Also known as the Sobbing Edition. This edition also has super mega huge spoilers, so for those who have not played this game, I'll leave you with this: Play this series immediately, and know it will break your heart in a frillion different ways. It has some amazing characters in it, and it's even better playing through it with the same character you've had from the very beginning. Go find copies of these games and play them. Also, make sure you download the extended cut of the third game, before you get to the end. It's much better.
*SPOILERS BEGIN HERE*
I chose to destroy the Reapers. Before you call me a terrible person, know that I chose this path for specific reasons. While control and synthesis were presented as the much better solutions, I ultimately decided against them.
Control, in my mind, is no better than what was currently happening. Just because the Reapers would be controlled by the essence of Shepard, it doesn't mean they wouldn't come to the same conclusion the Reapers did before. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Shepard, despite having the memories of herself, would then start thinking in the same calculated way the Reapers did. Originally, the Reapers were created to solve the conflict between organics and synthetics. They came to the conclusion that harvesting the advanced races would be the only solution (also, that's how they reproduce... seems sketchy to me). Who's to say they wouldn't come to that conclusion again? Secondly, evolution would still be influenced by Reaper power. They would still be guiding evolution along, instead of letting it be as it is. The Reapers would be acting like gods for a cycle that learned how to cooperate. Does the galaxy need that supervision from giant powerful beings with the ability to destroy everything in one second? I don't believe they do.
Thirdly, in the confrontation with The Illusive Man, Shepard is strongly against anyone holding control of the Reapers, including herself - it would be hypocritical of her to be like "no nobody should have this power!" "hey you want this power?" "lol k i am da Reeperz nao".
Next, we have Synthesis. The Catalyst thought this solution was the best and would be some peaceful utopia. Sure, that could be true. But at the same time, the Catalyst itself says it can't be forced. So... the solution is to spring it upon the galaxy without their knowledge? Isn't that kind of forcing them into it? If that is the natural course of evolution, why not let the galaxy come into it of their own free will? The Catalyst severely underestimated this cycle, and have the likely possibility of being entirely wrong about it. If we're ready, then why we shouldn't come into that ourselves?
That then leaves us with Destroy. This is the only solution that gets rid of the entirety of the Reapers, and any guiding influence they have on the rest of evolution. The Catalyst was sure that the synthetics would rise up and do this all over again. However, this cycle was proved to be different. Even the Catalyst said as much. So, if this cycle was to be different than the rest, then why is it implausible to think that the galaxy would learn and prevent it from happening? We wouldn't know because the Reapers had been guiding evolution for millennia, without giving the galaxy a chance to figure it out. In this cycle, the collective races did. Without the Reapers, the galaxy has the true, free ability to self determinate. The price of that freedom, however, was the Geth and EDI.
On the other hand though, I refuse to believe that EDI couldn't be brought back. If Shepard could be brought back from as dead as dead could be, why not EDI? Get a damn Project Lazarus going for EDI, people.
In any case, I don't see any of the decisions as being clear cut, obviously moral choices. They're all very much grey. Control the Reapers so no more people die, but by disregarding principles and with the possibility for abuse of power. Combine synthetics and organics to form utopia, disregarding ethics in favor of implementing it without the galaxy's consent or knowledge. Or destroy the threat for total freedom for the galaxy, at the price of synthetic genocide. Each one is no more clear or moral than the other. Control may be the most "clear" paragon choice, but something about it just rubs me the wrong way. I don't like the idea of some godlike race hanging around, still with the ability to annihilate everything. Having that power is too much, even for Shepard.
The best option, in my mind, was the ability to self determinate. The freedom to choose as the galaxy wanted, without Reaper control or influence.
I loved this series. I'm so sad that I've gotten to the end. I have some small glimmer of hope with the possibility of a Mass Effect 4, and by the goddess I will throw my money at it if it hits shelves. I played the whole series over the course of a month, and I grew very attached to it. I'll probably go through more playthroughs, but I don't know if I'm interested in romancing anyone else besides Garrus. What can I say, I'm a one turian kind of woman.
Garrus and Shepard's relationship, I think, had an incredible amount of depth and meaning. I brought him with me everywhere I possibly could - as many battles and missions and side quests, he was there. He was with Shepard on Ilos, he followed her through the Omega 4 relay, and never left her side through the war against the Reapers, up until she made a run for the beam to the citadel. He was her battle partner, her friend, her complement. He was there from the very beginning.
It killed me when Shepard was getting Garrus back onto the Normandy. He seemed so desperate to be with Shepard, to go with her. I'm sure he was a complete wreck, knowing very well that it was incredibly likely going to be the last time he saw her, and he couldn't be sure she was going to be okay. He was so concerned when Shepard was about to dive into the ocean to find the Leviathan. Going after the Reapers without him must have been hell for Garrus.
Excuse me while I go drown in a pool of my own tears.