|Mass Effect 3|
|Platforms||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows|
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't looking forward to some proper Mass Effect 3 single-player DLC. I loved the game and the series as a whole, and I'll take any more content I can get in the universe before it's gone forever. Since I haven't been playing multiplayer, the numerous map packs do nothing for me, and while the Extended Cut was welcome, I didn't see it as totally necessary. Welcome, sure, but it didn't add much to my overall experience.
So finally being able to download Leviathan is exciting! Mass Effect 2's bonus content ranged in quality quite a bit: Lair of the Shadow Broker made for some of the best levels in the game, bar none, but the Firewalker Pack? Not so much. So it's certainly a point of concern to worry about the $10 download I just made, but hopefully my review presents a concise answer on whether it is worth your money or not. Since there's no new vehicle, my money is on "yes".
Along with Leviathan and the Extended Cut, I also reviewed Mass Effect 3's day one DLC, From Ashes, which included the exclusive squadmate Javik. Keep an eye on First Hour for future reviews of Mass Effect 3 downloadble content.
Leviathan is a multi-hour experience about as long as Lair of the Shadow Broker, which means multiple locations spanning a series of solar systems across the galaxy. But where Shadow Broker revealed the identity of a mysterious individual from the previous game, added an additional playable character exclusive to that DLC, had a vehicle chase, two decent boss fights, and one of the most spectucular set piece locations of all time, Leviathan offers almost the complete opposite experience: a slower paced, investigation-heavy, lore-filled adventure. This isn't to say it's bad, it's just a lot less ambitious than its forebearer.
But not every DLC can be Lair of the Shadow Broker, and Leviathan still has plenty to offer. Spoilers from here on out.
Admiral Hackett and the Alliance Navy learn of a mysterious being that is capable of defeating a Reaper. Commander Shepard, having nothing better to do than kill the Illusive Man, save species from extinction, and make love to aliens, is tasked with talking to a scientist on the Citadel who may be knowledgeable about this mythical creature. Two minutes into the conversation, he's killed by his apparently indoctrinated lab assistant and the investigation is on.
Your time with Leviathan is broken up between investigating Dr. Bryson's lab for clues and firefights with Reapers. The fingerprint dusting sequences aren't exactly L.A. Noire, it's all just a matter of walking around clicking on lit up points, but EDI manages to make them interesting with tons of clever and informative dialogue. The probe reminds me a lot of the first half of Kasumi's Stolen Memory where Bioware's writers excelled at mixing comedy with an information dump, fun stuff.
The shooting scenes are all very Mass Effect 3, plenty of husks running at you, ravagers destroying your shields, and banshees doing their best to freak you out with their bansheeness. It's a bit disappointing that there aren't any boss fights, which I suppose isn't that unexpected considering there were only two in the main game as it is, but Bioware sure set the bar high with Shadow Broker. The locations are impressive, however, one in particular has dozens of harvesters flying around destroying the fragile ground below you, and another is surrounded by a huge, stormy ocean. Looking for Alex Garneau on the Mahavid asteroid is incredibly creepy, like something out of Silent Hill. Once again, no Shadow Broker ship, but it still does the trick.
The trip underwater down to Leviathan is impressive, at first I thought we were going to experience another Knights of the Old Republic undersea slo-mo walk, but it was a short and sweet cinematic Bioshock stroll with our proto-Reaper at the end. Leviathan has a lot to say about the origins of the Reapers and the war at hand, and feels like the epic Sovereign chat from the original Mass Effect. A fitting end for an enlightening piece of DLC.
It's not the best bit of downloadable content available in the Mass Effect universe, but it provides some fun battles, interesting investigation sequences, and a heckuva lot of background on the series you love.