The lights are on
The Mass Effect 3 DLC has both hit and missed, but regardless of quality, the team at BioWare has been supporting Mass Effect 3 with a steady stream of additional content. Citadel, which released earlier this month, is the final piece of story-based DLC for the game. That also means that it's the last hurrah for players who want to spend more time with Shepard and the Normandy's crew – and Citadel hits all the right notes. It doesn't do everything perfectly, but the parts that go astray shouldn't keep Mass Effect fans from diving in. Here's the rundown of what goes right and wrong.
Good: Fan-FocusedIf you're interested in playing this DLC, you've probably spent dozens of hours in the Mass Effect universe. Fans know these characters, their personality quirks, and their advantages in combat. That's what Citadel capitalizes on; it's essentially an excuse to reunite Shepard with old friends, give them all a chance to be in the spotlight, and provide an opportunity to say a bittersweet farewell.
Bad: Fan-FocusedWhile it's great to have a lot to enjoy on the character front, the emphasis on serving fans subordinates the need for compelling gameplay or story. The gunfights in Citadel are nothing special, and the main conflict is too brief to make an impact. The conversations that Shepard has are excellent, but the framework surrounding them is flimsy.
Good: FunnyMany of the in-jokes that the series has been building up over the years – like Shepard's awful dancing, Blasto the Hanar, and Garrus' affinity for calibrations – come up during your interactions with the crew. Some of these moments are hilarious, and others are just worth a chuckle, but you're left smiling in either case.
Bad: Pull-upsAt one point, to finish a scene with James Vega, you need to do 182 pull-ups. Each one of them is triggered manually with the trigger buttons. It takes a long time, and the payoff isn't remotely worth it.
Good: Light-heartedMass Effect 3 is the darkest of the series, leaving players to confront horrors of war and the inevitability of death. Citadel sheds the somber tone; the crew is on shore leave, and though there are reference to the war, people don't really spend much time talking about how the Reapers are going to kill everybody. It's more of a "enjoy these moments while you can" attitude, which makes it feel more natural when everybody is cracking jokes, gambling, and dancing.
The Bottom Line: Play itCitadel is undoubtedly an appropriate good-bye. Even though it is set before the final mission in the game's timeline, the fact that it came out a year after the game's initial release means that it is going to be the last time many players hop aboard the Normandy. BioWare clearly knew this; even though the characters don't seem aware of the finality of their interactions, the dialogue is carefully crafted to tug at the heartstrings of longtime fans. I won't spoil anything, but the whole DLC is peppered with moments specifically designed to remind players of the great times they had in the Mass Effect universe with these unique and (mostly) likeable cast. No fan of the series should miss it.
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