The end of our journey has come at last. The final DLC for Mass Effect 3 released earlier this week and even after three full playthroughs, I still can’t seem to say goodbye. Over the last 5 & 1⁄2 years I have been in control of a growing number of Commander Shepards — both female and male — which makes it rough to see their story end. I know what you’re thinking, “But didn’t their story officially end last year with the release of Mass Effect 3?” This is true that yes the story ended for each of my Shepard’s at the end of the game, but that doesn’t mean that my personal journey was over. There was always the foreknowledge that another DLC was just a galaxy map viewing away, which always kept me wanting more. Now that Citadel has been released I’m left with the knowledge that my Commander Shepard’s story is completed. This is an uneasy feeling for someone as devoted to the series as I have become over the years.
I tell you all of this so that you understand where I am coming from; that you understand that I am a die-hard fan of the series, even after the supposed clusterfrell of an ending. (Personally, I never had a problem with the ending, and even less of one with the Extended Cut. With that thought, let’s allow BioWare the spotlight to explain the final DLC for ME3 themselves, while I grab a box of tissues:
Embark on one last adventure with your team in Mass Effect 3: Citadel.
When a sinister conspiracy targets Commander Shepard, you and your team must uncover the truth, through battles and intrigue that range from the glamour of the Citadel’s Wards to the top-secret Council Archives. Uncover the truth and fight alongside your squad – as well as the cast from the original Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, including Urdnot Wrex!
When the adventure is over, reconnect with your favorite characters from the Mass Effect Trilogy, try your luck at the Citadel’s Silver Coast Casino, blow off steam in the Armax Combat Arena, or explore and furnish Shepard’s own living quarters on the Citadel. With unique content and cinematics featuring your friends and romance interests in the Mass Effect trilogy, Mass Effect 3: Citadel offers one final chance to see the characters you have known for years and rekindle romances.
Let me come out right away and say this: Mass Effect 3: Citadel is the best DLC released for not just ME3, but for the entire series as a whole. It is fan service, content, story, combat, and everything you could ever love about the series wrapped up into a neat little package. For one last time, let’s whip out the ol’ “Mass Effect DLC List of Awesomitude!” and see where everything stands.
- Lair of the Shadow Broker
- Bring Down the Sky
- Watching Vega flirt with…well, anything really.
- Firewalker Pack
- Pinnacle Station
Have you every played Mass Effect and thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish this game was more reminiscent of an 80’s action movie, with all the action, ridiculous story points, and cheesy dialogue?” How about “Hey, I really wish we could get a DLC that shows us nearly every major moment we’ve heard alluded to for seven years, but make sure not to overly focus on it.” Then there’s this one, “What if there was one last DLC that just gives us every character from every game, all in one tight package?”
Citadel somehow manages to pull of these questions together, while adding in a plethora of additional features.
Attack of the Story
From start to finish Citadel’s story managed to pull me in. Right off the bat we’re given our first referential easter egg to the Mass Effect universe outside the games, when Admiral Anderson gives Shepard his apartment on the Citadel. Those of us that avidly read the book series will remember this apartment as it was referenced a handful of times. These kind of small things are what makes this DLC great. The average ME player, or even fan may play through the game enjoying it, but not getting every reference. That’s fine and all, but this truly is a DLC made with fan service in mind.
BioWare was not kidding when they claimed we would meet up with every character from the Mass Effect series. You don’t always get in conversations with people, but by keeping your ears and eyes opened while wandering around you will hear/see names that you may have long forgotten. The Shifty Looking Cow from the original game even makes a brief cameo of sorts. If you were like me and played every side quest in every game — usually multiple times — then you will find someone who you may have even forgotten about, or always longed to hear from again.
The main story of the DLC is completely and utterly ridiculous, in the best way possible. Kirk Hamilton of Kotaku put it best on Twitter: “Really though, it’s like a one-off TV episode.” While the story is a huge part of the universe, it’s nothing like Leviathan’s universe shattering story or Omega’s finishing off an open thread. Citadel manages to open an entirely new thread and close it off within the confines of its own narrative. To describe any of the details of the story would be a complete disservice to you, loyal reader. This is a DLC that needs to be played or at least viewed to truly enjoy and appreciate.
If you would prefer to view the story, in lieu of playing it, might I recommend the below video. I opted to playthrough Citadel a third time before writing this article, while recording it for your potential viewing pleasure.
Fleet and Flotilla
The breadth of content that you get here is staggering to me. In previous DLC outings from across the series we’ve been given a fun story, maybe with an additional companion, but once the mission ends, it’s over. Lair of the Shadow Broker from Mass Effect 2 is one of the only DLCs in this series to actually continue on a bit after the main story. With Citadel we’re given the objective of finding out who wants Shepard dead this time, which in of itself would be an enjoyable romp in the universe. After that 3-4 hour mission is over you’re suddenly thrown onto a new semi-expansive area of the Citadel and told to have fun, chat with old friends, and throw a party.
Silversun Strip incorporates Shepard’s apartment, a casino, arcade, and the Armax Arena. Along this uncharted area of the Citadel you come across multiplayer characters on shore leave, old friends and companions, and a wealth of minigames that for the most part are fun — the claw game being less fun and more addicting, like a real claw game. The real beauty of the DLC, like most parts of the series, lies within the characters themselves.
From time to time you’ll receive emails from companions asking to meet up either at your apartment, or at some location on Silversun Strip. You’re then treated to either a home-cooked meal, a movie night with a loved one, a match of space chess, or helping an old merc cure — or give in to — his addiction. These interactions are some of the best written scenes in the series to date; Javik’s and Grunt’s being personal favorites of mine. The amount of heart and sentiment put into these is enough to make me tear up just thinking about it. Sure some scenes are borderline masochistic — Vega’s training section — and leaving and coming back to your apartment becomes a chore after a while, but that doesn’t diminish the experience enough to tarnish it in any real way.
Speaking of the experience, Citadel somehow took the entire experience of Pinnacle Station from Mass Effect 1, adds it to Citadel as a minigame, and then pulls off the impossible: They made it fun! The Armax Arena is a small area at the south end of the Silversun Strip, which I thought I would hop into just to check out on my first playthrough. Four hours later I had received every achievable, unlocked all the bonuses and yet I still found myself coming back for more. It’s all of the addictive qualities of ME3’s multiplayer, wrapped up into a singe player experience with some light story elements. The Armax Arena in of itself probably could have been an $8 DLC if BioWare or EA wanted to be greedy, so to see it included in this package is simply outstanding.
“I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite DLC on the Citadel.”
At this point I’m sure my opinion of Mass Effect 3: Citadel is obvious — I did state it right off the bat and all. The DLC is simply outstanding and a must purchase for any fan of the series. I will even go as far to say that people who became and are still disillusioned by the ending should pick it up. Sure, it may not fix the ending — one which I still think doesn’t need fixing — but what it does is it gives closure on the characters we have all grown to love over the years. It’s fun, sentimental, and a truly outstanding experience that all fans should relish in at least once.
5 out of 5 bananas
I should go…