Review: Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC
Title: Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC
Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC (reviewed on Xbox 360)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Tagline: Shepard channels his/her inner Cole Phelps
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Verdict: Skip it
There is a point about an hour into the Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC where I was sure that my Shepard would put on some shades, make a bad pun and The Who would start blaring through my speakers. Sadly this never happened, but the idea of having a more procedural, detective-like element for Shepard actually made for some interesting gameplay and opens things up in the future for possible games in the Mass Effect universe.
Of course, this new Leviathan DLC is the first story driven DLC content for Mass Effect 3 and it is a decent bit of content. But it starts off far different than any Mass Effect mission to this date, as you are searching for clues, looking for trends and basically trying to solve the mystery of a disappearing scientist and where he found this reaper only known to us as Leviathan.
Searching around is not the only new mechanic introduced for Shepard and the merry crewmates of the Normandy, as we also introduced to platforming towards the end of the scenario, jumping around platforms, climbing ladders and vaulting between segments. Again, it is a refreshing change of pace, but there is no real way to fail the platforming sections, which kind of defeat the purpose of having them in a game.
I guess it could have been worse as the rest of the DLC shapes up to be one big boring festival for Shepard. You do learn a bit more about the Reapers from Leviathan, but the payoff is a bit weak and the combat leading up to it is frustrating as the game asks you to do something, but does not convey it well. There is a new traversal item that could have been very interesting, but it is never really used in any way beyond moving around a new styled environment. Even in the ending, the new DLC does not add much beyond a few throwaway lines.
But the biggest issue with the Leviathan DLC has nothing to do with the DLC and with Mass Effect 3 as a whole. It is hard to go back into the game for this DLC when you know the final outcome of the game. This DLC cannot change the events that are set in stone. Most players have finished the game at this point, and because of that, the DLC lacks a sense of punch. Maybe if I was coming into this with a first playthrough, I would see it with different eyes, but right now, it was just a chore to even play Leviathan, when I know it does nothing to change the endgame in any significant way.
It is not that the DLC is overly bad, but it never really reaches heights that were set with Mass Effect 2’s DLC. Maybe a few more releases in, we will get some solid content, but the elephant in the room probably will still hurt those releases. If you are a super fan, or a completionist, you will probably want to own the Leviathan DLC, but don’t look for it to add any significant punch to the lore of the series. Instead, look to the detective element as an opening for a cool C-Sec, or SPECTRE styled game set in the Mass Effect series – I know I did.
- Detective sequences are a nice change for the series
- The Leviathan is sort of intersting
- Combat is tedious and boring
- Story feels shoehorned into the fiction
- Finishing the man story before playing DLC make it lose meaning
While the Mass Effect series as a whole has seen some dark moments and acts of violence, they are kept to a minimum here. There are some small moments that are thick with tension that might frighten a younger child, so maybe keep this at the 15 year and up level.