Mass Effect 3’s Omega DLC Kicks Ass

Omega's city skyline in Mass Effect 3

The dawn of a new year emphasizes reflecting on recent events and resolving for a better future. So, I’m kicking off 2022 by gushing about a nearly decade-old piece of downloadable content! Seems appropriate.

I’ve been replaying the Mass Effect games via 2021’s Legendary Edition remaster. I last played them as a young teen a decade ago, so it’s been enjoyable revisiting the interconnected sci-fi stories from an adult perspective. And since the Legendary Edition also includes most of the series’ downloadable content (DLC), I’m also catching up on what I missed.

From 2008-2013 — arguably DLC’s heyday — BioWare released over a dozen Mass Effect side-stories via DLC. But, as is typical of DLC, the quality varies. Many offerings are entirely forgettable, while others, such as the critically-panned Pinnacle Station (2009), aren’t even included in Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

Thankfully, Mass Effect 3’s Omega DLC (2012) doesn’t fall into either of those categories. This roughly four-hour action-packed romp has you liberating the ungoverned, debauched city of Omega from terrorist occupation. To do so, you’ll team up alongside the ruthless Asari crimelord Aria T’Loak (voiced by The Matrix’s Carrie-Anne Moss) and a mysterious Turian.

Aria attacking a Cerberus soldier in Mass Effect 3

In many ways, Omega doubles down on the series’ transformation from RPG to action game: It’s light on story, and — aside from brief reprieves in a hub area — the action hardly lets up. As a series, Mass Effect has always married story with gameplay, so this imbalance might annoy die-hard fans. But for me, the DLC is a faithful exploration of what Omega is: Chaotic, relentless, and unpredictable.

The threadbare story lures you through various channels of Omega’s towering cityscape, and each distinctive area is mesmerizing. Unlike the bulk of Mass Effect’s idyllic, sleek sci-fi spaces, Omega is oppressive and industrial. As a makeshift city carved into an asteroid, its bulky steel beams and vertical structures bask in a seemingly perpetual dark, reddish haze. You’ll navigate cramped maintenance tunnels, dimly-lit courtyards, and formidable mining facilities — each teeming with depth and detail. As far as I’m concerned, Omega features the best environments of any Bioware game, bar none.

A courtyard in Mass Effect 3's city of Omega

A mining complex in Mass Effect 3's city of Omega

Omega’s buffet of action gameplay is also highly enjoyable. At a third through Mass Effect 3’s main story, I was already feeling burnt-out on fighting Cerberus soldiers, but Omega somehow managed to make it fun again. Perhaps that’s not surprising: Omega’s combat encounters are varied and dynamic, and the DLC throws plenty of new weaponry and upgrades your way.

Maybe my love for Omega stems from when I played it. Before starting it up, I was trudging through Mass Effect 3’s main story as a reluctant space diplomat. A jolt of action gameplay may have been the perfect reminder that Mass Effect is indeed fun.

Regardless of the context, I really enjoyed Omega. Whether you’re playing the series for the first time or revisiting it, I recommend checking it out. Just know that in Omega, your mass effect fields will be powering more gunfire than spacefaring.

All images sourced from Mass Effect Wiki.

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