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Mass Effect: Citadel DLC (PC) Review

/ Mar 10th, 2013 No Comments

Mass Effect 3: Citadel

Mass Effect 3: Citadel (DLC) Review

Mass Effect 3: Citadel (DLC) Review

The final single-player DLC for Mass Effect 3, Mass Effect: Citadel is said by BioWare to be a goodbye to Shepard and his/her team. More time with squadmates has been one of the primary demands of the Retake movement started a year ago, so the fact that BioWare is finally delivering that content will certainly please a great number of players, even some that were not appeased by the Extended Cut. The action and combat are top-notch and provide one of the best boss fights in the series and the Armax Combat Arena provides a fun time sink that helps make this DLC worthy of its $15 price tag in a way that Omega was not. However, while the new character content in Mass Effect: Citadel offers some truly great moments, the main story mission offers a ridiculous and out-of-place B-action movie plot that could have easily come from fan-fiction. If one can get past the almost painful first three hours and get to the meat of the DLC, Mass Effect: Citadel is worth playing.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Mass Effect: Citadel throws some new mechanics at you that spice things up, such as a Kasumi – Stolen Memory style party in which Shepard has to mingle and use his/her squadmate to distract guards. There is a stealth portion in which Shepard has to try to avoid assassins. The new enemies, the assassins themselves, actually require new tactics on the part of the player, unlike the Omega enemies. The snipers have stealth camo, the base soldiers have little drones that will instantly break Shepard’s shields if they are not destroyed quickly, and the enemies carrying energy shields are actually sturdy enough that they aren’t just sitting ducks waiting to get shot in the head with an armor-piercing round. The final boss fight is like an updated version of the much-lauded Tela Vasir fight in Lair of the Shadow Broker, except that the boss can be any class that Shepard can be, not just a vanguard. The new weapons are fun and powerful enough to make one want to play more just to get more use out of them.

Story

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.

Zaeed playing a futuristic claw machine. (RIP Robin Sachs)

Zaeed playing a futuristic claw machine. (RIP Robin Sachs)

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.

Value

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.

MASS EFFECT: CITADEL DLC (PC) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall78%

Gameplay9.0

The action is fun, varied, and original. There are a wide variety of minigames and diversions and some great new weapons.

Value8.5

$15 is still a hefty price tag for DLC, but there is a lot of content here.

Story6.0

The story is ridiculous and out-of-place in the tone and style of the Mass Effect universe, but some great character writing in the second half almost makes up for it. Almost.

Ethan Smith

Ethan Smith

A perpetual over-thinker, Ethan Smith spends all of his free time playing video games like an English professor reads books, writing a secret novel, and trying to actually finish a game of Medieval II: Total War.
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MASS EFFECT: CITADEL DLC (PC) REVIEW

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall78%

Gameplay9.0

The action is fun, varied, and original. There are a wide variety of minigames and diversions and some great new weapons.

Value8.5

$15 is still a hefty price tag for DLC, but there is a lot of content here.

Story6.0

The story is ridiculous and out-of-place in the tone and style of the Mass Effect universe, but some great character writing in the second half almost makes up for it. Almost.

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