Omega is a mixed bag for me, one that simultaneously invokes apathy and pleasant surprises. It's not exactly Lair of the Shadow Broker quality (and yes, I'm always going to judge Mass Effect DLC by that standard), but it's a solid if somewhat overpriced add-on in it's own right. Whether or not you'll ultimately want to buy it depends on your level of dedication to Mass Effect 3. If you've already sworn off of it, it won't change your mind. If you are still going strong with your copy, then I say either go for it, or wait for a price drop in the future. At the end of the day however, it's still a fairly cut and dry experience, and certainly one that you can afford to pass on. Underneath some of its generic offerings however, are moments of brilliance, and those deserved to be explored.
The Omega DLC brings us back to everyone's favourite hive of scum and villainy... Omega. The eponymous space station was a bustling hub world in Mass Effect 2, now controlled by Cerberus forces. The DLC itself is fairly short; one could easily complete it in 2-3 hours, but I'd say you could stretch out the conent here to five hours tops if you really Milk it. This new campaign is a very linear affair, and once you crash-land back on Omega, it's a straight shoot to the end. The plot is very simple; it's a war of attrition and tactical sabotage. You'll move quickly from one shooting gallery to the next, making short work of Cerberus along the way. All in all, it's a fairly short action romp that can easily be completed in one sitting. As I've said, it doesn't do a whole lot different, though one scene in particular screams survival horror. It isn't all that terrifying, but when the new bestial enemies are introduced to you, there's at least a bit of atmospheric tension and suspenseful build-up to it. It's not nearly as good as the Ardat-Yakshi Monastery mission, and the new enemies are no where near as terrifying as the Banshees from the original base game. There are also a few decent set-pieces, but don't expect a lot of edge-of-your seat action.
More of the Same Game
For the most part, as I said, this DLC is something that can easily be passed up. The few things it does bring to the table are few and far between, and not enough of a saving grace for those looking for something substanial. It's more of the decent albeit repetitive combat against the same tired enemy types. Now, BioWare does throw in some Rampart Mechs and Adjutants to throw us off our game, but again, they aren't worth paying $15 for. Unlike Leviathan and From Ashes, both of which reveal dark corners of the Mass Effect universe’s past, Omega doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. It’s easily overlooked, and that’s a shame, because there are some shining moments here.
I'm not saying at all that it's a bad DLC, but 15 dollars is a bit much to ask for a few linear levels and some weapons mods. I honestly believe $10 or even $5 would have been more reasonable. If you're deeply in love with everything Mass Effect, and love every minute of its chest-high wall hugging action however, you can't really go wrong here.
A Dynamic Duo
Of course, the thing I loved most about Omega was it's sexy alien babes. Well that, and I really enjoyed seeing more of Aria, and how she played off of her new foil, Nyreen.
Nyreen and Aria's "opposites attract" relationship worked really well in tandem with Mass Effect paragon/renegade approach to morality. Aria’s ruthlessness and lust for revenge contrasts colourfully with Nyreen’s idealistic altruism, making for some pretty compelling moments. I really like the idea of an ethics code in a lawless land, and in many ways, Nyreen's pseudo Robin Hood "for the people" attitude makes here a bit of a female Archangel. It's almost like the old west in a lot of ways, and it highlights Aria's pragmatic ruthlessness very well. It may be a bit black and white, but they're motivations are fairly well-defined and believable, and it's interesting to see how they are similar as well.
There weren't that many moral choices to make this time around, and that sucks. What doesn't suck however, are the choices presented. Aside from the usual binary paragon and renegade options, we are given two major decisions. Both are made through interrupts, which seems like a perfect fit for the situation. Without giving anything away, I'll say that both felt like temptations for me, and that picking the paragon options felt more like I was resisting a darker path, which is cool. The first option gives you three opportunities to take it, which I felt was a rather interesting way of tempting the player.
Minor spoiler warning ahead!
The second moral choice deals with how you deal with the add-on's antagonist, Oleg Petrovsky. Aria of course, wants to murder him, but he wants to not die. What's interesting about this is that the more merciful option can also be viewed as the more pragmatic option, which is a nice switch. Here, the paragon and renegade slants have more to do with your motivations, and I like that. Oleg himself was a pretty generic albeit interesting villain that I wish we got to see more of. His calm but ruthless demeanour, coupled with an air of arrogance and confidence, reminded me somewhat of a Bond villain. His motivations don't go that deep, but he remains a fun adversary nonetheless, if a bit underused. That, and he plays virtual chess. That's just plain cool.
In the End
In the end however, these bits of brilliance are broken up by more-of-the-same fire fights. For the most part, these aren't too terribly difficult, and I only died a couple of times on Insanity. Then again, I'm pretty insane. The new adjutants didn't give me any trouble, and they certainly weren't piss-my-pants scary like the Banshees are. In fact, I'd say they're essentially nerfed Scions mixed with Cannibals. It's good to see Cerberus is still doing crazy experiments!
There wasn't anything terrible about this DLC really, it's just that it may not be worth your time and money. As a DLC, it should give us a refreshing spin on what we're used to, but all we really get here is more of what we're used to, which is decent. Aside from that, the occasional glitch mars the overall performance, the most noteworthy example being an odd bug during Aria's first speech, causing her to teleport in odd ways. Needless to say, this can take really take you out of the experience.
Other than the above mentioned aspects, there were a lot of little things I really liked that are worth noting. I like the way you can align with Aria’s personality, and she’ll call you out on it if you flip flop. The Second Coming of the Mad Prophet, as well as the return of Harrot, the ruthless elcor salesman (saleselcor?) were also nice cameos. On the downside, I don't believe he'll mention your past dealings with him, which would have been really cool. Aria's last line at the end of her victory speech, "We are Omega", was a really nice touch that showed a bit of character development on her part. These kinds of details are rewarding to players who pay attention, and I respect that.
Oh, and the elevators make a comeback! Now, if the next DLC can bring back the Mako....
If you're still unsure of whether this is worth your $15 dollars, you should also know it has a female turian. Is she worth $15? Well... If I said I bought it for any other reason, would you believe me?