The battle for Omega DLC has been anticipated ever since the release of Mass Effect 3 and Aria turned up deposed from her throne. She starts a side mission to get Shepard more forces and in return Shepard owes her one, she’ll be in touch she says. Well Nine months later she finally stops hanging around nightclubs, looking pouty and allowing drunken soldiers to fall asleep in her lap, and starts the invasion of Omega. In truth the retaking of Omega was always planned but was cut due to lack of time, and as it’s taken such a long time to be released we can assume Bioware was actually genuine in this statement.
There are a couple of new subplots added with two new characters introduced to the series, or the games at any rate. We have General Petrovsky, a completely unmentioned character, who is apparently Cerberus’ combat tactician who is so trusted by TIM that he hasn’t had any “enhancements”. His back-story, and by extension the Cerberus invasion of Omega, is covered by one of the comics but he does seem rather out of place in the game, either way Aria is rather annoyed at him. We also have the only female Turian in the Galaxy, Nyreen Kandros, a woman with a mysterious past and who has a close relationship to Aria. Nyreen is ex-military and she has a strong moral code that often pits her against Aria who, well, doesn’t. Then we have a back-story about genetic experiments called Adjutants which again are from the comic books, but I’ll get to that in a minute because…
Thank God there are new enemies in this DLC, something I screamed the Leviathan DLC needed. While the bulk of the enemies in the game are the same old familiar Cerberus ground forces we do have two additional types of enemies appearing. The aforementioned Adjutants behave a lot like the wretches from the Gears of War franchise, at least at first glance. They’ll charge into combat lunging at the player forcing them from cover. They also have a powerful long distance attack so don’t think you’re safe until they can close the distance. These enemies are extremely resilient with powerful barriers and armour to protect them, you’ll generally only be fighting a few at a time and believe me that’s more than enough. The next new enemy is an upgraded LOKI mech from the second game, these have enhanced armour but more importantly they’re very quick and will close in on your position while firing their shotguns. Once in close range they can perform a powerful melee attack. That’s not the only trick up their sleeves either, once defeated their corpses can disrupt shields if you get too close and if they’re under heavy fire they can throw up their own shields for a limited period of time. In short these mechs create frantic close battles that will keep you on your toes throughout the DLC.
Bioware is performing the same trick as the Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC by leaving all your squad mates behind. You won’t be going alone however with Aria being a constant companion throughout the DLC, Shepard then gets to tell her throughout the mission either; to calm down and think about civilian casualties or getting her to vent her rage and becoming more ruthless. Throughout the DLC Nyreen will pop in and out of gameplay providing exposition and a moral counterpoint to Aria. You get to treat them like any other squad-mate (upgrading their skills and directing their powers when needed) so your regular squaddies won’t be too sorely missed.
The actual mission itself is rather long with four distinctive sections. The first is fighting your way into Omega and meeting up with forces, we then get some down time and a couple of side-quests appear to find items and track down Cerberus terminals for Aria’s hackers. After that we try to get some reinforcements from one of the few remaining gangs on Omega before sneaking through a disused mining section to turn off Cerberus’ powerful force-shields, sorry, kinetic barriers. The last section then is the retaking of the nightclub Afterlife…sadly no heavy techno music playing while you’re fighting though.
The plot itself is rather “meh”. It’s there, it fulfils its purpose; to get you from A to B, but there never was any personal connection. The DLC feels feels like you’re just drifting through a larger unrelated story that briefly intersects with Shepard’s and once those stories are untangled it’ll never be mentioned again. At least with Leviathan DLC familiar characters turned up and the DLC at least got a token mention during the ending. The DLC has some nice set pieces and is a lot of fun to play through, although that is purely because of the new enemies mixing up the combat. It should take you around four hours to complete, which isn’t the “twice as long as previous DLCs” we were promised but it is better than previous DLCs. At $15 it is rather steep but if you really want some more Mass Effect action then give it a download. If on the other hand you’ve long put Mass Effect to bed, you can safely give this a miss.