Mass Effect 3 Best Ending - All Endings Reviewed

What will your ultimate choice be?

In its remastered version, there are five different endings you can get in Mass Effect 3. Just like with Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, the choices you make throughout the game have an impact on how the game will end for you. This guide will explain how to get each possible ending. Spoilers ahead.

In Mass Effect 3, what determines which ending you get is the amount of Effective Military Strength (EMS) you accumulate by the end of the game. Your amount of EMS grows as you get more war assets–usually people from different species working with you. The higher your EMS, the more options you will have, with greater chances of avoiding tragic outcomes.

In the original game, EMS came hand-in-hand with Galaxy Readiness, which you had to get from 50% to 100% before the end of the game to get the best options. The only way for players to increase their Galaxy Readiness was by playing multiplayer for a few hours. Galaxy Readiness and multiplayer have been taken out of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition; as a result, the amount of EMS needed by the end of the game has increased as well. To unlock the best ending, you should aim to get at least 7800 EMS by the start of the final mission, ‘Priority: Earth’. Please note that your choice regarding the Collector Base at the end of ME2 will impact which ending is available to you if you are very low on EMS by the end of the game. 

Here are some tips on how to optimize how much EMS you have:

  • Complete as many missions and sidequests as possible. Completing them gives you war assets.
  • Whenever possible, keep people alive; save everyone that can be saved, and get people to make peace. All of them become war assets.
  • Save the Council in ME1.
  • Save the Rachni Queen in ME1 and ME3.
  • Get the Quarian and Geth to make peace in ME3.
  • Explore and scan as many planets as you can in all three games to find war assets.
  • Complete ME2 with all your companions alive.

No matter how many war assets or EMS you have by ‘Priority: Earth’, the ending starts the same way for everyone. After fighting the Reapers in London, you are ‘beamed up’ to the Crucible. There you find Captain Anderson, and confront the Illusive Man one last time. Afterward, the Catalyst appears to you in the form of a child. The Catalyst explains why the Reapers were created, before giving you the opportunity to make one last choice. These options will vary depending on your EMS, and the choice you make will seal the fate of everyone in the galaxy.

The five different endings you can get in Mass Effect 3 are:

Destroy Ending (Red) 

Mass Effect 3 (Extended Cut DLC) - Destroy Ending

Shepard destroys the Reapers, along with every other synthetic life in the galaxy, including the Geth and EDI. If you have less than 1749 EMS, you must have destroyed the Collector Base at the end of ME2 to get this ending. If you choose this ending with less than 1749 EMS, it will result in most of Earth being vaporized, and for all of Shepard’s crew and team to die. Make sure to get as many EMS as possible so Earth and Shepard’s crew are spared. In most cases, Shepard will die as a result.

Control Ending (Blue)

Mass Effect 3 (Extended Cut DLC) - Control Ending

Shepard sacrifices themselves to take control of the Reapers by merging with them. The Reapers are then used to help repair the damage they’ve done across the galaxy. If you have less than 1749 EMS, you must have saved the Collector Base at the end of ME2to get this ending. Once again, if you want to save Earth and Shepard’s crew, get as many EMS as possible.

Synthesis Ending (Green)

Mass Effect 3 (Extended Cut DLC) - Synthesis Ending

Shepard sacrifices themselves by choosing to merge synthetic and organic life together. With this outcome, there is no need for the Reapers to continue with their cycle of destruction, since synthetics won’t try to eliminate organic life anymore. This ending is only available if you have at least 3000 EMS by the start of ‘Priority: Earth’. With the synthesis ending, Earth and Shepard’s crew automatically survive.

Refuse Ending

Mass Effect 3 (Extended Cut DLC) - New Ending - Rejection Ending

When the Catalyst is done explaining the options above to Shepard, you can choose not to choose and walk away, triggering this ending. It is also triggered if you choose to shoot the Catalyst. As a consequence for refusing to choose, Earth will be vaporized, Shepard’s crew will die, and all organic life in the galaxy will be destroyed by the Reapers. You can choose this ending regardless of your EMS.

‘Perfect’ Ending

Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut | The Best Possible Destroy Ending - Shepard Lives

This is the only ending where Shepard survives. To get this outcome, you must have at least 7800 EMS by the start of ‘Priority: Earth’, and you must pick the Destroy option. The rest of the game will play out like the regular Destroy ending, except for one of the very last scenes. Right before the ‘epilogue’, you see Shepard’s chest in the rubbles of the Crucible, only recognizable through their N7 armor. You see them taking a breath, implying that they survived.

In Conclusion 

Many players argue that the Destroy ending is the ‘better’ choice, considering how Shepard set out to destroy the Reapers from the start of the trilogy. Others try to pick the choice that best fits their entire playthrough and all the choices they’ve made regarding organics and synthetic life up until this point. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong choice; it all depends on how you experienced the games, and the consequences you are willing to face.

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Ellie has been writing and telling stories since she was a youngling. It was inevitable that she would eventually call ‘grappling with words and language’ a career—and loving every moment of it.
Gamer Since: 1995
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn, Far Cry 6
Top 3 Favorite Games:Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Mass Effect 3

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