Mass Effect 2, which still ranks for me as one of the greatest games of all time, had a phenomenal conclusion, but one in which things were left open-ended enough, that you could play the single player DLC add-ons either after you finished the game, or at some point during a play-through. I happened to play them all at the end, and one of them actually leads perfectly into the start of Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 3, for all the strife it has caused amongst the developers, fans and critics who love or hate the ending, still had an ending. A definitive one. At least for your Commander Shepard. Sure, the universe could go on, but your Commander Shepard’s story was complete, one way or the other.
So for any single player DLC for Mass Effect 3 that comes out now – the first piece of single player DLC, From Ashes, came out the day of the game’s release – starring Shepard would have to take place earlier in the game. And in the recently released Leviathan DLC, you’re hunting for what you believe to be a Reaper that has turned against its own kind. What an amazing war asset!
But wait… um… isn’t the war over? I mean. I beat the game.
Instead… it’s best to look at Leviathan as a deleted-scene. Something cut from the main epic for time, but still worth you giving it a look because it answers an important piece of the Mass Effect mythology—namely, where did the Reapers originate from? And who created them?
If that answer is that important to you – and I didn’t realize it was for me until I got to the end – then you should play this DLC. Otherwise, you might want to spend your time and money elsewhere.
There are bits and pieces of Leviathan that are fun and exciting in concept, but aren’t necessarily carried out successfully in the adventure itself.
For instance, you play as a “detective” in the early parts of the DLC, trying to figure out where somebody is. But don’t think you’re playing LA Noire or something similar. You’re pretty much just touching A when prompted.
There are also very few moral decisions you’ll need to make—though you can still earn Renegade and Paragon points a few times. The decisions you make, while they’ll contribute to the war effort, won’t affect the story the way Lair of the Shadow Broker did.
And you’ll even get to explore underwater – DEEP underwater – for an all-too brief segment of the game. It’s visually stunning and has a great pay-off, but I certainly wished it lasted a bit longer. (And I can’t be the only one who wishes he got a chance to see if his guns worked underwater.)
Overall, I found From Ashes more moving and more stronger narratively than Leviathan, but any true Mass Effect fan certainly won’t be disappointed by Leviathan.
Which, according to some reports, does yet again change your Mass Effect 3 ending in a small way. But don’t go into it for that. Go in like you’re experiencing a deleted scene from one of your favorite epics of all time. But you know… one of the good deleted scenes.
The Mass Effect 3 Leviathan DLC is rated “M for Mature” by the ESRB and is available now for download on PC, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 for $9.99 USD or 800 Microsoft points.
* Note: A copy of Leviathan for Xbox 360 was provided to this reviewer by the developer. *