This is very spoilerific, even to the end of the game. Skip this post if wanted.
After leaving Earth, Shepard moves the stars, and does impossible things, making most of ME3 quite epic and good. There were several moments that I took special note of. When you tell the guy that he is the new primarch, then stands in front of Palaven, I thought that was moving. Shortly after playing ME1, I thought that turians were awesome. The first hours of ME3 were therefore very satisfying.
My first (and so far, only) playthrough was an engineer played from ME1. After deciding to not be the generic white default Manshep, I decided for a different look with more melanin. I eventually settled on him looking like Obama, mostly out of ironic political commentary.
I am overall satisfied with the game itself. A crucial negative point is that there isn't much variety in the enemy factions. For every mission, I predicted whether I would be fighting husks or Cerberus, because that's pretty much it. There's only 2 or 3 missions where you're not (mostly in a row), and those are geth.
For every mission, I thought of what choices brought me here, and what could I have done to get out of this mission, but it seems that it would not have mattered. Reapers enslaved the only rachni queen? If you killed her, they would probably just find or have another. Gave the collector base to Cerberus? [TIM:The Illusive Man] still wants you dead.
The initial few hours seems uncharacteristically linear. The end does too; it seems that there are three or so missions there.
ME3 is a case of where the ending just went on too long. There was no ending boss fight (Mr. Shields did not put up a fight), the adrenaline ran out at some point, then it got confusing. If it had ended just after Anderson died, with all the Reapers being destroyed and all existential threats eliminated, it would have been fine. But it went straight downhill to that kid.
So this godchild says that it is the catalyst, of which the Citadel is a part thereof, and that the Reapers are his "solution". I swear I could not have made this crap up. If the Citadel was a part of a larger entity, I'm surprised that there weren't any cults or rumors of such. Someone over the past few million years would have caught on.
Solution to what, you ask? The struggle between organic and synthetic life, because "the created always rebel against creator." Then he gives an example of the geth. Except the geth stopped fighting, are far more "organic" thanks to Legion, and are cooperating with their quarian creators to build a better future for everyone. I guess he might be referring to rebellious teenagers who then make peace with their parents?
Then there's the thing where the ending is a three way choice, not something that is determined by adding up what you've done. These choices take care of the Reapers (if not destroys them outright). But unless the middle path is chosen, the existential threat is not gone. No matter what, the relays and Citadel are destroyed and it is implied that all squadmates survived. This plot hole is big enough to go to China.
Squadmates survived? I took Garrus on that last mission, but there he is walking off the Normandy with Joker. How did he get there? There was a Reaper or two there by that gate where Shepard passed out, and Garrus was there. When Shepard wakes up, no one's around, and if everyone else woke up at a different time, they would have went into the light as was the plan, not call for a ride out. And that's just the good ending. The bad ends up with everyone in their own blood pools when you pass out, and no one gets off the Normandy.
I can understand the Citadel being destroyed, but the relays too? In my post ME2 speculation, I started to expect that the Citadel would be destroyed, being a mere pretty face to a sinister purpose. Once I knew what it was for, it started creeping me out to no end; I'm not sad to see it go. As seen in the ME1 intro:
In the year 2148, explorers on Mars discovered the remains of an ancient spacefaring civilization. In the decades that followed, these mysterious artifacts revealed startling new technologies, enabling travel to the furthest stars. The basis for this incredible technology was a force that controlled the very fabric of space and time.
They called it the greatest discovery in human history.
The civilizations of the galaxy call it... MASS EFFECT.
Without the relays, I don't think that you can call Mass Effect "Mass Effect" anymore. Think of the people who are stranded. Turians on Earth will starve, as will every non-turian on Palaven. Unless relays can be built quickly, everyone carries seeds, or has cryogenic tech (ask Cerberus?), thousands, if not millions, are at risk.
Good job Bioware for complicating and confusing something that should have been straightforward and simple. Now how are you and the rest of us supposed to clean up this mess? It seems that Bioware want to pull the big existential threat thing again, and repeat this whole mess again.
UPDATE: Now there's a theory going around that Shepard was indoctrinated right when he was blacked out. I like it, probably more than what I should. Does this mean I'm indoctrinated too?