galaxy will screw it up again (or at least humanity will), but getting there is the big unknown and at least without the previous lunatic (Catalyst).

  • badr0bot

    i thought of destroying the Reapers, but then the Catalyst said the Geth would also die. Then i remembered hey, EDI is also a synthetic.. I completely forgot she was a robot

    • Dave Mittner

      Which makes you wonder… just what is “synthetic”? Technically the Geth are computer programs that can inhabit robotic bodies. Does that mean that all software will be destroyed as “synthetic”? Is all technology considered synthetic? Is anything and everything that isn’t “natural” considered “synthetic”?

      Way too big of a gamble.

  • Andrew Stevens

    Control is probably the worst choice of the three. Not only are the Reapers being controlled but essentially so are all the species in the galaxy. Both are being lorded over by an intelligence which would (to the eyes of the galaxy) be incomprehensible, detached, beyond negotiation and unending. You would never know the reasoning process of the Shepard AI nor what it plans to do next. You would never know what he would perceive to be a threat to “galactic peace” nor how he would deal with it. This confusion would drive up conflict for they will construe themselves to be oppressed. Not knowing if your colony will be attacked by an invincible army of sentient machines because it risks inflaming tensions with another species is no way to live. Organics deserve better than that.

    For example you could be tinkering with a software AI in your basement with no ill designs and the Shepard AI brings a Reaper down and laser’s your house because it calculates that the AI could escape via the extranet. Because it’s aloof it cannot co-operate with law enforcement or persuade you to stop. Because it’s hyper intelligent nobody else can predict its actions nor determine what and how it would calculate in its next move. It would result in it flying down and destroying the AI and you best hope you aren’t there at the time when it does.

    The problem with “protecting the galaxy” or being a “guardian” is that it is a dreadfully grey concept. For example being “cruel to be kind” e.g. locking a drug addict inside a house or room until they become clean. You have “protected” them or “saved” them through creating strife and misery and there is no guarantee your efforts will not piss them off. Apply this concept to the Shepard AI: if it treats being a guardian as a black-and-white then it will be hated. If it treats being a guardian as a grey concept it will be hated as any questionable act or move will be construed as it threatening organic life.

    Finally there is the trauma. Shepard’s fleet of ships are ultimately the very same fleet which burned entire planets and killed billions. People will forever fear them and hate them and would never truly come to terms with the tragedy for as long as the Reapers remain free to wander the stars. The organic populations may even come to imagine that they had in fact lost the war: their aggressors run free to do as they please and they are free to harm or antagonise the unborn generations. War is inevitable IMO.

    Compare the above to the destroy and synthesis endings. In the Destroy ending the Reapers are dead, the galaxy can mourn and eventually move on. In the Synthesis ending the galaxy understands (presumably) how the Reapers think and act and thus will not fear them near as much as they would in a control ending.

    • flow ir in

      depends what the command given to the reapers was.

    • Dave Mittner

      You’re making a lot of assumptions. What if Shepard took control, had them pack up all their technology, and fly themselves into the nearest sun? Control allows for self-destruction afterwards, without eliminating all other synthetic life. it’s not just control over the Reapers. It’s the greatest control over the entire situation.

      Hell… once you control the Reapers you’d even have access to the synthesis technology. You could offer that to anyone who wants it, rather than force it on everyone.

      • Andrew Stevens

        The point I was trying to make was that from the subjective point of view of the universe’s inhabitants the control ending would have been a catastrophe. Within a strictly objective framework control would arguably be the best ending: the Reapers beneath a Paragon Shepard would bring about untold prosperity. However we are talking about subjectives and the way the control ending would impact and resonate with their emotions, their wants and their needs.

        The survivors would still perceive the Reapers as a genocidal, near-invincible army of intelligent machines which had only ceased its aggression because of a technical intervention. Many would essentially come to perceive the control ending as a form of enemy occupation. Shepard could communicate completely noble intentions and plans but the survivors have no way of knowing whether he is speaking the truth and would through their trauma see him as an agent of their future misfortune than some saviour. It would take a long time for the races to warm to Shepard’s rule (if ever). I predict that at best it could take several centuries of protection for most of the species to become more level-headed in their dealings but even then they would still appreciate the Reaper’s incredible strength and durability.

        To invoke Godwin’s Law it would be like the Nazis suddenly telling the Jews at Auschwitz that the genocide is over: they won’t be killed and instead shall be allowed to live and prosper beneath their protection. They are told as such by a new Commandant who they cannot speak with or become familiar with. In the end the only testament to his authority resides in the camp Nazis. They have no idea whether the Nazis shall do as they say or whether they would eventually start up the gas chambers again. Many of the Jews would want the Nazis gone from their life and many more would even try to kill them through various means.

        If I was to speculate on the “Control galaxy’s” future I would suggest that its races would essentially be divided between four transcendent groups (ideologies which surpass national struggles and squabbles). You would have:

        1) those who comply with Reaper control and expect others to do the same (for whatever reason)
        2) you would have those who want to control the Reapers for their own purposes (like the Illusive Man)
        3) those who just want the Reapers gone so they can have a sense of power and security over their own destinies (probably a good proportion of the population)
        4) those eager for a war against the Reapers (probably in all ranks of society, many would be disgruntled if they feel the Reapers are trampling over their ambitions or dreams).

        This as far as I can see is a state of division which simply would not exist in the destroy or synthesis endings. I suspect that there would be another Reaper War sooner or later (where dissidents would eventually force the Shepard AI into open conflict) with alliances of synthetics and organics on both sides fighting each other whilst the Shepard AI restores order (with mixed results).

  • Daniel J McEwen

    I think destroy is the correct option. I think about the Illusive Man’s comments. In ME2 and ME3 he tells Shepard for destroying when control is an option. Control is clearly the path of the bad guys. Sure, EDI and the Geth die, but that’s because they’re infected with Reaper code. Even if future races create AI, those future intelligences will not contain Reaper code. There’s no reason to assume that the same mistakes will be made, especially since the current races will still exist and be able to prevent it from happening.

    I guess synthesis could be ok but that feels more like saying organic life itself is wrong.

    • Mark

      Legion became self aware, reaper code was unnecessary, geth wanted a short cut, EDI on the other hand, Joker romance, she confides in you that she would gladly sacrifice herself to insure Jokers safety.

    • Dave Mittner

      The Geth became self aware long before the Reapers influenced them.

      But that’s part of the problem with the ambiguity of the Destroy option. The Geth are software. How exactly would the Catalyst wipe out that software and where does it draw the line? How does it define “life” exactly? There were way too many unknowns for me to choose Destroy.

      • Boatinhovic

        Destroy is a total reset of life. The Crucible is clearly capable of eradicate every non-organic creature.

        • Dave Mittner

          But how do you define “non-organic creature”? Again, the Geth are just software. My Chrome browser is software. And something the Star Child said even suggested to me that all technology might be destroyed, right down to biotic implants.

          I’m not saying the Crucible couldn’t fine tune exactly what it does, but as far as information goes that Shepard has to act on, Destroy is WAY too ambiguous. WAY too many uncertainties. It makes it nigh impossible to even begin to understand the ramifications of choosing it.

  • hmm

    you’re a dickhead

  • Tommy Rotherham

    I promised Sovereign I was going to defeat the reapers. So when I finally got to the end of ME3 I chose destroy. The reapers, this ancient race of galactic space nazis flying around mass genociding everyone needed to die. Control is wrong option, it’d be like killing Hitler and then saying “Oh it’s ok, I’m in charge of the Nazis now so they are acquitted of their crimes”. Synthesis is wrong option because again, the Reapers still aren’t held accountable for their war crimes and mass genocide.

    To me, Destroy was the only right option. Yes, synthetics will suffer, but that’s the reapers doing that out of spite. They designed it like that, that’s just another crime to add to THEIR list. At least in destroy they pay for their evil crimes.

    Destroy everytime

    • Mark

      Watch Shepard in the other 2 choices, pay close attention to eyes and skin, he becomes a reaper

    • Dave Mittner

      You could take control of them and just tell them all to self-destruct.
      You’ve destroyed them without destroying any other synthetics.

      Control is the better choice because it lets you do anything you want, on your terms. Ostensibly you’d even gain access to the synthesis technology and could offer it to anyone who wanted it.

  • Nathan Jinks

    Well this is bizarre for me. I haven’t seen the Synthesis ending be demonized before. I just want to clear the air here.
    1. Saren wanted organic life to be SUBJUGATED by the Reapers as he knew there is no way there would be victory in war. This means killing Saren and going with Synthesis is not hypocritical.
    2. Evolution and technological improvements would have taken that path anyway. Anyone who says technology is not the way to improve deserves to be dropped in a forest wearing bothing but a fig leaf
    3. Joker gets a hot girlfriend with emotions. All AI everywhere comes to life, meaning they have genetic code, and can feel real emotion and understand organic reaction to stimuli. They become real organisms
    3. Hundreds of millenia of knowledge are preserve and shared with the rest of the galaxy. The Reapers not only stop attacking, but they help rebuild all the destruction they caused, and share the collective knowledge of every civilization that came before the last cycle. In any other ending, that knowledge is either obliterated or purged.
    Again, still not sure why the Synthesis ending is demonized the way it is here. Is it all under the assumption that Shepard is indoctrinated, cause i really hate that theory. Synthesis sounds like THE Utopian society with no faults besides civil wars between interest groups that might come later.

    • Sonic260

      I agree with this.

      Another point is that while Saren wanted the Reapers to rule, the Reapers wanted to destroy all advanced organic life to begin with until organics reach a point of understanding with synthetics. Why the Synthesize is the better option is that, while Reapers wanted to destroy thousands of years of history and advancement, Synthesis *preserves* everything and allows it to continue to evolve from that point. Organics won’t be wiped out, Synthetics can continue to exist, and they will understand each other and stop fighting. Not only is that better than what the Reaper’s were trying to achieve, it is also more humane.

      • Mark

        Wrong, they claim they do so because the way society evolves, BUT they intentionally leave bread crumbs behind to cause beings to follow a carefully plotted patter and it must be within the 50,000 year time span as thats all the energy they’ll have before recharge is necessary, know what they are, vampires, you let them live and you have failed!

  • pillestyrer

    The Geth are basically the most important race in Mass Effect. Think about it. The Catalyst gives Shepard the choice because the Catalyst’s logic and method is flawed. It was created to protect organic life and decided the only way to do this was to destroy advanced organic life before they could create synthetic life that would wipe out all organic life, thus creating the Reapers. But, both the geth and EDI are self-aware, evolving synthetic life, yet come Mass Effect 3 the Geth are focused on their survival and not the destruction of organic life, even helping organic life if it is so chosen in-game. That basically craps all over the Catalyst’s theory that synthetic and organic life cannot co-exist, which is why is realises its ways are flawed, giving Shepard the choice to destroy the Reapers. But because the Catalyst is basically a bitch, it decides to get one last shot in by deciding that if the Reapers go, so do the Geth, the essential downfall of the cycle and the Catalyst’s theory.

  • Jan Roselo

    Just bought the game at sale and finished a few days later..
    *remember the illusive man brought u back in me2. he was already indoctrinated by the reaper (cause of his eyes giving him away). so bringing u back was the will of the reapers wonder why?
    *In me3 control ending Shepard’s eyes turned as well meaning he was already being controlled by that time. he wont be able to control the reapers as stated by the ai about the illusive man. no matter how good your shepard is it wont matter
    *The ai sweat talks you in picking the synthetic but remember they said that their method will no longer work they will find a new one. well this is it. But why shepard? cause the already tried with others they said so themselves, the reapers already engineered shepard to be compatible with the synthesis(No wonder he was brought back to life) and also Centre-stage effect(google it).
    *And i choose destroy
    *This method is heavily discourage by the ai
    *The geth will be annihilated. But they are just a program that can be remade, the quarian and the reaper tech is still there.
    *Edi will die so as well she can be remade
    *The ai said as well that your people will make synthetics that will destroy themselves again.
    *Relay gets destroyed, Hacket says that it can be remade but will take time..
    *Shepard lives so i guess the ai was lying about saying you will die. Meaning what they told you can also be lies.. Be it controlling them or synthesizing them which will probably make them more powerful.. allowing them to evolve so as the organics who little by little evolving to defeat them.

    • Mark

      Destroy means the little AI child dies, the other 2 he lives on forever, he is intelligent remember, what do you think he’d say about you killing him?

    • Dave Mittner

      Just because the Illusive Man had eye implants doesn’t mean he was indoctrinated…

      • Gravity

        HELLO, the Promethean VI clearly states that Kai Lang is indoctrinated. If he’s indoctrinated, that only furthers the case that the Illusive Man is indoctrinated. Please tell me that you don’t really believe that the Illusive Man is not indoctrinated…

        • Dave Mittner

          Where did I say the Illusive Man wasn’t indoctrinated? I said the eye implants have nothing to do with it. For all we know he was born blind and had eye implants since he was a child.

          Though if you want to get into the storyline, It seems to be commonly held that he didn’t become indoctrinated until after the events of ME2. He had the implants before then.

  • John S. Snidr

    new option destroy the citadel reapers will chose there own path with out overlords control synth’s live organics live and it cant be any worse then whats happening

    • Dave Mittner

      Once you control them you could ostensibly do with them whatever you want. So you could take control and then give them “free will”, as it were, by choosing NOT to control them.

      This is why the Control ending is objectively the best. It maximizes your options, allowing you to do pretty much anything at all and on your own terms.

  • LAMBDA471

    I chose Synthesis and I strongly believe that this is the best ending.

    If you chose to destroy the Reapers you can only hope that no such thing as them is created ever again and that people will learn and not make the same mistake again just because their cycle wasn’t ended.

    If you chose to control the reapers, you never know for how long will you control them or HOW will you control them. You may lose your way on the long run.

    You can’t just “hope” that eveything will be alright.

    That’s the “indoctrination” of space operas and fantasy stories like The Lord of the Rings – not everything is black and white and if you are given a choice, better make the right one and the one that ensures peace for the longest time – synthesis.

    With everything in the galaxy converted into one, all previous problems disappear and the galaxy can focus solely on contibuous evolution. They can even venture beyond the galaxy and into neighboring ones where they can explore and assess and be prepared for whatever is out there.

    It’s the most logical choice. It’s been said thar the Reapers are unknowable because no one can completely comprehend them therefore with everything from organics and synthetics merged into one, only the most logical, strongest and adequate remains in the end.

    • Dave Mittner

      Even the synthesis option requires a leap of faith that it will actually stop the Reaper rampage. If you have to gamble that then you might as well choose control and then immediately destroy them. The threat is gone and you haven’t forced an insane nature-of-life change on the galaxy.

      • Boatinhovic

        Saren agreed.

  • TronSheridan

    So many fucking whiners still obsessing about the ending. All the endings are good. Make the choice that gives you a boner, and go get laid you whiny cucks.

    • Fluttershy

      This is the opposite of what is true. All of the endings are terrible, and none of them at all make sense with the rest of the plot. It is as if the writing was good in ME 2 by accident.

    • Boatinhovic

      TronSheridan, another cuck who didn’t understand anything about the trilogy.

  • Christopher Reimold (Brohamir)

    After playing through the entire trilogy for the “I’ve lost count” time, reading every codex entry (well, almost, I got bored about halfway through reading the ME2 entries), I’ve come to the conclusion that all of the choices are wrong, except maybe the “Refuse” ending, which still could have been done a lot better.

    If you choose to destroy the Reapers, you’re essentially choosing organic life over all synthetics and technological progress. This is likely the best of an unwinnable situation – and likely what Leviathan/the Reapers intended, as the Reapers were created to find a way for organic life to “survive” – but it’s still a piss-poor option. Sure, technology can be rebuilt, synthetics can once again be created, but if you were like me and not only encouraged EDI to explore her “humanity,” but also brokered peace between the geth and quarians, then this option pretty much erases all of the progress you intended to make (aside from the genophage cure).

    If you choose Control… well, I’m not entirely sure what happens, as I haven’t chosen that ending. But it’s essentially the same option you have on the IFF with Legion – destroy the heretics or upload new subjugation software to force them to accept the “free” geth’s reasoning. I chose to destroy the heretics at that point, so it seems a hypocritical decision to control the Reapers.

    If you choose Synthesis, then you’re forcing a genetic change on an entire galaxy of species. Sure, on the surface, it looks like the desirable choice – when everyone is the same, there can be no conflict. But even the kid says “It is a decision you can force before its time.” It’s not any one person’s decision to make, especially when you consider that it’s not just you and the space-faring races that would be affected, but every species that would’ve been left untouched by the Reapers in the current cycle.

    In considering the three original decisions, it seems like the “Refuse” option is the only viable one. Shepard realizes that the decision to end all synthetic life, take responsbility for an entire synthetic race, and force a genetic change across an entire galaxy, is too big for any one person, so he decides to let the galaxy take its chances. Inevitably, they lose, because why not? Personally, I think it should have been based on the decisions made throughout ME3 – whether you forged a peace between the geth and quarians, cured the genophage, etc. – as well as the EMS/galactic readiness by that point. If certain conditions are met, then the fleet destroys the Reapers and drives them back, the cycle is ended, and most importantly, Shepard is saved and reunited with his crew. If certain conditions are not met, then it fades to black and you see Liara’s warning as happens regardless.

    That’s just my two cents.

  • Anna Stone

    I chose synthesis and my choice was not wrong.

    • Dave Mittner

      Just wait until all the religious wars start when people start fighting over the meaning of life and existence.

      • Anna Stone

        *clears throat*

        I chose synthisis and my choice was not wrong.

        What is it with you lot trying to control how other people play?

        • Dave Mittner

          You forcefully converted the very nature of life, thereby changing everyone without their consent, when you could have simply chosen Control and instructed all Reapers to fly into the closest sun — destroying them and nothing else.

          If you believed in synthesis you could have also offered it to people who wanted it, by their own choice, because controlling the Reapers would have given you access to all their technology; including synthesis.

          … or you could have chosen to control them and then still forced synthesis on everyone, if that’s really your idea of “right”.

          The point is, choosing to control them would have given you the flexibility to do anything on your own terms, at your own time, without watching ships explode and people dying in the background.

          • Anna Stone

            What is it with you people controling how people play their game?

          • Dave Mittner

            I’m not telling you how to play your game. If you want your character to be illogical and thoughtless, that’s up to you. I’m simply describing the logic of the situation.

            And by calling your decision “right”, you’ve insinuated that all other decisions are “wrong”. So it’s YOU who told other people what’s right and wrong. I never actually said your choice was wrong. I simply pointed out the logical consequences of your choice which you apparently hadn’t considered.

          • Anna Stone

            Why are you still dictating your ideas to me when i clearly dont agree with you and have my own ideas as to how my choices affect my game? What makes you think i care about what you have to say?

          • Dave Mittner

            They’re not “ideas “. It’s logical fact that the control option offers the greatest flexibility to dictate how things turn out. And it’s also a fact that the synthesis options pushes an extreme change on all living creatures without their permission.

            If you want to live in a fantasy world in which opinions are as valid as facts, well… There’s plenty of that going around these days.

            By the way, obviously you care about what I say because you keep replying, and you evidently think others care what you say given you posted on this article at all.

          • Anna Stone

            Why do you assume everyone thinks like you do?

          • Dave Mittner

            If you thought logically we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

          • Anna Stone
          • Anna Stone
          • Anna Stone

            This sums it all up honestly.

  • Raenemaker

    Jumping in on this old-@$$ article because I’m using old articles about the first trilogy as a way to not tie off my arm and shoot myself full of “Andromeda” thereby losing 4 months of my life as I obsessively play each and every mission…

    I chose Synthesis. And I didn’t lose a wink of sleep over it.

    The Reapers have wiped advanced species out the galaxy every 50K years, for God knows how many cycles. Why did they wipe them out? Because it is inevitable that organics will create synthetics, and continue to making them more and more advanced until they become a threat to the organics in question and possibly all life itself. So the Reapers wade in and make sure THEY stay the intergalactic apex predator vs potentially having another super-intelligent, mega-powered, flying squid thingee that pretends to be a little boy in a space sta–


    Now I will digress for a moment – the question I always had, and never understood: the Reapers have done some calculation somehow showing that technological advancement won’t exceed Point X within those 50K years, helped along by the pre-dug trenches of the Mass Relays to avoid any big divergent tech surprises when they pop out of their Dark Space birthday cake again. With all of their abilities, couldn’t they just indoctrinate xx number of people’s DNA on each life bearing planet (or leave one of their “dirty install” beacons to kick off) and then when that magical point of singularity is approaching, trigger a warning that basically says “hey, you guys, congrats – you’ve joined a select club of technologically advanced civilizations. Here’s the thing, tho’: every time they’ve gone only a little further past the point where you are in terms of AI, they wipe themselves out. Here’re some rules to follow to avoid that. If you don’t, we’re gonna see you in [INSERT COUNTER HERE] and quite literally obliterate you. Here’s a clip of Commander Shepard to show we’re fcking serious.”

    I know if I was Mark Zuckerberg and if that popped up on my computer screen in my mountain enclave where I was programming Skynet, that I might have a moment of “hunh” and maybe avoid going down that road. Seems like the intelligent races, in the course of self-preservation, would stop and if they followed direction, they could be spared. For the ones that didn’t, [cue BOOOOOOOOOOM from every '00 movie trailer].

    Digression over – Synthesis.

    Totally OK with it – am I one man? Yes. Am I THE man? Also yes (I did a FemShep playthrough on my second go-round, but I always identified with the first runthrough).

    Within the rules of the game, I had three options; one was to attempt to merge my consciousness with a “how alien do you want to get” super intelligence and attempt to control it vs being consumed by it? And, sidebar, the guy who killed my Foster-Dad was pushing for that solution, so I’m already giving that option the side-eye. After watching that ending on YouTube as well, it felt…creepy. Shepard was subsumed by this group consciousness, able to steer it, but there are these huge Reapers who have wiped out a quintillion of beings (or more) over the millennia and they’re helping…build a bridge for me? Didn’t feel right; kind of felt like the Reapers won and were just humoring their pet organics. Plus, those same organics are going to start working on new weapons to kill Reapers in case I, I dunno, drift off into nothingness, causing the cycle of war to continue.

    Destroy was super-easy to decide upon, but then I’m going to commit genocide against the Geth (who I worked hard to bring back into the galactic fold and watched my friend Legion sacrifice himself in the process) and EDI? Sorry, but no – I’m not a bio-bigot, and it’s not on me to destroy AI that have PROVEN themselves to be allies and friendly in order to save us from ones that are not. Add to that, their deaths don’t mean “AI is gone forever,” it just means someone has to start again from scratch, setting the galaxy up for another ascension of a Reaper-type threat, but delayed.

    Which brings us to Synthesis.

    Did I drag the entire galaxy into green dusty hell? Maybe. But I don’t think so – the merger forced the Reapers to stand down (no threat, as everything is artificial-ish now), everyone’s consciousness seemed intact (how Shepard knew that going in, I don’t know, but I’m going to assume he does), and surviving as cybernetic beings vs being killed by them (now or later, one way or the other) seemed preferable to the alternatives.


    • Dave Mittner

      If you’re going to assume you can’t really control the Reapers then you’re assuming the space toddler is lying, and therefor he could similarly be lying about synthesis and the Reapers might still try to wipe everything out thinking you’re a smartass by avoiding annihilation on a technicality.

      Basically you have to trust what the moon baby says else we have no basis upon which to even theorycraft what our decisions may actually mean.

  • Dawid Hanus

    I wonder why are we assuming that the little man is telling the truth about Shepard actually gaining the truth? He lies to the illusive man, why should he not lie to us about taking control just to get rid of the last hope for humanity….We should not forget that this boy is the AI that we have been fighting… This boy is the one endangering all life as we know it. Are we just going to listen to him and allow him to set the rules? I turned around and shot the bastard in the face, that was a big mistake. We lost the war humanity was wiped out and I sat frozen for 10 minutes trying to realize what happened….

  • JACK

    First ending I played accidentally shot the hologram kid behind me; The cycle continue… dunno maybe 1 out of 1 million chance might survived. (Fact: The Reaper reduce population close to extinct but not extinct)

    I change to Synthesis ending. All life form are connected which I think the best ending. Destruction my second best ending.

    The Control ending, shepard might lose his mind and become one of it. Another reason Reaper also destroy previous civilization which mean some previous civilization might success control Reaper too but lose control at the end so cycle continue…

  • Bill Bolivar

    Dear Intergalactic Retarded Authors,
    Wow, JUST WOW !!! All, I read was “I am a super egoistic and a super intelligent person(just like the reapers) and you people are all stupid.”
    Its all quite evident that only “destroy” is the correct option. All the other options are hoax and might have been “indoctrination” actions as well. Not only that, the geth deserve to die because they are enemies right from the beginning of the mass effect series and they may be actually semi-reapers or reapers of the future.The “..but if nothing else think of poor Joker.” comment is just mindbogglingly stupid. So, if the whole galaxy is at stake, I am supposed to think about the well-being of a half-crazy pilot who happens to fall in love with a spaceship’s AI control system. Interesting!
    Anyway, why bother arguing with idiots? Go back to fucking your synthetic sex doll(s).

  • unger bunger

    I finally got around to playing the trilogy and I went with control at the end. For me it made the most sense, Shepard united the races and was the best person to take control of the Reapers and ensure galactic stability.

    It was also very reminiscent of how the Lich King saga ended in WoW. I was worried the series was going to be ruined with all the negativity around 3, but I was quite pleased with this ending.