PG Cooper: Mass Effect Story DLC Ranked

Posted: April 1, 2013 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in Lists

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Next up, we have the story based downloadable content. Two pieces which will not be included are Pinnacle Station and The Extended Cut. Pinnacle Station isn’t here because it has no story and I didn’t bother playing it. The Extended Cut isn’t here because it’s more of an amendment than an addition.

9. From Ashes

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From: Mass Effect 3

This DLC introduces Javik, the last surviving Prothean, a very cool and fun character who brings a unique perspective to the game and the world of Mass Effect. So why is this DLC ranked lowest? Mostly on principle. “From Ashes” was a day one DLC, meaning Bioware had developed all of it’s content along with the rest of Mass Effect 3 at the same time. And yet when release date came, Bioware (or maybe EA) decided to charge players an extra ten dollars for the content. That’s bullshit, and reflects an irritating trend in gaming. It doesn’t help that the actual mission added is pretty run of the mill. You fight off Cerberus at Eden Prime and then wake up Javik, that’s about it. Javik himself is awesome, but the circumstances surrounding the content are irritable coupled with average gameplay, hence why it’s ranked at the bottom.

8. Bring Down the Sky

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From: Mass Effect

“Bring Down the Sky” is pretty insubtantial in the grand scheme of things. Shepard manages to save a human colony, but that feels relatively minor when compared to other DLCs. But “Bring Down the Sky” has some key advantages. The gameplay is fun and the decision towards the end, while not earth shattering, does stop to make one think. Most importantly though, the price for the gameplay is only one dollar. That’s incredibly low priced. Not amazing, but low priced and fun.

7. Kasumi’s Stolen Memory

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From: Mass Effect 2

I’ve already talked about why Kasumi’s loyalty mission is great and all that stands true. The mission is constantly fun, features unique gameplay, and multiple ways to achieve objectives. I also like Kasumi herself quite a bit, and the pack also adds a new weapon and casual attire for Shepard. I do wish a bit more content was added, but what we’re given is pretty good and I can’t complain.

6. Omega

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From: Mass Effect 3

Aria recruits Shepard to help her take back Omega from Cerberus occupation. There isn’t much in the way of story here, what we’re mostly given is a lot of action. Fortunately, the action is a lot of fun. I had a blast going through Omega with Aria and kicking Cerberus ass. It helps that Aria is one of my favourite characters and I enjoyed spending more time with her. Speaking of characters, I’m also very found of Nyreen Kandros, the female Turian introduced. She’s an important character in that she is the first female Turian we’ve seen, but she’s also an interesting personality. The content was developed by the team that works on the multiplayer and it shows. There’s a lot of creative action scenarios  here and they play very well. The only downside I have is that none of the crew ever mentions the incident. In fact, after beating the DLC, Aria still resides on the Citadel, claiming it’s easier to coordinate the war effort from there. It takes way from the weight of the DLC. Still, “Omega” is a lot of fun and I loved spending time there again.

5. Arrival

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From: Mass Effect 2

Shepard discovers a that The Reapers will be entering the galaxy soon and he must prevent that. There’s a lot of cool elements here. I really like the early portion of the DLC where there is very little shooting and the emphasis is instead put on stealth instead. I also like the overall story, the villain, the climax, the stand off, and I especially love the final foreboding confrontation with Harbinger. The dlc also puts Shepard on his own for the most part which is a fun change of pace. My only issue is the DLC feels a bit short. It’s still a lot of fun mind you, but I wish there was more content. It’s also odd that this DLC feels like it’s setting up the beginning of Mass Effect 3 but the events are somewhat brushed over in Mass Effect 3.

4. Leviathan 

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Admiral Hackett informs Shepard of evidence of a Reaper killer. The first DLC for Mass Effect 3 set the bar pretty high. Leviathan is a pretty great ride. First off, I love the detective segments in Bryson’s lab, which are pretty straightforward but are a nice addition. I also like the creepy atmosphere, particularly when Shepard and his team first arrive at the mining facility. One can tangibly feel the tension and a real sense of mystery is felt. The Leviathan himself is a cool character who leaves a big impression and there are a lot of fun combat segments. There’s also a nice degree of challenge, with tons of banshees, brutes, and ravagers. My only real issue is the conclusion where Shepard finally confronts The Leviathan. Mainly because the so-called “revelations” are more or less exactly what I figured concerning the history of The Reapers. I so wanted a mind blowing ending, and I didn’t really get that. Still, the atmosphere is so effective and the gameplay is so much fun that “Leviathan” earns this spot.

3. Overlord

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From: Mass Effect 2

A Cerberus operation which involves experiments to control the Geth has gone terribly wrong and Geth have overrun the facility. “Overlord” is a pretty solid DLC. The gameplay is fun and varied, there are very fun vehicle segments, and a dark atmosphere maintained. It’s all very good but what catapults the DLC into greatness is the ending. After fighting through tons of Geth through multiple locations, Shepard comes to see the cause; an autistic man named David who was pushed into this experiment by his brother. David’s body has wires protruding out of it and he has a device on his head which looks like something out of A Clockwork Orange. The ending is immensely sad and always affects me when I play it. I should also add that a close relative of mine is autistic so this moment has always had personal poignancy for me. It may be wrong to rank this so high in large part because of the ending, but it’s a moment so powerful that I can’t help it.

2. Citadel

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From: Mass Effect 3

Shepard and his crew are ordered on shore leave but there relaxation is cut short when a mysterious group targets Shepard’s life. I’m going to get the negatives of the DLC out of the way now. The basic story follows a lot of tropes we’ve seen before. Shepard’s enemy being his clone isn’t very original; a lot of heroes in sci-fi or fantasy stories have to go against their evil counter-part. Not that it’s bad thing but it isn’t terribly original. I also feel that the Brooks character turning traitor was pretty obvious and predictable, possibly because Bioware has had similar situations before. The message is also pretty on the nose and there’s a moment which is exactly what happens in the Brendan Fraser action classic The Mummy Returns. With all that said, there’s a lot of awesome stuff here too. The combat is a lot of fun and there’s a surprisingly high degree of challenge. I also love the fact that the climax of the story is a firefight on the Normandy. There’s also a nice variety in the gameplay and tons of extra content, including a customizable apartment, a highly addicting training area, new weapons and armor, and a fun easter egg which ties into the multiplayer. But what really puts the DLC into the upper echelons are the characters, humor, and sheer amount of fan service. This DLC sees Shepard team up with every still living squad member in some form or another. The characters exchange a lot of fun banter with each other and Shepard gets some fun one and one moments with everyone. The DLC also culminates in a party with the squad members which can go many different ways and is a total blast. This is also the last story DLC released for the trilogy and gave players some final moments with these people and, in my opinion, nailed it. Ultimately, this DLC is definitely “for the fans” and the uninitiated won’t see the appeal. But I personally love “Citadel” because, even with its shortcomings, it fully embraces why I fell in love with the series in the first place: a fun adventure with great characters.

1. Lair of the Shadow Broker

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From: Mass Effect 2

Shepard reteams with Liara and the two set out to take down the Shadow Broker and save Liara’s contact.”Lair of the Shadow Broker” is a perfect DLC. It has a modest price, great gameplay, new elements, a solid story, great writing, a good new setting, and big moments. The combat scenarios work great, there are two awesome boss fights, the story takes some twists, I love working with Liara again, the Shadow Broker’s ship is a great setting, there’s humor to the script but also tension, there’s a badass chase sequence, a memorable paragon/renegade decision, and a nice epilogue between Shepard and Liara. It’s an exhilarating ride from start to finish and is as close to flawless a DLC as I’ve ever played.

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