Mass Effect 3 concluded Commander Shepard’s story arc, bringing gamers to the end of the Reaper war and to a culmination of all of the events in the previous two games. Now, a year later, BioWare and EA have released the final single player DLC pack for Mass Effect 3 and it does not disappoint. Find out why in VGU.TV’s review.
Mass Effect 3: Citadel takes players back to the enormous space station to partake in one last wild romp against a new enemy with all of the familiar characters that gamers have come to love over the past five years of the Mass Effect series.
The villain is a new one from an old source (you’ll get it when you play it but I don’t want to spoil it) and he is a formidable force to be reckoned with, outsmarting Shepard several times. However, the game does a good job of letting Shepard get “beaten” without it seeming like he is a fool or just acting foolishly (many stories across different media have a difficult time with this). The dynamic enemy (and the initial mystery surrounding his identity) allows for some great reveals and some shocks as the story goes along.
The actual “action” part of the DLC is very well done and includes all of the Mass Effect 3 squad members together in one gigantic level (though you will still run point with a team of two others). Citadel is a marked improvement over the previous entry Omega in that it is much easier to navigate and is not unnecessarily dark around all corners. The inclusion of other squad members and characters that you actually care about (as opposed to people like Aria or Nyreen) also truly helps this DLC to be more memorable.
Gameplay variety is also prevalent as the DLC takes cues from prior packs like Kasumi’s Stolen Memories and allows Shepard to sneak around a little bit. Of course, that is also tempered by plenty of all out gun battles and even a stealthy gun battle that pits Shepard against well-armed enemies with his back to the wall. Like all the best DLC the Mass Effect series has had to offer, Citadel packs in plenty of varied gameplay, keeping things from becoming stale before the finale is reached.
Humor actually plays a very important part in making this DLC stand out and the character interaction during the main mission just highlights why so many gamers are invested in these characters. The witty banter, the cheesy lines, and the throwbacks to events in previous games are all phenomenal fan service and just plain fun to witness.
The main story will take a couple of hours to complete depending on difficulty and will take players to several different areas of the Citadel that have not previously been explored. However, once the main story is over, the bulk of the DLC’s heart begins to shine through. The new hub on the Citadel that is opened to players begins to fill up with opportunities to reconnect with old friends and share some touching moments with beloved characters.
One of the longest parts of the DLC is setting up and hosting a party at Shepard’s new apartment (courtesy of Admiral Anderson) and while this might seem like a weird thing to focus on, it actually works incredibly well. Putting all of the squad members in one room and watching them interact as they drink, dance, and talk is truly fascinating and basically puts all those great little dynamic dialogue bits from the main game into one focused setting.
The atmosphere of the party can be changed several times to see how the guests react and watching who decides to mingle with whom is interesting (for example, Zaaed, Javvik, Grunt, and Wrex all get together to start with since they all have similar attitudes). All in all the party gives players a great chance to reconnect with characters and watch them all interact with one another in humorous and touching ways.
The DLC also packs even more emotional punch as you are invited to share some more bonding moments with characters both in the apartment and at various locations. Bailing Grunt out of trouble with C-Sec, playing the crane game with Zaeed (seriously), and more are all fantastic little tributes to the phenomenally written characters in this game.
On the gameplay side, the DLC also offers a combat arena mode where players can enter and choose which enemy type to fight, modifiers that will make the game more difficult or easier (and affect the final score), and who to take into battle. This battle arena is very similar to the Pinnacle Station DLC for Mass Effect but it is much more customizable. Players will even be challenged to do specific combinations of enemies and sometimes go in without a squad for extra credits.
The combat arena mode lends some more gameplay to an experience that feels mostly like a long dynamic cut scene. While the main mission offers a lot of gameplay, most of the stuff that sticks with you happens in the character interactions and cut scenes of the second half of the DLC. Balancing that with the battle arena is a great way to help players who might not really care too much about cut scenes and character interaction.
I could go on and on about the different bits of fan service and the little Easter eggs that appear all over the DLC but it really is something that needs to be experienced firsthand. A player’s choices in their playthroughs including relationships will deeply affect how this DLC plays out and a player that is truly invested in the Mass Effect series will absolutely love this DLC.
But nothing is perfect and this DLC is no exception to that rule. I would have liked to see some of the non-Mass Effect 3 squad members be available for parts of the main mission. Many characters like Miranda, Samara, and Jacob are featured but you never really get to fight alongside them again. It would have been nice to insert another level and have that group come in to help Shepard out. Many great Mass Effect 2 characters had to be relegated to side missions in the main game but this DLC could have been an opportunity to change that.
Other minor graphical problems like some clipping errors, wonky character movements, and even a phantom pull up bar that Jack seemed to be holding onto (her hands were below the actual pull up bar, just suspended in air) crop up from time to time but don’t really hinder the experience too much. The gameplay and graphics are basically the same as the main game so if you liked those elements of Mass Effect 3, you will love them in this DLC. There are even a few new weapons that are pretty awesome including a silenced pistol and a new assault rifle.
Mass Effect 3: Citadel works because it offers some solid action, gameplay variety, and more well-written interactions between characters that are fully fleshed out. The universe of Mass Effect is one of the richest and most fully realized in gaming and to see those characters reunited with Shepard and interacting with one another is every Mass Effect fan’s dream.
Even if character interaction, funny dialogue, and cut scenes aren’t your thing, this DLC still packs a lot of other diversions like casino games, the combat arena, and the main mission which are all fantastic additions to an already great experience. If you have Mass Effect 3 and enjoy the series, this DLC is a must buy.