Mass Effect 3‘s main story line may have been concluded, but that doesn’t mean players have experienced all the game is looking to offer. While BioWare may be hard at work on their next Mass Effect adventure, Commander Shepard has one more battle to fight thanks to the newly released “Omega” DLC for Mass Effect 3.
It’s difficult to gauge the fan base’s desire to play as Commander Shepard once again – at the highest price of admission for singleplayer DLC we’ve seen from the series – but BioWare is promising the biggest expansion to date, and one that shouldn’t disappoint. Have the developers succeeded?
The details leading up to the launch of “Omega” promised many things fans had long hoped for: a female Turian squadmate, a return to Omega – the galaxy’s worst hive of scum and villainy – and as was implied in the DLC’s launch trailer, a chance to incite rebellion. And for the most part, they follow through. BioWare may not be attempting to reinvent the wheel with new mechanics or challenges but they do offer a large dose of gameplay along with a higher level of difficulty.
Unlike the previously released “Leviathan” DLC which delivered little to fans beside another dive into the mythology behind the mysterious Reapers, “Omega” is structured around a much clearer mission progression. It isn’t often that Aria T’Loak, the Queen of organized crime aboard Omega takes a partner, but Shepard has proven that there’s no problem that can’t be solved with gunfire and conversation. Your mission: take Omega back from Cerberus control, whatever the cost.
Carrie-Anne Moss reprises her role as the no-nonsense crimelord, although the conversations with Shepard are not as lengthy or impactful as some might hope. By joining forces with Aria and the much talked about Nyreen Kandros – and assuming most players will be taking a battle-hardened Shepard into the DLC – the player wields control of a truly potent fighting force, highlighted by a few well-needed additional attacks. As a result even the most challenging enemy types stand little chance on Normal difficulty, so don’t expect a truly grueling battle.
While details from earlier in development teased a mission through the Omega Relay, aboard Omega and the ships surrounding, the finished product is much more straightforward. The mission structure rarely strays from moving from objective to objective, and while that might be a bit disappointing for those with high hopes, it largely succeeds where “Leviathan” failed.
Few skirmishes are ‘easy’ thanks to Cerberus’ apparent wealth of Rampart Mechs, and as one encounter leads into another, the three hours of combat and traversal offer more entertainment and varied pacing than “Leviathan” ever dreamed. That being said, there is no denying the fact that at every turn, “Omega” can’t help but feel like ‘extra’ content, or a chapter developed to stand apart from the campaign.
Since none of the existing crew or squad members appear, Shepard amounts to little more than a hired gun for the entirety of the mission – just as Aria wants it. With the overwhelming emphasis on story and character development that Mass Effect fans tend to enjoy, playing Aria’s enforcer (regardless of how many ‘moral’ choices are injected into the narrative) demands little investment.
In many ways, “Omega” balances out the strengths and weaknesses of the exposition-heavy “Leviathan.” For those who are hungry for some action over lengthy cutscenes and greater drama, “Omega” offers it in completely new settings, and against some new enemies. It’s hard to say that paying a quarter of the game’s overall price for three hours of shooting – as strong and entertaining as it is – is worth the price. As it stands, BioWare has some serious ground to make up if they hope to deliver on their promise of “really good” DLC plans.
“Omega” is an enjoyable and visually inspired trek into the bowels of everyone’s favorite criminal underworld, with a few surprising doses of horror, suspense, and frantic combat. Before long, it becomes evident that BioWare’s plans for the moment seem to give players not necessarily an improved or new twist, but simply more of the ME3 experience, and at a premium.
“Omega” is available for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 version of the game for $15 USD. The Wii U may be the home of the Mass Effect 3 Special Edition, but there are currently no plans for a Wii U “Omega” release.
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The Mass Effect 3 “Omega” DLC will be available for the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 version of the game for $15.