Don't fuck with Aria... or her women.
This latest addition to Mass Effect 3
allows fans to team up with one of the most underutilized key characters of the Mass Effect
series, Aria T'Loak. Up until now, all we've really seen Aria do is sit in a bar and talk tough but now we get to do what we've been waiting to do since Mass Effect 3
came out. We get to help her retake Omega from Cerberus forces, which is great because I was just starting to think she was the biggest lush in the galaxy. At least it would explain her mood.
I wanted more Aria in Mass Effect 3
and also noticed how there seemed to be a lack of female depictions when it came to other major races in the galaxy like Salarians and Turians. So when the Omega
DLC was first announced I remember feeling as if Bioware had read my mind. If you're in the same boat as me, it's not because Bioware is attuned with all the powers of the great mystics—
it's because they did indeed read our minds.
The original purpose of this expansion was to create a storyline that revealed Aria's past in Omega during the mission because Bioware saw that many fans wanted to know more about her. So my only gripe is that it doesn't really delve deep enough into her past so much as it does her love life. Enter Nyreen Kandros, a biotic ex-military Turian and ex-"partner" of Aria's who shows up just in time to join the resistance against Cerberus.
Having the two of them as squad-mates is quite a treat and makes for some excellent moments throughout the mission. The only downside is that Nyreen is more of a sporadic squad-mate, and you'll find yourself primarily paired up with Aria during most of the combat. I would recommend playing this DLC after leveling up to about 40 or 50 so that you can experience the full extent of Aria and Nyreen's powers because you do not get to keep either of them as squad-mates once the DLC is over.
Cerberus forces are the primary enemies throughout the Omega mission, but you also encounter a familiar foe along the way: new and improved mechs called Rampart Mechs. Unlike those in Mass Effect 2
, these mechs are extremely aggressive and constantly move forward no matter how much damage they sustain, and they are also equipped with omni-tools for melee combat. They are much more durable and their relentlessness definitely makes them tougher to kill, especially if you find yourself surrounded by them.
Then there are the adjutants who until now had only been seen in the Dark Horse comic book series Invasion. The adjutants are not your typical brand of Reaper forces. They are essentially a parasitic organism engineered by the reapers to take over the host body of whatever enemy it kills in order to turn them into more adjutants. So basically Cerberus was playing mad scientist with the virus and its effect on mankind and shit hit the fan, as these mad scientist things tend to do.
It is suggested that they may be the mutated forms of a species the Reapers conquered centuries ago and they engineered them the same way they engineered the collectors from the Protheans. This is a particularly fascinating fact, but I had to read all that in the codex because aside from a few, short cut-scenes we never really see a transformation sequence or get a proper history lesson during the mission.
If you're a weapon mod junkie, there are a lot scattered throughout the campaign, but the only one worth mentioning is the Sniper Rifle Thermal Scope, which allows you to see enemies through walls and smoke while also increasing stability and accuracy. The list of new weapons, though, falls short. During the course of the DLC, the two new weapons introduced are the N7 Valkyrie and Chakram Launcher, which you may have already seen before. (The N7 Valkyrie was available to anyone who pre-ordered the game at Gamestop as a part of the N7 Warfare Gear packm and the Chakram Launcher was a bonus item for completing the Kindoms of Amalur demo and watching the trailer.) The Chakram launcher is fun and very effective especially against Guardians if you don't have Warp handy, but chances are if you still care enough to play this DLC, you're probably also one of the people who cared enough to participate in playing the Kingdoms of Amalur
demo to get the bonus items.
Probably the best thing that comes out of this DLC are the two new powers you unlock, Lash and Flare. These powers liven up the lineup of abilities available to those who prefer playing as a biotic or a vanguard. During the Omega
DLC, you can give them a test drive when Aria joins your squad. Lash creates a whip of biotic energy that pulls enemies towards you while dealing additional damage on the initial impact. If any of you are still playing multiplayer, you've probably already played around with this ability if you've unlocked the Batarian Brawler. Flare is definitely my favorite, though, since it's the most like an explosive and it really helps in clearing up the battlefield when there's a cluster of enemies. When unleashed, there's an eruption of biotic energy on the battlefield that throws enemies back dealing a significant amount of damage and sometimes causing them to explode.
While the Omega
DLC delivers the satisfaction of getting to spend more time with Aria T'Loak and finding out more about her, there just felt like more could have been added. Leviathan
also suffers from the fact that nothing in it can really affect the outcome of the game, but it still felt more complete then the Omega
DLC, because your crew could be a part of it and you traversed different parts of the galaxy. Condominas did an amazing job creating a story that fit perfectly into the Mass Effect
universe, but if they hadn't been restricted to creating this as DLC content, I can only wonder what they would have been able to accomplish.
There are significant differences in the ending depending on how Renegade or Paragon you play it, consisting of 6 possibilities, 4 of which are distinctly different. You can either end up on Aria's good side or end up on her bad side, but none of it really translates to the main campaign, which is a shame. You can't even return to Omega
after the mission and nobody on your crew mentions your absence or anything about the mission, not even Archangel, aka Garrus
. That disconnect really sucks, and it'd be nice to have something like that after the mission was over to distract from it not having any impact on the ending. Really, Bioware? After all that work we don't even get to go back to Omega for a drink?
Code provided by publisher. Review based on Xbox 360 version.