Mass Effect 3 returns with another slice of storyline driven DLC, this time taking Shepard away from his fight with the Reapers, instead, putting his life on the line for a criminal in the hope that a dent can be put in the power structure of the human terrorist organisation, Cerberus. Although billed as one of the largest chunks of DLC since Lair of the Shadow Broker for the previous game, Omega tends to be a letdown in all aspects, with a lack of a compelling storyline and rather below par game play that really doesn’t make the DLC worthwhile.
Shepard is dragged from the Citadel to a massive convoy of ships outside of Omega, as Aria prepares for an all out attack against Oleg Petrovsky, whom is billed as devious as the Illusive Man but comes across about as detailed as an early Bond villain. You spend no time with any of your crew during the entirety of the mission, excuses are made in game by stating that Aria doesn’t trust any of your squad mates, which is a huge missed opportunity; at least 4 of the crew members have been with you since the beginning, and, even if you choose a Paragon or a Renegade Shepherd, you would think he would have some backbone regarding not taking his very skilled crew members with him. You are instead with Aria and a new character, Nyreen, whom is the only female Turian to show up in the series so far.
Although Nyreen is a fully developed character, and the relationship between Aria and Nyreen puts further emphasis on the Paragon/Renegade scenario whilst also adding a good flavour of black and white into the equation, dialogue between your crew and her (Garrus talking about a female Turian and the small fact that the only one we have ever encountered pops up after all three game), would have made an interesting plotpoint. The little time you get to spend with her, and the way that she disappears from your party near the endgame, feels like a cheap way to pull heart strings and have no need to incorporate her into the rest of the game.
Aria, a character that was enjoyable in Mass Effect 2 and 3 is one dimensional here, highlighted by the fact that she spurts out the same lines over and over, and any conversation with her outside of combat tends to follow the ‘I dont give a damn, I just want what’s mine’; even the Reapers have a more compelling reason for evil than that!
In my review of Leviathan, it was mentioned that the problem with any DLC , especially story driven, for Mass Effect 3, will always be in a difficult situation; we know the ending and any DLC will just flesh out an already rich universe. Omega doesnt even do this; the benefits of saving Omega seems to make little or no difference to the main character arc, which makes the decisions you make inside the space station irrelevant. There is a decision, about midway through, that puts thousands of innocents at risk, and you are constantly goaded by Petrovsky about how worthwhile this two bit criminal is that is currently your companion. This would usually hold lots of emotional weight but doesn’t in comparison to the main storyline; if you press a button it kills thousands, but the more time you spend sorting out a petty criminals issues more of the galaxies BILLIONS will die. The whole experience feels so detached, with the benefits Shepard will supposedly get by helping Aria feels a drop in the ocean compared to the alliances he or she will create, that the Omega scenario feels like one big waste of time.
Other than a few extra enemies, combat hasn’t changed. The main mechanics are still as strong as ever but, if this is your second or third playthrough with the same Shepard, nothing the game will throw at you will ever pose a challenge, even on the hardest difficulty. There is also a distinct lack of polish, with bugs galore, especially in the cutscenes that somehow manage to look sub par despite the games robust engine. Furthermore, characters spin around on the spot whilst talking, dialogue cuts out randomly and, the DLC even forgets to populate each scene with the characters that were supposed to be in them.
After the high production values surrounding almost everything with Mass Effect 3, it is particularly strange that Omega feels like a very slap dashed approach at appeasing fans whom asked for a return to Omega with Aria, rather than a AAA games DLC. It pains me to say, , that Omega is best left under the forces of Cerberus. With a poor storyline, clear evidence of corner cutting, and set pieces and scenarios that we have all seen before, Omega never feels essential to Shepard’s story. Although not atrocious, Omega gives very little for the time (just under three hours) and money you will put into it; stick with the shorter but much more well rounded Leviathan DLC.