Mass Effect 3′s Citadel Bad for the Game, Maybe Bad for the Future

Despite the idea that a year has passed since we all went through the trials of Mass Effect 3′s incredibly dark story and that we’ve been beaten bloody, in a figurative sense, thinking and talking about the ending of the game, Citadel still exists in the world of Mass Effect 3. We the audience might be ready for a rest from the game’s end-of-the-world plot, but it’s disingenuous to the story being told across the whole series to throw Citadel into the middle of that story and pretend it doesn’t matter. The DLC’s dialogue and story are wanting desperately for a laugh track, and they’re completely out of character of Mass Effect as a whole. Fans are required to perform mental gymnastics to keep Citadel from falling down under the pressure of Mass Effect’s themes and even Shepard’s own dialogue about jerks on the station pretending the galaxy isn’t burning down around them.

What’s more, the story is laughably bad, and while that’s kind of the point, it further weakens Mass Effect as a whole because we’re now obligated to consider Citadel a part of the greater fiction — because that’s how stories work. I don’t like Alien 3, but I don’t get to just pretend it doesn’t exist when I’m thinking or talking about Alien and Aliens. And so if we have to acknowledge Citadel as existing, we also have to acknowledge that it bends and twists Mass Effect’s characters to fit its feel-good please-have-fun lets-throw-a-party needs. Liara is not a jokester. Shepard is not okay with hanging out in an apartment that would reasonably be unattainable by all but the most Mark Zuckerbergian of sentient beings in the ME universe. Stopping in the middle of the end of the world to throw a party would not occur to these people.

So while I get it — it’s “fun” to have “closure” with “our” characters — this isn’t a great way to get it. Citadel feels like a piece of fanfiction meant to serve fans’ goofy desires to get exactly what they want out of characters, whether those things are true to those characters or not. Tali sings and Wrex dances, for crap’s sake. I half-expected some crazy slash-fic situation to pop up in the hot tub in Shepard’s apartment.

Why Citadel is Kind of Bad For Us

Here’s the thing, though. You can enjoy your crazy fever dream farewell catharsis (colleague and friend Phil Owen, who loves Citadel, considers it a hallucination Shepard is having on the ground next to the beam to the Citadel during Mass Effect 3′s end game), but if you enjoy it and you say so and you spend money on it, you might be confirming BioWare’s stated suspicions: that you just needed a happy ending.

One of the worst and most devastating arguments surrounding the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy was that it was the ending’s bleak tone and bleaker conclusion that triggered such animosity from fans, but that’s not true at all — it was the ending’s total abandonment of established themes and characterization that made it bad. It didn’t feel like Mass Effect and it didn’t stay true to the journey heretofore experienced by players.

Citadel is the exact same departure from character and tone, which makes it a weak addition to the story; furthermore, whether it means to be or not, it’s a manipulative one.

Most people I’ve spoken with consider Citadel just the Mass Effect team’s final hurrah, a chance to make something light and fun that the developers felt like creating because they like their own universe. It may well be that, but for the sake of the hypothetical, let’s entertain another notion: that Citadel is targeted at fans who remain frustrated and annoyed with BioWare’s treatment of Mass Effect’s ending and its staunch refusal to even acknowledge the valid criticism thereof. If we look at it in that light, Citadel starts to worry me.

Consider this: While it’s hard to get a really accurate picture of the Mass Effect fan base, anecdotal evidence suggests to me more often than not that many fans (we’ll avoid the term “most” for argument’s sake) are still really, really angry about Mass Effect 3. Many of those people (again, not “most”) have been soured enough that while they might have been huge BioWare fans in the past, they’re more dubious about future titles, possibly even swearing off them altogether. And of course, BioWare wants those people back.

If you were trying to get those fans back and make them happy with you again, how would you do it? Not to put too fine a point on it, but — Citadel is how.

Citadel is unblinking, unyielding fan service from start to finish. Not just in its jokey demeanor, but moment after moment is crammed in a way that gives off that fanfiction aroma. I can’t stress this enough — it ends with Shepard throwing a party for all his crew friends. All the characters stand around and get drunk. It references such elements as the repetitive “I should go” line, and is meant to play on the emotions of fans who really are this wrapped up in the Mass Effect universe.

For my part, I can’t help but wonder if the reason Citadel is so feel-goody is that it’s trying to achieve a specific goal. It abandons all aspects that make Mass Effect 3 what it is, or make Mass Effect as a series what it is, in favor of playing to your every character call-back whim. It wants you to leave feeling satisfied, and it’s willing to mortgage or sell off every aspect of Mass Effect’s soul to achieve that goal. It’s too hard to ignore those elements in light of the greater context of the Mass Effect 3 ending controversy.

What bothers me most, though, is that Citadel represents all the worst possible lessons from the ending debacle. If Citadel achieves the goal of bringing fans back into the fold, it doesn’t bode well for future game stories from the studio, in my mind. Imagine it: You’re working on the hard-hitting ending for Dragon Age 4 that includes every character dying. It’s sad, but that’s the story the game needs to tell, and furthermore, it fits the tone and characters you’ve created in the game up to that point. But then a suit wanders up and tells you the ending has to be happy, because the suit learned from the success of Citadel that people like happy endings.

Citadel isn’t about good storytelling, it’s about feel-good storytelling. And it’s not that there’s no place for that in either games or in Mass Effect — indeed, break Citadel up into 20 or so pieces and it would have worked great sprinkled throughout Mass Effect 3. But the DLC represents a departure from what Mass Effect is, and it sets a precedent in which pandering to fans supersedes telling great stories well. And that’s no better than the situation we were left with at the end of Mass Effect 3 a year ago.

BioWare’s success was born of its ability to tell deep stories with relatable characters, often with a willingness to attack dark themes and ideas. Mass Effect covers genocide, racism, politics, as well as friendship, acceptance and unity, and touching on those elements and treating them in a smart, believable way is what drew so many of us to the series.

I worry that a post-Citadel future will see a departure from tough subjects in favor of more singalongs, dance sessions, drunken parties and giant apartments with hot tubs. That’s not why I like BioWare, and it’s not why I like Mass Effect.

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147 Comments on Mass Effect 3′s Citadel Bad for the Game, Maybe Bad for the Future


On March 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

And just like that Phil, you’ve ruined my Citadel experience. Bravo

On a more serious note, I do agree with you, for the most part, wholeheartedly. Thanks for keeping your thoughts grounded regarding the DLC.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 13, 2013 at 12:56 pm


Hahah, sorry. But thank you. But sorry.


On March 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

What mass effect disaster? Again there are still assloads of people excited for ME4, there are still tons of people playing ME3 MP, on the contrary it brought more attention to Bioware than any other game



On March 13, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Well written, Phil. I have yet to buy any ME3 DLC, but I was thinking of buying this. Though it would seem I have to vote with my wallet yet again. I was so hoping ME3 could be saved somehow, but I think we all have to realise that’s a truly lost cause.

I for one wish very passionately that Bioware’s going to produce something redeemable. Let’s just hope DA3 is that something which can redeem Bioware in the eyes of their fans.


On March 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm

At the end of the day Phil, I think you may only partially right; I think BioWare will be very hesitant to include a dark ending in a game in the foreseeable future, but I also think they are fully aware that many fans are still extremely bitter that the ending wasn’t directly addressed. Comments from BioWare employees have made me believe they intended this DLC as simple fun, and not to address the ending backlash.

We’ll just have to wait and see how this all pans out.


On March 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Good article, Phil.

This is pretty much how I felt about this DLC when I read about it and what I have seen online. I figured it was just an attempt to inject “happiness” into the game, since maybe that is what Bioware/EA thought the people wanted after the backlash they got. The tone of this DLC feels completely out of place with where it is in the game. The Shepard and crew I knew would not take a break, throw a party, and get drunk on the Citadel, while there are thousands, or maybe millions, of refugees fleeing to and crowding onto the Citadel to escape the reapers that are destroying their worlds.

I haven’t bought any of the DLC for ME3 and didn’t plan to. The “happiness” injection that the Citadel DLC appears to be hasn’t changed that for me either. As people said throughout the ending debacle, I’ve been voting with my wallet and not purchasing it with no plans to do so in the future.


On March 13, 2013 at 1:25 pm

This one neeeded to be about laughs, it’s an admission that nearly everyone realizes the ending was a disaster and we just want to have fun with the characters at this point and don’t care about finishing the main game or talking to the star brat ever again.


On March 13, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Completely disagree .

Really You have it backwards ! I think Citadel had some flaws (none of which are in your post)was the BEST DLC ever produced and that Bioware should learn from it I have actually written a couple reviews of my own on Bioware social network


On March 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm

The biggest issue I saw with the ending to ME3 was the fact that we were forced to solve the Reapers’ problem for them (finding a way to end the fighting between organics and synthetics), whereas throughout 99% of the games we were focused on one thinking: Destroying the Reapers before they destroy us.


On March 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I have to agree with you Phil.

Citadel would have been just fine if it was a post ending DLC. But it doesn’t even remotely fit in the middle of the story. It’s as if Bioware is thinking less and less of their fanbase by the day.

Holocaust of Logic

On March 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

lol – you’re an idiot, as you’ve proved already countless times. Mass Effect was already going to be remembered as one of the best trilogies in videogame history, and if BioWare had been allowed to deliver on their promise of a brilliant climax with multiple permutations based on the player’s journey throughout the series then its legacy would have been indelible. Instead, it will now go down as one of the most ruined, meaningless and hated moments in history. Are you honestly saying that you would rather be remembered and absolutely despised or at least distrusted by the vast majority of those who believed in you, than to be remembered for actually doing something right? Even you can’t be that unbelievably dense.

Mass Effect would always have been famous – ideally as a trilogy that left fans wanting more – but thanks to the egos of Hudson and Walters, coupled with the obedience of pseudo-fans such as yourself, it will now be forever infamous as the series that totally dropped the ball at the most important time and went on to outstay its welcome with sequels that were never supposed to exist.

You allowed this to happen, but so help the rest of us you won’t ever be in that position again.


On March 13, 2013 at 2:19 pm

As a huge Mass Effect fan and one that has stood with Bioware from the beginning, I completely agree with this. It was great to see everyone from the series again and some of the laughs were great, but when you take a look at it overall, the DLC was completely out of place. It would have been better had the DLC been more involved with the main story. It would have fit perfectly if the story revolved around preparing for the attack on the Cerberus base before the Earth assault, such as if there was an Alliance traitor trying to sabotage the assault, or if Reaper forces on Horizon were transported to the Citadel and let loose.


On March 13, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I concur. The ending was and 65% of the fan base still believe is a disaster. ME4 will see a massive drop in pre-orders because of it. This Citadel DLC comes far too late though and does not fit into the story at all. It is also the only DLC know some people have already said they would skip on. They and I will see it on YouTube and call it a day. Right now there is starting to be a growing movement of people who only plan on getting ME4 when it drops to $15. I think thats where this series is headed now. Fans avoiding the big purchase of a series they felt crapped out on them and looking to pick it back up on discount.


On March 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Great, now I have second thoughts about picking up this DLC later. Thanks Phil. -_-

But yeah, I get it. Citadel being popular may send the wrong message to Bioware. Furthermore, it could even just be set up to win fans back. The problem with this DLC that i’ve noticed is that it just doesn’t fit into ME 3 at all. The party itself is simply something that doesn’t fit within the story. It could have if the Vanilla game was set up in a specific way (which was talked about in the review) but as it stands, nope.

Still, i’ll probably be picking this one up. Maybe not right away but eventually. Make no mistake though, this does not mean they’ve won me back and this doesn’t mean i’ll just buy every future Mass Effect game without a second thought. If they want me to get future games, they have to prove that they’ve learned from their mistakes with ME3. They lost my trust as a consumer with 3 and they will have to try hard to win me back for future titles.


On March 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm

“If you were trying to get those fans back and make them happy with you again, how would you do it?”

tbh I find it doubtful that citadel will work for many of them, certainly doesn’t for me. I haven’t bought any ME3 DLC (as opposed to all ME1+2 DLC’s) , and this will be no exception. I didn’t plan on before reading the reviews, and after reading them, it’d sour my memories even more. So, thanks but no thanks. (I might have loved it though if it was part of one possible ending … but sure as hell not some weird intermezzo while the reapers shoot Earth into smithereens)


On March 13, 2013 at 3:02 pm

The only reason they dared to shove this much shameless fanservice into a full DLC was because we all know and love the characters purely because of the parts they played surrounding the racism, politics, genocide, etc.
Even Bioware and Smelectronic Farts wouldn’t think a game centred solely around light-heartedness and drunks was a good idea.

Actually, reading that back:
1. They actually probably would.
2. Inebriets In Space With Guns And Parties actually sounds like a pretty kick-ass game.


On March 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Completely agree with you phil,but the only language corps understand is money,so i don’t think I’m going to buy this one(Just watch it on youtube or something)

Phil Hornshaw

On March 13, 2013 at 3:04 pm


Dude, play Bullet Storm.


On March 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

I think between many of the recent Bioware and EA games released in general since the “merger” this will not continue much longer. SimCity was a complete fail, and even the C&C launch failed, so just like Gearbox EA is learning some serious PR lessons, first don’t mess with other publishers, and don’t meddle with their developers, and not to mention EA has no PR skills whatsoever, so they need a new PR crew. The hype machine was all they had going, and now that is gone, they need a new team, and a new business plan to win back the burned customers.


On March 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Phil, while i respect your opinion, it’s pretty obvious you’re not a huge fan of the mass effect series. The pack was meant to be a send of for fans, people who deeply enjoy the game such as myself. I loved the humor in this, it was a pickup i needed. You may not have liked it, and that is fine, we all have our different opinions. While you may not have enjoyed the DLC, I for one did, and would even rank it higher than the shadow broker from ME2.


On March 13, 2013 at 5:02 pm

And here we go again.


On March 13, 2013 at 5:03 pm

An excelent point of view for Alien 3, you can’t just ignore that. Life’s that tough most of the times. And to write a whole article just for point it out again, reluctant.


On March 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Really, you honestly believe that this one DLC, just this one pack, means that we will see more of the “singalongs, dance sessions, drunken parties, and giant apartments with hot tubs.”?

I don’t know whether to call you an idiot, or an idiot.


On March 13, 2013 at 5:10 pm

Yes Wesker, that’s what we all think whenever we see you’ve posted on a Mass Effect article.


On March 13, 2013 at 5:13 pm

I think you might have had some sour bananas. Lighten up man!!

This was a gift to the fans to make some fun with the game and our friends.

“Shephard would not have a party in the middle of a war” – The Normandy needs some repairs, have you even paid attention??

AND what is wrong with feel good storytelling? Please tell me?

And why are you so desparate to tie it in with the endings? from where I sit, many people were OK with the EC endings, but you have to bring them up again. Just enjoy the DLC for what it is!!

“Why Citadel is kind of bad for us” – I read and read, but all you do is go into your assumptions of the fanbase, and the endings of ME3 You never delivered on the headliner.

“I worry that a post-Citadel future will see a departure from tough subjects in favor of more singalongs, dance sessions, drunken parties and giant apartments with hot tubs.” You worry to much!!!
Bioware will give us more fun and meaningfull games in the future.

SO, to summarize, the above “article” is your worry and your assumptions. THAT IS IT.


On March 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

‘No.’ – Congratulations on failing to an extraordinary degree in your attempts to understand what Phil was saying. If what you took from this was honestly that Phil believes hot tubs and partying will become the norm in a literal sense then you clearly have no concept of what an example is. The point was obvious to anyone with a brain – BioWare and its defenders have for almost a year now deluded themselves into believing that the flaws in the ending to ME3 is purely down to it not being very happy, and if this DLC sells well then it might look on paper at least that their views are justified. This was not an ambiguous position, he stated it flat-out in so many words in the article.

I don’t know whether to call you a troll, or a troll.

Roy Batty

On March 13, 2013 at 5:56 pm


You are oversimplifying – I play multiplier because I paid $60 and I want my freaking money’s worth. Since I can’t get that from dingle player I will squeeze EVERY DIME I CAN OUT OF MP. I will not give these human jackals another penny of my hard earned dollars or my precious time. Everyone I have talked too HATES the ending or more correctly HOW THE ENDING WAS HANDLED…we WANTED to like it but our good senses will not let us.

@Novablast – how do you figure the “best”? Are you including all DLCs ever made for a genre since I starting playing games back in 1977? It is senseless to insert it into the story, Phil is right it is pandering…really it is begging. I want the story to continue too but I won’t stoop to fanboyism.

Phil, I don’t think you have much to worry about. It is the GEEKs that make or break a series. It was the geeks that kept Star Trek alive to live another day. The geeks have left and gone to other things. Fanboys will just turn it to garbage and it will eventually die out then in xx years it will be rebooted or else someone else will take its ideas and run with them.

Now imagine where the franchise would be IF the ending had been done right – then have a snack and find something else.


On March 13, 2013 at 6:41 pm

“I kind of dislike Mass Effect 3‘s Citadel DLC. And if you like it — you might frustrate me.”

Stopped right there. Citadel is cheesy fan service, admittedly and not much more, but you know what, I liked it.


On March 13, 2013 at 6:53 pm

My issue with the ending wasn’t that it wasn’t happy. It was that after 30+ hours of single player, many hours of MP, downloading and using the ME3 datapad app, as well as playing ME2 and ME1 multiple times with their respective DLC, I got an ending that essentially that made me feel like I had “wasted” my time.

The primary thing (along with all the other Ending Issues) that made me forever loathe BW:

-In destroy Shepard story doesn’t end with closure. Instead it ends with Shep being left in a pile of rubble. No reunion. No rescue. This isn’t sad or unhappy. It’s not finished.

Oh and BW’s solution to this: You have to ‘imagine Shep being rescued. So I basically have to imagine the end to my character’s story? Isn’t that why I paid 60+ for your game BW? Isn’t that essentially your job BW? To finish the story? I could have saved myself the time and money and gone on and wrote my own ending.

For the record I love the citadel dlc. After beaten ME3 already and the fact, like the article said, this dlc doesn’t fit narratively with ME3, I consider this DLC to be post-ending. Also the fact that that this DLC ends Shep’s story (luckily on a high note) makes me love it anymore.

As for Bioware….

-I despise their endings so much I modded them out of my game with MEHEM.
-I won’t be buying anymore of their products except those ME related.
-Any new or old IP I won’t waste my time looking.
-Even ME products I won’t buy on Day 1 and only if they are $15 or less.

While I understand and respect anyone that does like the Endings, to me the Endings are an insult.

And for that I will forever show Bioware contempt and disdain. This DLC doesn’t change this at all.


On March 13, 2013 at 7:17 pm

”Yes Wesker, that’s what we all think whenever we see you’ve posted on a Mass Effect article.”

:P This is why i posted that. Your reply just made my day! Thank you!


On March 13, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I haven’t touched ME3 or any of the DLC since the extended cut completely failed to make the ending less of an idiotic ass-pull. My reason is simple, no matter what the DLC does, what cool breath taking set pieces it has, what brilliant new characters, the story still ends with a freakin star baby and mystical crap completely out of left field (I despise mystical crap, especially when it intrudes on a story that was otherwise characterized by a distinct lack of mystical crap).

I’d also like to ask a question that’s been bugging me about the ending for a while now, so the Reapers are intent on “ascending” all organic life right? Is there a reason this process has to be so nightmarishly sadistic? So completely monstrous? It really undermines the ending when your “oh no they’re really helping you become one! Honest!” star gods are doing things like mashing a bunch of human corpses together to make artillery.


On March 13, 2013 at 7:23 pm

I agree with you JamieCOTC. Even if Mass Effect 3 needed something better i liked the Citadel DLC. Hey Phil i liked it!

No hating here. :D


On March 13, 2013 at 7:37 pm

Read that page Gasmaskangel you may find your answer:

The problems with the story was not the fact the Reapers where created by a master AI for the goal of preserving advanced organic life into immortal synthetic bodies when those advanced races had become a danger of organic extinction. The problems was the way Bioware have described into bad writings and a weak representation of this idea. Because that idea of the Reapers was good but badly interpreted.

With the appropriate writing the Catalyst could have been one of the best and original villain in video games. But they ed it up.


On March 13, 2013 at 7:54 pm

As far as i am aware of there is no reason for the reaper collection process to be that sadistic, and if the geth are anything to go by the evolution of synthetic life into fully sentient creatures is by no means guaranteed to result in synthetics wanting to commit genocide on organics.

Wesker I did read the page, and it didn’t address anything involving why the reapers went with murder everyone to save them.


On March 13, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Thanks, Phil. Great article. What with this DLC, the ending fiasco, and the massive failure of so many games in the last year, it’s as if a gasoline-soaked blanket has fallen over the game industry, waiting for a match. More than a few of my friends think that these are the End Times for gaming as we’ve known it. I guess to get good stories in the future, we’ll have to go back to reading books.


On March 13, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Here a description of the original concept of the Reapers during the production of Mass effect 3:

“The Reapers as a whole were ‘nations’ of people who had fused together in the most horrific way possible to help find a way to stop the spread of the Dark Energy. The real reason for the Human Reaper was supposed to be the Reapers saving throw because they had run out of time. Humanity in Mass Effect is supposedly unique because of its genetic diversity and represented the universe’s best chance at stopping Dark Energy’s spread.”

The original choice was between killing the Reapers and trying to find a way to stop the Dark Energy threat with what little time was left before it consumed the galaxy, or, “Sacrifice humanity, allowing them to be horrifically processed in hopes that the end result will justify the means.”

Sound cool and better, no? That also explain why the Reapers act so sadistically to preserve life. The original idea was about collecting more and more genetic data to find a solution to save the entire universe in time before the end of times.


On March 14, 2013 at 12:43 am

Meh. More DLC for me to avoid, I haven’t bought a single one for ME3, though I bought everything for ME1 & ME2. The ending of ME3 basically killed the series for me, I played ME1 & ME2 over and over, when the announcement for ME3 came I went through the first two games six times, each with a different outcome. Ashley saved, Kaiden saved, Collector base destroyed, Collector base saved, etc.

And what was the point? What did that actually do in ME3? Nothing. Ashley and Kaiden just swapped places in the hospital bed, the Collector base was lip service, but hey, I figured at least the ending might be different. Red, blue or green. Yeah, that’s great, thanks for that.

The game itself was good, even if it ignored a lot of what you’d done in the first two games, but to bring the whole series down to those final three choices was just ridiculous. There wasn’t even any build up to it, it was just, “Hello, I’m starbrat. Pick a colour.”. The End.

As much as I enjoyed the first two games, I haven’t gone back since. I haven’t bought a single DLC for ME3, and it doesn’t look like I ever will.


On March 14, 2013 at 5:10 am

GazH – don’t worry, I’m sure Wesker and lol will each buy it more than once to make up for your loss of revenue. After all, that’s all BioWare cares about now. It has no interest in actually meeting the requests or engaging with the criticisms of the majority of its fanbase – and it IS a proven, undeniable majority, regardless of Phil’s attempts at diplomacy – they only care that EA’s still making money. As long as there are still manchildren lapping up everything they release on day one and throwing abuse at those who don’t, they’re not suffering for their disgusting practices over the last year.


On March 14, 2013 at 6:14 am

Bioware is trying to satisfy their customers? HERESY


On March 14, 2013 at 6:27 am

Excellent points, Phil. I cannot say for certain I know whether there were ulterior motives at working here or BioWare simply wanted the aforementioned “hurrah” but the realist in me sides more toward the former. And admittedly, it accompanied precise that with me. I watched the DLC on Youtube and loved the thing despite it’s nonsensical story. This is the first time I’ve given BioWare a cent since purchasing the game and while I remain heavily critical of both the ending and the jarring tone shift in Citadel, I would be lying to say I did not thoroughly enjoy it.

Suppose the way I chose to justify it is this being my own final “hurrah” toward BioWare because I do not intend to purchase much from them in the future should things stay the course. Maybe this was a temporary hope for change – wishful thinking I know.

Mr Glassback

On March 14, 2013 at 6:31 am

I have stayed away from the ME3 DLCs, but does voting with your wallet ever actually work?
Maybe Gamefront could let us know how all these DLCs have sold. Has it been disastrous for Bioware or has it been as profitable as it ever was?
I can’t even decide if I can be bothered to play these for free, my mate left his eggbox360 with ME3 and all DLCs at my house but I am having trouble motivating myself to jump back in.


On March 14, 2013 at 7:10 am

At this point, I think that Bioware is either going to be closed down, or any future games they release are going to have to go straight to the bargain bin to make any sort of money. As a result, their games will likely get shorter and shorter, as well as more simplistic and underwhelming.


On March 14, 2013 at 9:48 am

lol – but they’re NOT trying to satisfy their customers, junior. If they were interested in that, they would have actually kept their original promise then fixed the ending when the overwhelming majority hated it instead of belittling them and trying to kid themselves and their most blinkered of fantoys (such as yourself) that they were a “vocal minority” who “didn’t get” the meaningless ending. This DLC is actually proof once and for all that they couldn’t care less about satisfying their customers, because they’ve made it clear that they’re unwilling to budge on the one aspect of the game that was universally detested and instead need to resort to fluffy fan-service nonsense that doesn’t serve the plot of the game, but actually makes it even less coherent and logical. This was the ultimate ‘jumping the shark’ DLC, an attempt to appease people who, as you’ve proven repeatedly over the last several months, never needed appeasing because you’ve already entered into an insular, childish belief system that these people are infallible gods and anyone who is understandably annoyed when their games don’t match their marketing or when content is withheld from the disk in order to sell it as overpriced DLC later is “entitled.” Presumably because your parents still buy all your games for you.

Your opinions aren’t respected on this site and will never be relevant on here. And that’s another majority consensus, child.


On March 14, 2013 at 10:01 am

phil hit the nail on the head, but what he dident relise was this
the “mission” in the dlc was cut from mass effect 2.

also we all know casey hudson was the one that rewrote the ending because the origonal script was leaked and he decided to punish the players for loving it and he dident.

citidel would have made more sense in ME2 but nnnooooooo bioware ceo’s with there fake doctorites think they know better than us.

bioware refuse to aknowlage the players greviences and it shows, the founders calling the ones that buy there games “entitled, spoiled brats”, they also admited they cannot handle being critisized by anyone which is why they are quitting.

omega, leviathan and citidel do not make any sense what so ever, they have ZERO impact in the story.

talking about stories, what the hell happend to the core story, the entire dark energy part of it that ran throughout mass effect 1 and 2, its no where mentioned in mass effect 3.

the dark energy plot has been 100% wiped out and retconned in ME£.

also phil, read the posts i made on the ME3 ((spoilers allowed)) forum in the past 2 days about ME3′s fuster cluck and denianl


On March 14, 2013 at 10:32 am

I really liked the DLC, and under some circumstances you could play it inside of the main game, but I have to find that certain place to do so. The worst place of course is if you play it right between Thessia and Chronos, because it then not just don´t fit in the tonal narrative, it just plain shows you how ridicules Kai Leng as a character and bossfight is.

I think the best thing to play this DLC is like looking at it as kind of an OVA to an anime series, you know those episodes that are not necessary canon in the story, but just there for fun. Or you have enought denying power in you to headcanon it as “Ending-DLC” for High EMS Destroy, or the MEHEM Mod.

Either way despite that I liked the DLC didn´t change my viewpoint of how messed the whole ending situation was over the last year and that I WILL be cautious of how they will handle DA 3 and the next ME game. And for future purchases I will no longer think of : Bioware = game must be good, but I will look at every game separately, like I did with games of all other developers except for BW. If they are good in “my” definition of good, I will buy them, if not then not.

Oh, and no more Pre-Orders for me.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 10:44 am


Everyone always brings this up when I’m negative or critical of Mass Effect (or anything), but in fact I’m a HUGE fan of the series. There’s a model Normandy SR2 from Comic-Con sitting on my desk as I type this, and I have a PR photo of FemShep signed by Jennifer Hale that I got at a BioWare Base at another Comic-Con (that sounds a little extra-fanboy, but c’mon — HALE SIGNED IT). I’ve also played every scrap of content for Mass Effect that exists and read all the novels. (Not the comics, though. Not much of a comic guy.) But really, I shouldn’t have to prove my fan cred just because I see the negatives of something. Whether I love Mass Effect or hated it all along doesn’t affect the quality of the content or the argument, and it’s dismissive to bring up whether I’m a fan or not. I’m not the issue here, Citadel is.

Also, and this isn’t just directed at you, but it’s interesting to me how many people say, “This was just a send-off by the developers that they just wanted to make because, you know, they’re just great people and they love us and they love Mass Effect so obviously they were just being the coolest.” It’s fully possible that the developers and writers, for their final DLC, were allowed to go, “let’s just go nuts” — but there are a whole lot of other considerations to keep in mind. For one, this was content that had to be produced, which means it had to be financed, which means that it was never just a decision that sprung from the writers’ heads to just screw around. It was a business decision, as it always is, and it was content sold for money — and it’s important to remember that the business decision to sell this DLC would have been made in the context of everything else that has happened with Mass Effect 3. This wasn’t JUST a gift, even though it might be fun and you might like it, and I’m not quite sure why everyone is approaching THIS situation in some weird vacuum like suddenly we’re all pals and BioWare threw us a going-away party. We all purchased this content, just like all the other content, and it was produced by BioWare to make money. Those are important points to keep in mind.

@Mr Glassback

Unfortunately, sales data like that is REALLY hard to pin down. EA doesn’t release it if they don’t want to, and it’s not like it’s public information anywhere else. You can sometimes get that kind of info from investor calls at the end of a fiscal quarter, but it’s really haphazard at best. That’s why, when a big game comes out, you’ll often see stories that say how many copies were “shipped” of the game, rather than “sold” — because the publishers and developers control the numbers. I doubt we’ll ever be able to really find out a lot of key info about Mass Effect, like how much its DLCs sold, or whether the ending controversy affected sales and by how much.


On March 14, 2013 at 10:45 am

Phil…your entirely missed the Point of the DLC. A Point that was not that hard to get. It is just a funny little extended goodbye. They pretty much nailed every Character by embracing their flaws in a lighthearted goodhearted way. How someone can frown on that, i don´t even want to understand.

so have fun frowing…while i embrace this lovely letter Bioware has given me.


Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 10:52 am


Nah, Mazebook, I get it. But you can’t look at these things in a vacuum or free of context. The context of Citadel is that it’s the last piece of DLC on one of the most embattled games to come out in recent memory. It’s a DLC that takes a 180 approach to a number of things BioWare said and did immediately following the ending. It’s a DLC released and sold after BioWare spent a full YEAR in damage control mode — they STILL won’t give us an interview, even though we’ve asked more times than I care to count. So to look at Citadel with rose-colored glasses doesn’t make sense to me. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, it’s a sendoff for the series, but if they wanted to send off the series, why didn’t they do it when they released the actual game?

Either way, while fun, Citadel isn’t the Mass Effect I signed up for. It reads and plays like a fanfic, and if you’re into it, great. Like seriously, that’s great, because video games are supposed to make people happy or elicit emotional responses or whatever, and that’s good. But hanging out with the sitcom version of the Normandy crew is not what I like about Mass Effect.


On March 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

@Phil That is cool if it is not your cup of tea, but your arguments sound hallow to me. There was always a lot of Humor in Mass Effect, especially in 3. Which was needed to counter the overall grimness of the Story. So why not go a little goofy on the final farewell.

The DLC not only showed what makes our Shepard so unique, but also why we love these characters. Their Flaws and kinks expressed through Humor.

These factors were present in the main game but not in the front, because of the many loose ends the game had to tied up…and you only have that much time and resources when you develop a game. So the “it should have been in the main game ” argument , is just silly.

Also that you admitted to have a grudge against Bioware because they won´t give you an interview (and I don´t see why they should) does not really strengthen your case…

Anyway, I personally hope that Bioware takes the tone of next Mass Effect more in the direction the DLC took…maybe a little less goofy…but with that sense of exploration and wonder and humor.

That would be my wish going forward…but thats just me.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 11:34 am


I didn’t “admit to having a grudge against BioWare” — I’m noting that the company remains unwilling to talk about the situation. Game Front has a readership that is really interested in Mass Effect and would like to hear from the developers, and they refuse to speak with us. That doesn’t make me mad personally or hold a grudge, but it IS an indication of what the climate is like surrounding BioWare right now. Anyway, nothing I write in any capacity on Game Front is motivated from some kind of personal anger. If they gave me an interview or not, my feelings on Citadel would be the same. Insinuating that I’m trying to hurt BioWare by writing my opinions based on evidence is kind of insulting.

As for saying that BioWare had limited time to tell its story — no it didn’t. I can’t say that any more clearly. BioWare made the game and it should have told the story it needed to tell in that game. Not having a full conclusion for the title wasn’t a matter of running out of disc space or something, and if it was, I can provide a list of things that could have been cut to make room for writing a satisfying conclusion to the series. I think you’re the one being silly here.

And yes, Mass Effect has been “funny” before, but not nearly to this degree, and as I mentioned, it’s all a matter of context — take this level of humor and spread it out through a whole game and the discussion would be very different. Go play the other games again — humor comes once in a while to relieve dramatic tension, but not like this. Citadel is something else entirely. And if you want Mass Effect 4 to go with the tone of Citadel, that’s fine, but in the scope of this trilogy, it’s fundamentally different from what BioWare has been creating all along. To say it isn’t is to disregard the quality of storytelling that has come before at multiple points through the series.

Limitless Limits

On March 14, 2013 at 11:56 am

The phrase ” i don´t even want to understand” says it all, Mazebook. You’re not interested in dissenting opinion, even when it’s designed in a purely analytical framework from someone desperate to see a series they love improve on itself. In your eyes, you’d rather just love everything offered to you and not acknowledge even the slightest bit of criticism regardless of how constructive and evidential it is.

Citadel was enjoyable in total isolation, but as part of the story of Mass Effect 3 it was a completely hollow and disconnected experience that created yet more massive leaps in lore and logic. The ONLY reason it stands up for some is for the very reason you suggested – on the most surface-deep, superficial level, it makes people feel something. Same as the ending, which used ‘sad’ musical cues and a few token shots of your squadmates in an effort to make you feel guilty about realising the writing was total garbage. It’s the most cynical form of pandering imaginable.

Honestly, Citadel feels more like someone’s fanfic than a legitimate DLC. Enjoyable? At times, yes. Nice to have extra parts of the citadel at your disposal? Sure. But does it actually add anything to the story of Mass Effect 3, or even the development of any of its characters? No – it’s fluff. Fun fluff, certainly better than the ridiculous rip-off that was Omega, but fluff nonetheless.

If you ever decide you want to understand, go and read some of the brilliant articles on Gamefront, mostly courtesy of Phil himself and the otherwise obnoxious Ross Lincoln, all of which concisely and objectively explain why the story and its subsequent DLC packs are, at best, flawed, and at worst are functionally broken. Otherwise, enjoy your mouthful of sand.


On March 14, 2013 at 11:57 am

”And what was the point? What did that actually do in ME3? Nothing. Ashley and Kaiden just swapped places in the hospital bed, the Collector base was lip service, but hey, I figured at least the ending might be different. Red, blue or green. Yeah, that’s great, thanks for that.”

Normally i act like an arshole only to get on the nerve of peoples here and this is why my comments sounds so immature but dont you think you miss the points with Kaiden/Ashley?

I agree with you on some aspect of the game like the Red/Blue/Green things but Ashley and Kaiden swapped place since Mass Effect 1. After you sacrifice one of them the other do almost the same things as the other after Virmire. In Mass Effect 2 it almost the same scene when you reunite briefly with one of them, love interest or not. It was not so difficult to imagine the same thing will repeat itself in Mass Effect 3 about the two of them. At least when Kaiden/Ashley rejoin your team in ME3 the dialogues differ more and the two have a complete different personality and abilities and point of views. Also the big problems with Mass Effect 3 is the endings and the Catalyst and not the lack of story connection with your save data.

Just ignore the fanboy idea and answer this, have you a problem with those who want to buy the DLCs? Because i do not have problem with those who doesn’t want to buy them.

Yes they ”try” to satisfy their customers, The Citadel DLC is a proof of that, but it doesn’t mean it worked well about that. The problem is most of the player wanted a complete change in the endings(me included) but Bioware want to conserve those ”canon” endings and released many DLC by trying to calm us down. It worked for some peoples and not for the others(Me i’m between the two). Let just hope they will learn about their mistakes or their ideas of conserving those flawed endings will serve a purpose for a future sequel.


On March 14, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Phil… Your’s and Koobismo’s are the last two sane reviews I’ve seen on this topic.


On March 14, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Wesker1984 – “After you sacrifice one of them the other do almost the same things as the other after Virmire. In Mass Effect 2 it almost the same scene when you reunite briefly with one of them, love interest or not.”

Yeah, true, I wrote my post early morning and my brain wasn’t fully switched on. Let’s use another example – the bug queen (can’t even remember their names now). You can decide to kill it or let it free. Does that make any difference in ME3? Not a bit. If you let it go then it’s there, if you killed it then a different one is there, despite the one you killed being the only remaining queen. ME3 paid little more than lip service to what had happened in your previous games, the only major difference was keeping Wrex alive or not.


On March 14, 2013 at 12:28 pm

True Bioware missed hardly the points with the Rachni queen.

The only difference by killing the queen is the Reapers will construct an artificial queen so they can have a rachni army to turn into Ravagers. If Shepard chooses to free this queen, then unlike the queen from Noveria, this artificial queen eventually proves untrustworthy after a few missions, taking away the rachni workers she gave at first and doing damage to the Alliance Engineering Corps on her way out. If Shepard chooses to leave the artificial queen, she will become enraged, screaming at Shepard through the krogan corpses strewn about and ordering her Ravagers to kill Shepard and their squad.


On March 14, 2013 at 1:01 pm

You summed up my thoughts about the Citadel DLC perfectly.

I have not yet bought any DLC for ME3, and had been waiting for Citadel to drop, hoping that it was a story/lore AND character driver DLC….if it had met my expectations, I would have gone back and bought the rest I had missed.

But I waited until Youtube vids had been posted (and I wasn’t disappointed, only took a couple of hours after release…). Watched the vids and thought “How is this ME3???”

Felt like watching a Muppet Show rendition of the ME series.

I have held the line for a year, voting with my wallet, hoping that Citadel would redeem the game….and it failed. I won’t pay $15 for pure fanservice unless it also makes some sort of sense in the greater narrative.


On March 14, 2013 at 1:05 pm

@Phil in response to Denver…

Didn’t realize that being a ‘fan’ meant blind devotion.

Robert D.

On March 14, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Excellent article Phil!
I loved that Numbers Don’t Lie video, so I’m really happy you referenced it! I have the people who made it listed as my website in case anybody is interested.


On March 14, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Hey Phil, I posted a link to this on the BioWare social forums, and I think you may like to see some of the reactions to the article. It’s very polarizing, to say the least


On March 14, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Phil, Great job with this article. I felt you were right with how this DLC just takes a complete break from the overall theme of Mass Effect as a whole. While the thought to try and give us closure was nice, BioWare went about it the wrong way.

I REALLY hope they don’t ruin Dragon Age 3 with some kind of idiotic departure from it’s established tone.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 1:30 pm

By the way, just want to say thanks to everyone on both sides of this argument for the rousing discussion. Enjoying reading all that you have to say and contribute.


Thanks! I actually stayed up way too late last night compulsively reading the whole thread. When people aren’t calling me an idiot, they’re making really great points on both sides — and that kind of discussion is why writing stuff like this is worth doing at all. I’m keeping tabs on the thread when I can, but just reading.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Oh, and also, thanks to everyone saying nice things to me. Glad you guys are enjoying this stuff.


On March 14, 2013 at 1:55 pm

@Phil “they STILL won’t give us an interview, even though we’ve asked more times than I care to count. So to look at Citadel with rose-colored glasses doesn’t make sense to me”

…sorry…i did not want to insult you but it is hard to take that statement without getting the feeling that you take the deny of a interview personally.

anyway. I truly think there is no “situation” at Bioware that requires any form of media heart to heart.
The whole “ending-controversy” was nothing more than your typical internet bubble. Lead by People with the biggest megaphones. Bioware responded to this with calm, dignity and generosity. So i think Bioware the company and the people at Bioware are just fine.

They most likely don´t give interviews because there is no real need and any words they get out are being twisted by fans immediately. I can only imagine of frustrating that must be.

On the matter of limited resources.
yes , they had only limited time, money, medium space, technical limitation, engine limitations and so on. As a writer you should know these limits and that you always have to walk a narrow line when you create something. There are thousands of decision, paths and priorities you have to take. And finding the best , most balanced way is hard. very hard. and even if you get everything right…it won´t be right for everybody.

We all have lists of what we would cut or added and they all would be different.
That is part of creating something. Everybody is genius in hinsight.

And yes Citadel´s focus is on humor. Leviathans focus was on mystery and horror. Shadow Broker had the focus on tracking him down . Kasumi´s was a heist.

they all had a different focus. Bioware decided to go out with a joke. I still don´t see how this does not fit within the context of Mass Effect.

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply to me and let us just hope that ME4 will have something we both can life with.


On March 14, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I have to say I kind of agree; I hated the ME3 ending but not because it’s bleak, and not even because of the sacrifice, but because it’s nonsensical. The lesson Bioware needs to learn is that you can’t just end a game with a multiple choice where none of the options completely make sense, particularly when those options make even less sense compared against the player’s actions and other decisions during the trilogy.

They also need to learn that what ME3 lacked most was the failure to take into account more of the player’s actions in meaningful ways; it just boiled a lot of them down into numbers, threw in a few brief ME2 character cameos and then moved on with a plot that played out even major previous plot points as inflexible (destruction of the Collector base didn’t matter, there’s always a rachni queen etc.).

Finally, and what Citadel does address but in the wrong way, was the overall lack of characters. ME3 has the worst party selection, and thus a poor bunch of characters to interact with between missions, seek post-mission reactions from and so-on. Compare that to ME1 where major missions had a brief team meeting, and everyone had something to say about how the mission was resolved. Compare it to the huge party selection of ME2. Citadel adds a lot more meaningful interactions with party members, but as said it does so in too closed, and surreal, a setting, when they should have been spaced out through the game.

While the series was always meant to be a trilogy, I can’t help but feel that it should have been extended to four titles, splitting ME3 across two full games, as this would have given room for the content the third act of Mass Effect required. Sticking with the Dark Energy plot wouldn’t have gone amiss either; I don’t think the fan base would have cared if they’d read spoilers, so long as the ending has been well crafted with the right level of action, pacing, closure and heroism, plus more impact from past decisions.

Every Mass Effect fan

On March 14, 2013 at 4:27 pm

“And if you like it — you might frustrate me.”

Because Phil Hornshaw cannot stand it when BioWare makes content that people who aren’t him love.

-snip- Threatening portion removed! -Editor

Every Mass Effect fan

On March 14, 2013 at 4:29 pm

We don’t allow threatening comments ’round here. – Editor

Every Mass Effect fan

On March 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm

“Phil… Your’s and Koobismo’s are the last two sane reviews I’ve seen on this topic.”

Because both of them are deluded ing Retarders.


On March 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm

On a side note Mass Effect 1 still has more Xbox units sold than ME3.
ME2: 2.97 mil units sold
ME1: 2.75 mil units sold
ME3: 2.69 mil units sold
That has to be a bad sign for EA and Bioware, because ME3 cost a lot more to produce and especially sell (ads) and ME1 might very well remain higher on this units sold list.


Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 4:45 pm


Interesting. Do you have a source for that data?


On March 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm

All this talk about Mass Effect make me want to replay the entire trilogy with a new Shepard and finishing the three games with their DLCs in the right chronogical order.

Check these this is two pieces i reserved for my personal collection:


Every Mass Effect fan

On March 14, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Phil Hornshaw is a dumb “reporter” who can’t stand it when BioWare doesn’t make the content he wants them to make for him and him alone.

No wonder BioWare refuses to speak with a “journalist” like you.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 6:14 pm


I do kinda want that Reaper to go with my Normandy model.


On March 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Which Normandy model you have? The mini replica or the upcoming bigger version?

Me i have the two mini model, the SR-2 alliance version and the SR-2 Cerberus version. I also bought the Alliance starfighter replica and reserved the upcoming SR-1 Normandy mini model.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 6:37 pm


It’s the smaller one, the 6.75-inch model. The SR-1 is looking pretty cool on the BioWare Store page, though.


On March 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Ok same as me. The Reaper replica is actually a Sovereign replica from Mass Effect 1. This piece will stand a impresive 18.5 inch tall. I hope they will release an Harbinger replica.

Phil Hornshaw

On March 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm


It’s pretty damn cool, but too expensive for me. Plus I have nowhere to put Sovereign, realistically. If it were Sovereign attacking the Citadel, though…well, that’d be a different story.


On March 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm

It wasn’t that the games ending was sad. It was that I had not choice but to accept a sad ending that didn’t make any sense at all.


On March 15, 2013 at 3:55 am

@Phil: Well written, as ususal. You guys really keep the informed debate going, so kudos to you and the team. Oh, and you guys rock (I can’t let Koobs have all my love now can I?) :-)

David Postman

On March 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

Citadel is, in isolation, pretty good. It’s fun to play, it’s nice to interact with your friends again, and it opens up a cool new section of the citadel. However, Citadel is NOT an isolated piece of ME3. It’s part of a bigger story. And, in that respect, it fails horribly. The premise of shore leave during a reaper holocaust is stupid, the idea that a group of mercenaries could only be tackled by Shepard’s crew when there’s hundreds of thousands of C-Sec troops on the citadel is ridiculous, the comedy relief is contrived, the twists are obvious, and – just as Mass Effect 2 used resurrection as nothing more than a throwaway device to get the player back to level one – cloning technology is nothing more than a fleeting chat in order to get Shepard to fight himself. This is fine in Back to the Future where the DeLorean was a means to an end in order to see what would happen if teenagers could see their own parents as teenagers. Not so in Mass Effect – this is a sci-fi universe with rules and boundaries. When those boundaries are either completely ignored or totally broken for no apparent benefit to the overall plot, it’s a big problem. And, of course, the biggest issue is that the ending is still unchanged, so even with everything going on in this DLC, everything that most fans hated about the climax – i.e. not making any sense, not having enough choice, introducing completely new elements in the final few minutes etc – are still there. This DLC is, essentially, a plaster over a bullet wound.


On March 15, 2013 at 6:02 am

Phil Hornshaw can’t stand it when people like a DLC that he didn’t. He can’t stand it that people find something funny when he doesn’t. And he can’t stand it when a company gets nigh-universal praise for making a DLC he doesn’t like.

Like all Retarders, he thinks the world revolves around what he and he alone thinks. you, Hornshaw. Choke to death on your own .

Real Mass Effect Fan

On March 15, 2013 at 6:03 am

‘Every Mass Effect fan’ – stop trolling, junior. You don’t speak for “every Mass Effect fan,” you speak for the few thousand fanboys that still linger after the vast majority were turned off by BioWare’s repeated failures. Posts don’t get removed from here very often so if yours are going down then it’s because you’re going beyond the line – which is pretty evident from your attempts at a threatening tone that are so childish and unsophisticated that it’s almost cute.

Now, go outside and play with the dog turds like a good little troll. The grown-ups here are having a more balanced and intelligent debate.


On March 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

Gary = lowest common denominator that the mass gaming industry is developing games for

Nothing to add to the argument so pulls out the name calling and threats.


Libyan Prostitute

On March 15, 2013 at 8:40 am

Hemlock3630 – he’s also posted as “Every Mass Effect fan” (he hasn’t even tried to disguise the fact that the comments are LITERALLY identical) and was probably the one who posted as “No.” He’s looking for attention, nothing more.


On March 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

Wesker asks: “Just ignore the fanboy idea and answer this, have you a problem with those who want to buy the DLCs? Because i do not have problem with those who doesn’t want to buy them.”

I don’t have a problem with those who choose to buy the DLC, so long as they’re not complete jerks about how this somehow makes them “better fans” than those who have decided to stay away from the DLC. Many of those who don’t want to buy it are doing so because they want to send a clear message with their wallets that they don’t appreciate BioWare and EA’s business practices. That doesn’t mean they’re not fans, far from it – it’s called “tough love,” and I think the large number of former and current BioWare writers and developers who have since admitted they hated the direction the games were taken (either by publicly stating this or, in some cases, by simply walking away from the company) suggests that it’s not an unreasonable position to take. It’s not necessarily an indictment of the DLC on its objective merits, but a way of showing BioWare that they’re yet to have regained the trust of a large amount of its consumer base, regardless of how much Jessica Merizan wants to pretend otherwise on her Twitter feed.

Also, your line of not having a problem with those who don’t buy the DLCs doesn’t hold a great deal of merit when, in another article, you flat-out tried to shame and bully people into buying it by saying that it would be an insult to the late Robin Sachs if they didn’t. And that’s ignoring every other occasion in which you’ve spammed Mass Effect 3 articles like Marauder Shields links and so forth with “don’t care, get over it” posts.

It’s interesting how those who defend BioWare against the ‘entitled babies’ are the ones who use straw man defense mechanisms, resort to name-calling, and are themselves entitled in their beliefs that the series should cater to THEIR “shut up and take my money” desires at the expense of the rest of the fanbase, even when the status quo is trying desperately to eradicate technical and/or ethical faults because they quite understandably don’t want a game they love and paid good money for to be hindered by totally avoidable mistakes.

Gus, the guy from Argentina (No, I'm not the new Pope)

On March 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

Excellent article and great discussion. This is why Gamefront is my favourite gaming news site.
Keep up the good work guys!

My comments regarding the DLC:

I haven’t played it yet (and I think I won’t unless its price drops dramatically), and the reason for that is that for me, it doesn’t make sense. The galaxy is in danger, people are dying everywhere, homeworlds are taken over by the Reapers in the time it takes you to say “Blasto”. Why in the hell Shepard will delay the fight just to fight a stereotypical /cliché-of-a-villain, have some drinks and throw a party?
If the developers wanted to put some humor on the game, this is not the way. It feels out of place and doesn’t fit with the “moment” of the saga/story.

In my opinion, a DLC of this kind should have only be placed after the Suicide Mission (ME2) but before “The Arrival” DLC.


On March 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

@Real Mass Effect Fan & Every Mass Effect fan
They are five category of Mass Effect fan.

1-The ones who hate the endings and the catalyst.
I am between those two category.
2-The ones who like the endings and at least accept the Catalyst
3-The ones who doesn’t care at all(most of them are the recent fans)
4-The extremist fanboys/girls who doesn’t accept the opinions of others and became real trolls because they love everything Mass Effect have.
5-The extremist fanboys/girls who doesn’t accept the opinions of others and became real trolls because they hate everything about Mass Effect 3 after finishing the game.

No matter what, we are all real Mass Effect fans! We all love of loved this franchise because we were really fund at something in it. Saying someone is not a true fan because they accept something or doesn’t accept something is just plain immature and childish. And no category is a minority(ok maybe the extremist fanboys/girls).

With the most extremist fanboys/girls who love everything in Mass Effect, those ones act like trolls principaly because they fear that all the angers and hating the endings and contents of Mass Effect 3 have generated will compromise the release of a second trilogy. They fear it to the point they insult others(In my case i acted like this just to get on the nerve of everyone)

And the other extremist fans who hate or have anger against Mass Effect 3 doesn’t accept the fans who love Mass Effect 3 and they insult them because they doesn’t share their point of views.


On March 15, 2013 at 9:47 am

I will only buy this if I get to see Garrus and Wrex singing a karaoke duet. If they have that, I just might lower myself enough to get it, or if Liara and Tali do a thing on the pole. Yep, those things just might get me.


On March 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

Well said Cunce and i understand the subject.

”Also, your line of not having a problem with those who don’t buy the DLCs doesn’t hold a great deal of merit when, in another article, you flat-out tried to shame and bully people into buying it by saying that it would be an insult to the late Robin Sachs if they didn’t. And that’s ignoring every other occasion in which you’ve spammed Mass Effect 3 articles like Marauder Shields links and so forth with “don’t care, get over it” posts.”

To be honest i acted like that just for the fun of making others here angry by saying the exact opposite of what they say. But now i decided to show the real me and stopped playing this ”troll” role. First because it seems TheDog reacted too personally to my saying and answered to my post with insults and second because the Citadel is the last piece of DLC and it was time for my ”troll” character to die.

In reality, the real me share almost the same point of view as anyone here. It true i never read Marauder Shield but i have nothing against it. I have nothing against peoples who doesn’t want to buy DLCs by the goal of sending an honest message to EA. Those reactions will surely help the future of the franchise for the better and i hope all the fight will give us a stronger and more solid next entry.


On March 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

You can actually see Tali or Liara dancing sensually in this DLC:
I know, it not really what you expecting.

Also here another funny video who offer a great fan service:


On March 15, 2013 at 11:39 am

I watched the DLC on Youtube last night. I wish I didn’t, I’ve been so tired today, didn’t get to sleep until the early hours. So, I watched the DLC on Youtube and I have to say it was horrid. The combat parts looked fair enough but the dialogue was just cheese, it just came across as infantile and stupid to me. I don’t know what they were thinking when they wrote this, I think they must have had a leaving party for the guys who jumped ship and decided to write something for a laugh on the back of a coaster.

The Mass Effect I knew and loved is now completely dead, this was like the final nail in the coffin. Again, I haven’t bought any ME3 DLC and after watching this last night, I certainly won’t be buying any in the future.


On March 15, 2013 at 12:05 pm

I think the experience is far more different between watching a walkthrough on youtube or playing the actual product.

For exemple when i watched a 8 hours walkthrough on Borderlands 2 on youtube the game looked stupid and horrible to me but after i decided to rent it i realised i actually liked a lot this game and it was not really like the first thought i had on it.

The Citadel is a good DLC and i recommend it to any fans who want to prolong their Mass Effect 3 story. But saying ”Mass Effect is now truly dead” just because you dont like the direction of a DLC made just for fan-service its a little bit exaggerated.

Then again is your opinion and i respect that GazH.


On March 16, 2013 at 6:07 am

I think both you and Ross were right. Yes, it is ludicrously heavy with the fanservice and tonally very out of place (and let’s not start talking about evil clones).
But I did enjoy it, because it offered me a chance to interact with some of my favourite videogame characters ever for one last time. This DLC fixed one issue with the ending: abandonment of character focus.
But I doubt many have forgotten the ending or the main reason it was such a pile of sh*t: the fact that it made no sense whatsoever and directly contradicted and negated the themes of Mass Effect.
I think you underestimate the number of fans who are still bitter and unsatisfied regarding ME3 (see this video for a very thorough analysis of fan polls These fans, myself included, will not go running back into Bioware’s arms just because we enjoyed the DLC: I still have no interest in buying any of the other ME3 DLC or any future Mass Effect games, for example.


On March 16, 2013 at 6:08 am

Wesker – thanks for showing some balance in your responses, you should take this tone more often.


On March 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

“The Citadel is a good DLC and i recommend it to any fans who want to prolong their Mass Effect 3 story. But saying ”Mass Effect is now truly dead” just because you dont like the direction of a DLC made just for fan-service its a little bit exaggerated.”

For me it really isn’t. I used to love the first two games, I’ve played them so many times I’ve lost count, I’ve made different endings, different decisions, seen different outcomes, and I was hoping to do the same in ME3. I was hoping for all my decisions through the series to come through into the final game, to decide the outcome, I was hoping to travel through all three games over and over for as long as I could take it, just to see the different results. And what do we get? Red, green, blue and lip service to the other choices.

So rather than fix this travesty, to make the whole series actually mean something, instead they throw out a bunch of DLC that doesn’t matter to the story at all. Finally, they release something that doesn’t even fit into the theme of the game, with the whole crew becoming (poor) comedians, a plot that stinks of cheese, and plot twists that I saw within the first 5 minutes.

It really was the final nail in the coffin, it basically said, “The Mass Effect you know and love is now dead, we’ve made it into a sitcom.”. So very very poor. With this, the state of Dragon Age 2, and the joke that was The Old Republic, I’ve completely lost all faith in Bioware. I know there are still fans of the company, but for the life of me, I can’t see what they’re actually fans of anymore.


On March 16, 2013 at 12:03 pm

Like i said before my ”troll” role is dead, now i returned to the real me. I will take that tone more often i guarantee you. Sorry for my bad english.

I understand your point of view. With the direction they used for Mass Effect 3 you feel betrayed for what Bioware had done for this final chapter of the Commander Shepard journey. I must admit, i feel like that myself and principaly because of the endings, sure i feel more comfortable with them since the release of the extended cuts but the bleeds are still here. Its a shame that the only DLC who have an actual impact of some sort is the Leviathan DLC. But the only thing that DLC does is to offer some new dialogues with the Catalyst. Why having the creator of the Reapers themself in our war assets doesn’t change more the final hour of the game?

And for the Catalyst, i’m sure we will have more accepted it if it was not a master AI residing in the Citadel(major plot holes here) but a super-advanced program who existed through every Reapers in a subconscious level. With the right writing the Catalyst could have been one of the more interesting villain in video games but they scrapped the whole thing.

The gameplay of Mass Effect 3 never bothered me because i was a very good player in Gears of War. Sure the Mass Effect 3 cover system is not as good compared to GOW but i adapted really quick to that gameplay mechanics after 15 minutes of playing. But yes this change of gameplay in Mass Effect was not really necessary.

”I know there are still fans of the company, but for the life of me, I can’t see what they’re actually fans of anymore.”
In my case i still have hope in Bioware, i hope that all the anger Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3 generated will make them realise their past mistakes. For now i stay optimistic and i will hope that the next entry in the Mass effect franchise will be stronger than part 3.


On March 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm

@ Rene (and all the other people calling this DLC a “gift” to the fans”:

Gifts are GIVEN. You’re buying this. AT AN INFLATED PRICE.

I really WANT to partake in more memorable moments with these characters I know and love. Sniping bottles with Garrus and the banter that went with it was a great moment of bonding with one of my favorite characters. Wandering the ship and running into a drunken Tali babbling about her straw being an “emergency induction port” was hilariously memorable. I felt tears of joy welling up at the same time I cracked up laughing out loud when Grunt reappeared, limping and muttering some wiseass remark after I thought I’d just seen him sacrifice his life for me.

However, I am NOT comfortable buying overpriced DLC that stockpiles disconnected, feel-good jollies by using my love of the characters when it was only done to evoke all those happy emotions without having to fix the problem everyone complained about. They kept proclaiming how they had the whole writing team back together to produce this… what for?! It does not take a team of writers to create a self-homage.

It might be good. It could even be genuinely great. But if the ending that disappointed SO MANY in SUCH a big way is left as is, it’s sort of like getting upgraded to the swankiest suite on the Titanic, don’t you think?

Just a random guy

On March 17, 2013 at 2:10 am

Thank you for putting up this article. There are some interesting points that I hadn’t considered. Furthermore, it’s refreshing to see a critical review of this DLC; on BSN you won’t get a leg to stand on if you don’t like this utterly out-of-place piece of content. I don’t have anything to add to the discussion, just wanted to extend my appreciation of your thoughts on the matter.
Keep up the good work :-)

Just a random guy

On March 17, 2013 at 2:11 am

(Huh, I put that smiley at the end of that sentence, not in front. Now it looks all weird…)

The ME Majority

On March 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm


You sir, are a legend in my book.

I believe that Mass Effect will complete its devolution with the release of ME4, by increasing the amount of pandering to a sickeningly overwhelming level.

We saw the overwhelming evidence of said pandering glaring at us all throughout ME3 via the following:

The mind numbingly shallow romances.

The unrealistic appeals to gamers (they didn`t even TRY to make the SS romances believable)

The abandonment of ME1s slow paced RPG feel in favor of the standard GOW style gameplay.

The fan-fiction level writing.


I fully expect an onslaught of quick-time events, IGN ”journalists” voicing characters, and an increasing number of attempts to appeal to the lowest common denominator of gaming: the COD kiddies.

Thank you for not selling out to EA, Phil.


On March 18, 2013 at 1:59 pm

Well Phil, you are absolutely right about the Citadel DLC. But I think your fear about the walking suit would have come true even without the Citadel DLC. They see the ending debate and will do everything to avoid such discussions in the future, for the image’s sake – though, regarding recent events, I highly doubt EA , including BioWare learned anything about creating a good companies image.

But even with this negative effect, the Citadel DLC might have. It achieved one thing: I can think of Mass Effect 3 now with good feelings, because the DLC made me feel good. This may be exact the dangerous effect you wrote about but nonetheless if I think at ME 3 and its horrible “end(s)” and large lack of roleplaying, I can at least laugh about it now – and that is, besides it tragic a good thing, logically.

But the laugh is only at the surface… deep down, well…

Keep up writing such good comments, I enjoy them.

Greetings from Germany


Hans Cummings

On March 19, 2013 at 8:01 am

I’m treating Citadel like a non-canon standalone game. Sure, by purchasing it, I sent the message to Bioware/EA that they’re making a good move, but I enjoyed the DLC even while I was aware off both the mood whiplash and the fact that it did not fit in with the themes & narrative of ME3 as a whole.

I can see the need for R&R, but if the war is really that intense, I don’t think anyone really get a chance for that, especially if you’re on the front lines. It really doesn’t fit.

But, I was so bummed out by the ME3 endings, I really don’t care because at least DLC: Citadel gives me a chance to have some closure on the characters, with whom I enjoyed interacting more than I enjoyed the gameplay and metaplot of ME3 anyway.

Fortunately, with a save editor, I don’t have to play ME3 anymore to play through DLC: Citadel. Will I buy ME4? Probably at some point. I won’t be pre-ordering it. I probably will wait for the price to drop several times. I love the ME universe, but it’s clear the writers/designers and I don’t have the same idea about what is enjoyable about it.


On March 19, 2013 at 8:20 am

Greg – well said. It’s the same as when idiots say we should be “grateful” for what we’re “given.” We’re purchasing a product. If that product turns out to have been sold to us on a fake premise, or is incomplete and requires more DLC at extortionate prices in order to be coherent, we don’t need to be grateful for anything. It’s EA and BioWare who should be grateful that they still have a fanbase left after the stunts they’ve pulled in the last couple of years.

Sai Krishna

On March 19, 2013 at 10:16 pm

When ME2 was released and I played it, I played it several times. When DLCs were added, I did not play DLC seperately, I played entire game again. Thats how much I loved it. ME2, although departing from RPG elements relatively speaking w.r.t ME1, did hit the right mark in the context of story and what shepherd believes in and fights for.

ME3 disappointed me in a way I never dreamed of. It completely abandoned what shephard believes in or why his companions respect and follow him. None of it mattered in the end. I expected ME3 to be like when Shephard defends Tali in Quarian Council, I expected it to be like Shepard deciding Jacob ‘s father’s fate, Deciding Wrex’s fate in ME1 and making hard decisions whether its Kaidan or Ashley, bringing different races together against all odds.

One thing, is they could have started the game before Reapers arrive. Game literally starts with Reapers killing human leadership. They could have started with Shepard escaping from earth, to rescue one of his friends and then find something that will help him. By doing this, it would have given lead time for Story to mature. By starting with reapers directly, story always tells you that there is no hope, you will die. Why so much gloomy..Even if shepard dies at the end, why make the story so hopeless and sad.

Alex Kidd

On March 21, 2013 at 11:41 pm

Only complete imbeciles would buy any of the ME3 DLCs other than From Ashes… Probably the same ones who played multiplayer based on a Sci Fi RPG…


On March 22, 2013 at 9:48 am

Well written. You make a good point.

Side note: And thank you for indicating that information on fans is anecdotal. It makes me uneasy to see *any* data positioned/communicated as valid when it hasn’t been sampled/collected properly.


On April 4, 2013 at 6:45 am

Cowboy Bebop


On April 4, 2013 at 8:55 pm

About the only thing good about this DLC was it’s oddball humour. But to call it fanfiction like would be to insult the fanfiction writers. For I think even amateur fan fiction writers can write a story better than this.

As for the Ending controversy…..well. Putting it in simple words, no matter what you do, the game ends the same way, so did the players waste all those brain cells creating their own Cdr. Shepard for three games just for the hell of it? =That= was what annoyed everyone the most – not the grim, dark theme of it. For a game that made it big on choice, turns out there was no choice at all.

Not what we expected. Happy ending is not the issue – lack of choice is. Something BioWare just doesn’t want to admit. Where Happy Endings are concerned, some freelancer already made a Mod for it.

And while I still respect BioWare for putting out a great series overall, their penchant for screwing up the endings to their stories (Dragon Age 2 also bears that mark of shame, as do other titles made by BioWare) isn’t going to bring too many fans. So, as many here have said, unless they shape up, people will be voting with their wallets. As I also have.


On April 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm

His opinion bad and he should feel bad. Citadel is awesome, if you disagree you’re terrible

Fork Me

On April 9, 2013 at 2:15 pm

Jesse is a great indicator of all that’s wrong with games, using emotional terms and lazy stereotyping as a handwave to genuine analysis. He is exactly the audience EA and BioWare now depend on. Little c***.


On April 21, 2013 at 10:17 am

My lord, lighten up.


On April 25, 2013 at 6:58 pm

This article hits it right on the money. Overall, I think the Citadel DLC just makes ME3 worse. Although I haven’t played it, I’ve seen enough to see how cheesy and out of context it is. I mean why are they throwing a party in the middle of the huge war? Shepard just forgets about Earth for a bit, wtf?

I can say I don’t care whether this means Bioware will only make games that pander to the customer base, because I am no longer a Bioware customer, Mass Effect 3 was strike 3 (Strikes 1 and 2 being Dragon Age 2 and Star Wars the Old Republic). I don’t think other developers will pick up on it, because I think like the rest of us they see from the outside all the mistakes Bioware has been making.

Phil Wiesner

On June 21, 2013 at 3:12 pm

There’s a level I think you’ve missed, and if you’ll bear with me on this, I think it might shed some light on things.

Humor can be used as a coping mechanism.

Mass Effect 1 was mainly a serious game, but characters would tell jokes or discuss things during the levels or on the elevator to/from the Normandy. As far as the characters knew, something bad was going to happen and they had to stop the guy who was going to do it, but somehow he was always one step ahead.

There’s a lot of frustration in that, and the humor showed the characters way of distracting themselves from the harsher reality they were having problems coping with. But there was a glimmer of hope that kept everyone in line, ‘We stop Saren, we stop the Reapers for now.’

Let’s look at Joker. The man is effectively disabled, and crippled by a condition that has impacted his life, to the point where walking wrong can break bones in his legs. Despite this limitation, this stress; he became the best pilot in the Alliance (and for Mass Effect 2, Cerberus). Dealing with a disability is one thing, but rising above it to show you can overcome it? That’s a lot of stress right there, and stress like that can either make or break a person; and it leaves a lasting mark (even the back history for Shepard reflects that the conditions forge the individual). And how does Joker cope with his life? He’s sarcastic and always making light of everything, even if his jokes will fall flat. It’s a coping mechanism.

Throw in EDI, post Collector kidnapping of the Normandy crew, and Joker becomes less negative in the content of his humor. He has support, he has someone to lean on. And eventually, he can date EDI if you push him that way, and he comes off as a lot happier than he was in previous games.

In Mass Effect 2, we saw the rise of Garrus taking over the role of being the primary jokester. But right before his addition to the Normandy SR2 crew, his entire squad on Omega had been killed off by a betrayal of someone in his squad he trusted. Sure, Garrus was always a bit of a commentator in Mass Effect 1, with some dry humor and sarcastic remarks…but it was taken to the next step in Mass Effect 2. Why? Because it was an attempt to get away from the darker emotions he felt by trying to make light of everything. But again, the hope of “We beat Sovereign, we can beat the Collectors” keep everything from going rampant.

If you have a FemShep romance Garrus, sure the ambient sarcasm is there…but he shows signs of healing, and that the relationship with FemShep isn’t all jokes and gags.

When it comes down to it, the Citadel DLC is no different when it comes to amount of jokes made. The only difference is the stakes are higher, and now the characters themselves are showing that emotional strain in how juvenile they’re acting. More stress, more attempted humor.

In Leviathan, the characters are far more serious because Leviathan might just be their ace in the hole, saving many lives in the process. In every moment where there was a moment for hope, the mental strain on the characters was lessened, and they were dedicated to the task on hand; but as a side note, the amount of jokes made decreased.

Every time before ME3 in the series, it was one enemy at a particular location that Shepard’s team rose up to the challenge they presented and Shepard’s team triumphed over the threat. It was a done deal. One threat, one solution. However, in Mass Effect 3, the Reapers were there in full force, and it wasn’t a systematic step by step; it was a struggle for existence everywhere with everyone crying out for salvation. On all fronts, Reaper and every battle was a losing battle for all sides but Reaper in the beginning. Sure, characters are serious initially, but over the course of the game, mental strain starts to manifest with the need for comic banter, to “remember the good times”.

Then Citadel comes into play, and you get some upstart who thinks he/she can take on the role of Commander Shepard. The clone is inexperienced, jealous, and overconfident. And in the eyes of Shepard and his/her friends/crew, the clone is a joke compared to the real threat. CAT6 are military washouts turned mercenary and after fighting Saren’s forces, the Collectors, the Reapers, and Cerberus…they don’t hold a candle to the forces that came before them besides new gear and the element of surprise (which is short lived). The only real threat is the ex-Cerberus agent (who looks suiously like Martha Jones from Doctor Who) supporting the clone. Even then, evil Martha Jones is overconfident and overlooks the capabilities of an info drone; the simple mistake being her machination’s undoing. The story comes off as a joke because the characters can’t take the new threat seriously, but despite that the threat is still very real.

There’s a call for a party at the end of the fiasco, not because the characters really want to party for just any reason, but because this is the last hurrah, and people may not see each other again.

It’s war, and living has to be done in the moment.

With overlapping shore leave of the crew, there are people who are going to want to say their last goodbyes in person, or try to escape from the horrors of war, if only for a little bit.

It’s human nature, really.

The fact these characters can seem so flawed and out of character in the Citadel DLC in this is only more power for the course with how much the Reaper invasion has taken its toll on everyone.

Simply put, people aren’t themselves when put under stress. They’re going to make jokes that fall flat on their face, they are going to do things that make no sense. It’s part of who they are.

The idea that the Citadel DLC is either a very well psycho-analysis of the characters or it’s pandering to the upset fans is fairly narrow minded. It’s really a mix of both.


On July 6, 2013 at 9:09 am

“Hi, I’m a sub-par columnist for a mediocre review site. Here’s a lot of presumptuous rhetoric about evil corporations and money-grab schemes. Now here’s some ad-hominem to my fellow “True Mass Effect Lovers” as I reference the endings. Here’s some not-so-subtle implication that if you disagree with me, you don’t love Mass Effect the way I do, and you can never truly grasp how deeply connected I am to it.”

This article is laden with almost-apologetic-but-still-edgy prefaces to each dividing opinion Phil expresses. This is the sign of a truly ‘pandering’ columnist. That, in and of itself, defeats the purpose of a review when it’s done so exorbitantly. You have waived your credibility by preparing an alibi for any argument WITHIN your article/review.

So, instead of having a review that admits to just being speculative opinion (oh wait, we have a linked reference to ‘anecdotal’ evidence. Basically; subjective and unreliable data) we have another ambivalent, love-hate review that offers no real insight, written by a condescending author.

Phil emphasizes the context of the DLC is removed from the [sic] true nature of the series, and the characters’ behaviors are not parallel to what is displayed outside of Citadel. Because Phil is obviously an author, understands character development and possesses the mental acuity to grasp onto social interactions in a large-group setting. Most of the interactions that we see from the perspective of the main character are combat, grief or very serious situations. To have a DLC that focuses on a sociable ‘feel-good’ atmosphere would completely call into effect different character qualities. But this seemingly obvious element is lost on Phil.

Phil also implies that the party, the drinking, the singing, the comedy… all of those aspects present in the DLC… are not akin to the series either. Unless, as he puts it, it’s split up throughout the entirety of the game in smaller pieces. So, Phil, in the Mass Effect series… you say ‘feel-good’ elements are out of place? So the Gilbert and Sullivan moment with Mordin, the strip clubs, the running gag of Shepard’s dancing and farewells, the Khalisah gags, (present in all 3 games), Elcor/Shakespeare, the Volus Biotic God, Joker… those things aren’t truly a part of the motif?

All of those lighthearted elements are only acceptable because they were interspersed throughout the series, is what I assume you mean. But, because you’re clearly the authority on the matter, centralizing a DLC around social content for the last piece of material for a 6-year spanning trilogy is “Bad For Us”.

You certainly are a unilateral reviewer.

The DLC takes place over the course of maybe a couple days, and that’s being generous. I don’t think it’s so egregious to believe that, in a galaxy-wide conflict in which you jump to and from Mass Relays and planets, (granted, the amount of time that would take is ambiguously explained) that you couldn’t take a day or two to organize a gathering of your comrades and friends for a final bang. The overarching foreshadowing in Mass Effect is the unlikely success of surviving the Reaper invasion, but the resolve of organics to fight til the last. But, as you’ve expressed, the idea of Shepard having a single night to throw a party with the friends and crew of the Normandy is COMPLETELY OUT OF CHARACTER HOLY CHRIST! Also the fact that it’s in a luxurious apartment on the Citadel and Shepard is too spartan for that. Never mind the fact that Shepard can earn millions of credits throughout the series, and he’s not even ranked Captain.

For someone who so claims to be heavily invested in the theme and story of the series, you sure are shortsighted, Phil. And obnoxious, to say the least. Another quintessential ‘betrayed diehard-fan’ whose opinion is law, and anyone who disagrees is either a fanboy or incapable of reaching the level of understanding he has. Garbage review.


On July 9, 2013 at 6:21 pm


Mass Effect series has always been about many paths to the same end. Illusion of choice. RPGs are all about illusion of choice. Perhaps you’re new to RPGs, but they’ve always been like that.

“Mass Effect 3 will react to each decision you make as you play through a truly unique experience of your own creation”

People took this as:

Mass Effect 3′s ending will react to each decision you make as you play through a truly unique experience of your own creation.

^ Whole game is the end to the trilogy. That’s what they sold us and that’s what we got. Mass Effect 3 plays out differently based off your previous choices. If you expected an ending just for your Shepard that no one else who bought this game would get, then you misread what Bioware advertised.


On August 7, 2013 at 2:14 am

@csm – I’ll spell this out for you. The ‘whole game was an ending’ argument is RUBBISH. The game still had its own plot, subplots, and characters that were exclusive to that game. Trying to claim the entire thing was one big ending is absolutely ridiculous. It’s like saying the whole final series of Friends was one big ending. It shows that you clearly haven’t got a clue what an ending is.

And by the way, you conveniently ignore all of the press quotes from BioWare that flat-out state there will be at least 16 different endings with multiple divergences based on decisions taken throughout the entire series. So no, you don’t have any case whatsoever. We can read and you can’t.

Go back to N4G you blind, sad apologist.


On August 19, 2013 at 9:50 pm

I think the fact that the developers were brutally punished by the entire gaming community for trying to think outside the box and deliver a unique ending is the most worrying thing that future game developers are likely to learn from this.

Whether it was a good ending or a bad one is a matter for the trolls, but the fact remains that they tried to subvert expectation by delivering an ending that wasn’t as simple as activating the crucible and destroying the reapers. And if they weren’t such a well established company it would have meant the end of them. Do you think they still have the nerve to keep taking risks?

Phil Hornshaw

On August 19, 2013 at 9:54 pm


What’s risky about either the fan-pandering ending of Citadel, or the three-part color-coded ending of the main game that has examples in titles like Deus Ex or any number of other RPGs? That sounds like the opposite of risky to me.


On August 20, 2013 at 5:57 pm

I don’t get the idea that this DLC existing ruins the story. Have you ever played the indie game “Save the Date?” It deals with fiction and choice, and how we always have the option to take creative action. To rewrite history, to ignore bad sequels, to ret-con our canon with fan fiction. And it asks you to decide whats more important–the integrity of the story, your entertainment, the lives/hopes/dreams of the characters in the story. It’s a cool little game that provokes some cool thoughts and it’s right in line with what I’m about to say.

See, this is DLC. You don’t have to buy it. You can NEVER touch the “Citadel Shore Leave” message in your inbox and you’ll never get the mission set on future play-throughs even if you’ve bought the DLC. You can enjoy the game without it, reload a save from further back and play it like a memory or a fever-dream or whatever you want. You get to decide where it stands, what it means, and whether or not it’s worth anything. If the very existence of ty sequels and ty DLCs forever ruins your story … well, I think that’s kind of petty.

I understand where that pettiness comes from. It comes from caring. It’s the same reason people get mad when things don’t go well for their characters in games like Mass Effect. Because they care. I guess … I’m comfortable having a canon I don’t like. I’m comfortable not liking a sequel. I’m comfortable being disappointed with the plot of a game and still appreciating the characters and what their struggle could have been. I don’t see how Mass Effect 3 is a disaster in that sense. So many people got so angry becasue … what? There wasn’t enough closure? There wasn’t a happy enough ending? The chintzy sci-fi-channel caliber plot, only held together by slightly-above-average game play, slick visuals and incredible line writing for the core characters over the course of it’s three games ended with what an unusually literal Deus Ex Machina? I don’t see the cause for upset. I don’t think any of this invalidates what is good about the game any more than the ty plot of Crysis made it less breathtakingly gorgeous to look at.

I guess I’m not comfortable with the idea that we have to take all or none. I’m all for criticizing media I love; I do that more than I criticize things I dislike because I care more. But I just don’t see why anyone feels the need to be ANGRY about Mass Effect, and I don’t see why anyone feels like THEIR game was ruined by bad DLC or by the ending or what-have-you. Because it was never their game. Whether or not they are happy with it is a matter worth discussing, but there’s this air of entitlement surrounding these kind of discussions that puts me off my lunch. If Bioware wants to make a game that makes fans feel good rather than a game that makes them feel sad … that’s on them. I’d love to have games with tougher choices, but I don’t think Mass Effect 3′s The Citadel is sending a new message to it’s developers. Mass Effect 2 let you succeed with everyone coming out alive from a suicide mission. Mass Effect 3 lets you break up two century long wars with everyone feeling all happy-buddy-buddy about it if you grind enough reputation points and that’s before the whole fuss about the ending happened.

At the end of the day, I don’t see what’s wrong with The Citadel seen as a Hot Springs episode. Just something silly, fun. Some time to spend with characters you love in a little pocket dimension where for once, the fate of the entire galaxy isn’t on the line. What’s wrong with that? I’ll go further, as Save the Date did and say that if story is what you really care about, you can’t be purist about it. You can’t expect the writer to always give you the best story. Sometimes, it’s worth taking the time and the initiative to tell yourself a better story, be it happier, sadder, more complicated, whatever. I miss the Mako rides, and you know why? Not just because the Mako was a beautiful vehicle that could to straight up a mountain and do backflips off of it from the top (Jame Vega knows where I’m at). But becasue I filled those long trips across mostly empty planets with conversations between Shepard and his/her crew. We told stories, shared moments of awkwardness, anger, humor. On board the Mako, I filled in the gaps that the limitations of Mass Effect 1′s development cycle left. I have more conversations and learned more about these characters and I loved every moment of it.

Some of those details don’t fit with Canon anymore. But that’s ok. Because I don’t remember every conversation. What I remember is the bond between these characters and the way they’ve changed and grown over time. And when sometimes the acting or the writing or the development constraints get in the way of doing these characters justice … I pause the game, or exit it, and give them some time to think and talk. I appreciate a good story told by a professional or an artist as well as the next person. But even professionals and artists screw up or deliver things that don’t work for me personally. But I’m also willing to tell myself stories, sometimes, too.

I recognize that my take on these things is sort of extreme. But not so extreme; fan-fiction is rather popular on the page even if not on the pause menu. But in context, we’re talking about optional DLC. We’re not talking about Alien 3, an entirely separate movie. I don’t let these things ruin the “core” experience for me anymore than I let a bad movie remake of my favorite book “ruin my childhood.” I’ll criticize things I don’t like, but I’m not going to let new developments magically erase or worsen the things I do.


On August 22, 2013 at 8:40 pm

@Phil Hornshaw

Transhumanism as the ultimate fate of the universe…

…also, YOU!!


On August 22, 2013 at 8:41 pm

damn, they took the phuck from my you.


On August 29, 2013 at 9:53 am

@ Dense

Perhaps you should take a look at this chart, which illustrates how the endings were different from one another.

I’m sorry if you can’t see the differences in the endings beyond the 3 colors, but that isn’t Bioware’s problem that you can’t pay attention to the details. Technically they weren’t varied enough for you, but as long as your EMS score determined which ending you got then Bioware told the truth. If you only played the third game your EMS score will be really low and thus you might only have the destroy option to pick from. The control or synthesis endings won’t unlock unless you have played the series more. Like I said, many paths to the same end. Not, a couple paths to many different endings based off your choices.

At the end of the day, Bioware only wanted to take into account constructive criticism when addressing the ending. Calling me a Bioware apologist and such just sounds like you’re mindlessly rambling.

Look, bottom line, Bioware tried to remedy the situation with the Extended Cut. If you’re still upset, sorry, you kind of look like a whiner (calling people Bioware apologists and telling me to go to N4G just proved my point).


On September 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Basically the whole article comes to this; you’re worried that anything that follows might follow the same pattern. Seriously…. and this takes you 2 pages??? And mind….I do agree with you.

Stupid Trolls

On September 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

csm is a repeat troll and I’m assuming, probably correctly, that the other f*ckwits that have suddenly seen fit to post on what is frankly only a semi-relevant article at best in the last couple of months are either him with alternative handles or people coming from the same source. Either way, there’s not an original or valid thought between them. It’s pathetic how low fantoys will stoop to try and contradict a sector of the audience they consider to be irrelevant – almost as if they’re actually threatened by them.

Roy Batty

On September 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm


Yes the endings were slightly different – when people deride the colors they are using hyperbolic language.

The entire Reaperboy segment was nonsense.

“The created will always rebel against their creators” – Nonsense:
1. Reaperboy is here claiming omniscience
2. This is a false statement – The creators rebelled created (Quarians v Geth)
3. If he was omniscient why didn’t he know about the Geth and Quarian reconciliation?

On being queiried about how the races over time figured out how to build the super weapon that know one knows how it works Reaperboy says:

“You were more cleaver than we anticipated” – more nonsense
1. You cannot claim to be omniscient and not omniscient at the same time which is exactly what he is claiming here…that is unless you are psychotic. And if he was psychotic then why doesn’t Shepard challenge him as such?

The Blue ending – Cannot be chosen – Reason: The reapers are not punished for killing countless trillions of people over the eons. Controling the enemy will only make you become the enemy (THIS WAS THE VERY POINT THAT WAS HAMMERED HOME IN ME2).

Perhaps Tolkien put it best:
“It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill. But such falls and betrayals, alas, have happened before.” ~Elrond (Fellowship of The Ring)

The Green ending – has the same problems the blue ending has – the enemy is not punished – you use his arts for gain.

The Red ending – of all the endings this one makes the most sense but it is themed as renegade red which is bizarre since this was the goal all along in fact the Blue paragon ending makes more sense for a renegade who only wants power and control.

The problem with the red ending is that it forces you to phuck over the Geth if you had negotiated a peace between them and the Quarians. What this does is it places the Paragon player into a Mobius loop: you must choose but cannot choose.

The red ending also has functional issues:
1. How does the energy burst go to every solar system so fast. Not all solar systems have relays which means that it can travel MUCH faster that light otherwise it could have taken many 100s of years to complete. This would have given someone time to block its effects.
2. How does the energy field kill off all AI? How does it know the difference between say a batch script a VI or an AI? How does it “kill” deep backups on holographic media? This is beyond stupid in a series that had heretofore prided itself on at least trying to explain things with science.

You also state that wanted “constructive criticism”. That is funny since it was outright dismissed by EA and Bioware and they claimed what amounts to “artistic license”. Which is a complete copout if ever there was one.

The game was unfinished (as Gamefront articles repeatedly point out) when they got called out they acted like children (thus EA had to hire an outside PR agency to calm the storm which to me shows extreme stupidity by the devs and their managers. For his boldness I would have given a good job and pat on the back to Casey – for his harsh, brash, and unapologetic response to the criticism I would have FIRED him (in business you DO NOT PISS OFF YOUR CUSTOMERS EVEN IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THEM).


On October 8, 2013 at 11:42 pm


Indoctrinated presence detected.

Bioware indoctrinated you. That’s what makes this ending so brilliant. Pull a real life indoctrination on their own customers. They’ve got you up in arms and raging on the internet about an ending that makes no sense and full of “plot holes”. This is exactly what they wanted.

All these fans raging for over 2 years while the people who paid attention during the game figured this thing out and are sitting here enjoying this amazing ending. While all those who didn’t pay attention are being punished because they use all the information in the game that Bioware put in the game to figure out the ending.

Mass Effect has always been about consequences for your actions. So fail to understand the ending and you will have an ending that makes no sense when taken at face value:

Use all the information in the game to figure it out and you will get rewarded.

Those who didn’t pay attention and took everything at face value will not be rewarded or not have the same opportunities as those who did pay attention. Although they want the same rewards, they aren’t getting them. Bioware refuses to explain the ending to these people and refuses to give them any hints.

They will continue to wonder what the hell happened until the end of time, because that’s what Bioware wanted them to do.

Bioware=Reapers. You=Shepard


On October 9, 2013 at 12:50 am

First off, I had to turn twitch off because he was just too bloody annoying. I love how he calls everyone stupid, tells them to fck off, and then wonders why he gets constant sht on twitter. Now that is just moronic. Plain and simple ( like that idiot) moronic.
Yes, most of us figured out that that whole last sequence didn’t actually happen. I’ve been explaining that from the very first. The good ending confirmed that with his hand popping out of the rubble. Here’s a clue. They should have shown that for every ending. The ending still sucked. If it didn’t, why are a lot of the Bioware people actually apologizing for it, saying they didn’t have anything to do with it. Trying to distance themselves from such a bad ending.
I love how you say Bioware isn’t going to explain the ending to everyone. Lots of us understood it and still hated it, and the cr.ap that they through at us for the presented endings. Give me a break. Even fake ending don’t deserve to be that bad.
To top it off. To say that those of your enlightend enough to see the brilliance of the ending are nothing more than Bioware footpads. It doesn’t matter how bad the ending, all of you will praise it with your dying breath, while the rest of us suffer in ignorance because we don’t bow to your almighty god.
Fact of the matter is the endings were not different. They were not good. Only the few of you seem to think so. Bring twitch man into the picture, really didn’t help your case. He was ignorant, abusive ( if you don’t agree with him your a stupid moron, and we can fck ourselves), and blind.
To sum all of this up so even you can understand it. Biowares ending was sooooo brilliant, it hurt there stocks, there credibility, and lost tons of loyal fans. So lost fans, lost stock prices for EA, and lost credibility, all adds up to lost money. Lets see. Any pros to this? …………………..Nope. Just an angry unwashed, unkempt nerd raving how stupid the world is, and some Bioware worshipper praising their holy name. Still losing money, still losing respect and credibility, still losing fans. I guess that sums it up. Brilliant strategy Bioware, simply brilliant. What’s next. Calling the Pope a devil worshipper? Saying all those pedophiles locked up should be set free. It’s just natural? Can’t wait for there next brilliant scheme.
Don’t forget to lock your kids up. Bioware loose.

Idiot Owner

On October 9, 2013 at 1:32 am

IN.TRN8 is just yet another new pseudonym for the troll also known as CSM, magnetite, and possibly mipmup. Never says anything new, and just tries to use links to make the arguments for him. No substance to his claims except conjecture coupled with the insidious “if you don’t understand it then you’re just dumb or lazy” when most people DO understand the theory and realise that it’s absolute bull. And, of course, he still refuses to acknowledge the number one reason that people were angry, which was BioWare’s lies – although he has tried desperately a few times to claim that “the whole game was the ending.”

It’s pointless trying to reason with him when he’s not using reason himself.

Idiot Owner

On October 9, 2013 at 1:46 am

Actually there’s no ‘possibly’ about it now, he IS using mipmup as another name. Same lazy inference that anyone who disliked the ending only did so because they “didn’t pay attention.” Unfortunately, he himself didn’t pay attention to the many, many watertight arguments that explain why the indoctrination theory does not, in any way, save the ending to the game or salvage BioWare’s destroyed reputation. If anything it makes them come across as even more lazy and clichéd, not to mention completely unethnical.

And, much like BioWare itself, he doesn’t understand the concept of time since the game hasn’t even been out for two years (so people haven’t been “raging” that long), and the majority of the backlash subsided before the extended cut was even released as most saw it for what it was, a reluctant exercise in damage limitation. The only person – sorry, ‘people’ (yeah right) – still dragging these articles up a year and a half after the game came out are the fantoy(s) who are too insecure to even entertain (let alone engage with) constructive criticism of their beloved game out of some Stockholm Syndrome-esque pseudo-loyalty towards a company that has been proven to lie and condescend repeatedly.

No matter how many comments you post, under how many new names, if you don’t actually back up your arguments with facts as opposed to other peoples’ subjective second guessing of the writers’ intentions and selective intellectual snobbery, you have no basis for anything you say. We will always, correctly, dismiss it as the blind ramblings of a deluded manchild with no respect for business ethics and no insight on how storytelling works.

Your response will, naturally, be to call me and the dog “trolls” and post about 15 more URLs to videos and articles that “prove” your theory to be correct, while still blaming the audience for being deceived and derided. Pathetic doesn’t even begin to cover it.


On January 3, 2014 at 3:06 am

I actually like the citadel DLC because I dislike the ending SO much that I play until just before you get sucked into the nightmare that is London and every horrible moment after that and then I depart to the citadel DLC for a party pretending they won. They screwed the pooch so badly on this one that while I enjoy the game in general, I loathe the ending. It’s just too depressing to see my hero die every time. And even worse is that it drags on and in a way that is not even like playing a game. From the moment you are doing the death walk to the beam of light (which is just too stupid for words) till the money when you do the death walk to the decision you make, it is slow, tedious. very drawn out, boring as all hell, and not even me playing a game. It’s like being caught in those terrible nightmares they included as if it enhanced the game experience when most people loathe them. For game designers, they really were dense on that. It’s not game play. It’s pathetic. So I end where I choose and go off to the citadel DLC for the part and the moment after when everyone is about to board the normandy. That is my ending for the game. Sure, I know what comes after if I play further, but for my pleasure I do not. I just let it rest in peace.

As cheesy as the citadel DLC is, it gives some fun to what is really an absurdly dark experience for a game. Even more so after the awesomeness that was the suicide mission that feels so fantastic at the end of it even if you manage to get a couple of your team killed, which is hard to do once you know what to do.

Sure, it’s cheesy and yes it is sad that such a thing is needed because the ending was that bad, but I’ll take it so that my experience is complete and I’ll also learn my lesson being sure to not buy any games before I’ve read all the details on line so that I know not to waste money. Thank you Bioware for teaching me that lesson. As a result, I won’t go near ME4 until I’ve read everything possible about it and assessed if it’s worth the money which by then it will be a good 30% less than at the release time. Hopefully enough people will do the same and teach them the lesson they need.

You see, people can buy the DLC now and bioware can think all is well. But they will take the hit when all the fans who found the ending subpar thing twice about spending top dollar on a newly released ME4 while they sit on the sidelines and wait for many, many reviews to come in. That is a great deal of money bioware will lose. And don’t think for a minute that a lot of people won’t do that because they will. Nobody wants to toss 60 bucks at something that will not bring them pleasure. And ME4 really has to do some heavy lifting to impress the original fans.


On January 3, 2014 at 4:29 am

You could also try MEHEM (Mass Effect Happy Ending Mod). I haven’t tried it myself, but the last time I checked, it looked really great. And it’s not even hard to install.


On January 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm

I’m completely with you on this one Phil. Citadel was somewhat enjoyable but it didn’t have that wow factor finale feel that the final dlc for the Shepard trilogy should have had (almost as if bioware said “Hey guy’s, we’re out of ideas for ME3 so let’s make some half assed thing with a bunch of bad jokes and nothing to do with the over-arching story)

Personaly I think that the final dlc should have been Shepard finding a new weapon to fight the reapers and this weapon would have had an influence over the final scenes of the game at the crucible. But that’s just me.


On May 16, 2014 at 12:11 am

I thought the original ending was just fine even without extended ending. Now a couple years later I have replayed the series with pretty much every game’s DLC. I liked the citadel DLC but mostly because I enjoy all the hints at friendship and unity to win the war. I played the DLC after Horizon so I could have Miranda there as well but it felt stupid to be throwing a party after losing Thessia.

But if you can pull yourself out a little and just enjoy the DLC specifically for character interactions I would recommend it.

Obviously this article is speaking of biowares reaction based releases, which I agree with the author, I feel something like this could have been added (minus clone plot line) as a final horrah before the end in the original game.


On May 16, 2014 at 12:34 am

“I thought the original ending was just fine even without extended ending.”

Explain why. Otherwise, everything else you’ve said has to be considered questionable at best.


On June 30, 2014 at 4:34 pm

It doesn’t add up…The reapers are out terrorising the galaxy, AND EARTH, while you relax peacefully!

Syed Aman

On July 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

It’s strange your looking at the Citadel DLC not from the perspective of actually playing the DLC, but some distant perspective criticizing how it doesn’t match with the rest of Mass Effect.

Mass Effect is a truly engaging series, and the Citadel DLC only builds up on that. Why are you complaining that it’s a “feel-good DLC.” Why is that bad? For me personally, it helped me feel content with the closure of Mass Effect. I felt an empty void in me with the abrupt ending of Mass Effect 3, which needed something like the DLC here.

I had pain leaving these wonderful characters behind, which this DLC so effectively addresses. It was an amazing experience, and that’s all that matters. “It wants you to leave satisfied.” It’s pretty hilarious you’re arguing against this. Isn’t that EXACTLY what Mass Effects fans want?

I can’t seem to take your argument seriously with suggestions like this. There’s always complaints aren’t there? A huge reason why Mass Effect fans didn’t enjoy the Mass Effect 3 ending was for that reason, being satisfied with the conclusion of your characters and Shepard. But suddenly, when Bioware attempts to fix this, it’s yet another problem.


On July 26, 2014 at 12:58 pm

This was just DLC as a tribute to the game and characters, get over it you anal retentive !


On September 21, 2014 at 10:49 am

Mass Effect 3 was particularly light on humour. This pack serves to restore a bit of that balance.

The Citadel DLC is just a more light-hearted segment in ME3. Nothing more, nothing less. Like the odd ‘comedy episode’ in an otherwise serious sci-fi TV series.

Seriously, ‘Phil Hornshaw’ is blowing this WAY out of proportion. Anyone would think Bioware doodled on the Mona Lisa going by this article.

And yes, I am a fan of deep, engrossing, serious story-based videogames.

I frustate Phil Hornshaw because I liked The Citadel DLC? People like Phil Hornshaw frustrate me; pretentious, pseudo-intellectuals who think by analysing everything to death it somehow makes them smarter than the average gamer/viewer/reader. It doesn’t.

gigi kent

On October 25, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I agree, the citadel DLC is the worst ever by far. It started well with all gathered in a luxurious apartament, but it ends bad with a stupid shepard in the mirror story with idiots lines like, they were in the archives and shepard on the comm hears: the replica: “commander , they blocked communication”. So..if they blocked communication , how the that stupid woman was talking to Shepard through her comm ??? Idiot DLC, idiot idea idiot who have this idea of this story. Its’ no surprise , ME3 looked from day one as a unfinished game , which it is today with all the dlcs. Do i have to say more about its idiot ending which has no connection with anything that Bioware taold us in all these years…? (decisions count) How stupid I was to believe thier …

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On August 24, 2015 at 7:23 am

Three years on and I would still happily stomp on Casey Hudsons skull until there was nothing left but disgusting crud on my boots for what he did with ME3. I did NOT get either the extended cut or the Citadel DLC because the ME3 ending made me vow to never give Bioware even visior bandwidth in the future. The net summaries proved me wrong, as those did nothing to rectify the basic narrative rape perpetrated by the writers and director. Even Dr Ray proved himself a coward, as he defended the ME3 team the very same week he handed in his resignation – coincidentally the week the net storm raged the fiercest. Bioware lost a decade of cred in one blow and are now largely forgotten by the average gamer. Serves them bloody right.

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