After sinking 80 odd hours into the world of Andromeda and chasing countless side quests to the ends of the cluster and back, I finally finished my game this weekend. As with all Bioware games, the ending gave me a lot to think about, with so many different elements to try and parse. Have you finished the game and are feeling the same? Let's talk about this ending.
In case it wasn't clear from the title, this article will contain many, many spoilers for the end of Mass Effect: Andromeda. Haven't finished it yet? Back out now!
Let's get this out there first up — Mass Effect: Andromeda is clearly a set up for a larger series of games and/or plenty of DLC. The ending leaves as many threads loose as it does tie up, and it seems that the effect of many of the decisions made in this game won't be felt until much later on (though hopefully they will actually be felt this time).
Among the many things left open are the fate of Ellen Ryder, the nature of the Remnant and their creators the Jaardan, the mysterious enemy responsible for the Scourge, the identity of the mysterious Initiative Benefactor and the reason for Jien Garson's murder, Primus's future plans, the fate of the angaran AI and (most excitingly) the quarian ark. Mass Effect producer Michael Gamble has confirmed to Forbes that many of these and more are plot elements that we'll see in future installments. While some might find it frustrating to have so much of the game's content become 'to be continued', I'm personally keen to see more of Ryder's story.
Now to the ending itself. I found the final mission a lot of fun in a fast-paced, hectic kind of way. Screaming through Meridian's lush backdrop in my souped-up Nomad was a definite highlight, though the on-foot fighting didn't disappoint, either. Seeing all of my allies from around Heleus was great, even if it was hard to wrap my head around who was who while also punching hordes of kett in the face. I liked the way that the stakes for the final scene were dropped on you without warning — unlike say, the Suicide Mission, which was very carefully projected and planned throughout the entirety of Mass Effect 2.
While the final boss battle was more of a remix of known elements (Remnant bots, and an Architect) than an original, interesting boss fight, it still mixed it up enough to not feel boring. I may be in the minority here, but I really enjoy the Archon as a nemesis. He remains threatening by always seeming one step ahead of Ryder, but towards the end the cracks start to show as you get under his skin and disturb his plans. He's decently clever as far as main villains go — despite falling victim to the idiotic move of 'leaving the protagonist alone in a seemingly inescapable trap'. The subplot with Primus's group of kett 'rebels' also adds a lot of depth that was sorely lacking at the beginning of the game.
Now starting my second playthrough, I can't help but wonder how much of the ending does change depending on your choices, however. Many of the choices throughout the game impact the final battle — for example, adding extra forces to help you, or reducing the kett forces. Other than that, the main difference in endings seems to dictate whether Captain Dunn lives or dies — though it's not certain how that's decided. I had three Pathfinders — Sarissa (who I outed), Avitus and Hayjer, and Dunn lived. I also chose to take Primus's deal, which results (in the short term at least) in a reduction in the kett forces you have to fight at the end. I'll have to wait to see if I've screwed myself over in the long term.
It's understandable why Bioware wouldn't want to implement vastly different endings if they're using this game as a jumping-off point for a series, but I can't help but wish there was at least the threat of an over-the-top bad ending like Mass Effect 2's 'everyone dies' outcome.
Overall though? I'm happy with it. The epilogue was just enough that it didn't feel abrupt when you got dumped back into the main game, even if I wish you could drive around and explore Meridian a little. I do feel kind of bad for Ryder when her prize for saving Heleus was getting stuck in the 'reply all' from hell. I'm definitely keen for a (potential) quarian ark DLC, though.
So: what did you think? What choices did you make and how did you feel about them? Will you be replaying, waiting for DLC or a sequel or are you leaving the game here? Let us know!