With regards to the ME3 ending, while I don't understand why the controversy reached the proportions it did, I do think the ending was very flawed:
mac_d wrote:Bioware are releasing some extended ending cinematics for Mass Effect 3 as a large part of the players got tiddled off at the ending. It's free and will be released in a few months.
[spoiler=Mass Effect 3 Spoilers]A lot of things people criticised it for regarding plot holes weren't actually plot holes. The only plot hole is the sequence with the Normandy flying through a Mass Relay when the Mass Relays get destroyed and some how the team who were on the ground being on board.
However, there is the indoctrination theory, which states everything after you get knocked to the ground in London isn't real - either a dream or a Reaper induced mental state that isn't happening. This is backed up by the fact if you choose destruction and your war assets are high enough Shepard wakes up on the ground in burned out London - which couldn't happen if he was on the Crucible/Citadel (he would have been spaced, then burned up, then splattered on the ground)
If that is the case then that sucks because a) it was all a dream is a crappy ending but more importantly b) it means if he was dreaming it then the Reapers haven't been destroyed yet, well not by you, maybe Anderson hooked up the Crucible while you were taking a nap. But that would still suck, it would mean the player effectively had no input in the final actions of destroying the Reapers.
Of course, of the six endings, Shepard dies in 5 of them, so it's possible that the Normandy sequence is just him imagining a happy ending... of them being trapped on some alien world cut off from the rest of the galaxy because the Mass Relays got destroyed. I think he would have dreamt a slightly better ending for them... Garrus and Wrex having beers on a beach toasting to Shepard or something.
The biggest plot hole is that the Mass Relays get destroyed. Now, this in itself is not a plot hole - but if they can be destroyed, why didn't they just dismantle all the Mass Relays to stop the Reapers invading? I know that it the Council didn't believe the threat (which again didn't make sense after the events of the first game) but even assuming that, Shepard did believe it and people believed Shepard so he could have gone on some massive one man mission to dismantle them all - or at least the one in the Sol system.
I've heard some people say we didn't know that the Mass Relays were made by the Reapers (or by the people who made the Reapers) but if that wasn't explicitly said I had assumed it since the events of the first game.
In my mind, destroying the Mass relays was a huge mistake (it was pretty much the only unavoidable event depending on which of the three choices (Destruction, Control, Synthesis) you made. Faster than Light travel is now impossible... so the whole series ends. I don't just mean Shepards story, I mean the whole Mass Effect Universe is closed. Unless we come back in a few thousand years when they've managed to build a new Mass Relay infrastructure.
I am all in favour of drawing a line under a story, making sure it is the final story in a trilogy. However this was far more than that - they essentially destroyed life as we know it in the Galaxy - it would be like if we found out that electricity contained aliens and to win the war we would have to destroy all electrical devices and the entire electricity network. Yes, we'd win the war, but we'd be set back a couple of hundred years in the process.
I sense that the Mass Relays may not have been destroyed in all endings originally, however I suspect that playtesters presented with an ending choice where the Mass Relays were destroyed in one and not in the others would not have chosen the one where they were destroyed because of that very fact.
So in summary. Normandy sequence should not have been included. Destroying the Mass Relays was a crazy decision to be made given that is the main defining aspect of the Mass Effect Universe - it would be like making Time Travel impossible in Doctor Who or destroying all Warp Drive technology in Star Trek - and the implied "it was all a dream" ending of one of the destruction endings goes against all best practices of storywriting.
However, as those elements can all be ignored and don't actually impact on the decision you make (they all occur in the final cinematic) I don't think from a gameplay point of view the game was ruined by the ending. Yes, it's disappointing to be presented with an A B or C choice at the end of the narrative, but given that Mass Effect isn't a truly free form game (you are making A B C D or E choices throughout the game so why should the ending be any different) that isn't a dealbreaker.[/spoiler]