Mass Effect 3 has had a turbulent journey since its release – there have been a few DLCs released, but none have captured the spirit that the Mass Effect franchise has been all about. Will the new Citadel DLC bring the series back to its former glory, or are we doomed to repeat recent history?
Commander Shepard has been given his (or her) toughest assignment yet; shore leave. Admiral Hackett has ordered Shepard and his crew to head to the Citadel for a mandatory refit of the Normandy systems and get some well-deserved R&R. Admiral Anderson has graciously provided Shepard his apartment on the Citadel, which is located in the lower wards, with a new area ripe for exploration.
Shepard is asked by a fellow ship mate to have dinner at an authentic French sushi restaurant, but it doesn’t take long for everything to go straight to hell. Under enemy fire and with civilians at risk, Shepard needs to combat his aggressors quickly and with extreme prejudice. A new ally joins your ranks, Lieutenant Brooks – an analyst for the Alliance – and has noticed the Commander’s personal information is being hacked, but cannot ascertain what the hacker is looking for.
The Commander then makes his way back to the apartment and briefs the crew about the developing situation. With the help of Lieutenant Brooks, Shepard and the crew quickly come to realize that the threat is much more than something just a small strike team can handle; this is an all-hands-on-deck situation. This mission is unlike any that has been undertaken before and it will take everyone working as a team to see it through.
The size of your strike teams during these missions is based on how you played the previous Mass Effect games and whether or not the particular characters survived. The majority of players are going to have a full crew, myself included, but if you don’t, it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to accomplish the missions. What it does mean is that there are certain pieces of dialogue that will not be heard when you are around your surviving crew.
This new story unfolds in a unique and surprisingly way, although I’m not saying that it is hard to figure out. However, the story is unique for a Mass Effect game, and I am certain that the story-telling, both in and out of combat, will appeal to both die-hard and casual players alike.
That being said, the moments I personally felt were the highlights during my time playing was when I was listening to the dialogue from all of these rich characters, including the moments from the new additions. These moments are both a one-on-one and a final group gathering – the latter will finally let Commander Shepard come together with his friends and say goodbye to everyone that he has served with.
The reason I feel that these moments were the pinnacle of this DLC was because I have always felt that the characters are what has built this franchise into the titan that it has become. To say that I felt that the ending of Mass Effect 3 was a disappointment is an understatement, however, Bioware has brought that feeling of camaraderie back into the fold. Although it certainly does not make up for the mistakes made, it has finally given me a sense of closure with the most important aspect of this series, the people.
After you finish the main story of the DLC you will have access to the new area of the lower wards; the highlights include a casino, a virtual combat simulator and an arcade. Earning cash in Mass Effect 3 has always been difficult and though these new additions provide a way for the player to earn green while not on a mission, I feel that these additions should have been added quite some time ago – not every player will take full advantage of these facilities now that this is the last of the DLC.
Citadel certainly offers the player a lot to do and the amount of content is surprisingly vast for the small price-tag that is attached. It can be completed anywhere from 6 to 15 hours, depending on how deeply you delve into it. During the course of my review, I spent around 13 hours playing and I still have several things that I could do, especially in the combat arena. This DLC is the most robust and well-priced of them all, and it helps the game go out with a bang.
The visuals seen here are what you’ve come to expect from the Unreal engine; Bioware did not just rehash old textures, it went full-bore into creating characters and areas that look unique compared to what has previously been seen. I experienced a couple of minor issues with textures disappearing in certain areas, but they remained rare.
Citadel also came with an update, however, it cannot fix any of the underlying issues with the controls while in combat or interacting with objects in combat. Though these issues are few and far between, the familiar player will notice them immediately.
The audio in Citadel, especially the voice-acting, is very well done. As far as I could tell, all of the actors have reprised their roles and everyone delivered phenomenal performances. I mentioned before the camaraderie between the characters and the player; interactions with each other were frequent and you would swear that they were all standing in the same room, bantering away.
The Citadel DLC provides several hours of play for only a $15 price tag; we put our own value on what we pay for, but this one stands out. The sense of betrayal and abandonment from Bioware can never be fully absolved until the player get what they want from the mishandled ending, but that isn’t going to happen. What Bioware has done is provide a quality DLC that builds upon the strengths of what makes this franchise great and so beloved. I wholeheartedly recommend Citadel to any Mass Effect fan. In terms of DLC, Citadel really is the diamond in the rough.
New unique locations & characters.
Story and characters.
Doesn’t have the original ending fans would have liked.