If you’re anywhere near as infatuated with Mass Effect as I am, you have repeatedly wept glancing into your empty wallet after purchasing several of the downloadable content packages. From alternative costumes (yeah, I bought all of those.. On 360 and PC), to silly “storyline” enhancers, Mass Effect was never a one-and-done type deal. If you picked up any of the three titles, and wanted the full experience, you purchased anything with a price-tag on it, hoping it would lengthen your playthrough. But was all of it worth it? Well, not really.
Some of the downloadable content was worth more than $14.99. Others were worth spitting at your screen and shaking yourself senseless. So join me in revisiting these wallet murderers in the Definitive Ranking of the Mass Effect DLCs.
[alert type=”green”] There are some minor spoilers ahead, so please read at your own risk. [/alert]
13. Pinnacle Station
So, you get a bunch of combat simulators, and if you get the high score in all of them, you get a cool apartment. Uh.. Okay? Yeah, okay.
12. Bring Down the Sky
Granted, Bring Down the Sky was Bioware’s first real piece of downloadable content for the Mass Effect trilogy, and luckily if you bought it on PC or bought the platinum edition on the 360, you received this pack for free. Unfortunately, the DLC itself felt like nothing more than just another mission on just another planet. However, it is the first appearance of the Batarians, which we find out later in the series, are quite the interesting and controversial race. Can we really consider this a piece of five-star-DLC? No, not really.
11. Normandy Crash Site
Now, I can kind of see why Bioware did the Normandy Crash Site, but I just can’t get on with it. If you never played this portion of Mass Effect 2, don’t feel bad. The Crash Site was meant to tug at your heartstrings, and strike you with a load of nostalgia, but it wasn’t executed correctly. You spent fifteen minutes walking around some planet picking up old dog tags and putting a giant statue next to a piece of wreckage of your choice. I think this would have been a lot better if they included a cutscene of an opening ceremony for the Normandy museum, or something. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the game and feels out of place.
10. Firewalker Pack
Did you like driving the Mako? Do you wish that the Mako had hydraulics and even lower defense than it already has? THAN THE FIREWALKER IS FOR YOU. The Firewalker Pack in Mass Effect 2 was a lot of flying around, pressing Y to collect artifacts, with a little dabble of combat in between. The story elements from this portion are minimal, and controlling the Firewalker was beyond frustrating. I could live without it, personally.
9. Zaeed – The Price of Revenge
Before you wag your fingers at me and judge me for putting Zaeed’s DLC this far down the list, hear me out. Zaeed is a great character; He was rough, he was old, jaded, and a badass. However, I feel that Bioware did not do Zaeed justice with his mediocre loyalty mission. You got to see a bit into his past, but there was too much mindless combat, and not enough depth. A few flashbacks could have given The Price of Revenge a little more color. Without a decent loyalty mission, Zaeed was just a jaded badass with some damn good one-liners.
Every time I’ve played Mass Effect 2, and finished all my missions, Arrival has always been the last. There hasn’t been one playthrough where I’ve looked forward to Arrival. It was very difficult, and going in alone was frustrating. Was it good for the story? Absolutely. But the timeline was all off. There wasn’t a clear way of really figuring out where in between Mass Effect 2 and 3 it really fell.
7. From Ashes
Who wouldn’t want the last living Prothean on their team helping save the galaxy from the Reapers that had wiped out their kind once before? Newsflash: Everyone does. But when EA announced this day-one-DLC would come with a pricetag of $9.99 (especially since it was found to be on the disc itself), there was an uproar.
Personally, I find Javik an essential addition to Mass Effect 3. His flashbacks give us a taste of the previous cycle, his dialogue is almost poetic, and seeing that the Protheans were nothing like what we expected was very satisfying. I think the $9.99 this drained from our wallets was a huge buzz kill, and definitely should have been free from day one for everyone to enjoy.
If you played Omega and didn’t read the Invasion comic book series, you’re doing a disservice to yourself. What I really appreciated about Omega, is it really touched bases with storylines outside of the main three games. The trilogy lightly touches bases with the novels, but Omega truly goes into its comical roots. The combat was short-lived and mediocre, but looking into Aria’s personal life, and seeing the first female Turian in the game was quite a refreshing change.
5. Kasumi – Stolen Memory
Mark my words, Kasumi is one of the best Mass Effect characters of all time. Her heist-like loyalty mission was clever, different, and gave you a peek into the kind of person Kasumi is. She’s a mix of mysterious vixen, master thief, hopeless romantic, and heartbroken woman. She uses her past to motivate her for the future, and the world lacks anyone else quite like her. Her witty dry humor makes for good random banter, too. If you never picked up Kasumi in Mass Effect 2, I highly recommend you do.
Leviathan was the first downloadable content [post-release] released for Mass Effect 3. Leviathan took you through the lives of two scientists doing research to figure out the Reapers, and what came before them. Not very combat heavy, but story-wise was phenomenal. Leviathan took you on an adventure in the deep, deep ocean to answer questions you never thought you had. For the sake of that, if you haven’t picked up, do so now, and I will speak no more. Leviathan is a pleasant surprise, and ranks as one of the best Mass Effect 3 DLCs.
Overlord was the first of three big story-line DLC packs (right before Lair of the Shadowbroker and Arrival), and was second only to Lair. Graphically, Overlord was stunning. Incorporating a darker portion of the main story, the way Bioware captured the Tron-like atmosphere was astonishing. Overlord was packed with a good variety of different things. Yes, you had to drive the Firewalker for a bit, but once you got past that—it was a blast. The final portion and boss battle are probably the best the entire franchise has to offer. It also helped that your decision at the end of Overlord carried over into Mass Effect 3.
2. Lair of the Shadow Broker
Putting Lair of the Shadow Broker at number two was a very difficult decision. Lair was, and still is, fantastic. Lair, much like Omega, did touch with its comical roots, and took you for a spin. If you did all of the side missions in the first installment of the trilogy, the anticipation of coming face-to-face with the Shadow Broker was much more intense.
Lair offered intense combat, new characters, a new race, and all sorts of fun, new resources. Protip: Play as Shepard (I prefer FemShep), and romance Liara in the first game. When it comes to the second, hold off on any romantic interaction with other characters. Stay loyal to Liara, and play Lair. The sequence and conversation you get it are totally worth it.
Was I one of those jackasses who signed a petition to change the ending of Mass Effect 3? Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t. Was I upset about the ending to Mass Effect 3? You’re damn right I was. Although the update including the Extended Cut did help fill in some gaps (I particularly loved the ending scene if you chose not to do anything; it was a nice touch), but it still didn’t quite do it. That’s when Citadel came in.
Citadel is my Mass Effect 3 ending and always will be. Bioware won our hearts with true, brilliant fan service. Although the combat can be deemed questionable, it really didn’t matter. PLUS.. There was more Blasto. We could always use more Blasto. Citadel gave you what you wanted to hear, what you wanted to see, and overall, it gave us closure. Closure that somewhere, whether near or far in the future, we too, will have our own team of heroes standing up for us when shit hits the fan.