A Destroyed Reaper Ship in One of the Good Endings of Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 3: Best Ending (And How to Get It)

Written by:
Avatar photo
Mina has been devoted to playing video games for more than 30 years, and she has been writing about video games professionally since 2016. She currently also writes for the video game websites Game Rant and LadiesGamers.

Reviewed by:
Avatar photo
Marshall is a seasoned writer and gaming enthusiast based in Tokyo. He's a prolific wordsmith with hundreds of articles featured on top-tier sites like Business Insider, How-To Geek, PCWorld, and Zapier. His writing has reached a massive audience with over 70 million readers!

Key Takeaway

The best ending, the one where Shepard survives, is the Red or Destroy Ending with an EMS of 3100 or higher.

The massive action RPG Mass Effect 3 has a plethora of possible endings that players can aim for, but there is only one “best ending,” and this is where Shepard survives to tell the tale.

Table Of Contents

    Best Ending: Shepherd Lives

    The Normandy, With Most of Its Crew Intact, Leaves the Planet After Mourning Shepard in Mass Effect 3's Good Endings.

    While some fans of the Mass Effect series might disagree on which endings are the worst, there is only one ending that almost all fans would agree is the best possible ending. This is the Red Ending with high EMS, which is the only way that Commander Shepard can survive through to the end. In spite of this ending not being considered the canon ending of the series, it will most likely be the one you want to aim for to help preserve the character that you have taken through three whole games.

    Warning: the next section contains spoilers for the endings of Mass Effect 3.

    All Endings for Mass Effect 3

    Soldiers Cheer on the Battlefield During the Destroy Ending Where All Synthetic Life Dies in Mass Effect 3.

    There are technically only three endings for Mass Effect 3, with a sort of fourth ending where players don’t do anything, and the galaxy makes the choice for them. Here is what happens in each:

    • Red Ending: Shepard destroys all synthetic life, killing the Geth and all the Reapers, saving everyone else.
    • Blue Ending: Shepard takes control of the Reapers and uses them to help rebuild the galaxy.
    • Green Ending: Synthetic and organic life merge, and the Reapers then become allies to the known galaxy.
    • Not Making a Choice is a Choice: If Shepard refuses to do anything or shoots the Catalyst, the Reapers tear through the galaxy, killing just about everyone.

    How to Change the Endings in Mass Effect 3

    Samara and One of Her Daughters in One of the Good Endings of Mass Effect 3.

    When deciding on which ending to aim for, players will have to tailor their Effective Military Strength to get the choices they would like.

    • < 1749 EMS, Kept the Collector Base in Mass Effect 2: Very bad version of the Blue Ending (massive damage to Earth, Normandy crew is dead).
    • < 1749 EMS, Destroyed the Collector Base in Mass Effect 2: Very bad version of the Red Ending (massive damage to Earth, Normandy crew is dead).
    • 1750 – 2349 EMS: Choice between Bad Red or Bad Blue Endings (less massive damage, and the Normandy crew is stranded).
    • 2350 – 2649 EMS: Choice between Bad Red (less massive damage than Very Bad, and the Normandy crew is stranded) or Neutral Blue (very little collateral damage, and the Normandy crew is stranded).
    • 2650 – 2799 EMS: Choice between Good Red and Good Blue (very little damage, Normandy crew is grounded but can fix their ship).
    • 2800 – 3099 EMS:  Choice between Good Green, Good Red, and Good Blue endings.
    • 3100 EMS or more: Choice between Good Green, Good Blue, and Best Red (Shepard survives) endings.