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Saturday, December 28, 2013

DLC review: Mass Effect 3 - Citadel


Effectively a love letter to all Mass Effect fans, Citadel is filled to the brim with wit, self-parodies, and intense action. It runs a story that is exciting, yet does not take itself too seriously, as out of the blue Shepard finds himself/herself target number one of a mercenary organization. It’s not the best way for the Commander to start his/her shore leave, and longtime friends Garrus, Tali, and Liara make a point of stating how Shepard can’t go for more than a day without getting into some crazy scenario. The main story runs about an hour and a half or more, depending on the difficulty setting, and compared to many of the other Mass Effect DLC packs, it certainly dishes out a decent challenge factor.

Beyond that, there are plenty of distractions to indulge in. From the moment Shepard is ordered to take shore leave, he/she is granted access to Admiral Anderson’s large upscale apartment. Shepard is free to purchase new furniture and d├ęcor as he/she sees fit, and can eventually throw a party for however many or few old comrades he/she chooses. Unfortunately, the game automatically assigns James, Cortez, and Traynor to the party, the latter two of whom are infinitely easier to stomach than the resident meat-head of the crew. Still, it is thoroughly entertaining to listen to Tali’s slurred and drunken ramblings, Grunt’s bizarre reaction to alcohol leading him to believe he can stop bullets with his mind, and EDI’s confronting Traynor about a past comment she made about the robot’s voice being sexy.

There is also a whole new section of the Citadel open to explore, complete with minigames and short, character-specific situations like playing wingman to Garrus as he fumbles his way through a date, or starring alongside Javik in a half-baked Blasto the Hannar sequel. The Citadel DLC has plenty of funny moments, and a few key heartfelt ones, too. It’s the best Mass Effect 3 DLC by a longshot, and arguably ranks among the best DLC packs the entire series has had to offer. Perhaps best of all is the fact that it does not feel like a portion of the game that was cut out for the sake of making another quick buck off downloadable sales, yet the sum of its parts prove surprisingly cohesive with the rest of the Mass Effect 3 experience.

My rating: 9 (out of 10)*

*(rating applies solely to downloadable content, not its inclusion with the content on the original game disc or other downloadable content)

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