Yep, I thought it was over too. But, every time we think we’re out, etc, etc.
Fact is, though, even months after the fact even after virtually writing a brand-spanking new ending, Bioware has decided to grace us with even more DLC to pad out the story we’ve come to love. And well, if they’re deciding keep writing new content, well, then, dammit, so will I.
The Title: Mass Effect 3: Leviathan
The Premise: A scientist onboard the Citadel has discovered critical new information about the Reapers that leads Shepard on a cross-galaxy hunt for the origin of a mysterious indoctrination signal, the purpose of which seems to be, oddly enough, deterring the Reapers.
Is It Good?: Yeah, it’s all right. That’s from an average. As gameplay, Leviathan is relatively sedate and uninspired. Some minor point-and-click adventure problem solving–albeit, with some great writing and performance therein– and three action setpieces, none of which really do anything we haven’t seen and done before. To its credit, you *do* get to play around with a mech again towards the end. Nothing to write home about otherwise. The ratcheting of tension via playable sequence that Bioware’s so great at when they’ve really got a fire under their ass just isn’t here.
Leviathan is far more effective as story, though. Its big moments are immensely satisfying, compelling stuff, running the emotional gamut from inhuman, subtly creepy horror movie dread, to a big-idea conversation near the end that calls to mind the best parts of The Abyss*. This is the stuff that kept me going from beginning to end, and serves as a steadfast reminder of how much I continue to love playing in this universe. The gameplay is naught but an obstacle to more story. Thankfully, the gameplay remains solid and fun and quite easy to make one’s way through again, but it doesn’t seem like it would have taken much to give this thing a spitshine, or one major goose in terms of pure adrenaline.
If it seems like this is a short, linear review, well, aside from avoiding pretty whopping, exciting spoilers that even I’m rather hesitant to blow here, it’s because there’s not a whole hell of a lot to say. Leviathan *is* a totally linear experience, allowing for none of the twists and turns of, say, Shadow Broker. But that’s both an unfair comparison, and part of the weirdness of releasing DLC for a game with such a definitive ending that most players have already discussed ad nauseum. Leviathan feels like a chunk of game that should’ve been a part of the main narrative, but as opposed to that being an indelible positive and selling point, as it was for From Ashes, it just feels like putting a rather minor, though worthwhile, piece of the puzzle back where it belonged in the first place. I imagine it playing better as an integrated part of that puzzle.
Length: 3 hours-ish
Moment To Savor: Conventional logic says it’s Shepard’s line about Sovereign. Internal logic says its EDI’s bit about the MMORPG she’s playing.
Worth it?: A bit on the pricey side, but yeah, still worth it.
*–It also takes Indoctrination Theory out back and shoots it in the head. There really is no credible way in hell it works now. But, again, spoilers.