This game was played on the Xbox 360 platform and should be taken as a review for that specific system only.
Earlier this week the first single-player expansion DLC for Mass Effect 3 released. Technically the Extended Cut DLC was the first single-player DLC, but with it being free and not adding any additional missions, just cut scenes, I don’t really feel that it counts. The DLC that I speak of is of course Leviathan
Leviathan is a 3-4 hour expansion taking place prior ‘the point of no return mission’ in Mass Effect 3. Let’s let BioWare fill everyone in on the actual plot of the expansion:
Something lurks in the dark corners of space, something powerful enough to kill a Reaper. Shepard must discover the most closely guarded secret in the galaxy before the Reapers silence it forever.
Mass Effect 3: Leviathan expands upon the events of Mass Effect 3, with gripping and emotional storytelling, compelling new characters, and powerful weapons and upgrades. Unravel the dark history about the Reapers as you race across the galaxy to discover the Leviathan.
Leviathan will be available to download for 800 MS Points on Xbox LIVE, $9.99 on PlayStation Network, and 800 BioWare Points on Origin on August 28th.
There is no war, only the harvest.
Leviathan is a well crafted DLC and is certainly an enjoyable experience. If I had to rate it compared to previously released content for Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, I would probably put it above Mass Effect 2: Arrival, but below Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker. In fact, I made a handy list of Mass Effect DLC to see where it rates against other offerings:
- Lair of the Shadow Broker
- Bring Down the Sky
- Being punched in the face really hard.
- Firewalker Pack
- Pinnacle Station
As you can see, I think quite highly of the latest offering in the Mass Effect saga, but why is that? Well I’m glad one of my other personalities asked!
This is Mass Effect, so ultimately what is more important than story? Leviathan is absolutely, positively brilliant. By the end of the DLC it answers one of the major questions that had been plaguing me since finishing the Extended Cut earlier this summer. I will not go into detail on what this question is in this review*, but rest assured that if you are even half as fanatical about the Mass Effect universe as I am, you will be pleased.
The only issue I have with the story actual derives from issues with the gameplay itself.
A big surprise with this expansion is the additions and changes to gameplay. These are mostly minor and even welcome, but they are not all perfect. The first thing to take note of is the story issue I mentioned a moment ago. Leviathan adds a new location to our beloved Citadel in the form of a laboratory of one Dr. Bryson. Bryson’s lab becomes a new hub area for the expansion instead of being a one-off location like Liara’s apartment in Lair of the Shadow Broker. This is both awesome and tedious at the same time. Between each mission, of which there are three, you have to fly back to the Citadel to do some detective work at Bryson’s lab.
The detective aspects are actually surprisingly enjoyable, but by the 2nd time you have made the trek back to the Citadel it gets tiresome. Maybe this has to do with the fact that I was playing on a character that I had already finished the game with and as such I had no other reason to be checking out the Citadel. Hopefully in future playthroughs it will blend better and not seem quite as obtrusive.
Leviathan also adds the usual additional weapons and weapon enhancements; including an omni-blade ‘bayonet’ for your assault rifle! The coolest thing added to the gameplay is the inclusion of some of the newer multiplayer ‘minigames’. I know what you are likely thinking: What the hell BioWare! Why are you forcing your multiplayer mode into my single-player RPG?! Do not worry at all; it’s not like that at all. During your travels in search of Leviathan you will take part in the simple escort the drone and object delivery minigames that were added to multiplayer earlier in the summer. These are surprisingly enjoyable, and work well with the story at the points they are added. Honestly, if not for my semi-extensive playtime in multiplayer I may not have noticed the additions as being odd.
Glitches, Bugs, & Gameplay Conundrums
Since the Extended Cut released for Mass Effect 3 released, I have noticed an increasing number of annoying glitches that I have never seen in a Mass Effect game. These have included, but not been limited to massive slowdowns, semi-frequent crashes, and even cinematics loading in with strange color filters or misplaced on the screen. Since installing Leviathan I haven’t noticed any additional issues with this,; in fact it seems like many of the loading and crashing errors have disappeared.
What I have noticed is new quirky issues with the DLC itself. For starters, when talking to shipmates I have noticed that it is almost like they have a case of verbal diarrhea. The sound clips for dialogue spew forth without a pause in between, sometimes even overlapping and clipping each other. This doesn’t happen anywhere outside of the ship, but it can be incredibly jarring to hear Garrus talking over himself in a way that sounds nearly manic.
There are also the usual random bugs and glitches as well, but most are minor and do not seem to be common in any way.
Overall, Leviathan is a near outstanding piece of content. It fills in pieces of the history of the Mass Effect universe, while raising additional questions. It is only with intense patience that I will be able to survive the time between now and the next piece of content for one of my most beloved universes.
4.5 out of 5
*If you’re interested in more of Joshua’s thoughts on Mass Effect 3 or Leviathan, then check out his Constantly Calibrating podcast on iTunes. Next week they will be covering their thoughts on Leviathan in spoilerific detail.