Mass Effect 3 ‘Omega’ DLC Review: More of the Same
Along the way, Omega introduces a few new tricks that you have to deal with. First, there are the ever-present Cerberus troops, who love to lay down turrets in your path, throw smoke grenades, snipe at you and generally scream a lot. Mixed in are Rampart mechs, a stronger version of the robots you scrapped en masse in Mass Effect 2 and 3, which have been outfitted with new gear and are quite a bit more front assault-oriented than previous versions. Finally, there’s a new monstrosity I won’t spoil, except to say that it’s treated as if it’s the scariest thing ever, despite the fact that Shepard and his team routinely mow its ilk down with little difficulty. It’s certainly no banshee.
Speaking of Shepard’s team, you won’t have your usual squadmates through the course of Omega — rather, you fight alongside Aria almost the entire time, and are often joined by the female turian Nyreen. Both characters bring something to the experience: Aria is driven by revenge (although what exactly she’s revenging, I’m not sure) against the Cerberus general who betrayed her (according to the Codex entry), while Nyreen is a former soldier who sides with Omega’s people, rather than Aria’s lust for power. They’re continually arguing over how to handle the battle against Cerberus, but it’s not much of a debate, really — Nyreen wants you to not blow everyone up, and Aria could care less if you do.
As it turns out, despite this debate coming up again and again, there seem to be precisely zero consequences to your choices in terms of whether you are willing to sacrifice the innocent or not. In fact, it’s not even much of a choice: The one moment in which Shepard gets to make that call in any meaningful way feels more like a “gotcha” moment in which the game tricks you into doing something unnecessary, rather than a real moral conundrum. It’s represented as an interrupt during a heated moment, and by letting it pass, I wasn’t treated to any negative effects at all. Saved everybody. No problem.
The weakness of Omega is that there are little to no stakes involved at all. First off, we all know how this ends: Shepard and Aria retake Omega. Neither will perish during the fighting, since Aria is ensconced on the Citadel for the duration of Mass Effect 3. Nyreen’s a likable-enough character, but underdeveloped and seemingly existing only to counter Aria; she’s not enough to drive the story, and she’s not even around for about half the DLC. Who cares about the faceless thugs and “civilians” of Omega? Not me, unfortunately.
And so the resultant experience is, all in all, rather boring. Why are we fighting a war on Omega at all? We can say it’s for all those apparent poor souls trapped on the rock, but it’s really for “eezo,” which is the Mass Effect universe’s equivalent of oil. And we don’t need it that badly, really, because we know how the whole thing ends. There’s no new insight into the minds of the increasingly evil-for-evil’s-sake Cerberus organization, little in the way of character development for Nyreen or Aria, and too few moments that don’t involve Commander Shepard pumping bullets into noggins.
I found Omega competent enough, but unexciting, in the end. Maybe it’s Mass Effect fatigue at this point, or perhaps the heavy emphasis on action on Omega over RPG elements, or maybe it’s just that the storytelling in these DLC excerpts has found no real way of conveying smaller tales that are worth hearing in the frame of Mass Effect 3. That said, if you want to revisit Omega, see its locales, and shoot lots more guys — that is, if you want more of the superficial elements of the Mass Effect 3 formula — then it’s here, and there’s a fair bit of it, and you’ll feel your $15 was well-spent. The rest of us, though: we might be a little bored.
- Lengthy, competent DLC that finally takes us back to Omega
- Lots of fights that take place across a number of Omega locales; most of them are gorgeous
- Spending the entire DLC with two “new” characters — Aria and Nyreen — is a cool approach
- New enemies change up some fights fairly significantly
- Several varying set pieces that change up the action
- There really are no stakes and nothing much gained by “taking back Omega”
- Aria and Nyreen are kinda fun, but not especially deep characters
- Not much story here that’s meaningfully new or different
- Choices are rare and don’t feel significant
- Very little in the way of RPG stuff — mostly, this is shooting and shooting and shooting
Final Score: 75/100