Well, this should be interesting...
When the web-famous Film Crit Hulk took a break from movies to opine on the "Mass Effect 3" ending controversy, he was doing so as observer - he hadn't played/finished the game at the time, and (like me) wasn't critiquing the merits of the ending but the behavior of "Re-Take" - it didn't matter (and still doesn't matter) in this context what Hulk or anyone else "thought" of the ending itself, because good or bad it's a terrible precedent to try and make artists subserviant to the knee-jerk negative response of the audience.
Well, now he HAS finished the game, and offers up his critique of the ending(s) themselves; his main discovery and thesis being that three endings being essentially the SAME ending as-seen through the prism of different philosophies is the entire point that (in his opinion) people managed to miss. READ IT HERE. Money-quotes after the jump:
Choice bits from the article itself (all quotes in caps because Hulk is in fact a Hulk):
"YOU WERE ALL WRONG.
IN FACT, YOU WERE ALL SO WRONG THAT IT MAKES HULK HORRIFICALLY SAD."
"WE ARE TRULY IN A "GIVE US" CULTURE. WE WANT INDULGENCE. WE WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH STORIES. NOTHING TO DO WITH ANYTHING. YOU CAN ARGUE THAT VIDEO GAMES ARE GROWING IN POPULARITY BECAUSE THEY "GIVE US" THE THINGS WE WANT IN TERMS OF EXPERIENCE INSTEAD OF HAVING SOME KIND OF RELATIONSHIP WITH SOMETHING WE CAN'T CONTROL."
"SO WHAT DOES MASS EFFECT ULTIMATELY HAVE TO SAY? HULK KEEPS HEARING THAT MASS EFFECT IS ABOUT CHOICE. IT ISN'T ABOUT CHOICE WHATSOEVER; CHOICE WAS SIMPLY THE NATURE OF THE MECHANICS."
"IF YOU WANT MASS EFFECT TO BE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THE CANON OF ART, THEN YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT ULTIMATELY THE STORYTELLING ELEMENT IS GOING TO HAVE TO GO AGAINST THE INDULGENT NATURE OF VIDEO GAMES."
Hulk goes on to say that his takeaway from all this is that the gaming community doesn't appear to be "ready" for the medium to reach the same level (of storytelling accomplishment) as other mediums; which I have a hard time disagreeing with. Not every game wants or needs to tell a great story, fine - but "Mass Effect" DID want to do that; and it's fans basically said "no thank you."
I don't WANT to get into this nonsense again, but the big reason video games (the ones that try to tell "cinematic" stories, I stress) are by-and-large inferior to, say, movies in the broad sense is that too many otherwise good ones are still wedded to gimmicks like multiple-endings and overly player-effected narrative.