I think this one might break the Fangirl Meter, guys.
I tried so hard to be apprehensive about this DLC. I was, for a little bit. But the more I read about the “Citadel” DLC, the more excited I got. Promotional pictures included Urdnot Wrex, my krogan brother from another species from Mass Effect 1. The devs were promising time to bond with your crew, your loved one, and a sweet apartment. As I’d been burned before by rays of hope – yes, the extended cut stuff did make the game better, but not the better I would have liked – I tried to remain neutral.
I was worried for nothing! Now, I will admit when stuff sucks in this review. I tried to be as objective about this as possible. I found that a little easier to do, because to be honest, I was expecting this to suck. I guess I lost a little faith in BioWare. So, strap in, and let’s go!
The DLC starts out like all of your ME3 missions – you receive an email from Admiral Hackett requesting your presence at Admiral Anderson’s apartment on the Citadel. (Note: You can’t start the DLC until after the Citadel coup. I recommend playing up until Chronos Station – which is the 2nd to last mission. That way, you’ll have all your squadmates available!)
Like a good soldier, Shep obeys, and soon you’re eyeballing the rather swanky pad that Anderson’s been hiding. The premise here is a little flimsy; Normandy needs repairs and the Alliance needs Shepard at 100%, so here, have a free apartment! Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Shepard graciously takes the apartment off of Anderson’s hands and settles in. The apartment is amazing. It’s pretty big – I got lost a lot on my first run through.
After you’re done exploring your new secret hideout – mostly nosing around in Anderson’s notes for his biography, one of which contains a great “your mom” joke – you’re repeatedly annoyed by the apartment’s VI until you check your email.
Joker’s (Jeff Moreau, Normandy’s brittle-boned ace pilot, for those of you not in the know) already making the most of his shore leave and has invited Shep to the hottest sushi restaurant on the Citadel. I chose, as Fem!Shep, to put on my “little black dress” for my sushi date with Joker. I mean, when else am I going to have the chance to be girly with her? It was a fun choice.
To avoid spoilers for the story DLC, I’m just going to kind of gloss over it with a general description of it. Plus it would take for like, ever! I don’t want anyone going all “TL;DR” on me.
The plot goes as follows – an Alliance officer has discovered that someone is trying to steal Shepard’s identity. Dinner is ruined by heavily armed mercs, Shep falls out of a fish tank. (And then you never hear the end of how you ruined the best sushi place on the Citadel. Sigh.) After a really fun solo fight through the Citadel in a dress with a pistol and no medi-gel, Shepard and crew are on the case.
You get to infiltrate a casino, all James Bond style – I took Garrus along as my date, because why the hell not? It gained me some pervy but adorable Garrus comments. The highlight of this had to be the portion where you’re rushing through the Citadel archives. It’s neat because your whole crew is with you. You have your two players – Wrex and Garrus for me – and then the rest of your crew breaks up into Team Hammerhead and Team Mako. Well played, writers! The Hammerhead sucks, by the way. They bicker and banter back and forth, and it’s full of genuine laugh out loud moments. The last mission is a McGuyver-esque romp through the Normandy.
Best entrance into the DLC belongs to Wrex. He falls out of who knows where to knock a shuttle filled with mercs out of the air. In true krogan style, he then kicks the shit out of all of them and swoops in to rescue Shepard and Garrus, who are pinned down by the hired goons. Wrex also has some of the best lines in the DLC, which is impressive, considering all the good ones that are sprinkled about. Uncle Wrex brings the boom, kiddies!
I will admit that the “big bad” of the story is kind of cliche and contrived. There are a few things that you should see coming a mile away. I know I did, but it doesn’t take away from the fun, good parts of the storyline. It was a little lackluster and kind of M. Night Shyamalan, but hey, the story isn’t why I wanted this DLC in the first place, so I won’t complain too much. I wanted more time with my friends and love interests. I’m easy to please.
So, now that you’ve finished the plot, you get to the good stuff. Joker and Shepard decide that the best way to celebrate their actual shore leave is to have a party. While you’re in your apartment, you get messages from your crew, asking you to come over, or go hang out at the casino/arcade/whatever with them.
My favorite was the date with Garrus. The pair of Vakarian and Shepard awkwardly roleplay that they’re meeting for the first time at a bar – which is so cute – and then Garrus surprises Shepard with a spin on the dance floor. Apparently, your boy has been learning to tango! Shepard can’t dance – and gets made fun of so many times in the game because of it – but together, they manage to draw a crowd, and a standing ovation at the end. It was such an adorable scene. Garrus is finally confident with his beautiful, strong human girlfriend. D’awww.
Other favorites were Zaeed getting pissed at a claw machine, Javik’s “vid” co-starring Blasto, the jellyfish Spectre, saving Grunt from the wrath of C-Sec, and, surprisingly, spending time with Miranda at the casino. They made Miranda more likeable, more personable in this, and some of my favorite scenes were with her.
The party was a fun addition to the DLC as well. You can choose a quiet party – BORRRINGGG – or you can choose to throw a rager like I did. As the night progresses, you can talk to your squad and watch them get drunker and drunker. The dialogue is hilarious. From Tali calling Garrus a nerd to Wrex declaring that Joker not having practiced firing a gun recently is a “man emergency”, there are so many great lines. I spent a good hour and a half just wandering and listening to all the conversations.
Of course, this wouldn’t be BioWare without things that tug at your heart. So, this is the portion that may get a little spoilery. RUN AWAY LEST I RUIN THINGS FOR YOU!
Going back to the Normandy, you get to have a brief conversation with your love interest. Shep seems pretty introspective, almost morose, saying that it’s probably the last party they’ll ever throw. Garrus, always the optimist, insists that Shep will find a way to beat the Reapers, and they’ll be together after the war’s over. He says it’s never been easy, but it’s been one hell of a ride. Shepard smiles softly, and says, “The best.”
Ohh, my feels! Especially knowing the endings? Guh. Kick in the quad. Of course, the whole time, the sad piano music is playing in the background. You devious bastards.
Another thing that made me cry big sobby tears was waking up after the party and finding a datapad next to Shepard’s bed. A recording of Mordin comes up, who informs Shepard that he recorded some of his exploits for her, in the event that he died. Which he does, curing the genophage for the krogan, which is horribly sad. I’ve played that part probably six times, and I still cry. Every. Time. The saddest part of this was a little clip of him singing “Amazing Grace.” I’m tearing up just thinking about it, you guys. It broke my heart.
There were funny clips on there – one of Mordin on a kid’s show, setting puppets on fire, and a film noire style story of one of his exploits on Omega. There’s also more singing – if you’ll recall, he did a little Gilbert and Sullivan in ME2. The whole thing was perfect, but good lord, the FEELS. I am seriously glad I was home alone when I found this, because I was a mess.
BioWare addressed the elephant in the room, sort of – the death of Thane. You receive an email from his son, Kolyat, asking you to speak at his father’s memorial service. Ow, my heart. Shepard gives a very sweet eulogy, and then various crew members talk about their experiences with Thane. You also get three videos from Kolyat that Thane tried to send to Shepard after he left the Normandy. You’ll get four if you romanced him, and apparently, that fourth one is a doozy.
I haven’t been brave or foolish enough to put in a Shepard that romanced Thane, because non-romanced Thane makes me cry like I dropped my ice cream cone. I’m just glad that he got a little more love, even if it was after he died. I’ll miss you, Thane.
And lastly, the romance scene with Jack was surprisingly touching. I watched most of the clips on YouTube of romances I don’t have – Steve Cortez, Samantha Traynor, Miranda, Tali, Jack – and Jack’s was the sweetest. She tattoos Shepard while telling him the story of how she almost didn’t find one of her injured students because she had nothing to identify her. Jack finishes the tattoo, and starts crying as she tells Shep the intent of her sweet ink – so she can find him if something goes wrong. OH MY GOD JUST STOMP MY HEART SOME MORE GUYS
So, in this writer’s humble opinion, “Citadel” was totally worth the price. It was huge, it was fun, it was bittersweet. It brought a sense of closure to Commander Shepard, and I think after I finally get that damn Master and Commander achievement, any other playthroughs I do will end here, on the Citadel, so that Shepard and her friends can stay together, and I can pretend that I got the happy ending I so desperately wanted for my Shepards. “Citadel” is a more fitting end to the legend of Shepard than the game to me, so that’s what it’ll be from now on.
Should you buy this? Absolutely, if you’re a Mass Effect fan and you want to give Shepard the proper send off. You get to foil a villain, throw a kick ass party, and spend time with your friends. Who doesn’t like that?
Thanks as always for reading – this one was a little beefy – I’m Commander Kitty, and this is my favorite DLC (and ending) for Mass Effect 3.
“I should go. I SHOULD go? I should go? Do I really sound like that?”