Friday, 18 December 2015

Mass Effect 3 indoctrination theory refuted

So last time I played Mass Effect 3 I got on Youtube to look up stuff on the extremely ambiguous ending. And I found a video of The Indoctrination Theory. It made me angry, because basically it says that everything that you played through after Harbinger's final assault by the beam up to the Citadel didn't happen. It was all in Shepard's head, and I hate writing like that. "You did all this but not really nah-nah". And it fit so well into all of it! So this time when I played Mass Effect 3 I actively looked for the things this video talked about and tried to see if it all really matched up. I'm proud to say that nothing did. It looks like a perfect fit on the outside, but if you start digging and looking at details you'll notice that it doesn't add up. So here I am refuting this guy's top ten arguments.

Reason 1: The Child
He claims that it's weird that no one but Shepard seems to notice the child. Well, I don't know about all you guys, but if a giant alien race out of mythology had suddenly descended upon my planet and started wreaking havoc I'd be too busy staring up into the air at that thing, rather than looking down for any children. The second point I don't know enough of psychology to be 100% sure about, but isn't it possible that the child sort of haunts Shepard's mind? She just saw an innocent child die, and she had a good look at the kid, surely that must have left some impression. It's also highly possible it's a completely different child. The reasoning that Anderson would've heard Shepard and the child talk is also strange. There would've been a lot of background noise - burning buildings, explosions, gun fire, people screaming, and the Reapers themselves aren't exactly quiet. There's no guarantee at all that Anderson "should have" heard the conversation. 

Reason 2: Dream Sequences
I see these in a completely different light than the guy in the video, I see them as proof that Shepard blames herself for everyone she couldn't save. This, imo, becomes even more obvious as the game goes on and she starts to hear the voice of everyone she's lost while dreaming. The voice of the one of died on Virmire, the voices of any and all you lost in ME2, the voices of any you loose during the course of ME3... They're all there. And the dark shadows multiply as the game goes on, giving a hint that she blames herself for all the victims of the Reaper attacks that she could do nothing to save. The guy in the video says that the oily shadows are the same oily shadows mentioned by the Rachni queen in ME1. But they are not, proof of this comes later in the game. Slow-motion movement. Yes, you're in a dream! Have you ever had a dream where you moved normally? And as for getting hit by the Reaper beam - you just got hit by a high-tech friggin weapon of mass destruction! Of course you're gonna walk slowly! And the trees - since when do you look at trees so closely that you can tell individual trees apart? Honestly? And the burning is more like her subconcious telling her that she can't save everyone and if she tried she'd burn out. She is extremely stressed out by the end of the game when that final dream sequence happens. 

Reason 3: The Normandy
Why doesn't it make sense for Joker to try and outrun the mass relay explosion? It's an explosion! Anyone with half a mind would try to get away from an explosion! And no, the engines don't explode in all scenarios. My Normandy had some bumps a bruises, but no hull breach and no exploded engines. And I took the red beam that was supposed to destroy synthetics. Read that again. Synthetics. The beam wouldn't destroy all technology! Just self-aware synthetics. The Normandy would be fine - but Joker didn't know that, did he. EDI had Reaper code installed, however, and it's entirely possible that he rushed to save her. But no, my Normandy didn't break apart. And I think that has to do with the upgrades I got in ME2. And how the crew is on the Normandy? Well, we know that Shepard called Joker to pick up the two squad mates she had with her just before Harbinger's final attack and her ascent to the Citadel. It's not entirely impossible that the others got picked up too. We have no idea what the crew were up to while Shepard was half-dead on the Citadel. 

Reason 4: Harbinger's Beam
The radio chatter says everyone was killed, and they are right to believe that. It certainly looks that way. But as soon as Shepard has entered the transporter beam we get a sequence that show Admiral Hackett being handed a data pad that tells him that Shepard has managed to get up to the Citadel. Which makes the whole thing real. Also, Harbinger must've figured they were all dead lying still on the ground like that. To Harbinger the people must seem like ants. Do you stop to make sure an ant is dead after you've crushed it? And yeah, the gun doesn't need to be reloaded, but that gun normally has about 30 shots in it, and unless you're a really bad shot there's not way you'd need to use all those 30 shots on the last 6 enemies. The ammo isn't unlimited - there's just no point in showing how much ammo it has. How Hackett knows? See above. He gets the report. How the radio works? Well, the armour still works, doesn't it? The outer layer is burnt off, but Shepard is hardly naked and I'd assume the radio isn't put on the outside with a piece of tape. 

Reason 5: Anderson and Illusive Man on the Citadel
How Anderson beat Shepard there? Probably he was blown closer to it than Shepard by Harbinger's beam. How Illusive Man is there? That's explained earlier in the game if you pay attention. Back when you're assaulting Cerberus HQ there's a video that shows the Illusive Man talking to a nurse about some implants they've experimented with. He's happy with the results and wants the implants as well - Reaper implants. Around the time of the battle with Kai Leng it's also mentioned that the Illusive Man has gone to the Citadel to inform the Reapers what the Catalyst is. So Illusive Man has every reason in the world to be there. And well, according to what she heard on the radio chatter Shepard shouldn't be up ther either, but all the evidence points towards the fact that she is. Wanna know why the Illusive Man isn't interested in the console? He's indoctrinated. It's that simple. And that's not the Reapers exerting control over Shepard. These are the oily shadows the Rachni talked about. They are not at all like the ones in the dreams. But why are they there? Because Illusive Man is using his newly implanted Reaper teach to try to control Shepard. Meaning the Illusive Man is trying to indoctrinate Shepard, not the Reapers. And if you pay attention you will notice that Shepard has been holding her left arm close to her left side ever since she got up after Harbinger's last blast. She's been hurt since then. Probably bleeding since then. But she's looking at it now, first of all because she now has time to do so, and second of all because she realised it hasn't stopped bleeding and she'll probably bleed to death. 

Reason 6: The Illusive Man's Unexplained Powers
They are not unexplained. See above. Video at Cerberus HQ. Reaper implant experimentations. 

Reason 7: The God Child Makes no Sense and Lies to you
Not gonna argue with that. That part's true. But he does angle his little speech so that he's the most favourable to synthesis, which would allow the Reapers to live, because he wants the Reapers to live. He says the least about destroying the Reapers, because he doesn't really want that. He makes no sense, and he lies. But in-between those lies it's not that hard to see that he is the Catalyst and parts of what he says are true. But we still don't know how the Catalyst works at this point. It's entirely possible that the Catalyst takes on a form that's familiar to the person who goes up there. Why would it otherwise look like a human? Humans haven't been around long enough for the Catalyst to have had that shape originally. Because of that it's also enitrely possible that the Catalyst uses a voice that's accessible to the person being there. The Reapers brough the Citadel to Earth because that's where their force was the strongest. They basically took the Citadel and put it in their stronghold. That's explained in game. Pay attention! Also why they'd establish a conduit? That's also explained - they take humans to make more Reaper ground troops from. They beam the up to the Citadel to convert them there. Seriously. Pay attention. And it's also explained that the Crucible's plans were added to over the cycles. The colour-coding was probably added at some point. Why is that even remotely important? And finally, the Catalyst knows organics tend to value their own lives, ofc he's trying to dissuade Shepard from the destroy option by lying and saying it will kill her as well. He doesn't want the Reapers to be destroyed! 

Reason 8: Shepard's Eyes
No. Husks don't come from indoctrination. They come from conversion. And even if the eyes were an indication to indoctrination you almost have to will it to look like that. The only other reference of such eyes are the Illusive Man, and we don't know if his eyes are due to indoctrination. It could easily be some sort of tech implant. Because the Illusive Man has had those eyes since the very beginning of ME2. And he wasn't indoctrinated back then, that much is obvious. His behaviour has completely changed between ME2 and ME3. 

Reason 9: The breathing scene
Yes, Shepard couldn't have survived a fall back to Earth. But she didn't fall back to Earth. She's still on the Citadel. The Citadel wasn't destroyed. I don't know if they added that sequence in a later patch or something, but I definitely got a screen showing the Citadel a little broken and a little worse for wear, but not blown to pieces. Shepard is still on there and she's lying in a pile of space rubble. And say what you want, but the Citadel looked mighty concrete-y and metal-y to me. 

Reason 10: Bioware
Well, this reason just doesn't exist anymore. The video was done in 2012 when ME3 was brand new, and the hopes of getting a DLC that would explain something about the ending were high. We now know that that didn't happen. But hopefully, maybe, we'll get some sort of explanation and closure in Andromeda next year. 

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