It’s a little strange playing a DLC that specifically takes place before the end of a game, let alone the end of a franchise, when you already know the ending. Most DLC’s either take place after the ending of a given game or don’t have any relation to the end. It would be like if, instead of releasing an extension to Divinity II which continues the story on from the ending (& if you’ve played that game you know how unique the original ending was), the developers decided instead to add content in the original game that hinted to the ending we already knew. It’s hard to explain what I mean. I just know I sat there for a few minutes after playing Leviathan for Mass Effect 3 trying to wedge the new information into what I already knew. But strangeness aside, is the DLC itself any good?
Plot: Shepard receives a message from Admiral Hackett to meet with Dr. Bryson, a scientist who has been studying the Leviathan of Dis. But it’s not so much the disappeared husk of a Reaper he’s interested in, but what killed it. Before Shepard can learn what Bryson knows, he’s killed by a thrall of this true Leviathan. Not willing to let a potential ally get away so easily, Shepard has to piece together the clues of what the Leviathan is & where it’s hiding. The answer will lead them to not only the creator of the Reapers, but possibly the oldest species in the history of the galaxy.
- 4 missions (10 smaller missions total)
- 1 Citadel location, 3 completely new planetary clusters & 6 new systems in existing clusters
- 2 weapons; AT-12 Raider (shotgun) & M-55 Argus (assault rifle)
- 5 weapon mods; Assault Rifle Omni-blade (increase melee damage), Pistol Cranial Trauma System (increase headshot damage), Ultralight Pistol Material (reduces weight), SMG High Velocity Barrel (penetrating shot) & SMG Recoil System (increase weapon stability)
- 4 achievements; No Stone Unturned (complete 2nd mission), Under Pressure (complete DLC), Conspiracy Theorist (complete 1st mission) & Family Matters (complete 3rd mission)
- 11 War Assets
- 1 bonus power; Dominate
- 1 cabin item
- Total gameplay time added: around 3 hrs
Cost: 800 MP/BP or $10
Opinion: The biggest selling point of Leviathan is whether or not it gives more insight into the race that created the Reapers in the first place. And in answer to that I’d say, “Sorta?” You do get to meet the race face-to-face, which I liked. And in some ways the encounter does shine a bit more light on the Reapers. It expands on the Extended Cut’s explanations of the Reaper’s origins as told by the race who created them. I feel I have a better understanding of where they came from & why they behave the way they do. It also explains why there are no traces of the race & even why the Reapers look the way they do. However, I felt parts of the plot moved a bit too quickly. Specifically, we only have the Leviathan’s word that the organic species during their times kept creating machines that rose up against them. We don’t really see evidence pointing us to that conclusion.
Aside from that, the plot itself is pretty interesting. The characters are interesting, there’s plenty of excitement & even a few creepy moments. The one that stands out is during the second mission when I was on an asteroid mining facility trying to track down another doctor with information on the artifacts. The setting is creepy enough with all of the miners obviously indoctrinated (& I had to laugh because despite it being obvious & the crew having come across this several times, they still seemed confused about the problem). But at one point I activated a computer & part way through its message it switched to a camera angle of Shepard from behind. It was creepy in a “I’m watching you” sort of way. I also liked how you can investigate Dr. Bryson’s office in the beginning in a not-quite-puzzle so you don’t have to search all the planets for the next mission. Plus, he has the Locke Ness Monster’s skeleton hanging on his ceiling.
In terms of gameplay, there aren’t any new mechanics added. The only thing of note is that you get to fight in an Atlas against Brutes & use it in an underwater section. I thought this section was a really cool idea as well as being beautiful, but I wish it was longer. If BioWare does release more story-based DLC, I hope they do a large underwater section.
So is the DLC worth it? I find myself wanting to give two different sets of recommendations. If you haven’t finished the game yet, or at the very least haven’t played the Extended Cut, I highly recommend it. If you have finished, I’d say it’s 50/50. On the one hand it’s a solid DLC & with its length I feel it’s worth the price. However, aside from expanding on what I already knew, it doesn’t really add much. I haven’t played through the endgame yet, so I can’t say with certainty that the DLC doesn’t play some role in it, but it obviously doesn’t change the ending. I liked it, but I don’t feel like you’re missing a lot if you choose not to buy it. In the end, I’d say that if you like Mass Effect & want some more time with Commander Shepard, get it.