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Review Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC
Citadel, Mass Effect 3’s fourth and final single player DLC surpasses all expansions that have come before it not only for Commander Shepard’s third adventure but throughout the trilogy. With broader ambition and larger scope than either the formidable Lair of the Shadow Broker or Omega DLCs before it Citadel is unashamedly a love letter to fans – and this is a very good thing.
The main story of Citadel revolves around a sinister plot to kill Shepard and co. orchestrated by one of Cerberus’s experiments, the precise nature of which will not be spoiled here, suffice it to say the nature of the threat opposing the first human Spectre and his/her team is quite unexpected.
Chasing down this threat will lead you through new areas of the Citadel and force you to face new enemies known as Cat6, a band of mercenaries who have advanced weapons including a pistol – the M-11 Suppressor – that packs an usually powerful punch. The Cat6 soldiers also seem tougher than the average foes taking quite a lot of thermal clips to put down.
Citadel also exposes new and different versions of important events in the Mass Effect universe as Shepard chases his/her foe through the station’s archives casting a new light on major events, including the genophage – the genetic weapon used to sterilise much of the krogan race.
Despite this the main story line of Citadel is perhaps more Leviathan than Lair of the Shadow Broker in terms of narrative cohesion and tension with an average plot that feels at times to linger too long in certain places. For example, there’s a party relatively early on in which Shepard is forced to repeatedly mingle with guests in between the Commander’s awkward attempts at stealth infiltration.
The real joy of Citadel though isn’t the main story itself, which would have been a reasonably solid addition to the series by itself, the allure of this DLC is spending more time with your squad, both Mass Effect 3’s and its predecessors. Urdnot Wrex, a popular character since the first game, can join your squad for Citadel’s missions while the remainder of Shepard’s team are unlockable characters for fight in Armex Arsenal Arena.
This special area allows for gamers to challenge enemies such as the geth but stands apart from the game’s co-operative multiplayer in that it Shepard and his/her crew are the participants while you can select all new maps never seen before in the series and set course modifiers such as not having medigel. The goal of this mode is simple, to score points, these allow you to unlock new enemies, maps and squadmates.
One of Citadel’s outstanding features however is the superbly witty dialogue which pokes fun at Shepard’s notorious ‘I should go’ line as well Garrus’s calibrations and Liara’s ‘by the Goddess’. While a volus pizza delivery boy is simply hilarious. It’s these neat writing touches that add so much to this DLC, the dialogue between the cast alone is almost worth the asking price.
Citadel also makes tremendous tribute to the past games in the series and offers cameos from Francis Kitt, the creator of Elcor Hamlet in Mass Effect, as well as Patriarch, Aria’s pet krogan in Mass Effect 2. Even Blasto, yes the Blasto, makes a special appearance.
As much as the appearance of these characters is a charming piece of fan service the real joy of Citadel is spending time with your squad, especially the team from Mass Effect 2 – who some feel were shunted in the series’ third installment. David Anderson gifts Shepard his apartment and this allows the Commander to host a party to which virtually every major character can be invited.
It also means Shepard can reignite old romances. Shepard will wake the morning after the party with your love interest lying beside him, you can then invite each squadmate, including whichever character you’ve romanced to the apartment separately and it’s to BioWare’s credit that they realised that perhaps this wasn’t enough and you can meet your friends and the characters you’ve come to know and love (or loathe) one more time on Silversun Strip, the new area that Citadel unlocks and can be visited as often as you like.
Citadel, as a final sendoff for Commander Shepard and a piece of loving fan tribute raises the bar in every way. The time and effort poured into this DLC is obvious in a way it usually isn’t in such expansions and while Citadel may be one of the more expensive DLCs out there ($15), it’s worth every penny to have one last hurrah with the Mass Effect trilogy’s cast.
Citadel, in short, is what DLC should be. Horse armour it ain’t.