Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC

OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE GREATEST DLC I’VE EVER PLAYED IN MY LIFE!

Shepard. Wrex. Grunt. Shepard. SPOILERS!

There’s this big fancy apartment on the Citadel that Anderson gives to Shepard.

Because he’ll never need it himself anymore.

No, really, he won’t. Most players have already played through that (air quotes) “ending” and know Anderson dies.

And for some reason he has datapads with bits and pieces of his biography thrown around his apartment.

He must be really rich to afford all those datapads! Shame he can’t keep it tidy and put them all in one place.

The audio logs are really touching, though!

Like that really vague one about Shepard, which may or may not match how you actually feel about your own character.

So Shepard and Joker go to a dinner and are immediately attacked.

Boy, they just can’t catch a break!

And they decide to find out who hired those party-crashing goons.

And they’re assisted by a clumsy, neurotic and easily distracted Alliance officer named Maya.

…Gosh, that sounds familiar!

Only I’m not an Alliance officer. And I spell my name with an I. But it’s not originally written in English anyway.

Still, I now have the dubious honor of hearing Jennifer Hale say my name, which is totally sweet.

So they investigate undercover in an upper-class bar.

And in Shepard’s view, “undercover” means repeatedly pestering the same guards over and over with silly queries, because all guards on the Citadel have the memory of a goldfish.

But when they get to their contact, it turns out he’s dead! And someone has already formatted all the drives on his computer!

But EDI recovers the data anyway.

(Note to self: when I want something deleted, use secure wipe software. And hope the government doesn’t have EDISoft Data Recovery Pro.)

So Shepard takes her entire crew on the chase. Plus Wrex.

…Wait, they can do that?

That could have come handy earlier. Like, maybe in the middle of enemy territory, rather than on the most secure space station in the galaxy.

And Maya keeps cowering and freaking out as they advance, wondering if Shepard’s companions even take the danger seriously.

Wow, this is some really thoughtful, insightful and genuinely touching commentary of how an ordinary person from behind a desk would react if presented with Shepard’s tough wisecracking squad and their crazy antics. It’d be a shame if this message was undermined by her, like, faking it all along or something.

So the mastermind behind the mercs turns out to be… a clone of Shepard.

Adult and identical and having exactly the same haircut and voice.

…What?

Turns out this clone was grown by Cerberus in case Shepard needed spare organs or something.

…Wait, they can do that?

Why bother artificially aging a whole person anyway? Can’t they just grow individual organs?

Oh right, Cerberus.

And the clone doesn’t have any of Shepard’s memories, but somehow knows how to walk, speak English, shoot, use biotics, stay undercover on the Citadel, and where to procure armor, weapons, and a crapload of mercs despite having no friends or shady organization with funding.

…O…kay.

So they catch up with the clone, but it turns out Maya was a traitor all along.

WHAT A TWEEEEEEST!

And she was actually competent all along.

WHAT A TWEEEEEEST!

And the clone leaves Shepard in a slow deathtrap instead of killing her right away… because…

…she studied villainy from Dr. Evil? Maybe?

But they’re all saved by Liara’s holographic drone.

WHAT A TWEEEE– wait, what?

So the shell of that capsule somehow blocks radio transmissions to C-Sec and Shepard’s squad, but not to the drone?

That’s one selective radio jam.

So they escape and board the Normandy just in time before the clone takes off on it.

And EDI doesn’t stop the clone from hijacking the ship because… they turned EDI off.

…Wait, they can do that?

I wonder if the Collectors knew that.

And if Shepard has the EDI sexbot in the squad when boarding, it doesn’t shut down… because…

…uh… something about quantum mechanics, probably? They always buy that kind of technobabble…

So Shepard, the clone, Maya, the two squadmates and like a dozen mercs fight in the shuttle bay, somehow avoiding totally wrecking the entire ship with all the shooting, explosions and biotic powers thrown around.

Meanwhile Cortez is trying to stop the Normandy from jumping into FTL because…

…Shepard will fail to recover the ship if they leave the Citadel?

Those are some really location-dependent fighting skills!

So Shepard and the clone end up dangling from the exit ramp, but Shepard is saved by companions, while the clone refuses to be pulled up… because…

…she lost the will to live?

Like Padme Amidala!

Well, that’s convenient.

So Maya goes to prison, they recover the Normandy and celebrate by throwing a party.

And Mom Shepard gives a sweet phone call, too.

HOORAY!

And they live happily ever after!

OR DO THEY?

…Actually, since the Extended Cut they pretty much do, yes. But tell that to someone who remembers the original endings!

This is me saying… EGGS! You’ve got to try eggs! Kaidan, Liara, want some eggs? Glyph? EDI? Come on, everyone! Eggs!


On a serious note, I almost don’t hate this one. I know, I know, damned by faint praise, but some of my gripes with ME3 are still fresh in my memory, and a second playthrough only made those moments sting more. I admit I don’t hate Citadel as much as I thought I would after hearing that it was essentially lighthearted fanservice. I didn’t really get that impression, and I thought the lightheartedness was not in-your-face and a lot of it was actually damn funny. It was also nice to have the characters and the setting fleshed out more, especially from Anderson’s audio logs and the holograms in the Citadel archives.

Really, if I were to sum up my complaints, I think it would boil down to only three major ones.

  1. The clone. A cheap, stupid and overused plot device, playing every outdated SF cliche in the book and completely out of touch with the tone of the setting. (Well, how I see the tone of the setting, anyway. I know others disagree.) I hoped BioWare would at least make it make sense — they usually know how to do that for the more questionable elements of the setting. I was wrong.

  2. Brooks. Potential for character development and outsider commentary wasted by the cheap, predictable twist.

  3. Autodialogue. Lots and lots of autodialogue. This issue is not unique to Citadel and plagues all of ME3, the only game in the trilogy to regularly give me moments of “wait, my Shepard would never do that” because I don’t even get the option to refuse an action. ([cough] Traynor shower kiss [cough]) This time, I played through the main plot of Citadel and the party and thought, “Well, this is better than I thought it would be, I almost don’t hate it”… and then I went to the bar. Sorry, what? Shepard hooks Garrus up with a completely random turian woman, feeding him cheesy dating advice, and I don’t even get the option to stop her? Is this Mass Effect or a 1990s teen comedy? Where were those women on BioWare staff who reportedly make sure the male writers don’t embarass themselves?

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