It’s been a few months since BioWare released the Mass Effect 3 Extended Cut, catering to the vocal minority regarding the infamous endings. Since then, things have died down in the “Mass Effect sucks” department. There has been a steady stream of free multiplayer downloadable content which keeps that aspect of the game thriving, but in terms of the story, not much has been added. But BioWare hasn’t forgotten about the story, not in the slightest, and this shows with the release of Leviathan.
The mission starts when you receive an urgent email from Admiral Hackett. Dr. Garret Bryson needs your support, what with Shepard being a bit of an expert on Reaper killing. Minutes into your briefing, and shit already hits the fan. One of Dr. Bryson’s assistants shoots and kills him under some sort of trance, bellowing “the darkness cannot be breached”. The assistant claims he didn’t know what he was doing, and only felt “cold and darkness”, so clearly something’s amiss. What unravels is a seriously intriguing plot that traces the Reapers’ own origins to something you wouldn’t possibly believe.
Mission structures are pretty much what you’d expect from Mass Effect DLC, but it isn’t pulled off as well as Mass Effect 2′s highly appraised Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC. The usual Mass Effect gameplay doesn’t change much either, and it isn’t incredibly difficult, even on Insanity. Aspects from the multiplayer have been put in, like the drone escorting. You and your squad have to pilot a drone to a specific location for intel. While not the most fun, it’s at least a nice spin on the traditional Mass Effect gameplay. Also, a big change to the gameplay is the detective-styled bits of the DLC. While not as detailed and interesting as the Arkham franchise, you do benefit from having a sharp eye when investigating certain places.
My main concern about Leviathan is that if the whole DLC was really even necessary. This is a personal issue, but I like some things in a fictional universe to have some sort of mystery to it, that’s what makes it so special. George Lucas and the Midichlorian nonsense was an attempt to demystify one of the trademarked things in the Star Wars universe – the Force. Why explain the origin of the Reapers? Why sandwich this bit of Shepard’s story into the finished product that was Mass Effect 3 to begin with? Most of all, why introduce this vital, powerful creature as DLC? It was one thing to have Liara back in Lair of the Shadow Broker, but this DLC drops some major bombshells.
If you’re looking for another Lair of the Shadow Broker, Leviathan isn’t it. It’s not bad, in fact I liked it more than I did From Ashes, but there are some things that hold this DLC back. This really feels like a side-story that would have fit a future Mass Effect game, even if the content that is there is not half bad. If there’s one thing clear about the Mass Effect 3 ending, it’s that Commander Shepard’s story is over, plain and simple. BioWare should go the Gears of War 3 RAAM’s Shadow route, and go for a prequel story that lasts a couple of hours. Have a mission set on Omega. The DLC is good, so if you are invested in the Mass Effect franchise, I recommend you pick it up.