The DLC can essentially be split into two parts: the main “conspiracy” mission and the social party stuff with squad members. The first part is cliché and predictable at its best points, facepalm-inducing at its worst, and just kind of silly and ridiculous all the way through. Established characterization is thrown away in the name of humor as everyone speaks in an endless stream of action movie one-liners and references to memes from ME2 that make it seem as though Mass Effect has suddenly become a sci-fi knock-off of Borderlands. Not that there is anything wrong with Borderlands, but that is probably not what people are looking for in Mass Effect.The second half of the DLC, the social content, is so much better that it seems as though it was written by an entirely different team. Characters suddenly talk and act like themselves again and the game gives new memorable, heartfelt, and funny moments that do not just rely on callbacks to old content. The placement of this DLC as pre-ending still creates a number of pacing problems for the game, but if one pretends that it takes place post-red-ending, it feels less odd. It feels like someone took the denouement of a story and stuck it in the middle. It’s actually incredibly easy to just completely forget that the Reaper War is even going on in between doing pull-ups with James or getting dragged onto the set of the latest Blasto movie with Javik.
Especially after the overpriced Omega, another $15 DLC certainly will raise some eyebrows, and rightfully so. If a brand new AAA game is $60, it only makes sense that a $15 DLC should provide the same value as one quarter of a full game. Skeptics will be pleasantly surprised that this DLC provides far more content than Omega, enough to make the price tag high, but reasonable. Counting the main mission, the character “dates,” the party itself, the numerous minigames, and the Armax Arena, anyone should be able to get at least six-seven hours of playtime on a normally paced playthrough, easily ten if fighting enemies with ME2 squadmates in the Arena and getting a max score there sounds appealing.
Mass Effect: Citadel is an odd creature. It has some great gameplay and a large amount of content. The story is woefully inconsistent and the tone is wholly at odds with the tone of the middle of the game, when this DLC takes place. For someone just looking for a silly diversion and some fun character moments, this DLC can easily be worth the price. For anyone still hoping for more dramatic closure or a big story revelation will be disappointed and might have trouble enjoying the lighthearted silliness. Whether or not a given person’s enjoyment of the social content is enough to override the ridiculousness of the first part will determine whether they feel this DLC is worth it.