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Review

Mass Effect 3: Citadel Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed: March 7, 2013
  • X360
Aaron Sampson on Google+

Citadel caps off the Mass Effect trilogy with an outrageous storyline that plays exclusively to the series' diehard fandom.

Commander Shepard leads a serious life. The galaxy is facing a major threat, and the disparate races that inhabit it need an attitude adjustment if they're all going to survive. Juggling these issues has afforded the commander precious little time to catch his breath. And now, here at the end, it's finally time for a break.

In this final piece of single-player downloadable content for Mass Effect 3, the battle-weary Commander Shepard is plucked from the world of galactic warfare and diplomatic intrigue and dropped into a most unfamiliar setting: a fun evening with friends. For one long night, the war is put on hold, and everyone is invited to reflect on how far they've come.

That's not to say this hefty, four-gigabyte update won't offer plenty of combat. In fact, you could almost draw a line down the center of this release. The first half deals with Shepard overcoming a dangerous new threat while on shore leave. Once that is resolved, the second half is strictly person-to-person (or person-to-alien) interactions.

This new threat is a private military corporation that is, frankly, a less-capable version of Cerberus. It employs a few new tricks, such as shield-detonating kamikaze drones and cluster grenades, but mostly it just gets mocked--mercilessly--by you and your squadmates. After the corporation makes an assassination attempt on Shepard, friends from past and present Mass Effect games descend upon it. Soon you find yourself fighting side by side by side with your entire team in unison, all of whom are hurling insults and exchanging friendly banter among the carnage.

The quest to stop these anti-Shepard militants is both challenging and humorous, with a surprise twist straight out of a cheesy sci-fi movie, but that won't be what you remember from this DLC. The combat is just a vehicle to get the band back together and reconnect atop the corpses of your enemies. The memories come when you're back at your fancy, new apartment planning for one massive party with the entire crew. That's when the tone of this story takes a dramatic shift to the comedic.

Citadel includes a few sneaking portions that help break up the action.

In addition to being the last piece of single-player DLC for the series, Citadel is the most humorous. Every little in-joke, callback, and reference the writers could work in, they did. Remember when Garrus would always talk about calibrations, or when everyone had to ride those elevators in the Citadel, or when Traynor made that comment about her fancy toothbrush? There's a joke for each of those--and so many more!

While these quips are great for a laugh, those looking for a bit more narrative substance will be left wanting. Maybe you don't care about Kaidan's cooking or EDI's taste in automobiles. If these rampant attempts at fan service don't strike a chord, you're simply out of luck. Developer BioWare's signature, grandiose storytelling takes a backseat here to simpler, one-off wisecracks. And a lot of dancing.

Once the dust has settled and the party is over, there is still more to do at the Silversun Strip: a new area of the Citadel and the setting for most of this DLC. There are plenty of disposable games at the casino and arcade, but most of your time will likely be spent at the battle simulator. This virtual reality game pits Shepard against waves of enemies, similar to ME3's multiplayer mode. Difficulty modifiers, such as less-effective shields or no medi-gel, help mix up the fun, but the most exciting feature is the unlockable teammates. Even if it's just for this mode, it's nice to fight alongside Jack, Samara, Wrex, and the others again.

The Armax Arena lets you fight alongside many of your old allies again.

Mass Effect 3: Citadel, swan song of the series, casts Shepard and friends off on one last comedic adventure, albeit in very shallow waters. It is an acknowledgment of all the fans out there who have fought alongside Normandy's crew across three games and six years. The old crew is brought together, but presented in a very different light. If you've helped Shepard endure from Eden Prime all the way to the Catalyst's chamber, then you'll have plenty to laugh about in Citadel.

The Good
Fun mix of combat and character interaction
Abundant humor from entire cast
Fighting alongside old squadmates is nostalgic.
The Bad
Lacks a strong, central narrative.
7
Good
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64 comments
gem98088
gem98088

ME3 ending was brilliant.. reapers destroyed, last scene of Shepard breathing in to show he's still alive before rolling to credits was brilliant. Very clever from Bioware. Bratty Kids still talking about months later..

BIOJECT
BIOJECT

Ever since I learned that Mass Effect 1 was basically a spiritual successor to a 1992 game called "Star Control 2" that would have basically concluded the Star Control series, I can see now how far down the shitter the ME franchise has gone. 

Virtually all of the aliens and main plot points in Mass Effect 1 were taken from Star Control 2. You play as a human fighting an alien force called the Ur-Quan that is systematically enslaving or destroying all races who refuse enslavement. Using an advanced spaceship from an extinct race called the Precursors, a small fleet of humans attempt to assemble a fleet of multiple alien races in order to defeat the Ur-Quan force. 

You move across the galaxy through portals that are similar to the mass effect relays in ME. You also navigate the solar system in a similar fashion, but there are actual spaceship battles in Star Control and the galaxy and solar systems are ironically way more detailed. Planet scanning similar to Mass Effect 2 is also in the game.

There are also plenty of similar races. I can't remember their names off hand so I will just describe them. In Star Control there is a race that is very knowledgeable in science, but they have a short lifespan. They gave technology to a race that had a high birth rate and during the war with the Ur-Quan, they nuke their home planet in a desperate suicidal attempt to stop the Ur-Quan. There is also a race that lost their home planet and live in a fleet of ships. I could go on and on. The only unique race I can think of from ME was a lame race that could not express any emotion and would talk like this "Very excited. Thank you for this coffee"

Also the ending is similar, but not stupid like in Mass Effect. One major similarity though is that in the ending of Star Control 2, the main character describes the events of the game to his grandchildren. This is not too different from the ending of ME3 where a man is describing the events of ME3 to a new generation. 

Sucks that Star Control 3 was crap and never truly ended the series appropriately. Perhaps Mass Effect would have done that if it hadn't been taken over by greedy corporate executives who wanted the game to be more like call of duty and gears of war. Would have loved to see them implement space battles into ME2 rather than spaceship upgrades that were only relevant to the plot.

Check out this site that describes many of the similarities I am talking about here:
http://www.vidgama.com/2009/04/head-to-head-mass-effect-vs-star-control-ii/


KBABZ
KBABZ

I feel rather lucky that I seem to be one of the few people here who didn't hate the ME3 ending. I do agree that there is a disparity in this review; the number says 7 but the text reads as 8.

tizmond
tizmond

I wonder if BioWare are aware of how much more money they could've made from ME 3 DLC if so many people, myself included, hadn't traded it right after they finished it. Yes, I'm still bitter about the endings. I think it'll always be a sore point for a lot of people. Unfortunately, despite all the epic moments in the series, I'll always come back to the ending and the sense of exasperation and disappointment. At least Casey Hudson & Mac Walters got what they wanted: People are still talking about the endings a year later. Be careful what you wish for.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

"Plays exclusively to the series' diehard fandom"in my opinion was part of the problem with ME3. They tried to include too much in terms of old characters, and it just ended up getting silly. 

Bioware's entire game seemed catered towards pleasing the fans, instead of making art that they wanted to make, and that's further evidenced by the fact that they are building DA3 almost entirely around fan input. Don't get me wrong, fan input isn't always a bad thing, but I'm convinced that the "catalyst" star child thing was a result of them wanting to please their fans and wrap up the series in a neat, palatable, simple way. I personally believe that the original Bioware team had intended the plot twist to be that the reapers had created the galaxy, and that synthetics came first (somehow). 

But they changed that, and I think it had as much to do with pleasing the fans as including every single character from the previous 2 games, and making those characters spout their catch phrases constantly. It's one of those "nods" you usually see when a new developer makes a reboot or a sequel.

poisonmushr00m
poisonmushr00m

Looks good but I think it'll leave a bitter taste in my mouth. I can't help but feel that I'm going to be constantly thinking that they should have just had everyone together for the final assault in the actual game rather than this extra little subplot.

gecko054
gecko054

Why make it 7?  Make it to 9 or 10 score . This is the most awesome DLC I've ever had on ME3

Zevvion
Zevvion

'lacks a strong central narrative'? 

I don't know, that was kind off the point. No story focused DLC, just plain fun fanservice. I'm not sure judging something on what it isn't is the best way to give purchasing advice. 

I mean, it's like saying Saints Row The Third isn't that good because it's not as serious as GTAIV is.

-JMD-
-JMD-

Was i the only one that killed wrex in this game? srly, i hated the atitude he had!

howie1926
howie1926

I can't wait...To be able to have Wrex in my party again even if it's only for this DLC is worth it!!  

Larouche911
Larouche911

4gb? Really? Sounds worth it almost from that lol. I'm tired of dling dlcs that are 100mb and such.. Just makes you wonder how much of it is really 'new'.

elderdrake
elderdrake

Harsh review score.

I just finished this dlc and as much as I despise EA and the direction Bioware has taken, the amount of tlc put into this is amazing. The ending for me was a welcome walk down memory lane that reminded me of all the great times I had throughout the series. It put a smile on my face and reminded me of the journey and the great personal stories that defined this franchise for me. 

Well worth every penny spent and imo deserving of much better than a mere 7/10.

robayeit
robayeit

The story in this DLC is secondary to been able to interact with old team mates to me wrex been back as a team mate for this DLC makes it one of the best characters in the game if not the best.


Bit harsh gamespot think about what the DLC is supposed to deliver before having a stab 

GulliversTravel
GulliversTravel

Score is a bit harsh but great review anyway. I really wish GS werent so harsh on DLC.

Auriken
Auriken

It's easy to forget sometimes that Bioware can write some really hilarious conversations. This DLC was a treat from beginning to end. It was utterly ridiculous, but I think think I've laughed like that from a videogame in years. It was fun to gather everyone together one last time before the final batttle. But then again, I picked the Destroy ending, so my Shepard survived anyway.

To everyone who is still refusing to even touch the game because of the endings, I feel very sorry for you. You're missing out, and for what? You no longer have a point to prove, it's been proven, and if you're still whining after a year then no one but people who are whining with you actually care about what you have to say.

I didn't like the endings, but I also didn't allow the ending to ruin something that has been one hell of a ride for me over the years. I'm eagerly awaiting Mass Effect 4 to see what new characters Bioware introduces me to. The overall story of the game took a backseat to all of the awesome characters that I came to know all these years.

Treemantas
Treemantas

I've played through the DLC and absolutely loved it, never thought I could get so attached to characters in a game... After that I played through to the ending of the game for one last time. And now? I'm lost for words, with this being the final DLC I will probably never return to the Mass Effect universe again (I have less and less time to play games these days) and this is a really painful feeling. I fell in love with the first game and even with its problems I still loved the third game. This has truly been the most emotional gaming or indeed movie/book experience of my life. Just wanted to post this here since I don't know anyone who would feel the same way about Mass Effect. 

alsatian86
alsatian86

Hmmm.. No new ending, mmkay, still polishing a turd... 

Lexamun
Lexamun

Why couldn't Mass Effect have ended with this? One final hurrah with the gang. The reapers have been defeated and everyone gets back together for this final "threat" then each crew member returning to their post-apocalyptic responsibilities. This is the ending Mass Effect deserves.

gutsallover
gutsallover

Meh, I don't really think lack of a strong central narrative is a negative in this case. The point of the Citadel DLC was to be a fan service, a chance to spend a few more hours with the characters - with our friends - for the final time. If it had been focused on narrative, we just wouldn't have gotten that kind of interaction. I've had the entire main story of 1-3 for narrative, as well as most of the DLCs. The chance to just sit down and enjoy the characters we've spent the last 6 years with is great. I couldn't have asked for more.

001011000101101
001011000101101

The ending to this DLC is unbelievably emotional. 

DARKKNIGHTPRABZ
DARKKNIGHTPRABZ

the game is too serious and epic , to be given a comedic touch ! this is serious people ... lol 

kidding. 

its a shame this dlc has come when ive just recently finished second play of the trilogy. It will have to wait until summer. when i go back to ME. Im glad its good. I wonder how more atmospheric it will be going in for the final mission. 

its the last dlc. 

Thank you bioware for a great series, and your hard work. I look foward to your future projects.

god bless.

Ratatoskr321
Ratatoskr321

I'm sure the low review score is because while the reviewer enjoyed it, it's not going to appeal to everyone since it's clearly not combat oriented or dramatic like the rest of the series.

megadeth1117
megadeth1117

Odd, it's usually VanOrd who reviews all things Mass Effect. 

CyberX115
CyberX115

7 is a good score but the review makes it sound more like an 8 or 9. I thoroughly enjoyed this DLC. The best DLC of the entire series, which is saying alot because I thought Lair of the Shadow Broker in Mass Effect 2 and Leviathon were great. I think Max should have given this an 8.5. I assume some points were taken off due to light narrative. I don't think narrative was the point of this DLC. It was dedicated to the faithful fans who have followed Shepard's adventures among the stars since 2007. And it does feel sad saying goodbye to all these old friends you've made along the way. My personal favorite part was Thane's memorial service. Thane was my favorite character in the entire series.

NEVERDEAD
NEVERDEAD

As disappointed as i was with the way ME3 ended (pre-order cancelled through infinity...lol) I loved this DLC. I also appreciate the efforts Bioware has made to repair the damage that resulted from the paint-by-numbers ending fallout. Seriously, Bethesda and Projekt Red excluded, how many companies (gaming and otherwise), would go to the lengths Bioware did to satisfy its fanbase (the "entittled whiners" that we are)?

As for the game itself, I disagree with the rating, but only because I'm a diehard fan of the series and loved how they allowed for a final opportunity to hang out and reminisce with your surviving crew while honoring those that didn't make it. Thats why for head-canon purposes, I will only play the DLC after I finish the main game; even though it makes no logical sense.

Again I say: THANK YOU BIOWARE!

JustPlainLucas
JustPlainLucas

I have to say, the review doesn't seem to match up with a 7.0.  Not complaining, just sounded like a glowing review.

persason
persason

I can't disagree more with this review a 7?.... this DLC was a 10/10 for me. It is the best DLC bioware has ever released and it made me gain interest in the series again. I'm going for another playthrough of it all!

tavyhome
tavyhome

I defenitely don't agree with the review. I think it deserves more than 7.0 alot more....OFC its for the fans...people who are not fans of the series will probably not buy it..so why bother make it generic... actually I really like tha fact they didn't make it generic..and more like a tribute to the fans and the characters of this epic trilogy...

Zevvion
Zevvion

@gem98088 Reapers weren't destroyed in my ending. I liked the two ending choices I made. It certainly had flaws, but it's not as bad as people make it out to be.

gem98088
gem98088

@BIOJECT Oasis was inspired by the beatles, George Lucas was inspired by a number of things to produce Star Wars. What about Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook..

Whether or not that influenced Mass Effect I don't know. But either way. Who cares. Its nothing unusual.


MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

@poisonmushr00m Would that make sense, to have everyone together for the final assault? I'd go with realism, personally, and that's why I liked some of the unavoidable deaths and partings.

predatorGS
predatorGS

@Treemantas If ME4 is actually worth playing (we have to wait and see), please try to stay with this series. Wouldn't want to see a true fan of the series gone.

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

@Lexamun Umm, not sure if you realize it but thats exactly how Mass Effect is ending. Thats why this is the last DLC of the trilogy.

VintAge68
VintAge68

@Ratatoskr321 The ID theft story is but quite dramatic, and you can also do a lot of additional combat training in the new Armax arena...

KBABZ
KBABZ

@NEVERDEAD "how many companies (gaming and otherwise), would go to the lengths Bioware did to satisfy its fanbase"

Insomniac is one; they're actively changing Fuse to appeal to the whiners.

FlameBoyBen
FlameBoyBen

@JustPlainLucas 

a criticism is never "complaining" and/or "whining" and don't let people on the internet make you think otherwise.

poisonmushr00m
poisonmushr00m

@MooncalfReviews @poisonmushr00m They could have justified everyone being together for the final assault quite easily. It certainly makes as much sense as everyone joining together for a party on the citadel.

These crew members all fought alongside you and saw people die in the fight against the reapers. I think it's more than plausible that they'd want to be marching on the conduit during the final push.

tizmond
tizmond

@MooncalfReviews @poisonmushr00m I think that would have been a great idea. It could've been similar to the final mission in ME2: depending on choices, squad mates could die. That's what made the ME2 final mission so thrilling, as opposed to ME3 that went out with a pitiful whimper. BioWare also missed a trick by not letting you have a final showdown with Harbinger.

cryofax
cryofax

@Diablo-B @Lexamun Obviously he means chronologically in the game universe, not the release date of the product. The events in this DLC take place before the crappy ending of the actual game. Which is still the ending (even slightly tweaked with that ending DLC).

persason
persason

@VintAge68 @megadeth1117 Someone unbiased? I think that VanOrd did fine with the reviews. Who the fuck is this guy lol... They should put the same person to make the reviews for the same games. Certainly this guy has failed more than VanOrd it is obvious that this DLC deserves somewhat more than a 7.

KBABZ
KBABZ

@tizmond @MooncalfReviews @poisonmushr00m Because a human can totally go toe to toe with a Reaper. But if it's about how underutilized Harbinger was then I agree; he's just sort of stated and then only shows up once.

persason
persason

@VintAge68 @persason @megadeth1117 Hmm well while giving giving Omega a 5.5 might seem slightly on the low end, it still isn't far from the truth. Omega wasn't all that great. It did not introduce anything new.


VintAge68
VintAge68

@persason @megadeth1117 Well, you may have noted my using quotation marks here ("unbiased"); on the other hand, while I wholeheartedly agree that the new DLC would have merited a higher score (I gave it 8.5), I somehow doubt that it would have scored better with KVO: Omega, for instance, got a mere 5.5...

Mass Effect 3 More Info

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    Mass Effect 3 is the conclusion to developer BioWare's action role-playing sci-fi trilogy and completes the story of its protagonist Commander Shepard.
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