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  • Get the Perfect Ending (Shepard Lives) in Mass Effect 3

Get the Perfect Ending (Shepard Lives) in Mass Effect 3

Updated on April 12, 2016

Joined: 7 years agoFollowers: 19Articles: 15

This article will concisely explain what you need in order to get the perfect ending (with the secret final scene) in Mass Effect 3. This article will also clear up most of the confusion in regards to "Galactic Readiness" and the importance of multiplayer in the game. It also includes a section to help you quickly alter your EMS score in order to unlock all endings through a save game editor. Finally, it will provide a quick discussion of the indoctrination theory and instructions on how to achieve each possible ending. Enjoy!

Requirements for the Perfect Ending and Secret Last Scene

In order to get the absolute perfect ending and unlock the secret ending showing the survival of Commander Shepard, you must:

  1. Reach 5000 Effective Military Strength (EMS) NOT 5000 Total Military Strength.
  2. You must also choose to DESTROY the Reapers (NOT synthesis or control).

UPDATE: It may be the case that in order to get the secret ending, you must play ME3 twice or have played ME2 and imported your character. I imported my character, so I got the perfect ending in my first play through.

Explanation of Effective Military Strength

Effective Military Strength is the last number on the War Assets page.
Effective Military Strength is the last number on the War Assets page.

Effective Military Strength is the last number on the War Assets page (see above photo). EMS is increased by collecting War Assets throughout the game by completing missions, side quests, and mining. There are more than enough points available to get the Perfect Ending in the game (I did and so have many of my friends). Doing some multiplayer will help you quickly get the 5000 EMS required as well.

The Galactic Readiness percentage acts as a modifier to your Effective Military Strength. The equation is:

  • EMS = Total Military Strength x Galactic Readiness percentage.

So, if you have 5000 Total Military Strength and 50% Galactic Readiness, you have 2500 (5000 x 0.5) Effective Military Strength. The Galactic Readiness percentage can only be increased by playing multiplayer. Playing multiplayer and building up your Galactic Readiness can double the effect of your Total Military Strength, but you can also achieve enough War Assets on your own tp make multiplayer unnecessary.

Clear up the Confusion! Galactic Readiness or EMS?

To clear up confusion regarding Galactic Readiness:

  • Galactic Readiness percentage is, by default, 50%. It can only be increased by playing multiplayer. However, it is not the deciding factor on whether you get the Perfect Ending with the clip showing Commander Shepard waking up.
  • EMS, or Effective Military Strength, is the deciding factor in whether or not you get the Perfect Ending showing Commander Shepard waking up. EMS is Galactic Readiness percentage x Total Military Strength (achieved through War Assets).

So, focus on your EMS bar!

How to Automatically Increase EMS with Save Game Editor

This section of the article will help those players who cannot raise their EMS above 5000 (because they cannot play multiplayer, are too far into the game and do not want to restart, or are lazy) by editing their Effective Military Strength score. The entire process will take only about two minutes. Remember to back up your save just in case you mess up (better safe than sorry). As a side note, you must have a program that can open zip files (such as winrar or 7zip) and this program will only work with PC Mass Effect 3 files.

  1. Download
  2. In the saveedit folder, run Gibbed.MassEffect3.SaveEdit.exe
  3. Click Open. Find the save file you want to edit and double click on it to load it into the program. (The Mass Effect 3 save file location is in the My Documents folder under the Bioware/Mass Effect 3/Save directory.
  4. The player tab should be blank (this is normal).
  5. Click Raw. Scroll all the way down and you will see a line that says "Player". Click it.
  6. Now scroll down and look for a line that reads "GAWAssets (Collection)". Click it.
  7. All the way on the right side, you will see a "..." button. Click it.
  8. A new window will open. The first value highlighted is 0 on the left. On the right, you'll see "Id 173" and below that, "Strength" and a number. That number is your military strength score. Click on the number and just change it to something like 12000.
  9. Click save, new save file.
  10. When you play Mass Effect 3 again, load that new save file and play the ending again. You will have everything unlocked.

The Indoctrination Theory

Currently, there is much ongoing discussion as to the meaning of the ending of Mass Effect 3. A popular theory is that the ending scene (after Shepard is hit by the Reaper's laser) is actually an indoctrination attempt by the Reapers. Here is a video of the Synthesis Ending which compares Synthesis in Mass Effect 3 to Saren's attempts at Synthesis in Mass Effect 1. Note the rather large plot holes.

The indoctrination theory has some compelling arguments, and in some ways explains a lot of the ways that the ending disappointed players. If you want to read further, check out this amazing blog post by Uninhibited and Unrepentant: The Case for Shepard's Indoctrination. Here is the part I especially like:

Why indoctrinate Shepard and not simply kill him/her?

This is a valid question, as the Reapers tried before to indoctrinate Saren and failed (as seen in the first indoctrination youtube video above). However, Saren's mistake was isolating himself and standing against the Council, thus making himself an enemy to the Council. People thereafter fought him and resisted him. Eventually, Shepard defeated him.

However, by trying to indoctrinate Shepard, the Reapers are trying a new strategy/tactic. As Miranda said, Shepard is an icon. "People will fall in behind the Commander and follow him or her to death. Which they did in the closing of ME3, flying their vast fleets into the mouth of hell to fight and get Earth back."

Because of this, Shepard was able to do the one thing that Saren failed to do; deliver the galaxy right to the Reapers. By being indoctrinated, Shepard has led everyone to their doom.

Is it possible that this is an ending that is meant to scream, "This is not right, this could not have happened?" With a heavy dose of, "What about this person you love, Shepard! Don’t forget them. Something’s wrong here!"

— Uninhibited and Unrepentant

Anyway, the discussion is still ongoing and Bioware hasn't made any official announcements yet. I will be sure to update this article as soon as they do (I am an avid fan)!

UPDATE: In the original perfect "Destroy" ending, which sees Commander Shepard choosing to eliminate the Reaper Threat completely and not give in to the Stargazer’s (the blue boy's) wishes, there is a small scene in the end showing Commander Shepard’s body taking a breath. Now, with the addition of the Extended Cut DLC for Mass Effect 3, that ending also features Commander Shepard’s love interest refusing to place Shepard's name on the list of those Normandy crew members who were lost in all three games. This confirms both Commander Shepard's survival and supports Uninhibited and Unrepentant's argument.

All Possible Endings

Now you know exactly how to achieve the perfect ending, but what happens if you have a different EMS level or make a different choice at that pivotal moment? Here are all the possible endings you can have in ME3 according to EMS level and choice of "Destroy," "Control," or "Synthesis." Keep in mind that "Control" only becomes an option after you have 1750 EMS, and "Synthesis" becomes an option if you have over 2800 EMS. The below chart assumes that you chose to destroy the base in Mass Effect 2. If you don't upload a save from ME2, that is what the game will also assume. If, however, you chose to save the base in ME2, you will need 200 more EMS for each of these categories.

State of Earth
under 1750
Destruction (only choice)
2800 +
Saved and Shepard lives
Note: If you saved the base in ME2, add 200 points to each EMS in the above chart. If you haven't played/imported ME2, the game will assume that you destroyed the base.

If you are wondering what the other choices would have done, this is the Synthesis Ending to Mass Effect 3, in which organic life merges with synthetic life.

This is the 'Control the Reapers' ending to Mass Effect 3, in which Commander Shepard chooses to try to control the Reapers in the end of the game. Note that this is what the Illusive Man wanted all along.

After reading this article, please consider the fact that I have written this quickly and tried to be as straightforward as possible. I have done this because there are very few materials online for those of us who purchased the game and finished it early. If you have any additional questions, please make a comment in the comment section below. I have completely finished the game twice (all quests). I read all my comments and I will try to answer any questions you have! Thanks for reading this article and I hope you have a better understanding of how to unlock the perfect and secret endings of the game and have gained a better understanding of the ongoing indoctrination theory behind the ending of Mass Effect 3.

UPDATE: BioWare has released a new patch that has changed all the endings (made them longer). All the information in this article is for pre-"enhanced endings." EMS values may be different if you download and install the new endings. I believe if you do download them, you automatically get access to the three endings regardless of EMS, and each of the endings has the best outcome for that ending.

Which ending did you choose in your first playthrough?

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    • Joe 3 weeks ago

      Alot of you got your reasons for thinking one way over another such as destruction over control, inaction/rebelling by turning on the catylst and or peope, or UNIFICATION/synthesis not indoctrination. I chose synthesis because that seemed the true end game what all creatures and tech needed even in real life. We lack comprehension and understanding so chose to either forcibly alter( control/play God), rebel, or destroy.

      Shepard is a spectre, Spectres are the right hand of the Council, the Council supports any solution that is the most favorable and less controversial. Spectres are not average Joe's, they are the finest. All life forms ( Alien/human) have an opinon, but respect the Councils decision, and the Council respects and supports Spectres decision. They may not like everything about them, but they are the muscle and the finest, the right hand of the Council. So Shepard, being not only the Spectre, but hero/heroine of mass effect has the right to handle the situation however they see fit for ALL species and future ones to come. She or he too was the one to gravitate better knowledge into the threat and eradicate it more than once and knows it would be neccessary. They too explored space, fought as well worked alongside uncanny and unlikely friendly characters. Humans, Turians, Krogan, Salarian, Asari, Quarians, Geth, Rachni (Queen), Batatians, Korcha, Reapers, Collectors, etc. How DARE anyone question Shepards decision. What's the point of getting people to trust and forgive old wounds if you only gonna stab them in the back by either control, kill, inaction, play God. What need is love and understanding. They will build once more again as the caytlst explained and the process will restart. Right now peoples trust go with Shepards choice. The best solution ususally comes with a hefty price. That pricely is death of the one or few to sustain the Many. Without understanding, UNIFICATION, they will fight again, and the clearners, men in black, heroes, and reapers, etc will be called forth again to pass judgement. The Geth are too learning and growing exponentially which goes to show how can decide to eradicate a life, let alone define, once you given them knowledge of what it is to to live, think, make decisions, wrong or right. That was the problem between Geth/VI's, and Quarians. They looked at them only as machines, with reason, but learned, some like Vivi even loved, or Legion to feel and worry. Your decisions as Shepard impact Everyone!

      Synthesis is the best, yet saddest option of choices to take, but technically Shepard was never suppose to live past the introduction of the second encounter. He or she died once but was remade through synthesis. Their lover of had one and friends would have had to mourn their death, so synthesis again too is better death and at least this time on their own terms. If you take the control option and assume contol like the Harbinger, or Illusive man, it only be so long before you lose your mind and go mad with power. Unable to commune with others from not having physical form and machines too threatening and gigantic. People reminded of old terrors would fear and uprise against fearing you do it anyway, even if you try to remain peaceful, or lets say you get an unforceen virus that corrupts you. The possibilities endless. Destruction and rebellion I feel self explanatory and the words of the Catylst falls on death and the cylce continues. Your choice people, but I would argue that synthesis is the bridge to a happier, finer tomorrow.

    • Daniel 5 weeks ago

      I only desire a single change to the Destroy ending, and all 3 were due to rush and bit of lazyness;

      GETH and EDI and Synthetics and AI/VI not part of the Reapers are not annihilated like bugs, but damaged/rendered inoperable, but can be repaired. Some will, or many will, be destroyed, but the tech is not 100% Reaper. At most it is 30-35%. Maybe 40. They can be restored, and this is what I decide in my mind.

    • Jackshepard12 2 months ago

      I just beat the game by choosing destroy reapers ending while only having 3461 EMS( Effective Military Strength) and getting Shepard Lives cut scene. You really don't need 500+ EMS to unlock Shepard Lives cut scene

    • Antaron 2 months ago

      Long post regarding the ending. Short version: you don't need 5000 EMS to keep Shepard alive. I finished ME3 with slightly over 8k TMS, 50% galactic readiness and slightly over 4k EMS. And no editing the game save. My Shepard survived.

      I played with the same Shepard from ME1 and through ME2. In ME1 I chose to save the council (so Alliance fleet was weaker in ME3) and spared the Rachni.

      In ME2 I destroyed the Collectors' Base and all squad members (all of them loyal) survived suicide mission. Normandy was fully upgraded, so there was no significant damage to it in ME3. I also ended up with tons of spare resources, which were worth 100 EMS, I believe.

      In ME3 I spared the Rachni again, cured the genophage and got Krogan their Kakilosaurs, got Aria T'Loak on board with her mercs, negotiated peace between the geth and the Quarians, scoured almost all possible planets for war assets. There may be one or two planets I missed and Conrad Verner died in ME1, so no points from him either, but I think in total I could have maybe 100-150 more EMS. I even got what was left of the Batarian fleet. And Volus, Elcor and Hanar / Drell

      I didn't get the Salarian fleet. So I imagine Salarians won't be a very respected race when the war is over. Except for Mordin and their special forces.

      Overall, I'm not sure how one would get over 5k EMS points unless playing the whole trilogy with this only in mind.

      I think I have all DLCs, but no extra apps, no MP gameplay at all. In my case Liara didn't put the plaque on the memorial. There will be little blue feet running all over that apartment in Tiberius Towers in Silversun Strip.

      So yes, I chose to destroy the Reapers.

      As for Shepard surviving, that sure was nice, but if she died, that would still be, in my opinion, the ending Andromeda will build upon. Shepard didn't go to the Citadel to survive, she went there to destroy the Reapers and finish the war. Everyone signed on this war to finish their threat once and for all and destruction was the only solution to ensure that.

      In my case this was the only choice I could make. I was fighting this war against the Reapers with faith and hope against all odds, they were an evil force to be destroyed, because without chaos (organics) and unpredictability there is no progress overall.

      What Catalyst said, that the organics progress through technology and synthetics progress through understanding was not true. My Shepard made progress through understanding (of other races, Rachni, the Reapers, the Leviathans) as well as technology (all the implants, being re-made during Project Lazarus etc). Geth progressed through technology (Reaper code) as well as understanding. Edi progressed through technology (new body) as well as understanding (of human nature). But it all boils down to one thing: there is no difference between understanding and technology, they are the same thing.

      What the Catalyst was saying about inevitability of conflict between organics and syntetics was simply not true (as Edi noted after Rannoch, Reapers are fallible). As we could see in the vid whilst going through the Citadel Archives, synthetics could have peaceful intentions in the past. As we could see with the Geth, they didn't want the war with Quarians. They were fighting for their survival. Edi, in the final two conversations I had with her before the final battle (first onboard Normandy, then in Anderson's office) essentially became very human-like.

      So synthesis wasn't about reaching peace. It was about creating one race of intertwined entities with no or little personal identity. Effectively, another generation of Heretics, to give the geth example here. This option is what Saren wanted, and he was indoctrinated (so that's what the Reapers wanted).

      As for controlling the Reapers... It was basically about turning Shepard into one of them. Over the whole trilogy (in my case) she understood very well that one can't simply control the Reapers. This option meant essentially turning Shepard into a deity and that was not what she was about. All the time Shepard (at least my Shepard) was fighting to preserve humanity, with all its flaws. Remember conversations with Miranda about perfection?

      She was never about controlling anyone. Her crew didn't follow her because they had to or someone made them, they followed her precisely because she didn't try to control them in any way. I feel that even with a total renegade Sheperd this would not be any different.

      Control was the option that the Illusive Man wanted. And he was indoctrinated, so that is also one of the options the Reapers wanted.

      So, why did they give Shepard a choice? One possible answer is that their reasoning is beyond the scope of human comprehension, but it's also a lazy answer.

      What it looked like to me, was that they gave Shepard the choice because she couldn't be indoctrinated to help them with usual harvest. The whole Crucible thing was a test designed to find another civilisation if not totally on par with the Leviathans, then at least worthy of making a decision the Reapers themselves were not able to make. Look at the Geth: they needed Shepard to make a very important choice for them, which suggest they are still, in some way, shackled AI's. Look at the Reapers: they all still have the form of a Leviathan. The first time they are building a different design, it's a human reaper. And they were also still shackled in a way by their original programming. The crucible is a test, it's looking for a champion who will prove worthy of showing the Reapers a different path (unshackling them) or who will be able to put them to rest.

      As for the Destruction option, perhaps the Reapers were just indifferent about their own existence, but I think that choice might have been given to ensure the decision is not made by a lesser (indoctrinated) being. And you can say that's not what they wanted (hence they warn about possible loss of technologies or synthetics). All options lead to peace at some cost: loss of allies and friends if Destruction is chosen, self-sacrifice for eternal peace and cooperation (Synthesis), or self-sacrifice to create a being superior to all that exists (Control). But the Destruction one is the only option where you will sacrifice somebody other than Shepard. Also, this destruction of all synthetics can be as well a bluff. It's illogical why technology designed a very long time ago should affect current synthetics and current technologies. From what the Catalyst says, you can assume the crucible is fine tuned to affect the Reapers (and "still largely intact", so damage to other synthetics would be somewhat limited). To some degree it may damage the Geth or EDI or other applications of the Reaper code. But the Geth or EDI were created, they can be fixed. If after the energy burst we can see the ships still flying and people using their data pads, that means various complex technologies still work.

      As for the indoctrination theory, Synthesis or Control are indoctrination in a voluntary way. But I don't see why Shepard would be indoctrinated since the Reaper laser hit. Even the Leviathans were not able to indoctrinate Shepard, and their power is of similar magnitude, if not greater. This is why the Reapers are afraid of Shepard and also trying to get her after SR1 destruction. Shepard is unique. Javik tells her she's the avatar of Victory for this cycle, whatever that means. On many occasions we get confirmation of Shepard being unique. Starting with that Prothean beacon on Eden Prime (and several other beacons later). For whatever reason, Shepard was the first organic able to confront the Reapers to the point of having that conversation with the Catalyst. She is not their thrall, she is equal to them. Shepard can't be indoctrinated, but can be convinced. Hence they are giving her the choice.

    • Todd 3 months ago

      There's a fourth ending where you don't stop the Reapers and let the Reapers win it's the one I did my first play-through. I initiated by simply turning around with my gun and shot the blue ghost boy in the head. It then goes to a ending where it shows a computer playing Liara's time capsule she made and then where the child and old man talking in the end say how they need to learn the lessons of the past so the Reapers will not come again.

    • HiroAnimation 4 months ago

      @ryan "Synthesis is the best ending."

      Exactly my thoughts. I may be really sad that Tali had to be left alone without Sheppard and it's sad he ended up dying really is the best situation for the whole galaxy. It removes the reaper threat, and allows for future proofing any ai problems. It allows for a happier society, longer life, better technology and everything... Still confuses me how something that important wont have any relevance to ME:andromeda.

    • Illusive_Imposter 4 months ago

      Okay. You resist by choosing Chaos ending.... What about the Defiance ending? Is it not only Chaos but also recognizing that this is an indoctrination attempt? How is it that the defiance ending is different from the Chaos ending? You choose to destroy the reapers rather than joining them. You choose to do it, by believing that you can beat them with what you have. You can even shoot the illusion. So how does this fare with the theory? Also, when you hear the statement, "They're gone", notice how they later state that the "Hammer division has been wiped out". They're saying that you and you're team are gone, not the reapers. Everything else seemingly falls into place. If this theory is true, the chaos ending, (And I would argue, the defiance ending), should have revealed what actually happened rather than go with what Shepherd hallucinated. It would have cleared things up.

    • Ryan 4 months ago

      Just did my first trilogy run starting with Mass Effect 1 and ending with 3 and got the synthesis ending. I fail to see how the synthesis ending isn't the perfect ending? You literally sacrifice yourself so that ALL life born and unborn achieves a new level of transcendence. EDI even mentions this with the whole "mortality" thing. You die, but you essentially become a god or at least something akin to a demigod and the galaxy becomes a utopia.

      If you destroy the reapers then organics will eventually just create them again in another thousand years or so and if you control them, then you're basically just pure evil (and personally, I'd say indoctrinated).

      Synthesis is the best ending.

    • Jai_86 5 months ago

      @Bilo - Thought the exact same thing reading this.

      There are problems with ME3's endings (my main issue is that there's so few and which one you get has nothing to do with any of your choices throughout the trilogy), but the simple fact of Shepard dying is not one of them.

      I don't know why so many people think the hero of a story HAS to survive - it's far more profound and engaging if the hero has to sacrifice something, even themselves, in order to save everyone else. I'm convinced 90% of all the hate ME3's ending got was simply because people are such babies they couldn't handle seeing the main character die.

      Some people need to learn the difference between a 'bad ending' and a 'sad ending'...

    • Bilo 5 months ago

      Just because Shepard survives in the destroy ending, it doesn't mean it's the perfect ending. It's just a perfect ending for those who desperately want Shepard to survive. And the indoctrination theory is just a way to convince themselves that the destroy ending is the right choice. Kinda pathetic.

    • 3250 8 months ago

      Hi, I just got this ending and I think its the best ending too. The destruction of the reapers was the ultimate goal from the begin on, so yeah mission accomplished. Also the galaxy is almost the same as before, except for some repairs to made (relays), synthesis sucks imo.

      I want also to mention that it took me only 2800 EMS and 5600 Total Military Strength (50% readiness) to get the "shepard lives" ending. I had paragon 100%.

    • Larissa 9 months ago

      I chose to destroy them and got the "Perfect" ending one the first play through. I started in MME1, worked with it through ME2 (romanced Garrus and Thane with 2 different runs) and continued (both) with ME3; I'm planning on seeing all three endings. It would be interesting to see what you had chosen (choice in endings; almost like what you chose in ME1 and ME2 affected how the game would respond to you in ME3) to affect what ME4 would happen at the beginning (if I were to have chose Synthesis then the humans in the future would have the organic/synthetic attributes).

    • Dom 23 months ago

      I chose to do nothing and didn't make a decision and got to watch the planet burn

    • zach 2 years ago

      Shoot the child! Theres another ending!

    • willis 2 years ago

      This theory is incredible and only adds to depth of the story. My question for you, however, is if this is indeed the case, what happened after Shepard "came back" from the battle in his mind?

      The kid and his grandpa are alive in the future sharing this story, so what happened? Mass relays destroying entire systems aside, its incredible to think of how what remains of technologically advanced worlds would rebuild so certain races could get back home to native planets and such.

      They could easily make a trilogy of movies out of just what happens after since another game or three would probably be fairly boring as far as video games are concerned.

      But I'd love to hear a theory about regaining consciousness and independence from indoctrination and what happens after that to end the battle if he was never conscious after the harbinger beam.

    • Fry 2 years ago

      I chosed Destroy, got some cartoon scenes, Joker and Liara first to go out of Normandy...Normandy is repaired and flew of that planet and Shepard me think lives because hes chest moved on the end. Full Paragon imported from ME1. Is this the perfect ending?

    • That_Taco_Tho... 2 years ago

      Hope you know if you turn around and shoot the VI then the cycle continues... You forgot to mention that.

    • Larry 2 years ago

      I only had an EMS of 2984 and got Shepherd taking his gasp of air right before the credits and never played Muiltiplayer, I did however continue Shepard's story through all 3 games.

    • Kylliane 2 years ago

      Well, this is strange, it's beeing said, that you need 4500 EMS + saved anderson to get secret ending or either 5000+ EMS without needing to save anderson to get the perfect ending.. Now I have 3732 EMS, did all the paragon things in ME1, 2 and 3 (imported character of course) and I still got the secret ending of shepard, I was afraid first but I still got it... Can someone explain that?

    • spiderbite2 2 years ago

      I want to know how can I get the geth and the quarians in my side

    • Becky Fiser profile image

      Becky Fiser 2 years ago from Waverly, Iowa

      I know that this page is really old but I was hoping someone could help me. I had 5698 ems and chose to destroy the reapers and was playing on an imported character from 2, but I hadn't imported my character from the first game to 2. I also didn't manage to make peace between the quarians and the geth. Could either of those be the reason?

      I watched the end twice, garrus still puts my shepards name on the wall and no gasp for breath scene.

    • ParagonShepard 2 years ago

      I don't get why the destruction ending is considered the perfect ending, other than it is the only one where Shepard lives. The entire point of not destroying the reapers is that synthetics will always rise up against organics (that's why the reapers existed in the first place) so to me it seems pointless to destroy them since eventually synthetics will wipe out all life anyway. It also seems pointless to control the reapers because if there is any indoctrination involved in the ending, that's definitely it (they obviously indoctrinated Saren, The Illusive Man, etc. and that's the kind of thing the indoctrinated support). The rejection ending seems ridiculous. The only thing being saved are the mass relays. All civilization gets wiped out, and then the next cycle has a much better chance of beating the reapers conventionally. Again, though, the issue with synthetics wiping out humanity is there, though I suppose Liara's "beacon" could warn races against building synthetics. The other problem is that if we were too late receiving the information from the vastly superior Protheans, what ensures that our warnings will work any better? The rejection ending just doesn't seem promising overall. That's why I choose synthesis. First off, it's supposed to be the "ultimate ending" (assuming it isn't another issue of indoctrination). Organic and synthetic life being synthesized together solves all issues in the galaxy. The genophage, Quarian/Geth peace, Cerberus, the rise of synthetics, war, crime, etc. all no longer matter. The reapers help rebuild, possibly restore the civilizations that they have harvested over the last (maybe millions of?) cycles, etc. The issue with this is then, what is the purpose of anything in the galaxy? In essence, "what is the meaning of life?" Especially when living itself is no longer an issue, and everyone probably now lives forever? And would races still reproduce? Then wouldn't the krogan overpopulation issue be the issue for the entire galaxy? Would they have to expand into other galaxies with new, probably hostile species? Or their own reapers? Or would people not live forever, or not be able to reproduce? If species couldn't reproduce, then all species would likely go insane, and if they didn't live forever, the only thing the synthesis achieved is stopping the uprising of synthetics. All the ramifications of the synthesis ending hurt my brain. I honestly think the best ending would be destroy the reapers, if the story developers would not have put in the suggestion that synthetics will always be a threat if you choose that ending.

    • Deven 2 years ago

      Shepard will be saved

    • Barrett 2 years ago

      @Isocrates, I needed another choice for your survey,lol! First time I played ME3 I shot the Catalyst because I didn't really buy the choices I was given. I guess that plays really well with your indoctrination theory. I didn't like Synthesis because it forced that solution on everyone. Control was out because I felt my character strength was my connection to my allies and how long would it take for me to become another catalyst with that connection cut off? Destroy sucked because it would snuff out the new synthetic life I had worked so hard to foster in EDI and Legion/Geth. Imagine how pissed I was when I found out shooting the Catalyst meant the cycle continues! I chose Synthesis the 2nd time around,figuring that at least saved the most lives (even those who had become husks) Guess that means I've been indoctrinated!!! Lol

    • Barrett 2 years ago

      @Jason, we originally fought Saren - only to find out he was under the control of Sovereign, out real enemy for ME1. In ME2, we fought the collectors, who we find out are Reaperized Protheans under the control of Harbinger - but we don't get to kill Harbinger. In ME3, we find out that the Reapers have made it to us after x amount of travel from dark space, spend the whole game getting set to fight the Reapers only to find out at the end that the Reapers are controlled by the Catalyst.

      The catalyst....OY! We find out the Catalyst created the Reapers as "a" solution to a problem it was given by it's creators. Vague references are given about it's creators unless you played the Leviathan DLC.

      I'm just going to go out on a limb and say the enemy for ME4 has already been introduced - the Leviathan. Totally fits how the game has played out so far.

      The big question for me is whether Sheperd comes back or not. Perfect ending now with the destroy option shows a breathing body, even if you didn'tget the perfect ending the Lazarus Project of ME2 shows Sheperd "could" be restored. The control option leaves Sheperd as a Guardian, not quite alive - but not gone either. The synthesize option gave me a flickering Sheperd standing in front of the Crucible beam before I was shown the shipwreck scene (anyone else get this?) and I could be persuaded to believe he could somehow be brought to synthesis life with all the information released by that choice.

    • Jason 2 years ago

      I just finished replaying all 3 games - hadn't played them since not ling after ME3 came out - and I have all the DLC packs for all 3. With regards to ME3 I just got the perfect ending - the Normandy flew again, repairs to the citadel where underway, rebuilding on the different planets was under way, my name didn't get put on the wall and the breath thing with Shepard occurred, oh and the bit with the kid at the end with the 'one more story about the shepard'.

      I had 4000+ EMS not 5000+ and had maxed out reputation. The way it ends now is so open for a follow on. The fleets are rebuilding, the relays are only damaged, the citadel is being repaired.

      Given there are 'unexplored relays' there could be a new threat waiting which would lead into the next storyline.

    • Nick 2 years ago

      The truth is what someone else said. You have to beat the game once... You get a Crappy ending no matter what. AFTER the end credits role, it will say "shepard is now a legend." at this point start the cerberus mission again (no turning back) and you will get better ending

    • Austin 2 years ago


      I have a question,

      I did everything right, as together in completing the Game on Insanity

      (@ First Playthrough, with imported Caracters from previous games)

      It was hard as hell the really last mission,

      But i wanna know,

      What Effects will the choises have on Mass Effect 4..?

      I choosed Synthesis the first time..

      -becuase it seemed promising, But.. Shepard died.. -or did He really ?

      For i choosed to destroy the reapers right after because It was most likely He survived then.

      But i still don't know if it was the Best Choise. I would Wanna know more about the 'Synthesis-path'

      And also, What would the effects be in the next Game ? :/

    • ijustwantmyperfectending 2 years ago

      i just gotta say that this article gave me hope cause i felt like since i did all that hard work Shepherd should live to see it through also quick question if i play ME3 twice does that mean that i get the perfect ending automatically or do i still need to get the 5000+ems?

    • Polszenager 3 years ago

      I don't know if any of you have tried to shoot the glowing kid ( the catalyst), you will have another ending that the standard three.

    • Dave 3 years ago

      Under 4k ems, used the same save from me1-3 and got an ending where earth and all other planets survive, Normandy crashes but crew survive and Normandy takes off again. Then Shepard is lying in a pile of rubble and breathes showing life...he lives after all. I do have all the dlc completed however plus the extended endings dlc so this maybe why!

    • Mardok 3 years ago

      That was great! I really enjoyed to watch the explanation, I never looked at the end this way. Now I understand the great thought behind the ending without the DLC. Still I like to believe that Shepard really make it to control the reapers or make a merge between the organic and synthetic life forms (I like the union of the Quarians and the Geth and I want Joker to live happy with EDI). If I will not believe in that, there is just too much death and sorrow...

    • seriously? 3 years ago

      i really appreciate this guide, but i am absolutely livid that you said what is in the secret ending repeatedly. And i know this is long after the game came out, but still dude. i came to this guide so i could experience it, not so i could have it ruined. i really hate to be a buttneck like this but seriously

    • lucia 3 years ago

      thank you for the effective military strenght modifier; I did everything you said, but the numbers stay the same ._. I checked on the normandy and my effective military strenght and my military strenght were just like I left them, maybe I did something wrong? Or the numbers don't change but the game thinks they do? I don't want to attack cerberus yet, I've played it several times and I really want that ending where shepard lives :( I noticed the green bar went all the way up, but that's all.

    • Toby 3 years ago

      Welp, sucks for me; I can't get xbox live . XD Sorry, Shepard, looks like you are dieing.

      However, I did import him from Mass Effect 1 and maxed out his paragon each time.

    • Bohemond 3 years ago

      Sorry, but your claim that getting a "Shepard Lives" result without multiplayer is crap. There are NOT ENOUGH War Asset points available in the game, not if you collect every single one, to reach 10,000- meaning that with Readiness at default 50% you can NEVER reach 5000 EMS.

    • ivigu 3 years ago


      i read all of your comments, i understand some of your frustration, because i don't get the secret final, but even if i imported my character i don't have it. so i decided to redo the 3 games, maybe buy the dlc, and maybe this time i'll get it. i love ME so much to end it now.


    • Andre 3 years ago

      Also I wanted to know does the EMS gained from online always stay and go to ALL your diff profile slots and new ones created later on or only for the current save game your playing at that time?

    • Andre 3 years ago

      So you get the EMS from inline at any point in the game as long as its not during the final battle?

    • Tainted 3 years ago

      I used the same character 1-3. Chose to destroy Reapers. My ending was Joker, Kaidan (my femShep romance) and Garrus (even thou I took him on last mission with me) walked out of a crashed Normandy. I didn't see Kaidan go to memorial wall and not/put Shep's name on it even thou Shep died :S

    • batman07 profile image

      Joon Lee 4 years ago

      Great article Genghis

    • blurg 4 years ago

      I chose control, it was a difficult decision but, The way I thought of it is that, okay I went full paragon, my Shepard is a righteous guy, blue boy scout all the way. So as it turned out, my Shepard becomes a Reaper Paragon and the Reaper are under his control, he live forever as the Guardian of the Galaxy. That means My blue boy scout forever remains taking on the impossible. My Shepards "minions" make repairs to the damage they made and also repair the mass relays. Someone above mentioned that it's like saying The Illusive Man was right, but hey I'm the blue boy scout, I'd rather my Shepard controlling the Reapers than that crazy power hungry megalomaniac without any thought of anyone else but himself.

      My feelings were that, if I chose destruction, I'm just a guy with a bomb committing genocide. Not only that, the mass relays are destroyed and I have billions of different aliens floating in space looking for a place to stay. And that's not all..... that also doesn't ensure, to borrow a phrase from Battlestar Galactica (new series), "What happened then will happen again" is false.

      Synthesis, Now that was an attractive choice, combining organic and synthetic life into a whole new DNA using my shepards. hmmm, it would be attractive enough for me to want my shepard to leave a piece of himself in a new form of life. Wouldn't that mean I'm forcing the entire galaxy to be like my Shepard? How's that any different from Reaper indoctrination? Sure it stops the whole cycle and everyone gets along. it just seemed like utopia-a-la-my shepard.

    • Harsh Rajput 24_7 4 years ago

      do we need to download me3 extended cut dlc for these endings?

    • Harsh 4 years ago

      do we need to doenload mass effect extended cut or these endings?

    • Maya 4 years ago

      @w777chey: If you have the Extended Cut installed, you don't have to play online to get the perfect ending. The EC lowers the requirements for EMS down significantly. So all you have to do is complete every single fetch quest in ME3, support the correct people, authorize the correct topics in the Spectre terminal, and look good during every Diana Allers interview in order to get the perfect ending. Also, if you have the Leviathan DLC, it adds a significant amount of extra War Assets as more systems are opened up. You can scout around for new War Assets in certain planetary systems, and also gain Leviathan as a War Asset as well. So all in all, you can pretty much cruise through the single-player campaign with a perfect EMS if you are willing to put up with all the fetch quests.

    • w777chey 4 years ago

      Gibs doesn't work with the Ps3. When I have edited the files with a hex editor and those are loaded back into the Ps3 they show as corrupt files and are deleted from the Ps3. So unless you know or have the signed key from Sony on those then you can't edit those files for Ps3. I won't be spending any more money on this series when they release the first one for Ps3 and you still have to play online. Sucks for those of us that are not able to play online so will spend my money elsewhere, shame such a good game series to play and now so disgusted with it not even going to try and finish it on insanity now because of having to still play online for the perfect ending.

    • GibbedEditor 4 years ago

      Doesn't work.



      New Window

      Only has ID and strength, no 'number' you can change.

      Any idea's?

    • Lex 4 years ago

      I had about 4900 effective stuff and I got the ending where shepherd lives.

    • John 4 years ago

      hello there i have question other than mass effect game. i have assassin creed 2 , when i run the game it give me patching please wait ,but i am waiting too long and nothing showing ? Can anyone help?I ask this question here because i can't find my answer ,so please i need help?

    • Bob 4 years ago

      I had 3877 or something EMS and I got the secret ending. All dlc and no multiplayer. Which is quite weird. I think the best option is To destroy the reapers. The rest tend To lean towards Shephard being indoctrinated. Also I think the cindoctrination theory is the best there is. :)

    • Earl Noah Bernsby profile image

      Earl Noah Bernsby 4 years ago from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

      Thank you for gathering this info together in one place!

    • w777chey 4 years ago

      Isocrates, thanks for that info even if it didn't work. I never played the first game as I don't play on my pc. I know that the game files can be edited on ps3 using a hex editor as I have done that for MW2 and also Borderlands to edit the weapons along with using Willowtree. I just don't know what string to look for in the ps3 using a hex editor to change the values. Just a bummer that you have to play online to unlock those little cut scenes after spending so much time playing both of the games. Thanks anyway

    • BlindShade 4 years ago

      Actually, when you download the original patches (extra video content) from origins you get only to destroy or control the reapers. Now even when the child explains you everything and you have short movies with that are you saving earth or destroying it...

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Sorry I did not make it clear that the program only works with PC save game files, I have updated the hub to reflect this. I forget that this game is available on console (having played the entire trilogy only on pc).

      I am uncertain how to edit PS3 ME3 save game files. I know that there is a method out there for the XBOX360, but I have only experimented with the save game editor for PC, so I do not know about that one either.


      Are you certain your EMS was 2699 (and that you aren't reading a different number)? If your EMS was really 2699 and you really got the perfect ending with the breathing ending, then there must be a logic-programming error in the code for the game or perhaps your playing a cracked version of the game where all endings have been unlocked. Just checking because I haven't seen anyone with an EMS that low get the perfect and secret ending.

    • w777chey 4 years ago

      You must be lucky then, all I got on first play thru was to see the child and the old man walking together and talking about the past and the stars, didn't see Shepherd take a breath at all. Will try and finish my 2nd play thru today and so far have about 3481 EMS and see what happens

    • dopeboyswaagg 4 years ago

      I got the breathing scene and my LI not putting my name on the wall with ems of 2699. so am i just lucky or something?

    • w777chey 4 years ago

      Isocrates, the gibbed editor will not work on the ps3 saves, won't open those to be able to edit them. I have Hex editor Neo that will open the ps3 saves but do not know which value or where to change that in the file for the EMS strength. Do you know where that is in the file using a hex editor and what to change that too? Or if anyone else knows how to go about that I would be grateful for that info. Thanks

    • w777chey 4 years ago

      Isocrates, I finished my first play thru with an imported ME2 save and did get the ending where Shepherd lives but did not get to see him taking a breath in the ending. With the save editor I can not get it to work, when I open a save in it and go to the player and the assets all the numbers are 0 and the ID does not show the 173 as you said, when I change to value to 12000 and enter the 173 and reload the save then when I check my war assets on the Normandy it still shows exactly what I had before. Maybe I need to use a hex editor to change the file but do not know where to look for that and in what file. I am also playing on ps3 if that makes any difference. I am starting another play thru with imported character from me3 and see what I end up with for ems after most of the game is done. Just hate it when games make you play online for these things as I can not play online due to internet usage limit. Thanks

    • Darksol 4 years ago

      Remember the shepard VI in the docks holding area? In my imagination Shepard lives on in synthesis option^^

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      I have updated the hub and included the section on how to use the mass effect 3 save game editor. Let me know if you need any more assistance or if you have any problems with the hex editor. Also, just let me know if it all worked out for you :)

      Thanks for your comment and for reading my hub.

    • w777chey 4 years ago

      This is addressed to Isocrates. You had mentioned that you were going to post a way to increase your EMS without playing online so Shepherd lives and since I am unable to play online how do I do that? Do I need a hex editor to change a file and what file do I change and where and what do I change those values too? Would appreciate any help in this and you can contact me at Just put ME3 in the subject line if you would please. Thanks a lot. Wayne

    • Roro 4 years ago

      Is your answer for me shaun?

    • Shaun 4 years ago

      I think people who are complaining about ending aren't true fans, true fans would go through anything. I thought the ending was awesome, and you can really tell Bioware is trying really hard to tweak the ending but not change it, which is good. And I loved the new Leviathan DLC! I also did get the perfect ending thanks to this website, so thanks for that...

    • Roro 4 years ago

      Me: miranda from ME2 and ME3,But i don't know how to save it?

    • Jake 4 years ago

      All I EVER wanted the ending to be was Shepard and Liara sitting on a beach with lots of little blue children.

      That's all I wanted.

    • Roro 4 years ago

      In mass effect 2 ,Where is my ems? I can't find it on the ship?help

    • Clickedtwo8 4 years ago

      when i played it the first time i only had 1 choice destroy the reapers everyone died but joker aparently i got that secret ending to but joker only opens the door of the ship a crack then the credit then after credits the son and father were talking

    • Roro 4 years ago

      Im bothering you isocrates , when i download the file biogui_world for mass effect 2 ,i download it on utorrent but it give the file biogui_world is invalid Bencoding. What this mean? Sorry if i am bothering you but i need help

    • Roro 4 years ago

      Thank you ,and i need to ask a question, if i don't play the multiplayer mode ,how to get 5000 ems?I finished all the citadel and N7 Missions ,How to do it ?And again thank you for your answer Isocrates

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Effective Military Strength needs to be 5000 in order to get the perfect ending where you destroy the Reapers and save Shepard. With 3750, I am guessing you can either destroy the Reapers and save Earth (but Shepard will die), do Synthesis (if you destroyed the Collector Base in ME2 or you started a game from scratch in ME3), or you can choose Control. However, again, you need 5000 EMS in order to save Shepard while also destroying the Reapers and saving Earth.

    • Roro 4 years ago

      Everbody where the hell are you? Common!I need Help!

    • Roro 4 years ago

      Hi Guys , i m big fan of mass effect 1,2,3 . I need to now if i have a big paragon ,and the war asset is 3750 what will happene ?Please tell me

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      If the indoctrination theory is correct, then the battle in Shepard's mind was a battle between whether Shepard would be indoctrinated or not. If he chose control or synthesis, Shepard is actually siding with the Reapers, and becomes indoctrinated (Reapers wanted synthesis; choosing control means the illusive man was right and that the Reapers are needed). If he chooses to destroy the Reapers, he resists indoctrination.

      All of this is, again, occurring only in Shepard's mind. In reality, the fight continues, and in the prefect ending, you see the camera return to the warzone filled with rubble, and you see Shepard return. In every other ending, you don't see that part, because Shepard has been lost to the Reapers. And, the fight continues, because the Reapers have not actually been defeated yet. You've only saved Shepard.

      So, anyway, that is the indoctrination theory.

    • Felix 4 years ago

      I like your ideas regarding the indoctrination theory, but perhaps you can help me understand something I felt was missing.

      At the end they have a final push where Shephard get caught in an explosion and is knocked out. After that everything that happens, happens inside his mind and is pretty much a fight against the indoctrination. When you choose to destroy the Reapers, you essentially choose to break free of the indoctrination and you'll have the ending where Shephard lives at the very end. What I don't get is what really has happened regarding the actual fight against the Reapers back on Earth? Ok, so you managed to defeat the in your mind, but how did it really end in the reality? If nobody really reached the citadel/crucible other than in Shephards mind then how could they have beaten the reapers? Please explain :)

    • grim 4 years ago

      there is a missing ending, if you shoot the god child it gives a cycle continued ending.

    • Dj 4 years ago

      Just wanted to ad 1 more thing. I think Mass Effect 1-2-3 are the best games ever made in my opinion. Fascinating story ( also because we don't know what will happen between now and 100 years) and it has so manny ways to play... Never before a game got me so emotional as this one , that to the fact u really bond with the characters. Each with their own personalitys which come out so good. Liara , Aria, Mordin , Legion , Tali ,Anderson...etc. I really enjoyed the games and still am replaying it time after time.

    • Dj 4 years ago

      To comment on the lost above : I don't think Shepard was indoctrinated and was not getting the entire gallictic fleet at 1 place for the Reapers to decimate. On Thessia with the Prothean Beacon , the VI does not detect any indoctrination with Shepard or the crew. Shepard indeed spend much time near Reapers but as Liara said in ME1 , Shepard has a very strong mind with surviving the Prothean Beacons and all so that might have been his advantage with the indoctrination as well. Then about the endings, the Reapers don't know about the Citadel being used as weapon till the end so they had no reason to remove it , especially not because it is supposed to be their point of entry in the galaxy. Even did the Catalyst know about it from other cycles he would just have let it happen. Like it says , the "sollution" no longer works as Shepard sets foot on his platform. Meaning that its effectiveness is compromissed and the need for a new solution ( the choise u make) has rissen. I did not write this to tear u down m just to give my opinion on those points, would like to hear if anyboddy has to add or comment on this. I recently started playing ME and it totally sucked me into the universe. Its just sad that all over the i-net are those complaints about the ending. I also would have liked to see my baby with Liara and things like that but the endings themselves are good IMO. Whatever choise u make and however u play this game, it reflects who you are IRL. The ending in its turn had to come, how would u have liked it different? Shepard survives , if choisen right, and the biggest threat in the gallixy is gone. The lost talks about the fleets destroying the Reapers but that is not possible. They are outnumbering and outgunning the galactic fleet. There is no way to defeat them that way , as stated several times in the game. Even IF they could destroy the reapers , u would have the reaper tech that would still be indoctrinating people spreaded over all the planets they blow up a reaper on. These endings give a good closure to the trilogy and since u survive manny possibilitys to make new content and see the way u lived after that , childs , spouses , friends... Its still possible. Im going to stop typing now and i like to hear the comments on this ;)

    • Dr. Clockwork 4 years ago

      There is a fourth ending. Shoot the kid, the reapers continue. Shows a message from Liara to the future organics. I guess it came with the DLC.

    • the lost 4 years ago

      i understand the indoctrination theory and its the best theory out there....the amount of contact shepard has had with the reapers or their pawns (saren husks TIM and everyone else) will almost wipe out all thoughts about shepard not being indoctrinated and again the fact that destroying all synthetics is the only way to see shepard alive again only confirms it further.....the choices in the crucible were merely a summery of the whole game....destruction which was shepard's goal from the beginning.....synthesis which was saren's plan....and control which was TIM's it is clear that at first sight the destruction ending......AKA the chaos ending(from the reaper's POV) AKA shepard's wish is the best and most sensible option....but then again.....organics have never wanted to let go....there is no way that the reapers couldn't see the countless cycles before shepard's making the crucible......and even if they did know about it and couldn't do anything they would never let the citadel which was a part of the harvesting cycle be a part of the crucible and be a tool in destroying the cycle....the only reason that comes to mind is that they knew and they merely let time do it for them....they wanted the universe to be choose for itself......the red path might be a form of peace for shepard and organics.....but that is not what it really is as the reaper on rannoch said....organics represent chaos synthetics represent order.... in my humble opinion the red choice was not the kept the universe at their misery.....while the control ending would let them have peace.......and the synthesis ending lets them have evolution......i would have loved it if bioware would have had shepard crush the reapers with his armiy and then at the end take out harbinger's eye with a paladin pistol...but any such ending would be too close minded to the whole mass effect universe.....they showed every possibility of a future for us in the different races.... under a sole leader and in an empire (turians) ...spiritual and religious (asari) scientific (salarians) destroyed by war and nuclear warfare (krogan) destroyed by our own creations because we weren't ready for them (quarians)...........and the 3 choices at the end were choices that we will always be faced with.....i was quite satisfied with the endings....but then this whole thing is my opinion.....

    • alice 4 years ago

      i think that shep should make sacrafice like always they die to protect everyone and every species like always game made me angry at first thought about it death is right option for shep

    • Robert 4 years ago

      Yeah. But i think what your trying to get at is it's not true peace, its still some form of chaos in itself that's said to be peace .

    • StarFire StarDragon 4 years ago

      I just completed for my third or maybe fourth time through the game. Not sure which it is lost count. The first time I used an imported ME2 Character, The second time I used an imported ME2 with the ME1 genesis dlc. My latest time I used a character where I played all the way through ME1- did all missions, saved everyone, chose to let Ashley die, ME2 did all missions saved everyone, all loyal, and then ME3 and did all missions. My EMS was over 6000 when I finished; got that high by having 100% galactic readiness and promoting several MP characters to the game. Each MP character you promote will raise your EMS higher as part of the N7 Special Op group in the Alliance section. At the end I chose the middle choice and with the new extended cut dlc it feels just about right. Feels as if this was really meant to be part of the game in the first place and the initial endings that everyone was so mad about was a rushed ending just to make sure the game released on schedule.

    • backwerd 4 years ago

      you forgot one ending

      don't accept any of the options or better yet

      shoot the boy

      cycle continues

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago

      Yeah, if you downloaded the "enhanced endings" dlc, then there is now a fourth ending in which you shoot the holo boy. Please see my update at the end of the article for more information :)

    • HeWhoYouKnowNot 4 years ago

      I was literally looking to see if anyone got this ending and then the very last comment just shows someone has. Yeh, you can get a very bad ending (well I think its bad) to the game if you either shoot Hologram Kid or in the conversation choose not to choose any new "solution" (synth, destroy, control). It's a bad ending because its literally 30 seconds long, but I can confirm you see a vidlog of Liara explaining to sentient life in the Next Cycle that the reapers are gonna come. Also the grandfather and kid scene for me was replaced with what looked like and Asari and a human kid scene, but pretty much saying the same stuff.

    • Tdbbode 4 years ago

      i got a 4th solution =D shoot the boy ghost and the reapers will succed, didn't believe my eyes :D and it ended with a messege from t'soni underground =)

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Thanks for following up! I do understand your point that the Reapers are trying to end the chaos caused by the advanced species within the galaxy, which is a noble pursuit. However, the end doesn't always justify the means. If you wipe out individuality and hope, what is the purpose of living? There must be better ways to achieve peace that doesn't involve giving up your soul. So I do think the Reapers are more wrong to do what they are doing, and that Shepard and his allies are more correct in resisting. And I think we are both getting close to the main motif of the ME series, hope. Shepard "hopes" that he can stop the Reapers. He "hopes" that he can save humanity, as much as he "hopes" synthetics and non-synthetics can live in peace / not destroy the galaxy. And with the Reapers option, you end all hope. And what is the purpose of life without hope?

    • Robert 4 years ago

      Roger. When i said peace i meant in their own way of looking for "peace".

      That may be that their trying too steel what is ours far as individuality, but I know no one would give up the "rights too be themselves" and that they would kill too be what they are. But the means of end of chaos the reapers seek would not be any more wrong then trying to protest against it, and is among a "Noble Deal" so too say. Its intentions are more then noted.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Hey Robert, thanks for your comment! However, we have to remember that the Reapers more so want galactic calm. The "peace" they want involves every advanced specie in the galaxy giving up their individuality and hope. This is the reason that Shepard and all the races of the galaxy oppose the Reapers. No one wants to lose their unique right to live, even if it is for galactic calm.

    • Robert 4 years ago

      Yeah perhaps you are correct about the Indoctrination of Shepard, however the Reapers want peace, do not forget this. But theirs means of controlling Shepard would have been their best chance being that he/she would have lead the people right too them making choosing one of the choices that ultimately brings peace.

    • Blaiz 4 years ago

      How do I get me Effective Militay Strength up? Right now, I just did the mission where I destroy the geth ship thingy and get tali, and my EMS score is at 1,390. How do I get it up?

    • Thatoneguy918 4 years ago

      So I just finished ME3 and I chose the Destory Reapors ending. At the very end, I was shocked when I found out Shepard was alive. But I did not play the game a second time around, I did not import a character from ME2. And I checked my EMS and it was 3087. I'm not playing around. I'm completely honest about it. So maybe there still is a way to do it. Maybe the DLC extended cut ending for ME3 added it to the ending. I don't know. I just thought it was very interesting. So I guess, I basically unlocked the perfect ending with the secret ending without following any of the required steps to unlock it, but how is that possible?

    • cjlind6436 4 years ago

      If it's possible, you should take the "(Shepard Lives)" out of the title. It's the number 2 hit on Google for "How to get 5000 EMS in ME3.

      I just wanted to know if it was possible without MP, and now the end is spoiled because the title is a massive spoiler.

    • Chris 4 years ago

      i choose the control, and i don't see how some say it equals being indoctrinated. the cut scenes show me using to the reapers to rebuild the civilizations attacked by the uncontrolled reapers, and talking about being a protector. obviously, that's not what the reapers were doing to begin with.

      anyway, i did it to save the geth; the catalysts explanation seemed to indicate destroying the reapers would also exterminate the geth, sort of proving his whole "synthetics and organics can't get along", so i did the opposite

    • Blaiz 4 years ago

      I read almost all of these comments and most of them are talking about multiplayer. I don't have XBOX Live and to get my percentage up for the one thing I need to play online. What should I do if I want shepard to live, and the reapers to die?

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Hello, I am the author. I understand your frustration, I also played me1 and imported to me2 and replayed me2 just a couple days before me3 was released, and then played through me3.

      I do not have my saves or the game on me and will not for the next couple weeks. However, my EMS was around 6000 (I believe 6150), much more than what is needed to receive the perfect ending. Could you post your Total Military Strength, Readiness Rating, and Effective Military Strength (the three numbers on the War Room Page), so that I can help you resolve your problem.

      As you have played both me1 and me2, and have imported to me3, you should be receiving the perfect ending with Shepard living secret ending if your EMS is above 5000 (remember EMS = 5000, not TMS = 5000, unless your RR = 100%). Anyway, post your three numbers and I am positive we can figure out what's wrong :)

    • shadow 4 years ago

      to author

      can you post your ems stats? so I can compare?

      after checking everything still don't see what I missed,scanned all the frigging planets,all the frigging sidequest..I am still angry..sorry for multi posting if that offend the people here.

    • shadow 4 years ago

      sorry,got me so angry...just did a marathon last two weeks,me1,me2 and me3..I am so frigging angry right now...I wanted the best possible outcome on my first go and now this.....urgh..I am off to swearing..will be back for info.

    • shadow 4 years ago

      Didn't get the ultimate ending..that sucked big time,

      Had me1 imported to me2,me2 imported to me3

      completed all side quests,all descions in all 1,2 and 3 game are paragon and mutual..had ems up to 3500,so obviously didn't get the best ending.

      what I want to know is what did I miss?

      right now I am comparing my mission count with some of the guides missions count,seems ok.

      so tell me what is wrong?

      I can't play on mp,no decent net.

      any help is welcome.

    • Dunn 4 years ago

      I agree with the indoctrination theory. The game has constantly repeated the point that whenever someone attempts to control the reapers, their greed controls them and the cycle is continued. Yet suddenly, in the last fifteen minutes of the game, controling the reapers iappears to be the righteous thing to do. It's a bit too fishy for me to buy.

      It makes sense. An indoctrinated, paragon Shepard's morals would be open to the suggestion of "saving" life. An indoctrinated, renegade Shepard would still be attracted to the power gained. Either way, Shepard (and the gamer) think controlling reaper as the better thing to do. Which would be exactly what the reapers wanted Shepard to think.

      I also find it interesting that the only possible way for Shepard to live is a high war asset Destruction ending. This implies that in any possible sequel, that would be the starting point. I find it hard to believe the creators would want to start a new series with an renegade, power hungry Shepard as their preset.

    • onela22 4 years ago

      I know it's been a few weeks, but you do *not* have to have your EMS final before the Cerberus mission. Even though the Cerberus & London missions are sequential, you can run around on the Normandy for as long as you like in-between. So if you go to multiplayer after the Cerberus mission but before you take the Mass Relay to Sol, you can improve your EMS. Cheers, everyone. (P.S. I played 5 additional hours just to hear Jennifer Hale take one breath!)

    • williamk216 4 years ago

      Well a few things are actually easy to explain. Trough the game if you listen to conversation on the side like by random civilians and military personnel they give you hints on things most of you are asking about. Such as mass relays and whatnot and all the fleet of the galaxy being "stuck" at earth. In the hallway to normandy on the citadel the private and seargant have a talk about ftl without using e zero cores and without relays for travel. Hints that you don't really need the relays. Also relays only destroy life in a galaxy if they. Are ruptured only. If destroyed its fine. If only ruptured you're screwed. That's why they opted to not destroy them to slow the reapers down. Risk was too high. Really it goes to say that there will still possibly be a fourth installment of some kind in the mass effect world because honestly the world is there. It has too much potential for other games.

    • chief 4 years ago

      can someone help me!!! i got my readiness up to 95% and my ems was over 5000 so i started to storm the cerbrus base but turned it off and wen i went bk my readiness went dwn 3% after i done the cerbrus base i still had enough ems for the perfect ending so started the final mission and i could see different outcome in the battle in earths orbit. im in work now and im afraid wen i play on it later my readiness will go dwn again. even tho im on the final mission will i still get the perfect ending or will i have to go online to boost it back up??????????

    • rewardcracker 4 years ago

      One thing I have lerned about the game and the last "hunt" if you will... about the man telling the kid at the end of the credits... is that its hunting at a 4th exc game of Mass Effect. Plus the C.E.O. of bioware has said "the Mass Effect game will go on and new full games will be made in the future". Now that leaves some room for what that will be or even when...but. most likely pre-quals or dlc's. But I think bioware made us big fat waste of money With the 3rd Mass Effect. All the ending's sucked. The only real thing I cared about playing this game was hopeing this was not the end...don't get me wrong I love the game. And again the ending's SUCKED...but you know if you could see a better ending to this game it would help. If I had a game this good to make I would not make as many holes in the story as there where....without making more games.

    • Nuitari 4 years ago

      Ok, so i had over 4000 strength and my rating was at 100% before i started the Priority : Earth and i couldn't get perfect ending. I only had two choices at the end. I didn't even see joker exit just the door crack before it went to credits. I'm playing the PC version is there a difference?

    • Akshay 4 years ago

      Shepherd was shown lying between the leaves and joker and Ashley were alive and the old man tells the story .. one more story probably i got the best ending... i don't know if i did or not .

    • AnotherTurian 4 years ago


      That's interesting, in my synthesis ending Garrus walked out of the Normandy in the distant shot... I wonder if it's to do with who you romance?

    • Wes 4 years ago

      In single. player with galactic readiness sitting at 50% how do you get your EMS. to 5000? I've. played the game through 3 times but can only get my EMS to just below 4000 and im. pretty sure I've done all the side missions?

    • 4 years ago

      Hi so i just finished the game and didn't get he "perfect ending", my EMS was 3000 something, and I have a ME2 import with all the proper decisions, my question is do i HAVE to play multipayer to get all the points possible?? is there a way to get more points just through single player? i did all the side missions available. Thanks!

    • Shadow 4 years ago

      well i got the perfect ending all of the survived i saw joker and ashley out of the ship well yeah i kinda saved ash tried to save miranda ended with her sis but i still didn't get why when i was talkin to ilusive man there was 2 other other choices couldn't use them dough i have 7000+ ems readiness was like 97% and the secret ending is shepard moving in the rubble...not so secret... well i go synthsis think that's the best choice bioware gave us..! besides its in the choice if the secret ending is shepard in the rubble i prefer synthesis better and logic..

    • Arbiter of ME 4 years ago

      I just completed ME3 going with the Synthesis ending. After reading this, though, I'm a little confused: What makes this the "perfect" ending? I haven't watched the video yet, as I'd kinda like to try it out myself, but I believe destroying the Reapers would also destroy all Synthetic life, meaning EDI and the Geth would be destroyed. That doesn't sound like a very nice ending to me :/ I liked "Synthesis" because everyone seemed to survive and it looked peaceful. Sure, my Shepard died (maybe), but I found his sacrifice to be well worth it. I know we all have our ideas about what makes the "perfect" ending, but I'm curious if what you're talking about is the official ending, or just your opinion. Regardless, I'm glad you put this information here, and I'm definitely going to try it out myself! Also excuse any ignorance on my part if I missed something from not watching the other endings.

    • Niglet 4 years ago

      I think in terms of the old man saying there is one more story may be another game, a prequal more than likely akuze... That's my guess?

    • Tzvetan 4 years ago

      I've choose control, and I did it just because I read on youtube ecc: "bla blaa shitty ending", so I was like "defenitely Paragon, otherwise I'm screwed". Eventually I was headed to the left path. I was just standing before the controls and thinking, is this the right decision. Than I decided - Fuck you IM and Catalyst, I want to do what I think i have to, fuck you Bioware for coloring this decision in blue (as paragon)i'm going to destroy the repares !!! I turned around and towards "destroy reapers choice" the problem was that I couldn-t move. The game fucked me !!! I was just able to spin my self around, I couldn-t move. I don-t know if this is a bug but it sure effected my game... So I've took control over the reapers, i was sad. Then i've played the mission again and choosed the DESTROY Option !!! But i'm really really sad, i feel bad for not completing the game as a wanted on my first playtrough :((

      So finally my question is: What did my savegame save - the original (unwanted choice) or the second, as it was the last decision?? couse you know, i want to import my shep in mass effect 4 (if there is any)and i want him to be the one, my original SHEP !!!

      2. Have someone else had the problem with the impossibility to move after nearing the control choice. Thank you for your time :)))

    • bjmp9396 4 years ago

      ok so here's my deal. im about to start me3. ill tell you what i did so far. can you tell me if ive done anything wrong or if i need to go back to do something in me1 and me2?


      -did all side missions

      -saved the council

      -wrex lived


      -saved all members and all crew was loyal

      -rewrote the heretics

      -destroyed collectors base

      -saved maelons data

      -prevented tali's being exiled

      -did most side missions

      -got resources and upgraded normandy to capacity

      if you have any questions about what i did or didn't do please reply. what should i do come me3? get who, save what, do this and that, etc. please reply and answer all my questions! thank you sososo much!

    • Bad Ending 4 years ago

      eh i think the ending is terrible no matter what you do anyway. Everyone who came to the fight on earth is going to die anyway. No mass relays = no food, supplies, fuel, or space for living. Earth probably can't even sustain its own population, let alone millions and millions of other species (plus turians and quarians can't eat human food)

      So no matter what you do this ending sucks hard :(

    • Tuhkaa 4 years ago

      Just finished my first playtrue. Got the secret ending with Shepard "surviving". Was easy enough. It is as you say. Around 5000 EMS and import a ME2 character or play the game twice.

      I don't know what everyone is complaining about when it comes to the ending. I think that is was well done and leaves room for speculations. Which you can obviusly see in every Mass Effect forum you go too. But I can admit that is was a bit of a mindf*ck!

      And there will be another Mass Effect game. They won't just kill of a big franchise like this that easy, I mean just look at Halo. They ain't ever stopping even if they should. Just give it a year. And there will be DLC:s for ME3. I am willing to bet money on that. I would like to get a DLC just so that you can see the aftermath of the war. That would be cool...

      But yeah thanks for this thread mate. Really helped me confirm that there was a way to keep Shepard alive. Just what I needed.

      Over and out!

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago

      @Hey There

      I hope so! Or at least a DLC with an actual ending lol

    • Hey There! 4 years ago

      Do you guys think there will be a Mass Effect 4? If Shepard survives, something has got to happen.

    • Sap 4 years ago

      Correction your ems does not have to be 5000 minimum. I have an ems of 4800 and got the special ending. So im guessing it might be 4500+ to get it.

    • Ben W 4 years ago

      I got the ending where Shepard lives, but the game glitched and only showed the Normandy door partly opening, then the screen went black and it went into the titles! And does anyone know what the end means (presumably Shepard talking to his grandson, how did he survive in the other circumstances? and where are they ect.) Thanks :D

    • Elpi 4 years ago

      Don't usually comment but wanted to Thank you for the info!

      Totally onboard with the indoctrination theory. Chose to destroy the repairs myself coz all other options didn't seem "right"...

      Perhaps you could put on a list of the actual numbers in the status of the military groups?Would help to see where I missed something!Can't play multiplayer.

      Epic Game. Epic Characters. Epic soundtrack. Brilliant ending (?). Hope to see a little bit more...

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      I am not certain if S Rank is entirely correct, however I know that it would be extremely difficult to get 10000 Total Military Strength in the game (to get 5000 EMS). If you absolutely cannot play multiplayer, I will soon publish a hub on how to change/hack the EMS value in the game and set it to any arbitrary number (for people who do not want to replay the entire game / for people who cannot play multiplayer).

    • S Rank (Xbox) 4 years ago


      There is no way to breech 5k EMS without multiplayer. On my first playthrough I had 7061 Total Military Strength prior to going after Cerberus. Galactic readiness was 50% since I had not done multiplayer. Before doing that last mission I spent to afternoon getting GR to 100%. Point being, by default GR is 50% so half of your TMS will be your EMS. Unless you can get 10,000 total asset points, you won't get the best/secret ending. My second playthrough I had a TMS of 7066 then +100 after the Cerberus Station mission when I get awarded 100 asset points for the Human Proto-Reaper heart, as I destroyed the Collector base at the end of ME2. There is a glitch I think in one of the citadel support argument choices that netted me negative citadel defense assets. Also if you saved the Collector base you get awarded more asset points but that would be more of an indoctrinated action as maybe the Illusive Man might have influenced you. I think the highest number of asset points you could get, maximum possible would be something near 7,200. Still not enough to break 5,000 with only 50% galactic readiness.

    • Mickey 4 years ago

      I played ME 3 on PS3 and did everything the strategy guide said. All sub quests and talking to everyone, and still ended up with only 3800 Effective Military Strength. I know you need 4000+ to save Shepard. How so I get this without playing multiplayer? I don't have Internet at my house right now. I'm posting this with my iPhone. So multiplayer is out of the question. So please help. The only thing I may have messed up in my first playthrough is some of the support dialog options. Like maybe I supported the wrong person. But that still shouldn't make up for 200 pts. So what did I do wrong? Any tips would be a great help. It sucks to spend that much time on a game and not get the best ending.

    • Kelso 4 years ago

      This ending is bs. What is the freaking planet they keep showing with the giant moon, is joker using the relay as the blast is coming? And how the hell is the crew back on the Normandy when they should all be safely on earth. After playing all three I just want the happy ending for Shepard and liara haha and me1 where's Shepard and liaras child shouldn't they have one?

    • HeHeHe 4 years ago

      Am i the only one here who thinks the planet they land on looks just like Sur'Kesh. The mountains and that, meh.

    • sp1ked 4 years ago

      I imported my character after playing both ME1 & ME2 (but without any DLC). I had over 5k EMS, didn't save Anderson and chose destroy (all 3 were available). I got the Shepherd surviving (if you can call it that) scene. Joker, Liara and Garrus walked out of the Normandy (they were both in my team on the final mission).

      The scene with the old man and boy isn't Shepard (I played femshep and it was still a man) and anyway, it's talked about as if legend ("The Shepherd").

      Replayed the ending and chose synthesis. Didn't get the Shepard surviving scene. Joker and EDI walked out of the Normandy and from a more distant shot, you could also see Liara exit too.

    • Zealz 4 years ago

      Im not sure what happened. i had a EMS of 4500 and i still got the secret ending. I think it matters if you save Anderson as well.

    • theoneguy 4 years ago

      just to tell everyone first if you want the ending with the shep living at the end of the game is that first ems has to be 5000+ not military your total with the multiplier two you don't have to have a run through a 2nd time i did it without running through the game a 2nd time and you need to go to the right and shoot the pipes it should be explained to you by a little boy your choices that's what happened to me. Easiest thing to do is have at least a min of 95% readiness before the final battle occurs

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Did you choose to destroy the Reapers at the final mission. Also, please provide your Total Military Strength, Galactic Readiness Percentage, and Effective Military Strength (the three numbers in the war room), so that I can troubleshoot what went wrong. Also, was that your second playthrough with a new ME3 character, or did you import a character from ME2?

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Yes, you must have EMS of 5000 before you start the cerberus mission. You must thereafter choose to destroy the Reapers in the end of the game, and you will then unlock and see the secret ending of Shepard living.

    • Skin 4 years ago

      I had over 6000 EFFECTIVE military strength, it was my second play-through, it was a Mass Effect 2 import, AND I destroyed the collector base. I didn't get the Shepard lives ending.

    • stillnoperfectend 4 years ago

      i haven't got the perfect ending either. i have the ps3 version so i done genesis. then ME2 and imported to 3 and i have 82% readiness and total of 6000+ roughly have EMS at 5400. however i didn't have this at the beginning of the cerberus base mission but in the gap where i go to earth. is that why? or do i have to play again and its random whether i get to see it whether i have met the requirements or not. oh yes and i destroyed the reapers

    • Angelo 4 years ago

      I checked, my TotalMS was like 7300something, with a galactic readiness at 97%, for an EffectiveMS of 7200something. But, I chose the Control ending.

      Anyway I like this kind of cryptic endings, kinda reminds me of Silent Hill series ones, where ppl speculate on what could have really happened. I didn't think they could pull of one like this in a sci-fi action RPG, and (to me at least) was a pleasant surprise!

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      I'd love to help. First off, what was your Total Military Strength, your Galactic Readiness Percentage, and your Effective Military Strength (the three numbers given in the war room of the normandy). Also, did you import your Shepard from ME1, ME2, or did you start a brand new game?

    • PERFECTENDING 4 years ago

      I had all the right credentials, but I still can't get the perfect ending. Any tips?

    • Jonnoda 4 years ago

      Pretty sure the stargazer talking to the child after the credits is NOT Shepard. I did the synthesis ending my first run and I got that scene. next I pulled off the 'perfect' ending mentioned in this article and still got that scene. Logic(mine at least) says that its been so long in that last scene that Shepards story has passed into the point its a childrens story, there is no way anyone save maybe Grunt, Wrex, and Liara are alive.

    • Angelo 4 years ago

      I dunno how much my EMS is, I chose (by mistake) the Control ending, but I don't recall earth being destroyed. I remember about Reapers leaving, and marines rejoicing, then the destruction of Mass Relays, and the Normandy crash landing on a new green planet.

      I guess it means that everything will start again (but without Mass Relays) and if the Reapers will be needed again to restore the Cycle, this time they will be controlled (by Shepard?)... IF we don't count the indoctrination theory, that is...

    • confused 4 years ago

      yeah, i did some researching last night and came up with the same results, thanks for doing the same. Its kinda dissapointing that i paid $60 for a game i can't even finish... oh, and i finally got the perfect ending on like the fifth reload of that auto save, must have been some random glitch.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      I can address your " black screen after ending " problem first. To start off, you are not alone. A lot of people are actually experiencing the same problem. At the moment, Bioware hasn't released any official response, but they are looking into it. It seems like the main culprit, for the time being, is the .gpd ME3 file in the GamerTag profile. You are you playing on an xbox360 right? I haven't run into anyone who is having this issue on the pc version. There has not been a patch released to fix this issue. There are three solutions that you can pursue at the moment. First, if you start a new game, chances are you won't have this issue again. Second, you can backup your gamertag profile to a usb, open it up on your computer, and delete the ME3 file within the gamertag profile. This is kind of complicated and you won't be able to play Multiplayer afterwards anytime soon. I would just wait for a patch to be released. If you would like me to post specific steps on how to fix your problem and the .gpd ME3 file, I can, its no problem. Just know that you won't be able to play multiplayer ME3 afterwards for the time being. (third option is waiting for an official patch to fix this problem, but, of course, I have no idea when the patch will be released)

    • DaViDmaVid 4 years ago

      Well on my first playthrough I had a total EMS of about 6130 and I didn't do the galactic readiness. But now I did and I am guessing that I am more than prepared to get the ultimate ending lol.

    • confused 4 years ago


      This playthrough was on a save that originated on mass effect 1, then through 2, and finally imported to 3 so it did come from 2. The whole not getting the perfect ending thing isn't really what is bothering me, it is the fact that my game freezes on a black screen every time after i get that little message that says something along the lines of "Sheperd has become a legend, and you can continue the legacy through dlc blah blah blah" it makes it impossible to use this save again because the game doesn't recognize that the save has finished the game. I have tried reloading several times but end up with the same results. That is my major issue, but if you can help me on the perfect ending, that would be nice too.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago

      @Mass Effect , @awesomeatME3 , @confused

      Could you each comment on whether this was your first playtrough and whether you imported your mass effect 2 character (if you played ME2)?

    • confused 4 years ago

      i had an ems of abnout 5500, i chose the destroy option and i did not get the sheperd lives ending. Also, i don't know if it is related, but at the end after the storyteller scene, my xbox just stays on a black screen. Nothing i push in game does anything, but i can bring up the guide to dashboard.any suggestions on how to fix this?

    • awesomeatME3 4 years ago

      yea i have 99% galactic readiness and 5138 EMS befire the cerberus HQ mission and I didn't get the ending when shepard survives

    • Mass Effect 4 years ago

      Weird. I have 5300 (roughly), Military Strength. I had 82% Galactic Readiness which ended up translating to about 4300 Effective Military Strength.

      I chose the destruction option.

      At the end, right before the credits, after I had seen the ship crash land etc... It showed Commander Shephard in the rubble and just for a second, he took a deep brief and the credits rolled.

      So not sure what I did differently, but it appears you don't definitely have to have 5000 + EMS to have Shephard survive.

      Also when it showed the crew members getting off of the crash landed shuttle, it wasn't the two people I took with me on the final mission. I took Ashley and Liara on the final mission and Ashley and a male crew member (I can't remember his name) got off the Normandy with joker.

      So there appears to be a lot of variabless which decide the ending, more than we probably even realise!

      Also I got another cut scene after the credits showing Shephard talking to a child, as old man. Really Bioware, loved the ending until that points! But I held hopes off playing more of Shephards story and skipping ahead that far into the future kinda ruins it.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Yes, if you reload a save and get your EMS above 5000 and then do the Cerberus mission, you can get the perfect and shepard lives ending.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Yes, you must have 5000+ EMS before you start the Cerberus mission in order to get the perfect and shepard lives ending (after choosing destroy reapers)

    • ShephardLoveTali 4 years ago

      Can i reload a saved game and do all side quests and get a different ending? Will this new ending be my "latest" ending or i can't make changes to the first ending?

    • ShamsTron 4 years ago

      Just to be sure I understand. I have to have 5000+ ems before doing the Cerberus mission? The reason I am asking is I used multiplayer to get mine over but I loaded a save right before getting on the citadel and did not get the perfect ending. Thanks for your assistance.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago

      @Kyle Oh, well yeah, I think that's the problem. The Cerberus Base mission and the "Defending Earth Mission / Final Mission" are both linked (as in when you start the Cerberus Mission, you will automatically go on to the ending mission after you finish Cerberus. So your EMS will be locked when you start the mission. I would say, get your EMS to 5000 and then retry the Cerberus Mission. If you really don't want to do any more side missions or multiplayer, I can direct you to a cheat trainer and you can just set your EMS to 5500 or something.

    • Kyle 4 years ago

      Yes my character was imported. The only thing I can think of is that I started my attack on the Cerberus base before I had 5000.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      Huh, that is very odd. Are you sure you didn't miss it (it is at the very end). Also, out of curiosity, did you use an imported character (as in, had you played ME1 or ME2)? Just wondering because I've heard that you get the secret ending by playing ME3 twice, or playing ME2 and importing character, then playing ME3 and choosing destroy with 5000 EMS. My friends and I have all imported our characters, so this could explain why you did not get the secret ending. Let me know and I'll try to continue to help!

    • Kyle 4 years ago

      Hmmm interesting my total military strength is 6337, readiness rating at 83% so ems of 5259 but still no secret ending. I'm stumped and yes I choose to destroy.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      In order to get the secret ending in which Shepard wakes up, you must destroy the Reapers (all other endings lead to the death of Shepard). By destroying the Reapers, you will save Earth, and save Shepard. Also, if the indoctrination theory is correct, then destroying the Reapers is the only way to save Earth.

    • Kristen 4 years ago

      Hi, in order to get the perfect ending, must you destroy the Reapers? I've played paragon the whole way through--can it work with the synthesis or control option?

    • Sam J 4 years ago

      the second play-through secret ending of shepherd living is if you didn't play ME1 or ME2. When you get the achievement it is for beating the game twice OR plying ME2 and beating ME3.

    • John 4 years ago

      In every ending all mass relays explode, now my question is: what happens to every race on earth? and wasn't the explosion of a mass relay fatal to every solar system near it ?

    • Hreroth 4 years ago

      This is the ending i can't accept. By control reaper imply they will return in the future. So WTH all the sacrifice in ME 1 to ME 3 for another 50000 years peace?

      By spending 100 hrs+ to get control the reaper, pls remember illusive man. why can't the same thing happen to Shepard been control?

    • RobaVortex 4 years ago

      DAMN IT I think I got indoctrinated ._. I choose Control. EMS was like 3200 GL 50%

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago


      That sounds awesome! Yep, multi-player will increase your Galactic Readiness Percentage, which will definitely help you get the 5000 EMS required. Let me know when you do achieve the perfecting ending and unlock the secret ending clip!

    • BadRobot 4 years ago

      Nevermind, I played 30min on the multiplayer and it's above 4000, cheers !

    • BadRobot 4 years ago

      Hey thanks for answering.

      You're right, I was looking at my Total Military Strength, my EMS is actually 3381...

      I still don't get it though, I was pretty confident I did all the quests and scanned all the planets, but now I wonder.

      Is it really that hard to get 4000 ?

      My stattus is :

      Alien 796

      Alliance 1437

      Asari 668

      Crucible 665

      Ex-Cerberus 225

      Krogan 875

      Geth 515

      Turian 635

      Quarian 790

      Any idea what my weak spot is ?

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago

      @BadRobot, please double checking your EMS score (make sure you are looking at EMS and not Total Military Strength). If your EMS is really over 6000, watch the perfect ending with secret ending video above and then comment here what differed in the ending you received. If EMS was more than 6000 it is impossible that you didn't get the perfect ending with the secret ending! It is plausible that you missed the secret ending because it is short and at the very end. But you definitely shouldn't have received Earth partially destroyed. Again, double check and comment here the differences.

    • BadRobot 4 years ago

      I don't understand, my EMS is more than 6000, I did everything right from me1 to me3 : Rex alive, saved the council, conserved maelon's data, destroyed the heretics, everyone loyal and everyone survives in me2, prevented tali from being exiled, destroyed the reaper base, cured the genophage, saved geth and quarians, I'm pretty sure I did all non-priority missions and got all war assets, all of my squadmates in me3 survived except Mordin and Thane, I prevented the illusive man from shooting Anderson twice, I chose to destroy the reapers and I still didn't get the part where shepard lives, I believe I got the part where earth is partially destroyed, how's taht possible ???

    • Phillbert profile image

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 4 years ago from The Ozarks

      That's what I've been hearing as well. I'll let you know if I come across anything.

    • Isocrates profile image

      Isocrates 4 years ago

      Yeah I heard about this, and there is no alternate ending in the second play through. Some of my friends have done two playthroughs and they haven't gotten any different endings. The only secret ending I know is where Shepard is alive. And in all cases there is a clip of where there's a grandfather talking to a kid about Shepard, where he says that he's got ONE more story (Ending DLC hint maybe). It'd be cool if there was, and if you do find something (maybe I just missed it), be sure to let me know!

    • Phillbert profile image

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 4 years ago from The Ozarks

      The following qoute is from the Mass Effect 3 Collector's Edition Strategy guide on page 323 regarding the end of the game, "A secret ending is also available to players who complete the game a second time."

    • Phillbert profile image

      Phillip Drayer Duncan 4 years ago from The Ozarks

      On my first play through I got the secret ending you refer to, and everything I've seen online concurs with exactly what you present as the secret ending. However, the one thing I haven't seen anyone talking about is in the strategy guide it says that there is a secret ending only available through a 2nd play through. I haven't had the time to attempt to access it yet. Do you know anything about this 2nd playthrough alternate secret ending? If I remember when I get home I'll come back and post exactly what the strategy guide says.

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