The final Citadel DLC installment for Mass Effect 3 has finally provided closure to my treasured Mass Effect experience. The base game’s ending is understably polarizing, though Citadel focuses on the one thing that brought every Mass Effect player together: squad camaraderie. There are not many games that have built such strong connections between players and fictional characters, and Citadel fully embraced this in a way the base game’s ending did not… finally!
The reception of this final DLC entry will be varied depending on each player’s expectation. If you understand what it contains, I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy it as it is almost entirely the characters you love from the entire trilogy. The “Conspiracy” subplot, which contains all of the combat, is really only a small fraction of content and partly exists to introduce the new areas. The rest is Shepard preparing for a party for all of his/her surviving squadmates. It’s filled with humor, inside jokes, and witty banter; I haven’t laughed this hard playing any video game ever. Upon completion, I realized that this was the ending I always wanted, even though it is advertised as “Pre” ending.
I believe the price point for this DLC is spot on given the amount of content added on. Large areas are added to the Citadel for you to visit that contain entertaining arcade and gambling minigames. Further, BioWare has added a realistic, replayable way to play with your old Mass Effect 2 squadmates: Armax Arena, which functions basically like the multiplayer for single player where you can bring any combination of surviving squadmates, past and present (Yep, that means Wrex and Grunt together people).
Most importantly, all of the squad meetups before, during, and after the party were able to give real closure to many characters arcs. Being able to stand around with different combinations of chatting squadmates from all three games gave such a strong sense of friendship that I was almost embarrassed to feel so attached to fake characters. Campy, yes, yet the community was desperate for it!
I will leave real spoilers out of it, but let me recommend that you start everything after Rannoch at the earliest so that you will have Tali, and thereby a full squad, as they are all involved. Don’t send your party invitations until you’re about to hit the mission of no return at the Cerberus base, though. This way, you will have met up with all of your surviving Mass Effect 2 squad members as well. You will get e-mails from them saying to meet them out and about the new Citadel areas, which will then allow you to invite them to the party.
Overall, the new combat and Citadel areas are interesting, colorful, and full of life. The new casino strip is full of conversations to overhear, most making fun of noteworthy multiplayer aspects. Though the combat sections are certainly not the point of it all, I feel that Bioware has created the most dynamically fun boss battle yet. Unfortunately, I cannot give the Citadel DLC a perfect score in good faith because they were backed into a corner by the existing base game ending and had to have it exist chronologically before that. A short, sweet, but interesting plot, the Armax Arena, and of course the squad closure means Bioware gets an “A” for effort in my book.
[+Awesome boss battle] [+Vibrant new combat and Citadel areas] [+Very replayable Armax Arena] [+Focus on squad camaraderie][+Redeems the ending] [-Should have been post ending DLC, but couldn’t be]