There’s no beating around the bush here: Leviathan has a lot to live up to. Not only is it coming off of the – we’re gonna call it “controversial” – ending to Mass Effect 3 but the DLC for the Mass Effect series has a pedigree that most games would kill for. Mass Effect 2 featured some of the greatest downloadable missions ever created and From Ashes for ME3 was certainly no slouch either. So how does Leviathan stand up?
This mission has Shepard and his crew investigating the Leviathan of Dis, a creature supposedly powerful enough to kill a Reaper. This roughly two hour long mission takes him to a few cool new places and uncovers a lot of important backstory for the Mass Effect universe.
The story is what will drive you forward from one location to the next and is the whole reason that you’re going to want to play Leviathan. Without getting into spoiler territory, we’ll just say that this mission sheds a lot of light on the history of the Reapers and probably should have been included in the base game (but we’ll save that rant). Yes, Leviathan does change the ending slightly but its real value comes, not from the new dialogue that it adds, but from the greater understanding that it will give you which, ultimately, makes the ending way more comprehensible. It still doesn’t make things perfect but it does help.
Luckily, the story takes you to a few interesting locations during its run. Some of them, such as an asteroid mining colony, are subdued and creepy while others, such as an ocean world strewn with the wreckage of countless crashed ships, are immensely beautiful. It’s certainly a compliment when we say that even though Bioware has shown us so much of the galaxy, they can still surprise us with their worlds.
Bioware also does a great job of driving the story forward when it comes to the sections that take place on the Citadel. Shepard gets to take on the role of detective and investigate a lab for clues in an attempt to discover the next location that he has to hit. It’s not exactly complex or hard but it is a fun way to help drive the story forward. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the combat sections, which are definitely the weakest part of Leviathan. There’s only a handful of encounters but each one drags on with a few waves of the same enemies that you’ve been fighting the entire game, with nothing unique to shake it up. Combat is really just filler in this case, a mindless way to kill time between story segments.
Leviathan is a good piece of content. It’s definitely not the best mission in the Mass Effect series (that honour goes to Lair of the Shadow Broker) but it is worth playing. The rather disappointing combat sections aside, Leviathan adds more to the universe than any other piece of DLC Bioware has released. If you’re as invested in the story as we are, Leviathan is an essential component of the Mass Effect universe.