From Ashes – Mass Effect 3 DLC Review


Platforms: Playstation Network, Xbox Live Arcade
Release Date: March 6, 2012

Out of all the games with downloadable content, I’d hold Mass Effect 2 near or at the pointy top. Not only did it extend the life of the game, but it offered some intriguing peripheral stories that would make any Mass Effect fan giddy. Mass Effect 3 has finally been unshackled, but this time, the wait for DLC is nearly absent. Releasing on the same day as the actual game, a new pack comes in at a hefty $9.99. Is it wiser to save the money or bite the bullet and get some good additional content right out of the gate?

After a humbling download (a bit more than a half gigabyte), a mission concerning Eden Prime pops up on your Galactic Map. Liara, being an expert on the Protheans, brings you along for a package that is going to be one hell of a find.

Events don’t exactly go as planned, but eventually you get what you came for and bounce back to the Reaper invasion. It’s pretty standard, but the flashbacks stick out during the less-than-an-hour mission. Functioning as a wormhole to the past, Shepard gains the quick ability to look at the last Reaper invasion, many, many years ago. Anyone engrossed in the fiction will undoubtedly eat this new information up. The Protheans have always been mysterious and this DLC opens up the floodgates of information that the series has always carefully walked around.

Flashback!

Thankfully, this insight stretches far beyond that lone mission. After completing the downloaded objective packed in, the squad member, Javik, becomes a companion that can be brought with you in your trek across the galaxy. His way of looking at things is incredibly interesting, as the series hasn’t had direct contact with this species before. His deep, booming voice along with solid writing and delivery also contribute to his overall performance as a character. I brought him along during almost every mission and his perspective was always different and usually relating to his race’s way of handling business. There is even one story mission where it would be almost stupid to not bring him, as the goal of this mission seems tailor made for someone of his race. Every time he would talk I would attentively listen, making him one of the best squad members in the series to date.

If you were disappointed by the inability to interact much with Kasumi and Zaeed outside of actual missions in Mass Effect 2, Javik will fare better for your conversation needs. Like every other squad member in Mass Effect 3, he has multiple conversation trees that even further explain his past. It’s a small but important feature, something that I wish Mass Effect 2 would have done.

Don't mess with an angry Prothean.

Combat-wise, Javik has some new and old tricks up his prehistoric sleeve. He has some of the usual biotic powers like Pull and Slam, but he also brings one not seen in the series: poison. It isn’t the best power in the game, but it contributes well to his overall offensive focus. Javik is both a good soldier within the fiction and within the actual gameplay.

In this DLC pack, you get a new laser gun and some skins for your squad, but Javik is the main reason to download this content. Anyone that is invested (and by this point, it probably is nearly everyone) in the whole Mass Effect universe will love what he brings to the table, along with that fact that you actually get to talk to a Prothean. However, I’d highly recommend getting him from the get-go or early on. If not, you’ll be missing the point of why it is so awesome. While I find $9.99 to be a bit steep, the quality is high enough to just go for it to get the latest scoop on this extinct race.

Pros:
+Javik’s performance is brilliant and is one of the series’ best squad members
+Provides useful information about a long lost race
+He actually has conversations, unlike those in Mass Effect 2
Cons:
-$9.99 seems a bit too high
-His mission is fairly short

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