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Leviathan: An unnecessary DLC?

BioWare deserves a lot of credit. Creating a successful video game is difficult; developers need to consider controls, graphics, plot and sound. Creating a successful sequel is even more difficult; developers now have to work within the confines of the established universe, create realistic character development, and live up to fan expectations created from the first game. Downloadable content (DLC), however, stands in a league of its own. Releasing a DLC is a precarious venture; most DLCs cost extra money, so developers need to take care to not look like they are just trying to milk the pockets of gamers. This means that total hours of gameplay, date of release, importance to the main plot, and quality of content are factors both taken into consideration by developers trying to please fans, and analyzed by fans with high standards. The Leviathan DLC, despite its flaws, does a fine job of meeting these standards.

The Leviathan DLC was released in August as an add-on for Mass Effect 3, the final game in a trilogy about the galactic war against the Reapers, a sentient race of machines bent on harvesting all organic life. The Leviathan DLC was created with intent of expanding upon the lore of the Mass Effect series and offering more insight into the origin of the Reapers. Without delving too deep into spoilers and details, the DLC did manage to accomplish this. The origin of the Reapers was explained thoroughly, and the plot of the DLC meshed well with the main storyline of the game. It was not, however, vital to the main plot. This is especially true because most players had already finished Mass Effect 3 prior to playing the DLC, making Leviathan an unnecessary add-on to the game. While it was very well-crafted, introduced interesting new characters with excellent voice-acting, had realistic sound and graphics, and provided exciting combat, it was fundamentally a glorified side quest. Apart from adding some lines to the final dialogue, it makes no difference to the ending of the series. This is important to many gamers, who are not willing to fork over $10 and spend hours on a mission that yields practically no results, no matter how good the quality is.

The fact that it was superfluous does not, however, diminish the quality of the DLC in any way. BioWare crafted an excellent mission that expanded immensely upon the the lore of the Mass Effect series, and for gamers new to the series who have not finished Mass Effect 3, or for players simply looking for more missions, Leviathan does not disappoint. However, gamers looking for a mission with a significant impact on the ending would do well to spend their $10 elsewhere.

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