Sunday, December 16, 2012

Mars Mission - Insanity

Alliance Prothean archives and research station on Mars.
Its been a few months now since Mass Effect 3 came out and I played the single player campaign game.  Since completing the single player campaign I’ve mainly been playing Mass Effect Multiplayer.  I decided to take another run through of the single player campaign mode on insane level.

During the initial introduction to Mass Effect 3 we find out what has happened to Commander Shepard after the destruction of the CollectorBase beyond the Omega 4 Relay and his parting of ways with Cerberus.

The Alliance hasn’t been to kind to Commander Shepard locking him up for a kangaroo-court court martial related to the Arrival DLC that took place after Mass Effect 2 and resulted in the destruction of the Batarian Mass Relay and subsequently millions of Bartarians.

Shepard's destination, the Mars Prothean archives.
We find our protagonist locked up in a plush Systems Alliance brig awaiting his court martial.  We are introduced to James Vega, a new character to the video games, in the opening sequence.  I never warmed up to Vega in Mass Effect 3 and I’m sure that won’t change in this run through.

Eventually Shepard’s day in court arrives and Vega comes to take him to the court martial.  Along the way we run into Admiral Anderson and now Lt. Commander Ashley Williams.  During the beginning of Shepard's court martial the Alliance starts losing contact with its outer bases and space stations.  Soon a massive object is spotted closing quickly on the Earth.  Then contact is lost with the moon and the Reapers attack Earth.

During the initial Reaper attack the Systems Alliance headquarters council, which is also also the court martial board, are all killed.  Commander Shepard makes his way to the Normandy with Admiral Anderson.  Rather than escaping on the Normandy Admiral Anderson decides to stay on Earth to lead the resistance against the Reapers.  He reinstates Shepard into the Alliance military and gives him command of Normandy instructing him to go to Mars.

Dr. Eva Core gives Ashley a beat down.
Upon arrival at Mars Shepard gets a break because the Reapers have not attacked Mars.  After landing Shepard discovers Cerberus troops control the archives.  Shepard, Vega and Ashley fight through the Cerberus troops to gain access to the Mars facility.  Inside they find Liara, who had been doing some Prothean research, dispatch a trio of Cerberus troops who where attacking her. 

Liara tells them of her research and the designs of a possible Prothean weapon for use against the Reapers.  They quickly agree that Cerberus is after the same information.  The team is now in a race to beat Cerberus to the Prothean data.  The Cerberus task force is lead by Dr. Eva Core, who unknown to Liara is actually a android disguised as a human.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Omega DLC Play Through

Shepard is getting a bit Capt. Kirk like.
I enjoyed the Omega DLC.  No surprise there as a Mass Effect fan I’m sure you all knew I would.

All these DLC missions EA/Bioware puts out after the launch of Mass Effect 3 always leaves me feeling a little funny.  Since Shepard dies at the end of ME3 (surely at this point this isn’t a spoiler for someone) its always odd to see him pop up as if nothing has happened.  But as I’ve said before it’s always good to have some more quality time with Shepard and friends.  To get started with the Omega DLC go to Shepard’s email on the Normandy and you’ll have an email from Aria asking you to meet her at dock 42 on the Citadel.  Head to the Citadel and you’re on your way.

General Petrovsky
Aria was one of my favorite non-player characters in Mass Effect 2 so I’m glad we get to go back and close the loop on a couple loose strings.  As a result of the Shepard’s and Aria’s actions in Mass Effect Aria is ousted from her position of running Omega.  Forced to flee to the Citadel due to the Ceberus attack and occupation she’s been spending time gather resources and developing a plan to return and take her throne back at After Life.

Rampart Mech
In this new DLC the stage is set and now its time for Shepard to hold up his end of the agreement and help Aria retake Omega.  With her forces assembled and a plan in mind Aria sends Shepard and email.  On Omega you’ll fight to expel the Cerberus occupation lead by General Oleg Petrovsky.  Along with the usual assortment of Cerberus troops there are also two new enemies to deal with; Rampart mechs and Adjutants.   


The Rampart mechs seem to be upgraded versions of the LOKI mechs we all know so well.  They also have shields and an omni-blade they use to dispatch victims in hand to hand combat.

The Adjutants are creatures Cerberus brings back from beyond the Omega 4 Relay.  After the events of Mass Effect 2 Cerberus establishes a base through the Omega 4 Relay to exploit any technology it can from what is left of the Collector base.  As with all Reaper based creatures Cerberus wants to control them but can only exert limited control.  Since Cerberus can't truly control the Adjutants they settled with trapping them in a section of Omega that is now a no-man's land that nobody enters.  Hope they don't get out.

You also get to crawl through the under belly of Omega using a flashlight to see much like the Mass Effect 3 missions in Utukku where we come across Grunt commanding the Krogan Aralakah Company.  

The is certainly a good deal of action in the Omega DLC.  I ran through it using the Striker and Cerberus Harrier assault rifles.  During this mission Aria demands that you come alone so you’re usual Normandy crewmates aren’t with you.  To round out your team on missions you get Aria and Nyreen.  Nyreen, a female turian, is a new character introduced during Omega who has a long history with Aria. 

Throughout the mission we get filled in piece by piece about their complicated relationship.  After Aria fled the Cerberus occupation Nyreen stayed behind on Omega.  Eventually she became head of the Talons, one of Omega’s many notorious gangs.  General Petrovsky uses his troops and the Adjutants to wipe out the various gangs on Omega.  This leaves Nyreen and the Talons as the last bit of organized resistance to the Cerberus occupation.

Once Aria's attack to retake Omega begins General Petrovsky puts up one road block after another.  Essentially you fight your way through the bowels of Omega until the final confrontation with Petrovsky.  The General has not surprisingly chosen Afterlife to be his headquarters.  At the end you have several choices; mainly to let Aria kill Petrovsky or save him.  If you save him he becomes a prisoner of the Alliance and provides information about Cerberus that adds to your galactic war readiness against the Reapers. Regardless of Petrovsky's fate Aria honors her agreement providing troops, ships, red sand and element zero that also adds to your overall galactic readiness.

By biggest criticism is the cost.  At $15 this DLC costs more than any other other DLC so far.  While a good play I don't think it was as good as other DLC costing less such as Mass Effect 2's "Lair of the Shadow Broker" or Mass Effect 3's "From the Ashes."

(I had a couple hours of captured video to review.  Perhaps a bit long but I thought two 10 minutes videos would be better than a longer video.)