Review – Mass Effect 3: Leviathan (PS3)

Mass Effect 3 was released earlier this year to much controversy. The game was praised for its excellent third-person shooting and equally impressive story presentation, but a small group of outraged fans lashed out at the developer over the game’s ending. Post-release, Bioware has put out several multiplayer downloadable content (DLC) packs, as well as the Extended Cut DLC, which helps to give additional context to the game’s ending. Last week, Bioware released another piece of single-player DLC for Mass Effect 3, wherein Commander Shepard takes his crew on a high-risk mission to find out what is powerful enough to kill a Reaper. The answer is Leviathan.

At this point, I had already finished Mass Effect 3 and was essentially playing Leviathan for the story. Shepard gets a message to speak with a scientist on the Citadel, where he finds that extensive research has been done to locate Leviathan, a creature that has been rumored to have killed a Reaper. It’s impossible to reveal much more of the story without spoilers, but suffice it to say that there are plenty of twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I saw some of the plot unfolding from miles away, but it didn’t detract from the experience.

Commander Shepard: Full-Time Drone Escort.

The action in Leviathan is nearly identical to many fights in Mass Effect 3. Go into an area and fight Reaper minions. Hide behind cover. Just when things can’t get any worse, there’s the “OH SHIT” moment where super-tough enemies drop in. The battles are frantic and fun, but they’re nothing different from the main game.

The issue that I have with Leviathan is that it feels like an afterthought. It could be additional response to the fan outcry, much in the way the Extended Cut DLC was. Maybe it was something that wasn’t fully developed, or was left on the cutting room floor, and the developer decided to flesh it out and release it. To me, it feels cobbled together from elements that don’t match well. This is glaringly obvious in the laboratory scene, where story and action are separated completely. Go around, pick up clues, find a location to search, and travel to that location. This same mechanic is revisited three times in a row, and almost becomes the central hub of the gameplay. That’d be fine if it felt fun, but to me, it didn’t. Mass Effect 3 did such a good job of making the action feel like it was part of the story, and Leviathan does not do that at all. The experience can feel very choppy. That’s not to say that there’s no fun to be had, but there’s nothing here from a gameplay perspective that stands out from the rest of the game.

Maybe this disembodied head is a clue? No? Oh. Well then.

As I said before, the story is really what I came for. When I hit major revelation points in the plot, they almost always felt ham-fisted. A character will say something that is completely obvious. At other points, things were explained that didn’t make any sense to me, and though Mass Effect 3 was still fresh in my mind, some of the minutiae escapes me. The main point of the story is to provide information on the Reapers, and I didn’t feel like what I was given added much to the mythos of Mass Effect. While playing through Leviathan, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was DONE with this story.

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan is simply just more of the same game. If you’re into that, then you’re set. You’ll have plenty of fun, and the additional story will be well worth it for you. Just temper your expectations, because this isn’t the highest peak of the game. If you’re over Mass Effect 3, don’t play this. It won’t change your mind.

-Love Mass Effect
-Need to know more about the Reapers

-Are over Mass Effect 3
-Don’t want additional story

Rating - 3/5

Mass Effect 3: Leviathan was purchased from the PSN for $9.99 and played through to completion in two sittings. Total play time was just over three hours.

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