Mass Effect 3: Leviathan Review

masseffect3leviathan
What we liked:
+ Story really adds a lot to the ME lore
+ Some genuinely unsettling sequences
+ Intriguing visual environment at the end
What we didn't like:
- Most gameplay sections are a bore
- Same old enemies
- Repetitive
Rating
7.5
Good
DEVELOPER: BioWare   |   PUBLISHER: EA Games   |   RELEASE: 08/28/2012

Review
The legend continues…

Commander Shepard’s part in the Mass Effect universe has (presumably) come to a close, but if you’d rather stretch it out a bit you can pick up the new DLC expansion Leviathan. The expansion fits directly into Shepard’s quest to find a way to save the galaxy from the Reaper invasion which means both players who have already completed the game and those still working their way through it can enjoy the content on display here.
The 3 hour(ish) DLC follows Shepard as he plays monster hunter.

Shepard is following up on information regarding the titular Leviathan, a reclusive supposed reaper killer who makes Bigfoot look positively outgoing. The good commander is following up on clues to track down Leviathan in the hopes that it can assist in the war against the Reapers. The revelations that he uncovers as the story progresses fundamentally change everything you think you know about the Mass Effect universe and the story thus far. I know that sounds like an overstatement but it genuinely does alter the entire story at a base level. While the gist of the big revelation is pretty easy to pick off early on in the story, the way it unfolds and the details behind it make this DLC not only a great success on the narrative level but also very important for any fan of the universe to absorb and understand.

If the gameplay in the DLC matched up with the story, it would be an easy recommended purchase. It straddles the line, balancing some interesting new gameplay ideas with the same old shooter sections. The content starts off with a novel detective style hunt for clues which sets a solid opening tone. There are also some genuinely unsettling moments in this DLC which really go out of their way to make you feel uncomfortable. It’s during these moments that Leviathan shines. It Nnever goinges full out into shock/scare horror mode, but stayings just unnerving enough to keep you on edge. When the guns start firing though, Leviathan loses its edge and quickly turns into the same stop and pop gunfights against the same enemies you’ve killed hundreds of times throughout the base game. This, coupled with a series of returns to the primary hub in the game to do virtually the same thing every time really drags this DLC down from living up to its full potential.

OK, everybody into the pool.


The environments in Leviathan range from pedestrian to genuinely captivating. The last sequence of the package in particular is completely different from anything we’ve seen before in the series. Generally, DLC is most successful when it’s used to push the limits of what its the game’s universe can support, and thankfully, the last half hour of the content does just that. Before that though, you’re treated to two environments that lack any defining characteristics and feel pretty similar to other areas you’ve visited over the course of the trilogy.

For fans of not just the three games in this series but the lore behind them, this DLC is almost a must play for the story alone. At three hours it’s not the most lengthlylengthiest content addition of all time, but I honestly feel like stretching it out farther would have been a disservice. I hope that future expansions concentrate more on unique gameplay opportunities to go along with the trademark storytelling that fans of the franchise have come to expect. Don’t expect earth shattering gameplay or anything revolutionary cutscene to cutscene, but for those looking for another stroll in Shepard’s boots, it’s worth the price of admission.

Review copy of game provided by publisher.

Screenshots

Ryan Wombold

Wombat lives by the code that if you are playing a game from this year, you are doing it wrong. His backlog is the stuff of legend and he is currently enjoying Perfect Dark Zero, Skies of Arcadia and Pong.

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