Over the last 9 months, Mass Effect 3 has seen a decent amount of attention, much of it due to a controversial finale that left many loyal fans feeling let down. BioWare tried numerous ways to fix this feeling: weekly multiplayer events; free downloadable content add-ons; even an extended ending that was designed to give greater closure to the saga of Commander Shepard. Most of these were met with mixed feelings and further disappointment. So, BioWare felt the need to up the ante, releasing the highly-anticipated “Omega” DLC which returns players to the outlaw hub of the galaxy, Omega.
In “Omega,” Commander Shepard is tasked by Aria T’Loak, voiced by Carrie-Ann Moss, to take back her base of operations from the “humans only” group Cerberus. Along the way, Shepard meets an old acquaintance of Aria’s, Nyreen Kandros, who turns out to be more than what she initially seems to be.
It sounds like a fantastic story and, let’s be honest, any chance to spend more time with fan-favorite Aria is always a bonus, but “Omega” doesn’t live up to the expectations that players might hold towards it.
The gameplay is as good as Mass Effect gets and it is the saving grace of this add-on. The battles are tougher than most others in the series and more epic in scale. New enemies are introduced. New weapons are acquired. Plus, playing alongside Aria and Nyreen introduces fantastic new powers and combinations that are just too much fun to unleash upon the enemy.
The entire mission takes anywhere between 2.5-4 hours, depending on how much is explored. Thus, “Omega” stands as one of the longest DLCs for Mass Effect 3 and would be worth the money if just for that fact.
However, there are problems with the story that make this add-on a difficult recommendation for purchase at $15.
The plot of “Omega” is as straight forward as it comes. While that might seem a sigh of relief given the twists and turns of the Mass Effect Saga, it actually makes the DLC seem a bit boring. There’s no real emotional investment and therefore no real pangs when highs and lows come about. This is only amplified by the voice acting, namely that of Carrie-Ann Moss. It’s a great thing to have such a star-studded cast voicing characters in a AAA title such as Mass Effect 3, but this add-on demonstrates that Carrie-Ann Moss’ voice acting wasn’t appropriate for heightened emotional settings. It comes off lacking and leaves a hole in the empathy for Aria and her story.
There were glitches in some of the cutscenes that were pretty jarring and happened at some of the most pivotal moments of the story. That was a rather telling sign of how rushed this DLC appears to be.
One of the most alluring things about the Mass Effect Saga is choice; the player makes decisions that will alter their game and future games. This seems to be obviously lacking from “Omega.” The missions are straight forward and there are only a few conversational decisions that pop up. These moral crossroads carry almost no weight toward the outcome of the story; both galactic and on Omega.
That’s the other big story issue with “Omega.” The player is left with a sense of, “What’s the point?” when completing the mission. If the player has not completed the overarching story then this mission will provide great assets for the war and cool, new powers to use in battle. However, should players have already finished the game then there seems little point in getting this DLC, other than to know Aria T’Loak a bit better.
Ultimately, “Omega” is a fun, exciting shooter expansion for Mass Effect 3, but it offers little more from there. A weak story, lackluster voice acting, shallow moral choices, and minor glitches take away much from something that had the potential to add some flare to a game that is already mired in controversy and disappointment.
BioWare really needed an alpha. Instead, they got an omega.