Originally Posted by dahoughtonuk
You only have the reapers word for that. Sorry can;t trust him. But civilisation utterly destroyed never to rise again can be trusted due to the last ending, assuming it's not just a tall tale.
Repears' word? The child isn't an expression of the Reapers, they're an expression of those who created the Reapers. The Reapers were their solution to a galaxy-wide robot apocalypse.
One option destroys all the Reapers and most advanced technology. The scene with the child shows that "The Shepard"(clever, the one who shows the galaxy the way forward) saved sentient life from the cycle by:
1. Controlling the Reapers. This sends the Reapers away, but according to the child, breaking the cycle in this way leads to an inevitable war between synthetics and organic life.
2. Destroying the Reapers, and all senthetic life with it. This option removes the Reapers from the equation entirely, kills off the Geth, destroys a lot of technology. But in the end, it saves many lives, and gives the universe a chance to rebuild.
3. Combining synthetic and organic life. The idea is that, by removing the created/creator, synthetic/organic distinction, all life can continue in a new step of evolution and coexist peacefully because they are all the same. This option is definitely the worst thought-out(and has some terrible implications, especially when we consider the Human/Robot relationship has always been used in science fiction as an allegory for race-based slavery), and seems to stem from a desire to create a "good" ending that the child can agree causes peace without at the same time killing the Geth and setting technology back. Still, the core theme in the ending is a good one: By realizing we are all the same, we can peacefully coexist. They just go the sci-fi route of including a sciencey piece of technology at the center of the lesson, which in this case comes off weak. Honestly, I feel like the "Control the Reapers" option is close enough to this without the scary implications, and they really should have given the qualities of this ending to that one in a more explicit way.
All the endings set civilizations back a lot of years, yes. But the Reapers winning does that anyway, that's sort of what the Reapers DO. There are no Mass Relays and as such there won't be a gigantic, pre-built technological jumpstarter floating in every system, but now the organic life as is has a chance to build their own future in all of the endings, in a way that they definitely did not before. Nothing is predetermined for them, because the cycle is broken.
Originally Posted by Vainamoinen
The hero attempts to save the universe, the attempt fails, a god-like creature appears that hasn't said a word before and essentially solves the situation for the hero. That's Deus Ex Machina without a doubt.
It was of course clear from the beginning of ME3 that they were building a machine with an unknown purpose. They weren't building the god from the machine though. That one's always been there and has been orchestrating all these cycles of almost-genocide as his "solution" to preventing complete genocide (?!?).
The child is a VI. That's it. It could have just as easily been a computer monitor with three buttons on it. The hero didn't fail, the hero built the Crucible. The Crucible hadn't activated because you need to make the choice of what Crucible Beam to fire.
Everything follows what you would expect from the plot of the game up to that point. Shepard fights, Shepard builds machine, Shepard pushes one of two/three buttons on said machine. The child is just a VI that is used to explain the buttons.