This is the DLC we’ve been waiting for. Ever since Aria appeared in the Citadel in Mass Effect 3, fans have been itching to return to Omega and take it back from Cerberus. Our dream list was ticked off with every new nugget of information these past few months. Yes, we’re going back to Omega. Yes, pirate queen Aria T’Loak will be a squad mate. Yes, there will be new enemies to face. Yes, we will finally meet a female turian.
With a DLC packed with this much fan-pleasing content, is it worth the $15 USD price tag? Short answer? No. While Omega is packed with action and is a ton of fun for 2-4 hours with lots of replay value, it is very overpriced, and leaves me worried about the future of the DLC market.
From here on out, there be SPOILERS.
The New Baddies!
I’m just here to talk about Rampart. That is, the Rampart mechs, one of the two new baddies in the Omega DLC. Similar to the Dragoons found in multiplayer, the Ramparts are tough and fast. These heavily armored mechs close in on you very quickly, can throw up a shield against your long range attack, strike hard at close range, and can explode once they’re defeated. These were the biggest new challenge.
The second baddie was the Adjutant, who I was a bit disappointed in after Nyreen’s horrific description. With a full bar of biotic barrier and another of armor, these husk-like creatures should be a lot tougher than they are. But playing as a Sentinel with Nyreen on the squad, I was able to dispatch them pretty quickly with Warp before they got in too close.
Maybe I’ve just gotten better at this game due to my hours logged in multiplayer, but with the exception of the final battle, the combat wasn’t all that challenging. In fact, there was a point where I paused the game to check the settings and make sure I wasn’t on easy mode. The level designs weren’t all that innovative, and if you’re a fan of kiting, boy are you in for a treat.
Twice we’re encouraged to run wildly about the map and tap on hotspots. Sure, the first time could be considered an introduction to the concept, and it is certainly a challenge in that final encounter. But you’re still tasked with running away from the enemy and avoiding them at all costs until you finish pushing all the buttons.
Return to Omega!
Yes. We get to return to Omega, and see a few familiar faces.
There are also a few vaguely familiar places, as well as a lot of new ones. I loved seeing Omega’s skyline, and the eezo mines were gorgeous. The spookier areas of Omega set my hair on end: the flashlight beam was just short enough to terrify the crap out of me. As I said before, the level designs were standard fare, with room to duck and maneuver, helpful against the various enemies that force you to keep moving.
But there is a glaring problem with Omega that leads to one of a few gripes about the $15 price tag: Omega is not a hub. Once Omega is taken back, you’re not able to return, explore, drink, or shop. Even Aria slinks back to the Citadel, despite her earlier comments on about how much she hates it.
Remember, in Lair of the Shadow Broker (arguably the best Mass Effect DLC), we’re able to return to the Shadow Broker’s ship to read files, watch videos, check in on Liara, shop, and make some deals. Omega has none of this. Once Cerberus is kicked out, Omega is gone. It’s as if it never happened, aside from a few war assets and a one-time comment from Aria on the Citadel. Again, by itself, the lack of an Omega hub and little extras should be a non-issue, but in light of the price and compared to past DLC, their absence is irritating.
Come on, Nyreen!
Of all the goodies promised in the Omega DLC, I was most excited about Nyreen Kandros. The turians are easily my favorite alien race in the series, and to finally see and interact with a female turian was everything I could hope for.
Yes, Nyreen was a cool character. Tough, capable, honorable, and very turian. She had an interesting history with Aria, and she looked amazing. I spent most of my time in elevators spinning the camera around her to take in every detail.
The nature of the battles meant I didn’t get to use her biotic shield all too often, but she was a terrific Sentinel with some very useful abilities.
I wish we could have had more Nyreen. Her history had some interesting potential, and it would have been nice if her personality had time to develop. But, alas, at the last moment, Nyreen sacrificed herself to kill some Adjutants. At first blush, it would appear that Nyreen had fallen into the “women in fridges” trope, where a female character is killed off to further develop her boyfriend (or in this case, girlfriend). This initially irked me, as Aria didn’t need any further motivation to stop the General. She was already very eager to kill him, and while Nyreen’s death might have changed her a little, in the end it means nothing, as Aria appears to return to the way she was.
But thinking about it further, that isn’t what happened with Nyreen. She isn’t a woman in a fridge, she’s a paragon. She had agency in her death, and chose to die to protect the innocents. Her death was not about Aria, her death was about her honor and her desire to help the citizens of Omega.
Cool. I get it. However, here comes overpriced gripe number two. For $15, we should have gotten a permanent squadmate. Aria would have been useful, but she isn’t much of a team player. My turian bias wants to see Nyreen on board the Normandy. Her death, while tragic, also feels incredibly wasteful. Ah well. This might just be pure complaining on my part rather than a valid criticism. Moving on.
I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy this DLC. I did, it was a ton of fun and kept me entertained for almost four hours. Which might be a little too long: Towards the end of those four hours I abandoned my usual exploration of every inch in order to just finish.
Omega has a lot of replay value, with different outcomes depending on whether you are Paragon or Renegade. It should be noted that the DLC seem to push you to play Renegade, as evidenced by the number of red interrupts, but the idea of being able to make Aria into a more diplomatic person through the strength of your Paragon-y character is pretty cool.
If you hadn’t noticed already, my main complaint with the DLC is the price. You simply don’t get enough bang for your buck. There’s a new weapon, new powers, some mods, and a combat heavy/story light adventure. It’s a one off. Omega is its own encapsulated diversion that has nothing to do with anything else in the game, and has no impact on the story at large or input from your favorite companions. More than once I wished I could have brought Archangel along just to hear his thoughts.
Yes, being its own separate bonus adventure is par for the course with DLC. We’ve just come to expect more from BioWare, especially with previous content like Lair of the Shadow Broker.
Mass Effect 3: Omega is like a slice of pumpkin pie. It’s delicious pie, no question. But the last time we ordered it, we got whipped cream, a plate, a fork, a doily, and a tall glass of ice cold milk, all for half the price. It’s hard not to be a little disappointed, no matter how tasty that pie is.
My honest recommendation, much as it pains me to make it, is to hold off on buying this DLC. Wait to see if it goes on sale. It’s worth playing, but not for this price. It’s glitchy and disconnected from the story, and you just don’t get your money’s worth.