It's a shame that the finality of Mass Effect 3's ending has made the DLC feel weirdly pointless, but the stand-alone setup of Omega makes the futility easier to forget. Returning to Omega - one of Mass Effect's most iconic locations - this expansion sees you trying to help Aria T'loak reclaim her hive of scum and villainy from a bolshy Cerberus commander.
The entire adventure takes just over three hours, which feels a little short for 1200MP - but the quality makes up for the lack of quantity. The production values in Omega are superb, and easily on par with the full game. The few characters you'll meet are well fleshed-out, and the areas you'll travel through are fresh and very detailed.
Bioware has clearly poured a lot of time into the environments, and in this case the pay-off is worth it. Locations you'll remember from the first Mass Effect game make an appearance, but it's the new stuff that brings Omega to life. Fighting through the underbelly of the asteroid adds a new sense of context, and the art direction and sense of scale are both fantastic.
In many senses Omega feels like a return to form. Mass Effect 3's blinkered focus on the Reaper invasion was a big change from the nature of the first two games, in which the stories you unearthed on each new planet felt more self-contained. The outcome is still loosely tied in to the story of your struggle against the Reapers, but Omega is generally a welcome break from the themes of the main game. As much as we love the Illusive Man, it's nice to see someone new in the spotlight.
If you've already completed Mass Effect 3 then going back to play more can feel a bit weird, but the fact that you're taking on an entirely new villain without the help of the Normandy crew makes it easier to enjoy Omega on its own merits. It's a bit like rewatching an episode of Star Trek.
Completing Omega gives you two new biotic abilities to unlock on the Normandy after you're done. The Lash ability pulls foes towards you with tremendous strength, whilst Flare causes a psychic explosion that's huge and purple and fantastic fun. You'll also find new upgrades for each of the game's weapon types, including a heat-sensor scope for sniper rifles and an omni-blade attachment for shotgun bayonet fun.
A handful of new guns pop up, too, but it wasn't collectable fluff like this that made Mass Effect great. Back when the combat was entirely dire, we loved BioWare's game for the stories - the almost episodic chunks of mystery and adventure. Omega's contained plot and strong sense of place gives it the air of a comforting throwback. It's a reminder of the time when the Mass Effect universe was a place to be savoured and explored, rather than fought over.
The asking price is a little too steep, but long-term Mass Effect fans will appreciate this return visit. Small-scale stories are what Bioware does best, and we're hoping we'll see more stuff like Omega in the next Mass Effect game.
A rather expensive return to form
- Top-notch production values
- Seeing the rest of Omega is ace
- Nice to have a break from the Reapers
- Digs up Mass Effect nostalgia
- Ten quid is a bit much