Mass Effect 3: Leviathan DLC
AMD Radeon HD 4850
It has now been roughly 6 months since Mass Effect 3 was released. BioWare has now released the first paid DLC, called Leviathan. Is the DLC worth the investment or is it simply too little, too late?
By now, most gamers have probably finished Mass Effect 3 and have experienced the full game, regardless of the controversy surrounding the ending of the game, ME3 was an amazing experience overall for me. Finally, after much wait, comes the first piece of paid content for the game, namely Leviathan. As always, I will avoid spoiling the story of it.
The first thing players will immediately find odd, as I did, is that you cannot use your savegame from when you finished the game to play the DLC. I loaded up the savegame I made from after finishing the game’s ending and could not get to the citadel to start the DLC sequence. Though once I loaded up a previous savegame it all worked fine. As mentioned, the DLC starts on the citadel, they added a separate button to click when docking to immediately dock at the DLC laboratory, rather than going through the regular docking sequence. This is a much-appreciated feature as you do go back to the laboratory multiple times throughout the mission sequence.
As per usual in the Mass Effect universe, it starts with an email
Leviathan can be broken down into 3 parts, each part being a new planet and location that Shepard will have to go to continue the search for Leviathan. Each part is roughly an hour’s worth of gameplay, thus making the full experience roughly 3 hours long. Without going into any details, all I can say is it is something that can kill Reapers and thus has Shepard in a race against them to find this ‘Leviathan’ thing. Each location Shepard visits in this DLC is unique and each offers amazing vistas that players will definitely appreciate.
The combat sequences themselves are all very intense and are guaranteed to get the player’s heart pumping. Those purchasing the DLC who have not yet finished the game will enjoy the additional combat and content, while those who have finished the game will enjoy the opportunity for more Reaper killing. New to the game is an underwater sequence, though there is no combat in this segment, the visual aspect is simply amazing.
Story wise the DLC takes its time to warm the player up, building towards increasingly more interesting story, right up to the end that answers many questions players will have had about the game’s ending. The odd part here is that the end segment of this DLC will only confuse players who have not yet finished the game; it is clearly designed to answer questions for those who have already seen the ending. Without going into any details, it answers some key questions many players had about the “AI character”, as well as telling about the history of the Reapers. Beyond this, the other story elements are all great, involving plenty of new characters and bringing in both James and EDI for specific segments in the laboratory on the Citadel.
Alongside the story, Leviathan takes somewhat of a different gameplay angle than the other side missions in the game. In the DLC mission, Shepard (with the help of EDI) has to investigate to discover the location of this ‘Reaper Killer’, while there is nothing groundbreaking new here. The change of style and pace is a nice addition to the main game. Do not get too excited though, as the investigation mechanics are simple at best. Players only have to interact with objects and then EDI does all the work.
Even Shepard thinks it's Nessie
Audio wise, the DLC does introduce quite a few new elements, the voice work is top notch. As far as I could tell, the DLC uses the soundtrack from the main game. The developers did create some new sound effects for the underwater sequence. These make the player really feel as if he is underwater. Shepard and many of his crew all have had new dialogue recorded, all to the same standards as heard throughout the main game.
Visually the DLC also adds quite a lot, while the visits to each location go by quickly (due to all the combat making time feel faster), every player will definitely use the time in between combat sequences to admire the views. Every new location is breathtaking and as mentioned before, the underwater sequence is a nice variation from the settings that players are used to. In some ways, I felt like the visual aspect of the DLC was actually better than that of most locations in the main game!
Besides the new story, gameplay, visual and audio elements, the DLC adds some new content for players to find and enjoy. There are 11 new War Assets to acquire, 2 new weapons, 5 Weapon Mods, 1 new Power (for Shepard) and lastly, 1 cabin decoration. To put icing on the cake, I did not encounter a single bug while playing through the DLC.
My expectations for a DLC are always high. When I give more money, I expect to really see the additional effort that developers have put to justify giving them more on top of already having paid for the full game. Leviathan managed to exceed my expectations, not only is it full of new content, voice recording, audio work. It also features some of the most impressive visuals I have seen in all of Mass Effect 3. On top of it, the story in the DLC is well written and answers many questions players will have after the ending.
- Experience: One could only wish all DLCs would have this much effort put in them by the developers!
- Content: Roughly 3 hours worth of gameplay and full of plenty of content
- Visuals: The 3 new settings are simply stunning
- Story: A great story from start to finish
- Bugs: Not a single bug in the entire DLC
- Price: While the developers definitely put in the effort one would expect from the price tag, not everyone likes to pay for any DLC.
- Savegame: I couldn’t get it to work with my savegame from after having finished ME3