Saturday, March 17, 2012

"From Ashes" DLC for Mass Effect 3 Review

In a controversial move, Electronic Arts has released a DLC (Downloadable content) on the same day that Mass Effect 3 has come out. Which means they want you to pay an extra ten bucks for the DLC or pay an extra twenty bucks for the Collector's Edition in which the DLC is included for free. The complaint from consumers? Why didn't EA include this DLC on the game disk since you've already paid sixty bucks? The DLC mission isn't that long so why try to milk an extra ten bucks from the customer? But the ultimate question is should you pay for the extra mission?

"From Ashes" is a mission which is available as soon as you first get back to the Normandy. You're instructed to go back to Eden Prime, the place where it all started for Shepard or you if you really identify with your character. It's here where he made contact with a Prothean beacon in the first Mass Effect. The Protheans were a race that fought the Reapers but were defeated. Their light vanished from the galaxy fifty thousand years ago. You are to recover a Prothean artifact. But here's the rub. It's not an artifact. It's an actual Prothean named Javik. He's in cryogenic freeze so you have to find the codes to safely thaw him out. Of course it isn't that easy because Cerberus forces will try to stop you.

It's a short mission. It will take you about two hours to get through it on the first playthrough. But it's not the gameplay that will keep your interest. It's the story of the Protheans as told through flashbacks. And when you get a chance to talk to Javik, you find some surprising things about the Proteheans. If you complete the mission, Javik becomes a member of your crew who can accompany you on away missions. With that, he brings his special "Dark Channel" power which is like Singularity without the lifting of an enemy. You can also use his assault rifle which is like the Collector Particle Beam but not as effective since it overheats.

But should you pay the extra ten bucks for this mission? Well, I hate to say it but just bend over and take it. Yeah, you don't need Javik. But if you're a fan of the game, you get great dialog with him. And the cutscenes of the Protheans downfall are compelling. I found learning about their culture from Javik, a fascinating and interesting experience. The grade is B +.

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