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

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 playthrough.

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

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

Explanation of Effective Military Strength

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.

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.

EMSChoiceState of Earth

under 1750

Destruction (only choice)




















2800 +








Saved and Shepard lives

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.


JADE on August 04, 2019:

you can get the perfect ending without playing multiplayer as long as you made the right choice during playthrough of ME and ME 2

King of Thieves on October 16, 2018:

So, to get the perfect ending, cheat. Misleading title, since at no point do you even mention in an offhanded way how to EARN the best ending. You should have your genitals fed to birds while your entire family watches.

RZSLTN1 on June 20, 2018:

It's been a long time... ME1, ME2 & ME3

But the ending shocked me!

Something that the little VI guy says in the final mission: are a synthetic too! (or something with this concept)

The superficial concept is that Shepard is rebuilt of synthetic parts and assembled with technological items thanks to the Cerberus Project. (Mass effect Infiltrator completes the gaps of Cerberus identity, if you play it of course! plus Randal Ethno is ways more handsome than Shepard.)

But the deep meaning of the mentioned concept: Have a look at your hand or your feet, what do you see?

All those wirings (our vessels really look like wirings) , skeletons, fluids and materials, we are machines! We are synthetics, Eastern philosophy proves this covertly, that we are programmed to feel, live and die... Do you control your heartbeat or other main functions of your body? No! So we do as we are programmed, like a machine which is limited to its predefined bounds but the final piece of the puzzle (Eastern philosophy) says that this body is just a sort of cage which contains a far bigger creature with superior desires like eternity! We know it as soul and it claims that the final purpose of this soul is not something like heaven crawling with nymphs and unlimited .............. (fill in the blank with your imagination of heaven.) but its very purpose is to join with the superior creator although we may taint it with things known as sins (mostly sins are actions related with overindulgence of bodily feelings like eating, sex etc.) So we are supposed/ordered/wanted to remember our source. This is something that ME3 tried to imply but clearly lack of philosophical knowledge and comprehension made the ending unacceptable!

(Unacceptable for players with basic knowledge of philosophy of existence and at the very least a superficial believe in the Creator/God.)

(For those who play ME just for sake of shootin' that was rather overwhelming.)

Please in order to get the nearest picture to what I understood try to use the parameters I gave you.

Fallen in love with Tali on May 25, 2018:

IMHO @Antaron is the one who has gone closer to get the whole picture.

IMHO Control and Synthesis are just a way for the Reapers to survive, these two choices are the Reapers' survival instinct, IMHO Synthesis is much more than just survival instinct and it deserves a separate arguing. Anyway if you choose Destruction means that their existence is put to an end. In some unknowable way Shepard isn't easy to indoctrinate, so they fear him. If they could simply indoctrinate Shepard they would did it to reach their goal and having control on Shepard using indoctrination, they never would let him/her to choose their fate. I am pretty confident that you remember well that everytime someone who is indoctrinated tries to choose something that is against the Reapers goals is harshly punished to keep a strict grip over the indoctrinated mind.

The Catalyst let Shepard choose just because it cannot do otherwise, but it could offer more choices that don't mean the Reapers total annihilation, more it could try to make that these other choices are much more favorable than the one choice that put an end to their existence and it is just what it does. Control is the perfect Renegade persuasion, this choice puts Shepard in control of the Reapers the most powerful beings (machines) of the entire galaxy, but to do so Shepard has to understand them, to think like them, it means making Shepard who has the right to determine the lives of every other being in the galaxy, a true dictatorship, perfect Renegade. There is also the choice to do nothing, to let the Reapers harvesting the entire galaxy, that means the total failure, but maybe it isn't the true goal of the Reapers.

Synthesis. As I have already written this choice deserves a separate arguing. It is the perfect Paragon choice. Shepard completly dies but his sacrifice spares the lives of everyone else, also to the Reapers. I am pretty confident that you remember well that a perfect Paragon would never kill if there is a way to avoid that, even when it is an enemy to being spared. IMHO this choice isn't just the perfect paragon choice is the true Reapers' goal. This choice is the only onw that puts a true end to the galactic cycle of harvesting and that is the true sacrifice of chaos toward the total order. No more true organic beings (chaos) in the galaxy forever. The catch of this choice is just that: no more chaos in the galaxy. No more unpredictable choices. No more indetermination. No more non-determinism. No more free choices. No more free will. No more freedom.

Mr_C on January 10, 2018:

Probably mentioned below, but there was an update that reduced the amount of EMS needed to have Shepard take a breath at the end of the Destroy option.

Neil on October 09, 2017:

I loved EDI so I just couldn't kill her... To me synthesis ending is the best ...makes me fell like I am jesus

Not the ideal shepard on July 01, 2017:

I just shot the StarKid

Draelos on June 24, 2017:


True it would be an autonomous copy, but that's only an issue if they're both active at the same time. You can backup code without executing the program.

Even if they are active simultaneously, they'd be like clones, except one would be missing the latest memories. As long as you backup fairly frequently, that's only a minor loss - and thus, a minor shift in personality, if any.

Somebody on June 22, 2017:


Dude, you did read the ME codex, right? You and literally CAN'T just make backups of an AI, because that creates a brand new personality.

Draelos on June 08, 2017:


So what? She's a robot. Just rebuild her and load a backup save for her AI. Like all the other robots. That's the point of being synthetic, it's "life" made of fabricated materials, even the memories. Organic life is harder to replicate, although they did do it with Shepard.


Destroy leads to Dune. And we already know how that ends. ;)

Leviathan on March 26, 2017:

Lot of ppl say that choice with the destroy ending is worthless because all in all organic life will build synthetics again and at the end of the day "the Reapers" will be back - just in a new form. I believe it's very bad way to think about it. Thinking in that way makes you just nothing else than Reapers themselves. Humanity and all organics have one thing which will always make them different from AI - and it's called "hope". Instead of cold calculation we should hope for the better future and believe that such mistakes will not happen again. Probably it's some kind of perfect imperfection but organic beings as the strongest ever should be able to decide about their own future. For me keeping Reapers in any situation is worth as much as lose.

Deeply thinking saddest ending for me is to pick control over Reapers. It's just unbelievable bad and sad because - at the end of the day oragnics and synthetics will start to fight again. For example Krogans who already made plans for ruling this galaxy. So when that happens Shepard will have ultimate power and will have to choice if he wants to help people or just watch them die pretty much forever as he is immortal. Either decision would be bad - watching life die isn't anything cool.. but decision to step in and kill millions as well isn't any pleasure so the Shepard would be pretty much cursed with making such decisions forever.

Pandora on March 21, 2017:

@ Antaron

You should know well from what the kid tells you that Destruction will wipe out all synthetic life. This is not the matter of Normandy getting caught in any kind of blast. EDI dies because you chose to destroy the Reapers and everything else synthetic.

@ shh

It is very silly to still cling on tho this idea that you are somehow being tricked by the Reapers and they color Destroy for you in red so that you make the "wrong" choice. There is no wrong choice and there is no good choice. It all depends on what kind of person your Shepard has become.

Shepard who encourages EDI to have a relationship with Joker, who helps the geth find their identity and independence, who answers the question of "does this unit have a soul?" with yes, and who says that there is more to life than being organic - I can't imagine *that* Shepards to go with destruction in the end.

I am very surprised to see so many paragon Shepards to throw all this away so easily and wipe out all synthetic life. It contradicts everything that a hardcore paragon Shep stands for. The final choice should reflect what choices your Shep has made up to this point, and what they believe in. If they never *really* believed that there is more to EDI and Legion than software, then destruction is fine and understandable. Otherwise they are killing friends, which is not believable for the "all paragon" Shepard.

"wayne is full of shit" is correct on March 19, 2017:

It is cannon that in the destruction ending the breathe means Shepard survived.

Wayne is full of shit on March 18, 2017:

Violate didn't "intend" for that scene to be shepard's last breath. All you have to do is a tiny little bit of research and you see people from violate confirming that Shepard does in fact survive the destroy ending.

Buttercup on February 24, 2017:

Funny thing is I walked away on my first playthrough. Thought it was all trap/indoctrination. Hated the ending.

shh on February 19, 2017:


It's exactly what Reapers wanted you to think. Look at the past villains:

Saren was pro Synthesis - he was indoctrinated.

Illusive Man was pro Control - he was indoctrinated.

The good guys, aka Anderson and Co were NOT indoctrinated and always pro Destroy. Their minds were clear as sky. The Reapers tried to achieve what they wanted first by the hands of Saren, then by Illusive Man. They failed so they tried to trick Shepard (gamer) to chose whatever they liked which IMO ends up as indoctrinated Shepard. That's why the only choice for me is Destroy.

wayne on February 13, 2017:

im honestly not too sure if the majority of people posting are young and naive but gasping for air doesn't mean Shepard is alive,in fact to me it was his last breathe and that's exactly what bioware intended

Jaks on January 25, 2017:

I haven't ever chosen destroy in any of my run throughs, after learning the history and purpose of the reapers, it seems pointless to do so, the cycles will continue, eventually organic life will create machine life, machine life will rebel against organic, and organic life will try to find a way to preserve life, which is what created the reapers in the first place. Whether it take 1,000 years or a million, the trilogy has spent it's entirety explaining it will always happen. Uniting the two is the only true way to preserve life. If you played the leviathan dlc, it's states that the reapers have spent every cycle looking for a way to preserve life, to push the galaxy to save itself, but they can't find a way to do so, and they simply wipe the slate clean to start over, hopefully with different results. But who knows, maybe what bioware always meant was for you to ignore the past and hope to change the future, and that the mistakes of the past will not be repeated, and that wold be great if it happend, but I just can't see it.

John on January 23, 2017:

So much debate over which ending is right or wrong. Shep set out with one goal, destroy the reapers.. and after everything they did how can you trust the catalyst, who is a reaper creation.

Destroy the reapers=mission complete.

Antaron on January 18, 2017:

Doing another run, this time playing with mods and editing (emulating 100% Galactic Readiness through ini changes). Completed ME3 twice with EMS 4000 and a bit, so can confirm that it's sufficient to have Shepard survive in case of destruction ending. However, having higher EMS earlier in the playthrough this time I have noticed some minor changes throughout the game. Example: debriefing with Hackett post-Tuchanka missions previously wasn't optimistic ("We're bogged down, things aren't looking good in most sectors"). This time (I already have well over 5000 EMS) he was pleased with progress of the allied forces and the strategy taken. Sadly didn't record the conversation, so can't quote exactly what he says, but the bottom line is that the galaxy is perhaps not making progress in this war, but standing on its own for sure. So I look forward to such minor changes in the story this time.

Form what I've read, EMS also affect the impact using the Crucible has on the galaxy (relays destroyed / not destroyed, situation of Earth and so on).

Last time I have noticed Edi's name on Normandy memorial (Destruction ending) and to be honest that's the only issue I have with this ending (no matter if Shepard's alive or not) as there was no moment in my ending when Normandy would be actually even exposed to the blast. But I knew the risk and had to make a choice, just like I had to do on Virmire.

Daniel on December 13, 2016:

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 on November 12, 2016:

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 on November 09, 2016:

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 on September 30, 2016:

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 on September 08, 2016:

@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 on August 29, 2016:

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 on August 24, 2016:

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 on August 15, 2016:

@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 on August 06, 2016:

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 on May 16, 2016:

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 on April 18, 2016:

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 on February 26, 2015:

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

zach on January 15, 2015:

Shoot the child! Theres another ending!

willis on January 11, 2015:

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 on October 24, 2014:

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... on August 07, 2014:

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

Larry on July 29, 2014:

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 on July 14, 2014:

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 on June 19, 2014:

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

Becky Fiser from Waverly, Iowa on June 17, 2014:

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 on June 10, 2014:

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 on June 04, 2014:

Shepard will be saved

Barrett on May 19, 2014:

@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 on May 19, 2014:

@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 on May 16, 2014:

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 on May 03, 2014:

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 on April 10, 2014:


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 on April 06, 2014:

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 on January 17, 2014:

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 on December 22, 2013:

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 on November 23, 2013:

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? on October 05, 2013:

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 on September 23, 2013:

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 on September 11, 2013:

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 on September 03, 2013:

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 on April 09, 2013:


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 on March 26, 2013:

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 on March 26, 2013:

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

Tainted on February 21, 2013:

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

Joon Lee on January 14, 2013:

Great article Genghis

blurg on November 11, 2012:

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 on November 11, 2012:

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

Harsh on November 11, 2012:

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

Maya on October 26, 2012:

@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 on October 22, 2012:

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 on October 21, 2012:

Doesn't work.



New Window

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

Any idea's?

Lex on October 18, 2012:

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

John on September 22, 2012:

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 on September 19, 2012:

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 on September 10, 2012:

Thank you for gathering this info together in one place!

w777chey on September 08, 2012:

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 on September 08, 2012:

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 (author) on September 08, 2012:


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 on September 07, 2012:

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 on September 07, 2012:

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 on September 06, 2012:

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 on September 05, 2012:

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 on September 05, 2012:

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

Isocrates (author) on September 02, 2012:


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 on September 02, 2012:

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 on September 02, 2012:

Is your answer for me shaun?

Shaun on September 02, 2012:

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 on August 31, 2012:

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

Jake on August 31, 2012:

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 on August 29, 2012:

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

Clickedtwo8 on August 27, 2012:

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 on August 26, 2012:

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 on August 26, 2012:

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 (author) on August 24, 2012:


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 on August 24, 2012:

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

Roro on August 23, 2012:

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 (author) on August 21, 2012:


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 on August 21, 2012:

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 on August 20, 2012:

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

Dj on July 28, 2012:

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 on July 28, 2012:

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 on July 20, 2012:

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 on July 18, 2012:

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 on July 16, 2012:

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 on July 07, 2012:

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 .