Review: Mass Effect 3: Leviathan (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)October 11th, 2012 | Written by Josh Schwartzman | Topic: PC, PlayStation 3, Reviews, SmashPad, Xbox 360
BioWare and Mass Effect 3 have seen their fair share of controversy over the last few months. From fans reacting negatively to the ending of the series to the creators of BioWare reportedly leaving the company because of the fans’ outcries, Mass Effect 3 seemed to be stuck in a perpetual loop of disappointment. But with bad press comes positive changes, as BioWare released an enhanced ending to appease fans (mostly) and they are still working hard on enhancing the adventures of Shepard and his crew. The latest, Leviathan, adds some neat backstory to the already dynamic ending, but the combat leaves more to be desired.
What Is It About?
Mass Effect 3: Leviathan focuses solely on the Reaper threat in the galaxy and the possible clues on how to defeat them. With the annihilation of Earth, and the galaxy, appearing imminently close, Shepard searches for the illusive Leviathan, a mysterious being that is said to be so powerful the Reapers themselves are afraid of it. But what is it … and will it help Shepard?
These questions and much more are answered in the latest DLC for Mass Effect 3. The adventure begins with Shepard visiting the lab of Dr. Bryson, the lone scientist who is in charge of researching the Leviathan. When Bryson is mysteriously killed, Shepard is left picking up the pieces as he searches for the reasons behind Bryson’s death and clues to the Leviathan as well. A majority of the DLC plays out like a mystery novel, with Shepard using his detective skills to find clues and use them to deduce theories about the Leviathan. It’s actually a neat idea that works well, as players can learn a lot of new information about the Leviathan and other Mass Effect 3 lore.
Why Should I Care?
Leviathan focuses solely on the idea of what this mysterious being is, so naturally advancing through part of the main story is crucial to understanding everything. While the ending of Leviathan might leave you asking more questions than having answers, BioWare does a great job of fleshing out the already “enhanced” ending by adding an even more in-depth backstory to explain all of the events. It might be confusing for some players, but fans that really dig a convoluted plot that will leave you debating what was said for hours, this might be right up your alley.
There is more than just investigating and talking in Leviathan as combat rears its ugly head to help slow you down for a while. That’s not to say the combat is awful, far from it, it just doesn’t fit well in the aspect it is portrayed in the latest DLC. Many of the combat segments in Leviathan could best be described as “horde” modes, simply holding out against waves of enemies for a specific objective to be completed, whether it is a dropship to pick you up or a repair drone to fix something for you to advance. Players might like these scenarios in other games, but when you are stuck on uneven terrain, battling dozens of enemies and fighting more with the camera than with said enemies, it will lead to tons of frustrating moments.
There are some nice level designs in Leviathan, however, including a visit to the new planet of Namakli, where hundreds of Harvesters are flying overhead as you traverse and an underwater foray wearing an awesome mech suit, but the fighting sections have some really disproportional levels to work with. One battle in particular has you jumping over gaps, climbing ladders and fighting in very enclosed areas against dozens of enemies. It makes the combat too overwhelming at times, forcing you to rely on a more panic tyle of attack, running away while your shields recharge rather than bringing the fight to the enemies. It really is a shame because you can tell BioWare spent some time making the new locations worthy to look at rather than a hassle to work with.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
The big reveal at the end of Leviathan should help some fans ease the pain of the original ending of the series as it helps explain things in more detail, and if you are one of those fans that is just looking for more insight on the history of the Mass Effect universe, Leviathan should please you from start to finish. If you are coming for a new combat adventure, prepare to be heavily disappointed as Leviathan does not really cater to your style of play at all.
At around six hours, Leviathan has plenty to do and see to keep you entertained for a while and the new locations alone are worthy of the price of admission. It’s just a shame the combat had to take a step back in the process. Leviathan is a worthy addition to the slew of add-ons already released for the Mass Effect series, but it still falls short from being a “must-own” title. Wait for a price drop if you can.
Score: 7 | Recommendation: Wait For a Price Drop
Editors Note: A copy of Mass Effect 3: Leviathan was purchased by the reviewer and a total of around 6 hours was put into the game.