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Hands-On with Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC: One Last Hurrah with Shepard & His Crew

It has been one hell of a year for BioWare’s Mass Effect 3. The conclusion to the epic trilogy went through to a lot to be at the point it is today, which I will talk about more in the future. After a year of DLC releases for both single player and multiplayer, the last single player DLC, simply titled Citadel, is now available. Even though this DLC can be played before the finale of the main game, it was still designed to be one last hurrah with Commander Shepard and his crew since it is the last piece of new single player content. The Leviathan DLC focuses more on the main game’s story while last November’s Omega DLC was combat-heavy. The Citadel DLC has a different focus to the last two, which is more about the characters, one of the strongest points of the entire series. It was great to have this one last ride with a crew I was attached to for the last six years as the franchise heads in a new direction for the next generation of consoles.

As mentioned earlier, the characters are the focus of this new DLC, so the story for this new mission took a backseat. Admiral Hackett and Anderson give Shepard and his crew shore leave to take some time off before taking the final push on the war against the Reapers. Anderson gives Shepard his personal apartment at the Citadel, so he can have a place to rest and regroup. The vacation goes wrong when an unknown group of soldiers attacks Shepard and Joker at a restaurant. The whole crew from the entire series has to come together to figure out who is behind the attack. Besides your whole crew from the main game, your other squadmates from the first two games do make appearances in this DLC such as Wrex, Grunt, Jacob, Miranda, Jack, Samara, Zaeed (RIP his voice actor Robin Sachs), and Kasumi. Those appearances also allow opportunities to reconnect with your whole crew for this one last hurrah.

In terms of gameplay, this is the same old Mass Effect 3, but you do get a new weapon to mess around with, which is a silenced pistol. This pistol is particularly useful in the early sections of this DLC because some stealth is involved to make things a bit easier. Besides those early sections, the enemy encounters are your normal encounters from the main game. Unlike the combat-heavy Omega DLC, the new Citadel area, called the Silversun Strip, are filled with conversations with your crew about the mission and the vacation itself at your apartment. The tone of this new Citadel mission is also quite different from any other mission in the trilogy. It feels more like playing through a summer movie with cheesy dialogue compared to the serious tones in the majority of the games. In other words, Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC does feel like a vacation for Shepard and his crew even though they still have to shoot down some bad guys and this was something I did not mind at all during my Vanguard playthrough.

The new mission is not the only thing the Citadel DLC offers. Since this is a vacation after all, there are mini-games to play as well. A new casino is available to play roulette and other games that require gambling your credits. In addition, an arcade is open for more games and competing for high scores. Lastly, there is a combat simulator that is basically the game’s multiplayer, but with your Shepard and squadmates compared to the multiplayer’s class system. Just like multiplayer, you can pick which map to play, which enemies to fight, and squadmates to take along. One difference is that there is a scoring system for racking up kills and streaks, but now you have to survive the horde mode-like encounters, but also score efficiently well since there are achievements/trophies for doing so.

The new Silversun Strip in the Citadel looks great with neon lights everywhere to the point where it is pretty much Mass Effect’s version of Las Vegas. The real star of the new DLC is catching up with the squadmates you know and love from the whole series. This is where the fanservice comes in as Shepard hosts a party for the whole crew to be together for once not in a war-like situation. The characters are what I will remember the most about this franchise and the little moments you have with them, whether if it is just catching up or trying to one up each other, are some of the best moments you will have in any game. There are a great number of them in this new piece of content that I wish I could spoil, but I’ll leave that for the fans to see from themselves. The voice acting with the whole cast is superb in this DLC despite the more relaxed and cheesy tone, but it is something well deserved after being serious from the majority of the series.

If you were a bit disappointed with Leviathan or Omega, Mass Effect 3’s Citadel DLC is the one to get. Fans of the series should not miss out on this opportunity to catch up with the crew and go on one final run together. While the plot for the mission takes a backseat and the tone can be a little cheesy for some, the new content focuses on the franchise’s greatest asset, which are the characters, and BioWare was able to do it justice. The amount of fanservice alone is enough reason to spend the $15 or 1200 Microsoft Points. Be aware that the 360 version of this DLC has to be downloaded in two parts because of Microsoft’s limitations with space required for things like this. It is going to be a tough time not playing as these characters in future Mass Effect games, but this is one last hurrah with this crew worth taking.


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