Mass Effect 3 Leviathan
Ah, Leviathan… Because the ME2 DLC Lair of the Shadow Broker apparently wasn’t just good, but also has a (deserved) good reputation, some ads tried to give the impression that Leviathan would basically be a “repeat” of the same great stuff, just for ME3. That’s not the case. Leviathan is no LotSB. That doesn’t make it bad, certainly not, but certainly less great.
This piece has an interesting beginning, by allowing the player to check out the environment a bit, instead of just being put on (too obvious) rails again (and I really liked the husk-head on the table! Almost like the playfulness of Dr. Kleiner‘s lab in HL²), but ends without a bang. It was over so fast and suddenly, that I literally had to go check the war terminal first, to find out what it was exactly, what I’d gotten as a result of the last scene. And it wasn’t because the Leviathan voice was sometimes hard to understand without subtitles.
I haven’t played the endgame again after finishing Leviathan, so I can’t say if it has any effect on e.g. cut scenes. Given the nature of the gained war assets and the lack of extra scenes for groups that were always in the game, I would doubt that. The possibility of maybe 1-2 extra lines of dialog weren’t enough to motivate me to go through all of it again.
I really don’t envy the folks over at BW, who still have to come up with more stuff for a story their own company has basically declared over many times. It’s just weird. It doesn’t have to be necessarily, but there is still something off. No one is gonna care anymore about war assets, especially since the requirement was lowered to 3100 and even “new” guns (previously available for people who had pre-ordered) aren’t gonna do any good, at least not without playing the game anew from the beginning. The situation seems bleak from several angles.
Without DLC relying heavily on the characters most people like… the most, it will be hard to make future DLCs intriguing. The parts of Leviathan that were very enjoyable to me, were remarks of characters like Liara who said to Shepard “What is it with you and saving scientists from mining planets?!? When you’ll team up with her to take down the Shadow Broker, I’ll be jealous. AND somewhat WORRIED!”. Such elements always were the good parts of ME to begin with. It’s not the so-called main story, which is painful to think about at this point. So this is probably the biggest problem of Leviathan, that they didn’t realize this and therefore still lingered around to explain elements no one wants to hear more about. It even failed at that actually. The DLC doesn’t reveal anything substantial “we” didn’t know about Reapers. If you don’t like the very idea of Midi-chlorians you don’t want to hear George Lucas explain them at even greater length. Why should any DLC, especially at this point, be anything but fanservice, is what I’m saying.
So I’m curious to learn if the next DLC will have Shepard (and thus the player) have a good time with the squad first and foremost or if next, they’ll start to explain stuff like Jacob’s background more and more (so people will have even more clarification on why he’s boring – the explanation on why he can’t join up, because he’s busy standing in the same spot in the hospital for the rest of the game, was… enough) or Shepard will have to walk many times through this security door on Normandy, that has Shepard stop for a few seconds every time (I’d be really surprised if they won’t make at least one more SP DLC, even if this one doesn’t sell, it’s ME3 after all – Dragon Age II got 2 DLCs…)… I’d much rather enjoy the little things. They didn’t get all the voice actors back (Joker and Specialist Traynor are prominently missing from the mix) and yet I was happy that they thought of adding these little remarks to all squad members they usually have when visiting them at their stations after a mission.
If I come to think of it, the Leviathan story wasn’t all that great. It opened up new questions it didn’t deal with. The Leviathan agenda stays kinda hidden. At one point they even say something along the lines that the solution works (!) which makes them sound as if they are really happy about what the Reapers are doing. It’s quite contradictory. Because they end up giving war assets regardless.
Also, they have the ability to indoctrinate. So once the Reapers are dealt with, what does that mean for their future? The Leviathan could end up being the next menace threatening the galaxy (Mass Effect: The Leviathan Menace?). They could be even worse, because they seem to be unpredictable in comparison. They have no static cycle to follow and the like. The ending slides don’t mention Leviathan AT ALL, so no one knows what they’ll be up to. It seems to be such an incredible thing to tack on and then just leave like this.
It’s never truly explained why they stayed inactive for all this time. They tried a bit, but it didn’t make sense. It sounded as if their knowledge could have lead to a successful construction of the crucible ages ago. It’s weird that one single, short and unimaginative speech from Shepard would convince them to act all of a sudden, when they didn’t for millions (!) of years… It would have been funny if the Leviathan just killed Shepard if he tried to ally with them, like trying to have some “special time” with Morinth did. Their ability of hiding successfully from the Reapers combined with the fact that the Reapers always vanished for 50.000 years like clockwork, put them in the perfect spot to raise an army and crush them upon their return. The Leviathan probably didn’t need 50.000 years to come up with the Catalyst AI. WTF? The Reapers never even evolved and had the same tech they did when they were brand new. Their superiority completely relied on them being many and attacking civilizations whose technologies didn’t pose that much of a threat (yet). That wouldn’t have worked against their own creators.
It’s also not dealt with, why Leviathan, who feared destruction of organic life through synthetics, create the synthetic (WTF?!?) AI to prevent this. And then of course exactly what they feared happened but it even is their own creation that murders most of them. They just say this incredible fact like it was a statement about the weather and move on, like it’s nothing… I was flabbergasted. Even super-small Cerberus had the sense to shackle their AI. How could people, who were already afraid of synthetics, build uncontrollable AIs?!?
When they kill a Reaper at the end, it was really really easy for them. This breaks this whole “Reapers can’t be fought conventionally” idea, that was forced down players’ throats for the whole game. Why not equip the fleet with the force the Leviathan have and kill all of them. It was a “one shot you’re dead”-weapon… I mean, come on…