Just because the main saga of Commander Shepard and his proud cohorts has come to a close doesn’t mean that BioWare's done with Mass Effect 3. Obviously they have downloadable maps to play through in co-op and the recently released Extended Cut DLC offers a more detailed resolution than what the original game ending did (though we think it was fine the way it was).
BioWare is not drawing the tale of Shepard to a close just yet, having recently announced the forthcoming Wii U version of the game (see our preview for more details) and also a new piece of downloadable content due for release on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network later this year. Titled Mass Effect 3: Leviathan, the story will include all new missions revolving around the origins of the Reapers – the seemingly unstoppable world destroyers.
Leviathan will be the first single-player content for the game since the Extended Cut and though its price point might be a little steep for some at $10 (800 Microsoft points), it looks to be a rather extensive addition with a number of new planets to explore and a variety of missions that you and your crewmates take on. The DLC is set to introduce a number of new characters to the story (though we're not quite sure whom from what we’ve seen in so far) along with some new weapons (the AT-12 Raider and the M-55 Argus) and upgrades to help take on these new challenges.
As we mentioned, the DLC will see Shepard delving into the origin of the Reapers and the equally enigmatic creature called the Leviathan (thus the name of this downloadable sub-chapter) capable of destroying a Reaper with its power. As with the main parts of Mass Effect 3, you’ll travel to planet surfaces, pick up items and engage in combat, either using direct fire or calling upon your lieutenants to serve up a distraction while you try to flank and deliver the finishing blow. It's the usual Mass Effect stuff, but we don't get tired of that, really…
The AT-12 is a modified shotgun originally carried by members of the Special Intervention Unit militia. It takes a little bit to load, but fires a multitude of rounds at whomever it’s aimed at and is ideal for taking down an enemy in a hurry, packing a heaping of force even with its short range.
Then you have the M-55 Argus - this baby is a high-powered assault rifle that’s ideal for close range, capable of withering fire in the heat of combat and plenty of capacity for ammunition. It has a three-round burst fire, is easy to maintain and looks pretty schnazzy to boot. After all, you don’t just want to plow into enemies with any old battle rifle, right?
The demo featured at the Summer Showcase event took place on a grounded frigate of some sort with Shepard, Garrus and Vega navigating through it and dealing with environmental dangers surrounding the strange planet. Along the way they contend with Reapers while picking up universal power cells that they need to activate certain parts of the frigate to continue on their mission. This is all easier said than done, but if you’re a veteran of the Mass Effect universe you’ll feel right at home.
What’s risky about this stage is that it takes place in the middle of an ocean and at the conclusion of the demo you're facing down an Atlas Mech suit while making a dive to the watery floor. Not much was shown aside from that in the demo, but it’s looking appropriately murky with just enough lighting detail to have that “BioWare touch”, so to speak.
Word has it that Leviathan will also tweak the game’s ending dialogue a little bit, but BioWare won't confirm or deny this so we’re left guessing if this will provide any more closure to the series or even tie in with future DLC to come in 2013. Regardless, it’s sure to add to the mythology of Mass Effect when it releases this Fall for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The company wouldn’t confirm whether or not it would be released as DLC for the Wii U version of Mass Effect 3 or be included on the disc – we'll have to wait and see.
For now, we’re just happy to see the saga continue. Look for Leviathan to emerge later this year.