After three games and numerous slices of the DLC pie, the core Mass Effect team at BioWare Edmonton has delivered one final piece of content for Mass Effect 3, titled Citadel. Reuniting players with iconic characters and featuring some of the most memorable writing of the series, Citadel is a perfect final hurrah for the Shepard trilogy and an absolute indulgence for long-time fans.
The narrative of the DLC has Shepard and company taking shore leave on the Citadel while the Normandy undergoes repairs. Admiral Anderson gifts his old apartment to Shepard, serving as a temporary base for the duration of the DLC. The complex has been spared no expense, with the most atheistically pleasing interior seen in Mass Effect. Fans will enjoy listening to audio logs recounting Anderson’s career littered around the apartment, which can also be upgraded with various furnishings. Before Shepard has an opportunity to relax, the Commander is thrust into a yet another adventure. Alliance Analyst Maya Brooks presents Shepard with information that he is being targeted by a malicious individual. Before Shepard can even finish a selection of Sushi, the shooting starts.
The core of Citadel tasks Shepard with venturing the depths of the Citadel, escaping a well-armed group of mercenaries and confronting a mysterious assailant. Players will enjoying travelling unseen sections of the Citadel while unravelling the plot against Shepard. The mission enjoys a good split between combat and dialogue. One segment has Shepard donning formal wear and infiltrating a charity gala, similar to the party in Kasumi’s Stolen Memory. With a regular squad member also wearing a fancy suit (or dress), Shepard has to navigate a sea of drunken patrons and switches. The party gives players the opportunity to flex their non-shooting muscles while advancing the plot at an even pace.
When the action heats up, Citadel introduces a new conglomerate of goons, and while not unlike standard Cerberus enemies, they present a good challenge. Skirmishes expose players to a variety of the Citadel’s environments, and are all conducive to the standard style of third-person gameplay. The final boss fight is especially engaging to say the least, owing to your Shepard’s character class.
Overall, the main Citadel plot is not quite of the same high calibre as Lair of the Shadow Broker or the other priority missions, due to a lessened sense of urgency and a disconnect from the main story. Nevertheless, in the two or more hours that the central mission takes to complete, players will thoroughly enjoy every moment. Fans will rejoice having Wrex added to the usable character roster (albeit all too briefly). Citadel is also the only quest where every Mass Effect 3 team member takes part in the fighting (be it only in the background, under the guises of team Mako and Hammerhead). The story’s antagonist is interesting choice, but the results of this are best seen in Shepard’s face and dialogue.
Where Citadel really shines is once the main quest has been completed. BioWare has added a wealth of additional content that will have long-time fans laughing, crying and rejoicing. The post-mission scenes are the developer’s final tribute to Mass Effect and one last gift to players, such as myself, who have invested countless hours into the series. Shepard can invite all of the closest surviving Mass Effect characters to a party at the new apartment. The resulting gathering sees all of your companions mingling in a final celebration. Small groups of characters interact with each other, and turning up the party ‘atmosphere’ reshuffles the attendees around the apartment. Shepard can join in the discussion, with a very, very generous littering of banter and tongue-in-cheek references to be heard. Moving around the party rewards players with about an hour of the funniest dialogue and scenes seen in the entire trilogy, while also alluding to the particulars of your individual Shepard’s adventures. After the party, players can invite individual characters to their apartment. These one-one-one sessions offer the chance to rekindle romances or converse in some moving reflections on the past.
The final segment adds a combat arena and entertainment precinct to the Citadel. The Silversun strip features a number of hangouts where players can be tempted by gambling mini-games. Some of Shepard’s team will also invite the Commander to join them here for an unwinding session, and – like the party – it sees hilarity ensue. The virtual combat arena takes elements of Mass Effect 3‘s multiplayer, challenging players against waves of enemies. You can select any two surviving squad mates from the series (players will enjoy the inclusion of Mass Effect 2 characters such as Miranda, Grunt and Zaeed), and choose from a number of maps, modifiers and either Reapers, Cerberus or Collectors as enemies. The combat arena, like multiplayer, really extends replayability and is a great medium for perfecting fighting skills.
BioWare’s writers really outdo themselves, and the party scene alone is worthy of purchasing Citadel. In a ideal world, a post-game gathering would have been more perfect. Despite the developer’s unwavering stance on the utter mess that was Mass Effect 3‘s ending, BioWare must still be commended for offering this final chance to interact and say farewell to the characters that have defined our personal Mass Effect experiences. The DLC’s epilogue, where Shepard joins his team to board the Normandy, is especially touching.
Citadel is the ultimate fan service, and that is far from a bad thing. The DLC expertly captures one of the franchise’s strongest elements – the characters. The Mass Effect cast shine in this final tale, and not only is Citadel fun, but poignant. A moving soundtrack, faultless voice-acting and sharp writing culminate in a enjoyable and compelling send-off. The crew of the Normandy have provided one of the most involving and enjoyable experience of this generation, and Citadel delivers a tale that perfectly exemplifies the bonds we have formed with our Mass Effect family.
Sharp and hilarious script | Brings together entire Mass Effect cast | Wealth of content
Not post-game | No ending fix | No blue children