Mass Effect 3 ‘Omega’ DLC Review: More of the Same
It’s important, when sitting down to review a game, to judge that game on what it is rather than what we wish it was. It isn’t fair to ask a game to be something it fundamentally is not, and get mad at it for failing to change its nature.
So in the case of the “Omega” DLC pack for Mass Effect 3, I’m forced to ask what the game is and is supposed to be, and try to judge it on the merits of that, rather than lamenting that it is not something I wish it was. In those terms, Omega is a fast-paced, longish bit of Mass Effect 3 DLC with a lot to offer — a couple new baddies, a few new weapons, the chance to revisit the often-beautiful and expansive locale of Omega, and an opportunity to fight alongside one of the more intriguing characters in the series in Aria T’Loak.
What it is not is especially gripping, or illuminating, or even exciting. It is a story of you, Commander Shepard, fighting some military battles, in a game that’s filled with stories of you fighting military battles. Aria commands troops and directs you to choke-points. You protect doorways and clear enemies. Other characters appear. There is light arguing over which strategy is the best strategy, and a little moralizing as well.
To judge Omega by what it is, I think, is to say that it is good. It is a sizable piece of DLC and you’ll get your money’s worth. And it is very much more of the same in terms of what we’ve seen before in Mass Effect 3, and that makes it unremarkable. In the end, it’s as much a competent addition to the game as it is a tiresome one.
Mass Effect 3 ‘Omega’ DLC
Platforms: PC, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Released: Nov. 27, 2012
Pirate Queen Aria T’Loak was ousted from her throne on Omega, the den of scum and villainy nearest to known Reaper territory pre-Reaper War. She was thrown off the station by Cerberus, though, not the Reapers — Cerberus being that pro-humanity group that has fallen under Reaper control (you know…more or less) and therefore is also evil. Eventually, Aria means to go back and kick Cerberus’s ass off the rock.
And that’s the story of this DLC. It’s pretty straightforward: In order for Shepard to get what he needs from Aria, which is mercenary troopers and that magical Element Zero, with which the Omega asteroid is rich, he needs to help remove Cerberus from the station. Oh, and there are some thousands of folks still living on said station, and they could probably use a hand, too.
The next three hours send Shepard and Aria gunning through the tunnels, halls, buildings, clubs, mines and reactors of Omega, and if there’s one thing the DLC gets right, it’s the tour of that enormous asteroid-turned-space station. There are a ton of huge, sprawling locales to play through (though for the most part, your path through them remains entirely linear), and though Omega is mostly various shades of brown, at least there are some cool places to look at along the way, filled with humming machinery and coursing water and electricity. This is Omega as we haven’t had a chance to see it yet — not just “Bad Guy Citadel,” as in Mass Effect 2, but a viable living and working space, where it makes sense that civilians might endure the criminals, at least if you stretch your imagination.