All those who played Mass Effect 3 have done something along these lines: talked to the leaders of at least three alien races while trying to forge a galactic alliance, decided the fate of at least one nomadic civilization and their robotic and rebellious underlings, brought down two entire Reapers.
Those who have completed the game (minor spoilers follow) have also made one choice that impacts everyone in the Milky Way and changes the lives of all those who are part of it, regardless of race or allegiance.
As gamers, we are well accustomed to video game experiences where we save something important, from our own families to the population of an entire Earth, but it is still rare to get a chance to influence all life in an entire galaxy across incredible spans of time.
Even in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
the player becomes incredibly powerful and his deeds have plenty of influence of both Gods and men, but the action is still limited to just one area of a continent of a wider world.
In Mass Effect, Commander Shepard is a larger than life character and from the first title in the series it is clear that his influence will extend far.
But looking back after finishing the third game for the second time, I am amazed by how much BioWare was able to cram into this trilogy and how well they managed to integrate the various ideas and effects in order to create an organic galactic scene and believable interactions.
Oddly, I think that even the much-attacked ending of Mass Effect 3
is a direct result of the scale that BioWare has aimed for, an attempt to reshape the entire game’s universe via a single decision that tried to do too much without giving players the space to manifest their individuality.