Mass Effect 3: Leviathan
Imagine, if you will, that you possess a box of puzzle pieces. It’s a large puzzle that will take you time to complete, but when you do complete it you realize you were missing more than a few pieces. There are holes, gaps that prevent the image from being complete. Lacking those pieces prevents complete understanding of the entire image itself, so you can only hope that those gaps will eventually get filled.
The new DLC Leviathan, for Mass Effect 3, is that piece. It is also the first content for the game that Bioware is charging money for, in contrast to the extended ending and the multiplayer additions, which were free. Well, it’s not the holy grail that players have been asking for, but it’s a missing section that provides clarity where story was obscured. It’s the plot point that probably should have been there in the first place, considering how much information it gives that would have led up to the ending. Even though it doesn’t so blatantly titles itself as a missing link (See Deus Ex: Human Revolution’s expansion), there’s no denying what this piece exists for.
The DLC takes place somewhere in between the mission to Mars and the final missions, during Shepard’s globetrotting adventures in search of allies to fight the Reaper invasions. Admiral Hackett drops a lead that a scientist has been spending time researching the Reapers and has discovered something called the Leviathan. There’s no information of what it actually is, but there is information on what it can do. It can kill a Reaper.
It’s from there that the mission kicks off, and it’s apparent that the designers didn’t want the player doing any one particular thing for very long. Elements of gameplay are neatly divided into two phases: one of investigation and one of combat. The investigation plays out the mystery of the Leviathan, except without the need for clever deduction or reasoning. Keep searching and you will find the clues.
Combat is closer to how the end of the game felt, with Reaper forces storming in by the dozens. Both types of gameplay run short. Perhaps it’s out of fear of boring the player with repetition, or padding content with endless battles or merely lack of creativity. My only complaint about this piece of DLC is that it offers no additional characters to recruit onto your team. The Reapers bring the same enemy types onto the battlefield. There were no weapons to discover. It’s because the DLC focuses so much on filling in the missing link that it’s easy to look at this DLC as filler, rather than judge the additional content by it’s merit as a new mission in the campaign.
Looking at the puzzle that is Mass Effect it still feels as though there are a few missing pieces, but Leviathan does a remarkable enough job. It makes those last five minutes feel as though something led up to it. This is the kind of expansion that, if you haven’t played Mass Effect 3 yet, you should add this to your first experience through the game. If you have played through Mass Effect 3 already, this will help make sense of some unanswered questions.