Game: Mass Effect 3: Leviathan
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Windows PC
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Electronic Arts has released their first single player paid downloadable content for Mass Effect 3. The ominously named Leviathan. It comes with an 800 Microsoft Point price tag, but is it worth that amount of money or were we just way too comfortable with BioWare’s previous free-multiplayer-DLC tactics?
The Mass Effect universe is huge, and so is BioWare’s idea-bank. The famous developer managed to extend the success of their latest AAA title by months with the help of some amazing multiplayer content as well as an extended ending release. Of course, the discussions and unrest about the ending of the game made BioWare reconsider their decisions and they managed to give full fan-service in the form of better closure and some great multiplayer updates.
All this is in the past and hopefully the generous developer will keep the free multiplayer content rolling in but now, for the first time ever, players can experience a special episode of Commander Shepard’s story before the final assault on the Reapers.
After downloading Leviathan, players can just load up any of their saved games where by opening Shepard’s personal terminal next to the galaxy map and reading the new e-mail, the mission becomes available.
The mission starts off simple, Shepard needs to go and investigate a researcher’s (Dr Bryson) work about something which Admiral Hackett refers to as a “Reaper-killer”; something called the “Leviathan”. Let’s just say things don’t go smoothly and the game will display some brilliant investigative gameplay after an action filled sequence. It’s not hard, or challenging, but it certainly is good fun to go through pieces of evidence. After a thorough investigation, Shepard takes off to a mining facility where it seems like, judging by how the worker are acting, strange and unwelcoming behaviour were essential “skills” to have in the job description. The whole place looks beautiful and the world reacts in a great way to Shepard and his faithful companions. After a bit of more investigative work we soon start to shoot the place to bits. Failing in our mission, the whole Leviathan idea starts to bug Shepard more and more as he finds out the source of the workers’ strange behaviour.
Soon, it’s back to the lab where we have to investigate a bit more, and it is worth going through the whole room both times you’re there as there’s an epic one-liner that will make every Mass Effect fan smile, the repeat the same line themselves or say something vulgar while punching the air. The next part of our mission is to find Bryson’s daughter as she’s the only one who can help the Commander to find this Leviathan. So off we go, straight into a war zone. The DLC feels a bit slow at the beginning but actually it helps lapsed players ease back into the single player experience. As soon as Shepard enters the area, bullets and enemies start flying everywhere and the landing is more at the “jump-off-while-you-can” end of the scale. The squad must go through a totally trashed environment where everything is falling apart as they go, making them change their intended course at almost every turn. After successfully finding, and rescuing Ann Bryson, Shepard brings her up to speed so she’s ready to help him as soon as they get back into the lab. There’s a bit more investigating in the lab but the conclusion is that Shepard must use Ann as a bait so they can trace the Leviathan. After narrowing down the location of this annoying phenomenon, the crew takes off and goes to the planet; pinpointed by EDI.
The transit gets disabled mid-flight and the crew lands on a massive spaceship’s wreckage. Again, Shepard finds himself in a huge fight for survival. (It’s worth mentioning that the parts where the guns come out are great and give a true challenge to even the more seasoned Mass Effect fans. As the squad figures out the reason why this great weapon against the Reapers managed to stay hidden for such a long time. After finding an Atlas that’s been modified for diving, Shepard decides to go underwater to find out what this Leviathan is, because until he has convinced or killed it, the story can’t progress. Of course, the main mission is to convince the “Reaper-killer” to fight against the Reapers and help humanity and the other races. After landing, the game switches to a first person view and Shepard has to explore a the bottom of this scary ocean.
VERDICT: We already know that Mass Effect 3 is brilliant, but this new content gives enough variety that everyone will enjoy it from the beginning to the end. There’s a few things that will probably grind on some people, such as the fact that the DLC feels a bit late, as well as having a bit of a slow start, but this could be excused as it helps people to ease into the game’s single player experience again. On the other hand, Leviathan delivers a good challenge in the areas where you need to fight, and expands the story onto a whole new level and will make fans think about all the possibilities and background history.
It’s also worth mentioning that with a fairly thorough sweep of the new content, Leviathan takes about 2-3 hours to complete, which isn’t too bad for the asking price, considering the high quality of the content.