Citadel DLC: You are Perfect

Non Spoiler Rant

I have to rant a bit before I begin. I HATE the idea of DLC. I understand it for multiplayer. There are servers to maintain after all. But if it’s part of the campaign I feel it the content included in the price of the game. Maybe locked, so you have to get certain achievements to get it. And maybe give people the option to pay for it if they don’t want to invest the time in earning the content.

I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my least favorite business model on the Citadel.

I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my least favorite business model on the Citadel.

I’ve avoided DLC for this reason. It’s not a model I want to support. And then Mass Effect happened. Suddenly, here is a world I care about. One that I want to explore every corner of. And I can’t, unless I give EA my money.

So I did. I also gave EA money so I could get an online pass (I bought the game used) so I could get my readiness rating up. Another business model I don’t want to support. Now that I’m playing through my second time of the series, I’m likely to give them even more money to get missions I decided not to buy in my first play through. If you have suggestions on what I should buy for this trilogy, and what I should just watch the YouTube videos for, please let me know.

Now, onto the Citadel DLC specifically. Obviously, spoilers below….

With my aforementioned hate of the DLC model, paying roughly $15 (seriously Microsoft, can we stop using the stupid points already) on DLC was painful. But, completely and totally worth it. This was fan service at it’s absolute finest.

You start by going to Anderson’s apartment, which he’s giving to you. Makes sense, he is Shepard’s father figure after all. Scattered around the place are recordings of him being interviewed for a biography. You hear about his childhood, getting the Normandy, and his thoughts on Shepard. In my head cannon, he left these things scattered on purpose knowing he’d be passing the apartment on. It’s his way of telling Shepard he’s proud of her.

You eventually get a message from Joker asking you to meet him at the Sushi bar. Turns out he thinks you invited him. A nervous alliance agent, Brooks, runs up to you and tells you someone has a hit out. At which point everything goes to hell. Can’t a girl just have a nice dinner? You tell Joker to run. Seems Joker is a bit less argumentative about being told to leave after the SR-1 incident.

At the end of the battle you end up going through the fish tank floor of the restaurant. You have Brooks on the radio and she phones C-Sec and tells you to stay off the radio since it’s likely compromised. Well Kaidan (or your love interest I assume) chirps in and asks if you’re OK and says he’s on his way. Then in pops Garrus (maybe this is the squadmate you took on most missions) pops in on the radio saying he’s bringing everyone.

Hearing Kaidan and Garrus saying they’re on their way was the first big stupid grin I got from this DLC. Nothing like hearing your boyfriend and your best friend saying they’ve got your back. Brooks is annoyed everyone’s on the radio because she thinks Shepard’s location is at risk. At this point, I’m getting suspicious. I’m getting fired at and firing on mercs all over the place. I’m pretty sure they know where I am. I brush it off as Brooks’ inexperience as a field agent.

Shepard finally gets down to the car lot, and there’s Kaidan waiting for her holding off some mercs. Making some comment about a “rough day.” He also makes some comment about Shepard’s outfit, which seems out-of-place because I’m still in my default outfit. Damn, I know I should’ve changed before heading to the fancy sushi place. But I’m Commander-effing-Shepard, I don’t have to be fancy. There’s a door to get through and Shepard raises her gun to fire at it, and Kaidan politely asks the Volus employee to unlock the door. And walks away smugly when it works. Is everyone’s love interest this cocky? (Kinda like it. Kinda reminds me of my husband.)

The C-Sec car shows up and surprise! More mercs. Ok, this Brooks chick is on my radar now. In comes Wrex to help out. Finally Joker shows up, Brooks in tow, and we head back to the apartment. Big surprise, Brooks says not to contact Bailey, too much risk. Shepard flirts with Kaidan, and one of the more heart wrenching lines: “Shep: What would I do without you? Kaidan: You’ll never find out.”  Joker teases about being bait. Shepard does not live down going through the floor of the sushi place the entire DLC. It’s kind of heartwarming. The crew is comfortable enough to give their commanding officer a hard time.  While you’re chatting Liara finds some leads and you’re off to a charity event to investigate. It’s a black tie event, so time to get dressed up.

Sidebar: This dress is freaking awful. Kaidan looks great in a black version of his dress blues, but Shepard has this awful, unflattering leather dress. Seriously, Shepard is athletic. Get her a halter neck dress with an A-Line skirt. Which planet does a girl have to save to get a decent dress? Also, why does it sound like I’m wearing combat boots when I’m in heels?

There’s some cheesy dialog as you enter the casino, and you mingle and help brooks as she needs it. Also, as it turns out, Kaidan can also not dance so watching the two of them was a bit painful. You send Kaidan to distract guards, the “you’d make an excellent Spectre” line cracks me up. Get to the guy who you’re looking for, and he’s dead. Seeing as how I seriously doubt the Shadow Broker’s network was compromised, and Brooks was there first.. I don’t trust this girl. Back to the apartment to formulate a plan, and get Vega a pizza.

Turns out you need to go to the archives, and run into a clone Shepard leftover from Cerberus. Well, this was unexpected. Seriously Miranda, you couldn’t have mentioned something like this? CloneShep is going to steal the Normandy. Joker is going to be pissed. Chase down the clone time. This was the second time I got a big stupid grin on my face. I can’t remember exact quotes, but the crew has all these funny quips from the series. You walk in and Kaidan says “Woah, big place” (ala on the Citadel in ME1). Things like that. Poor Glyph gets confused because he think CloneShep is RealShep. You’re teams all called Team Mako and Team Hammerhead and argue about which is better. You end up trapped once you get to the clone, and surprise, Brooks was in on it. You end up sealed in a vault and its the third stupid grin I get. CloneShep says “I should go” and RealShep spends some time debating if she really sounds like that.  It’s these little things that make Citadel perfect.

Nothing really stands out in getting the Normandy back in my mind, other than using Traynor’s fancy toothbrush. After you get the Normandy back, it’s time for shore leave to truly begin. You get to have some of your crew up at the apartment for some one on one  time, or you can go see them out on the strip.

  • Kaidan comes over to make dinner (sigh, he cooks too), and to break in the apartment.

  • Tali comes over to watch “Fleet and Flotilla,” about a Turian-Quarian romance, go figure. MaleSheps, does she watch this with you too? Seems like it’d be odd to do so.

  • James comes over to workout and show off his N7 tattoo.

  • James and Cortez come over to watch the game, and bet if Shepard will choose the winner.

  • Garrus is at the bar, and you get to play wingman.

  • Treynor is gaming, and you urge her to win. As well as playing a game with Jacob.

  • Hit the town with Miranda, and decide you’re both Troubleshooting Space Divas (which might be what my next set of business cards have to say).

  • Hold a memorial for Thane.

Then, it’s party time. Just good conversation all around. Talks about events from throughout the game. Flirting. Competitions. More awkward dancing (your entire crew can’t dance). A group photo (that I so desperately want to buy, take my money Bioware!) It meant a lot to me to get to see Shepard enjoying the galaxy she’s trying so desperately to save. Just a few minutes of normal.

The next morning, you make sure everyone is doing OK. And find a datapad on the floor. Seems Mordin is going to make an appearance after all! He knew he’d not survive curing the genophage. Once again, Mordin shows why he’s my favorite character. He sings. He makes a Neuromancer joke “Omega, the sky was the color of a cam turned to a dead Vorcha.” His goodbye was as perfect as his character.

This wouldn’t be BioWare without some sort of bittersweet end. And we get it when heading back to the Normandy. Shepard is by herself, and the crew appears. She has a final conversation with Kaidan. But this isn’t Shepard and her love interest anymore. It’s the developers. Its the team who have spent the last likely the last decade (at least a decade) dedicated to this game. To creating this universe we all love so much. “The greatest challenge of my life, and its greatest reward.” I teared up. I want to feel that way about a project. I want to feel like that. I want to be a part of something that big.

Citadel DLC, you are the perfect closing to this series. Never change.

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