Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC Review
This review was written using a copy of the downloadable content from Playstation Network for the Playstation 3.
This process started much like any other – with hesitation. I bought the Collector’s Edition of Mass Effect 3, which included a voucher for the From Ashes mission. I got a strong taste for what future content was to offer: throw in a couple missions that play out much like missions prior, add to the story and lore, give you new gear, and various war resources. With exception to the Extended Cut which, in my opinion, was just an effort to calm the vocal minority about the ending, every content release followed this formula. When I heard about Citadel, I was expecting more of the same, since I was spoiled right from step one, in terms of what I expected. I had played Leviathan and Omega prior to this and I’d enjoyed them but it seemed to add more to the lore of the universe than it did to anything else.
When I wheeled Sheperd over to the Citadel to start this quest chain, things seemed to start the exact way I expected: Sheperd meets up with Joker at the beginning of some shore leave while some work is done on the Normandy. Things don’t go as expected, as usual, some unexpected people drop in and cause some serious trouble. You’re offered your first new weapon and you’re pointed in the general direction to go. In spite of the serious tone of the missions, you start to see a difference right away: cameos start dropping in and you start noticing that there’s a streak of tongue-in-cheek humor, almost breaking the fourth wall in a few instances. This keeps up right on through the first chunk of the missions until things start getting crazily serious again, throwing a huge twist at your face and almost expecting you to tag along for the ride without doing much explaining. It does this again a couple of times before the action breaks out, things get intense, and the twists all break down into a couple of big decisions. Trust me, if you’ve been along for the ride this far, you’ll be on the edge of your seat with a wry smirk on your face, the entire way.
I’m not going to lie, though, things get interesting after the action ends and the plot-driven content thins out. After you’ve got your gear sorted out, you’re introduced to a brand new area that, kind of, serves as Mass Effect 3’s equivalent to Final Fantasy VII’s Gold Saucer: nothing but padding but full of sweet minigames. Between the interactions with cameo characters and the minigames, there’s also an Arena-style game that you can play, using these cameo characters as squadmates, should they have survived your previous outings. Not only do you get this new playground, you also get a cushy little pad to customize – even if your options are quite limited – and bring your friends into, which brings me to the next best part of this pack: the party you can throw in honor of the shore leave you should have had. This party can be broken down any way you would like and include – or shove away – almost anyone you would like. It really opens up the behaviors and personalities of your crew and lets you into the innermost thoughts – by way of liquid courage – of some of them. It really opened my eyes towards sympathizing and criticizing some of the crew but it allowed me to understand all of them better. It ends on a really humorous and swell note, too.
I think that, in spite of the refinement and awesomeness this pack has in store, the biggest difference isn’t in what I’ve explained above: rather, it’s the nature of what this content brings to bear. Most of the previous content took a very serious stance, expanding the lore of the series and keeping in line with the fact that there is a galactic war going on with the existence of all space-faring species’ lives at stake. This one, though, in spite of itself, manages to do that while giving the player a subtle nod, keeping things positive throughout, even through the more serious and tense bits. The payoff, at the end, is a complete 180, that lets you feel like you’re a part of this party – a chance to take a step back from all the death, pain, loss, and suffering around you – and relax for a little bit, giving you a chance to enjoy yourself for no other reason than to enjoy yourself and recharge your batteries, which, to me, is the purpose of shore leave, in the first place.
What you have is something that feels more organic and living, that makes you feel like you’re a part of Bioware’s sense of involvement and humor, that gives you a true reward that you get to enjoy alongside your crew. Not only is it a great mission pack; not only is it a great add-on; it feels wonderful to complete. If you’re going to download any of the downloadable content for this game, this pack has to be the one and it feels like such an awesome send-off to an incredible journey. I’m thoroughly convinced that if you didn’t like all of what this content has to offer, gameplay or storyline-wise, you just don’t like Mass Effect at all. I wouldn’t even call you a fan of Bioware, really.
Adds depth to everything it touches and stands as an awesome send-off for the game and the trilogy.
The humor is a little too corny and out of place at times and just too many references to being thrown through a fish tank.