As excellent as Mass Effect 2’s Lair of the Shadow Broker was, BioWare might have shot themselves in the foot when it comes to post-release DLC. While it would be unrealistic to expect that every piece of Mass Effect DLC would be up to the same standards, it kind of laid the implication that any quests given to the player outside of the main game would advance the story, or at least fill in some background information.
To BioWare’s credit, Mass Effect 3: Leviathan did dredge up a more fleshed-out history of the Reapers, but the newest effort for Mass Effect 3 DLC, Omega, doesn’t add anything new to the story, or change your perception of the established characters you’ll be interacting with.
Shepard is contacted by Aria T’Loak, the Pirate Queen of the space station Omega, to help her take her throne back from Cerberus, who threw her out before the main campaign of Mass Effect 3. Because of Aria’s dislike of your squadmates, you’re going in without any familiar faces from the Normandy. I’ve never bought into the character of Aria as much as BioWare seems to want me to, and being saddled with her for a couple hours just demonstrates how one dimensional she is. While the end of the Omega campaign has her softening a bit, for most of the time she grunts and threatens her way through dialogue sections, being so predictable that a new character, Nyreen the female turian, calls her on it. It doesn’t help that the voice actress behind Aria, Carrie-Anne Moss, sounds like she’s collecting a paycheck for most of her lines, only occasionally dipping into having any emotion besides bored anger.
Speaking of Nyreen, she’s the most interesting new character in Omega, as your Cerberus opponent, General Oleg Petrovsky, is the very definition of the stereotype of the beard-stroking military genius; he even plays chess because he’s that good at tactics, you guys. Nyreen is the first female turian in the series, carrying on the trend of BioWare breaking the “boys only” club when it comes to aliens in Mass Effect. She’s still fairly static a character, but her altruism is a nice contrast to Aria.
Gameplay wise, Mass Effect 3: Omega does very little new. You fight a lot of Cerberus troops, including the new Rampart mechs, and take a few elevators. You do run through the Gozu district which contains some callbacks to Mass Effect 2, including the mad batarian prophet. The one nice thing that Omega adds are the adjutants, the Cerberus-created Reaper-like enemies. They’re fast and tough, especially when they swarm you, forcing you to stay on your toes. They’re a nice change of pace from ripping through Cerberus soldiers, a gameplay loop that the main campaign features more than enough of.
Mass Effect 3: Omega does have a lot of well put-together cut-scenes, but there is a distinct lack of polish in them. Background sound is often absent, especially during Aria’s final speech, which robs it of any impact. Character models will slide around during dialogue sections, swinging away from you and then back a few times.
There’s no benefit to playing Omega if you’ve beaten the game, unless you really like Aria for some reason. Going back to Omega will call to mind a lot of the memories you have of Mass Effect 2, but that’s hardly worth the 1200 Microsoft Point price of admission.
Has anyone else played Omega? What did you think of it? Have I scared anyone away?