by J.D. Cook
A story that opened before Mass Effect 3 was finished recently. While at New York Comic Con in 2011 I received a special edition copy of the comic book Mass Effect: Invasion. I then got it signed by the lead writer of Mass Effect 2, 3 and the comic, Mac Walters. The story of Invasion details how Cerberus supplants Aria T’loak as ruler of the hollowed out asteroid Omega. It was billed as leading directly into Mass Effect 3. Well unfortunately this was a bit of false advertising as the battle for Omega was not included with the initial release of Mass Effect 3 despite it being heavily alluded to in the game. The writers must have intentionally chosen to leave this a loose end for the purpose of scoring some extra cash as DLC (Downloadable content). This is not a critique of DLC as I think that is a great way for games to supply fans with extra content but it does become an issue when a company intentionally leaves a game incomplete to get fans to pay for more of it later. It’s like someone selling you a chair with three legs and then selling you the final leg later so you can actually sit in the chair.
Spoilers From Here Down
Now onto the actual Omega DLC; it’s very good. I never really liked Aria’s character much in Mass Effect 2 but in this mission we see her develop from a ruthless tyrant to a caring overlord. This transition occurs due to the loss of her past lover / friend Nyreen (the relationship is left a bit unclear intentionally). Nyreen encourages Aria to care more about the people of Omega and less about ruling it. Thus when Nyreen gives her life to protect those people Aria is snapped out of her own isolated world. This is made apparent when Aria concludes her conquest of Omega by stating “we are Omega,” and not her catchphrase from the second game which was, “I am Omega”. This is a fairly emotional and engaging arc. The only thing that would have made it more intense would have been if you could have selected the future ruler of Omega at the end of the mission; let Aria take the station back, give it to Nyreen (had she not died) or leave it in control of the one Cerberus General who actually seemed like a decent guy. I actually thought that was where the mission was heading for most of my playing time.
The combat is more of the same but the addition of two new enemy types is interesting. The Loki Mech’s from Mass Effect 2 return in a slightly modified form. Then there are the Cerberus Reaper experiments called the Adjuncts who appeared in the comic books. These enemies are tough when paired with Cerberus troops and present a fun challenge. Unfortunately you do not get to fight them very much in the DLC. They only make two major appearances; this is a waste of a good enemy. Omega itself has never looked better as you get some really great vistas of the asteroid and the mines. The addition of a few new weapons or pieces of armor would have been great though. Returning to the positive; the mission to find Aria’s couch was amusing.
This was an engrossing and entertaining mission but you should probably avoid buying it at its steep cost of fifteen dollars unless you are a die heard Mass Effect fan…which I am. If you are itching for some new Mass Effect 3 content and haven’t picked up Leviathan yet I’d recommend that ahead of this as it really supplements the story and feels more like an adventure whereas this felt like a battle in the Reaper war. Either way it’s a great time to be a Mass Effect fan!