Commander Shepard has walked a long and dangerous road – and with Mass Effect 3’s final DLC offering, Citadel, that road comes to a heartfelt and engaging end. What starts off as an opportunity to unwind and relax at the galaxy’s centre of operations takes us on a rather wild ride absolutely packed with cameos and in-jokes. The trilogy’s last hurrah is both hilarious and touching in equal measure.
At first it may seem like BioWare has rocketed off the deep end with this one. The whole tone of the content is quite comedic, and, at times, the subject matter threatens to break the fourth wall. There are moments where you'll be asking yourself if this is still Mass Effect; the franchise has always incorporated humour into its writing, but here it goes all-out to make long-term players smile.
And smile you will. There are more jokes, character references, and sneaky little Easter eggs here than in the entire trilogy combined, and it’s extremely hard not to enjoy every minute of it. Squad interactions are found in abundance, especially since old crew members from previous games turn up to join in on the fun. If you feel that your favourite partners from Mass Effect 2 didn’t get enough screen time in the series' finale, then you’ll find a lot to like in Citadel.
The DLC is easily the biggest in the franchise, and it’s really split into two different parts. The first is a mission, with Shepard’s identity at risk from an unknown usurper. It’s of a relatively standard size, and the gameplay isn’t much different from the majority of the missions found in the vanilla game. However, the pacing and dialogue throughout makes it memorable, as does its refreshing willingness to eschew the serious tones found elsewhere in the franchise. The plot itself isn’t brilliant, but it does serve up a couple of nice twists and set pieces, including a great boss fight. What it does right, it does admirably.
The second section is essentially three or so hours of almost pure, glorious fan service, certain to sit well with those that have come to love the characters and universe of Mass Effect. You’ll be hosting your very own hilariously fun party, meeting up with old allies, and spending far too much time playing surprisingly addictive but simple arcade games. Needless to say there’s a lot of play time on offer here, and unlike the short, predictable Omega DLC, Citadel’s somewhat high price point is justified because of this.
Another new addition, the Armax Combat Arena, is a place where Shepard can unwind by shooting even more adversaries in the skull. It’s shockingly in-depth, allowing you to alter every factor of battle as you see fit, from squadmates to enemy factions. By doing well in the arena fights, you can even buy new maps, enemy buffs, and extras that will prompt Mass Effect followers to squeal with joy.
Citadel is a love letter to the fans, bringing some much needed light hearted fun to a game that’s often overly serious and dour. If there can be but one complaint, it’s that the DLC shows what the ending to the trilogy should have always been – a celebration of all that is Mass Effect.
Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC is available now from the PlayStation Store for £11.99/$14.99.