The second story DLC for Mass Effect 3 has finally arrived, after a lot of hype and anticipation. Does it live up to its namesake? I'd say yes. Leviathan is one of the best DLC released for the Mass Effect series, and offers both an action-packed journey that mixes in elements of horror and mystery in what becomes a planet-spanning thriller centered around one proverbial question: what is the mysterious Leviathan, rumored to be a "Reaper killer"? It's a question that brings with it tremendous new possibilities for the future, and a lot of frustrating plot holes.

Players are able to start this mission after receiving an email that requires them to visit a new area of the Citadel; the lab of Dr. Bryson, a scientist researching a mysterious force rumored to have killed a Reaper before. Its exact nature remains unknown: is it a Reaper itself, or a new entity we've yet to see? Will it side with Shepard in the fight against the Reapers, or will it become a new threat? These questions and many more unfold throughout the story as players spend their time here, usually having conversations that serve as plot progression.



The DLC incorporates several investigative segments into the experience that require you uncover clues in order to uncover the mystery, in addition to scanning planets and traveling to a few new locations before players finally reach their destination: a few of these worlds are impressively-rendered, ranging from a moody mining colony to a war-torn location filled with chaos as Harvesters soar through the air. That's right, Harvesters. Shepard isn't the only one interested in the mysterious "Reaper-killer", and as the plot unfolds, players will face virtually every possible force the Reapers can throw at you. There's nary a shortage of action to keep players entertained, with a few twists to give them a bit of variety, including an escort mission. New weapons and upgrades, including an omniblade attachment, and a prop players can bring to the Normandy also add to the value the DLC has gameplay-wise.

The most impressive location is on a watery new world and features an equally satisfying underwater sequence, although it's not used to its full potential. A lot of the levels in this three-to-four hour romp will probably feel shorter than they should be, but most players will nonetheless find themselves enjoying them enough not to care. Leviathan after all, is the closest DLC experience to the glory of Lair of the Shadow Broker players will probably have in Mass Effect 3 until that Omega DLC we've long been speculating on finally drops. What makes it sweeter are the squadmates that finally talk during missions and are no longer mute observers like before, making the plot feel organic rather than tacked on like previous DLC attempts. Characters also will comment on the situation in-between the missions that encompass this DLC, a nice surprise. A slew of new War Assets to find and a nifty item for the Normandy also add to its value. However, it's not without its weaknesses. 



Some of the voice acting in this game, especially during one particular setting, may have characters laughing instead of feeling tense; it's damn near b-movie quality. In addition to this, the fascinating new wrinkle that Leviathan adds to Mass Effect's lore also introduces several unanswered questions and plot inconsistencies that I won't reveal. In some cases, there will be a few bugs that aggravate the player, particularly during combat. The greatest problem, however, concerns the facetiousness surrounding the DLC's hype.

Those whose Mass Effect experience was tarnished by the endings will not be pleased that this DLC doesn't change or significantly influence the ending whatsoever, apart from adding a few new lines of dialogue during the game's climax. Bearing this in mind, Leviathan will have extremely limited appeal to those who want something that meaningfully contributes to their Mass Effect experience, especially given its potential, and at its worst will feel like an exercise in futility. The new location that this DLC adds is also a place players will not be able to visit after the mission ends. Players who do choose to be receptive will not be disappointed.

Concluding, Mass Effect 3 Leviathan is a stellar gaming experience that players can enjoy if they overlook its drawbacks. It has a wealth of places to explore, lore that helps salvage our impression of the Reapers with interesting new developments, and even gives ITer's some ammunition, in addition to material that might allude to plot points in future Mass Effect titles. Reductionists and those craving the "ending-changing" influence widely suggested will be let down, but for those perfectly content, they'll find themselves enjoying it without any problems. Then, there's that tremendous amount of War Assets you get to help players earn that optimal ending. Glass half-full anyone?

9 out of 10