The Citadel DLC is better than all of Mass Effect 3 and maybe some of Mass Effect 2.
Coming late to the franchise seems to have painted my experience differently because I really enjoyed Mass Effect 3, even the endings. Then again, I never played the non-Extended Cut version.
I’m glad you enjoyed it! I have several friends who came to the series after it concluded and played all three games in less than a year and loved them all, even 3. I wonder if it’s because late comers don’t have years of expectations and hype.
That said, if I could wipe my memory and play one series from scratch again it would still be Mass Effect.
Mass Effect 3 is fine, it just ends super messily. And that Extended Cut didn’t really fix anything, it changed things around to try to address minor things that the fandom got extremely angry about, and if anything, made the ending even worse, in my opinion. (Really, you’re going to take the best ship in the whole human fleet out of the most consequential space battle in the history of the galaxy to evac one soldier just because the main character happens to be in a relationship with them? Sure, sounds like a great plan)
I’m not convinced they could have done an ending to Mass Effect 3 that would make everyone happy.
The Normandy isn’t the best ship in the whole human fleet. It’s a stealth ship mainly used for recon and stealth pick ups and drop offs. It’s not really something suited for taking down a reaper. I mean, it took entire fleets just to kill one in the first game. Emergency evac is probably the best use of the Normandy at that point, because trying to fight more seriously against reaper ships basically just means one of the most useful ships in existence for stealth operations won’t be around anymore.
I honestly liked the ending options, especially the color coding suggesting that the destroy and control endings are actually for different alignments than initially perceived. The Destroy ending, supported by Anderson, the only one where Shepard can possibly live in the extended cut, basically sacrifices an entire form of life and fits the exclusionary and selfish nature of a Renegade Shepard, while Control (supported by the Illusive Man) is more Paragon because it’s a heroic sacrifice that can potentially save countless lifeforms out there, assuming you went Paragon).
My main complaints are with Cerberus entirely, who felt like they were pulled out of a Metal Gear Rising spin-off that never got made.
Even if it’s not the best ship, the entire point of the fight in space is to hold them off long enough for your team to finish its mission. The whole thing is essentially a suicide mission. If it fails, it won’t matter how many great ships for stealth operations you have, everyone will be dead. Taking any ship out of that battle to pull one soldier out is a terrible idea. The Normandy doesn’t have to destroy any Reapers for the mission to succeed, it just needs to keep them busy.
I agree with you on the ending options, though. Shepherd can live even without the Extended Cut DLC. When I beat Mass Effect 3, I didn’t hate the ending. I didn’t love it, but it was fine. The intense negative reaction was unwarranted.