Is Mass Effect 3's Leviathan DLC Worth It?

by Joe Juba on Aug 28, 2012 at 01:30 PM

BioWare hasn't been idle when it comes to Mass Effect 3. Since the game's release in March, the company has release multiple DLC packs that expand the multiplayer elements. Plus, there's that whole thing with the ending. The content isn't stopping there; today BioWare released Leviathan, the first piece of paid, single-player DLC. You probably beat Mass Effect 3 when it originally released, and then again when the extended cut for the ending came out. Is Leviathan good enough to warrant suiting up as Shepard again?

The short answer is "yes." Leviathan costs $10, and takes a couple hours to complete. The dollars-to-playtime ratio may not seem like a great value, but what the story adds to the Mass Effect fiction is something that every fan should see. Like From Ashes, Leviathan expands on an area of Mass Effect lore that was previously left unexplained, adding clarity and additional context to critical moments. I want to stay spoiler-free here, so I'm not going to say anything more than this: After the extended ending, I had a major, nagging question about the Mass Effect universe, and Leviathan answered it.

Structurally, Leviathan reminds me of the Shadow Broker DLC from Mass Effect 2. The overall quest takes place over several smaller missions, and each one aims to provide a twist on the standard scenarios. You start by doing some detective work in a lab, piecing together clues and search criteria to find your next destination. Shepard and company also try to rescue a scientist in a war zone, with Reapers attacking from all directions -- especially Harvesters. That level is full of collapsing structures, breaking bridges, and other random chaos that sells the idea of all-out war like few other moments in the series. Leviathan doesn't maintain that level of intensity constantly; several of the encounters are the standard "a bunch of bad guys show up, but you kill them and move on" battles, but the degree of variety is generally much higher than the core game.

If the story and gameplay aren't reward enough, Leviathan also has some material bonuses for Shepard, too. Along the way you'll pick up two powerful guns: an assault rifle and a shotgun. I used them both for a while, and though they're cool, neither of them are drastic improvements. After a while, I couldn't resist switching back to my Prothean particle rifle.

In addition to the guns, you get a few mods to enhance the other weapons in Shepard's arsenal. Again, I didn't think any of these were groundbreaking, though the omni-blade bayonet you can attach to assault rifles (it increases melee damage) is a pretty sweet idea. You also get a new Dominate power that you can train Shepard to use. It functions like one of your squadmate powers that you assign in the med-bay (even though you don't get anyone new in your party). It causes enemies to turn against each other temporarily, and stacks up pretty well in terms of utility. 

Also, don't miss the opportunity to pick up the creepy Husk head and bring it back to your cabin. Weird.

Leviathan rewards hardcore fans with fascinating information, plenty of variety, and a little bit of loot to make the journey feel profitable. BioWare must finally be learning what fans want and appreciate from Mass Effect DLC, because I had a great time with Leviathan. I can't wait to see what comes next.