I’m actually in the process of cooking up my own blog post on why I think Mass Effect 3’s ending is unsatisfactory (complete with an alterate ending of my own design, written in a fit of rage when I should’ve been revising) but in the meantime, Yahtzee makes a few intriguing points.
But I doubt the fanbase of Mass Effect were dismayed because they wanted an appropriate ending to the story. Rather, they wanted some kind of appropriate closure for the many-storied and I would argue unnecessarily lengthy process up to this point. Perhaps some epilogue where we get to see what all the characters we met along the way got up to after the events of the series, which I imagine would be easier if they hadn't pretty much all been killed off. I've been given to understand that Bioware are talking about changing the ending under the massive pressure from the idiot fanbase, and I hope like hell they're just talking about doing something like that, an epilogue appendix style thing just to square away the subplots.
I kind of concur on this. I think the ending does have some merits when it’s thought about (and we certainly can’t dismiss it because it’s a “sad” ending—a lot of hard sci-fi has horrible, grim, bleak endings.) However, for people who’ve invested five years in playing through three extraordinarily detailed games, it must feel like a cheat to have the ending condensed to a virtual-reality equivalent of a radio button group, followed by an ‘epilogue’ in which Buzz Aldrin phones in a voiceover as a grandfather addressing an annoying child.
This is my problem: for such a highly personal story, the ending is grossly impersonal.