So Long, Shepard: Mass Effect 3’s ‘Citadel’ DLC

Sayonara, everyone. At least, until the inevitable Mass-Effect-Not-4 cameos and '20 Years Later' reunion special.

There’s just something about goodbyes. Like, growing up, I had a pet parrot. She filled my youth with eardrum-skewering screams and will probably be able to take most of the credit for my first heart attack, which will come at age 29. Also, she’s going to outlive me. But, if she doesn’t, I’ll be a complete wreck when she finally closes her infernal, saliva-less beak, er, forever. Which is my way of saying the Mass Effect trilogy is kind of like an obnoxious cockatoo. Sure, it didn’t always do me right, but we grew together, and we had some magnificent times over the years. According to BioWare, Citadel is Shepard and co’s swan song. But hey, at least everyone (and apparently, BioWare really does mean everyone) is coming back for one last reunion tour.

Here’s how it’s all going down, straight from BioWare’s Earth-orbiting Bio-Lair:

“All good things must come to an end, and that includes the Commander Shepard trilogy. However, just because it is coming to an end, that doesn’t mean we can’t go out with a bang. Introducing the final Mass Effect 3 single-player DLC: Citadel.”

“When a sinister conspiracy targets Commander Shepard, you and your team must uncover the truth, through battles and intrigue that range from the glamour of the Citadel’s Wards to the top-secret Council Archives. Uncover the truth and fight alongside your squad – as well as the cast from the original Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2.”

Afterward, you’ll apparently be able to hang out on the Citadel and chat with your long-lost crewmates. There’s also casino minigames, a combat arena, and a fully furnish-able living quarters. The whole thing is apparently so large that the Xbox version will have to be split into two downloads. PC eats multi-gigabyte files for breakfast, though, so our machines will unhinge their snake-like jaws and consume it in one scrumptiously sentimental bite. It’ll be out on March 5th for $15.

I’m of two minds on this: on one hand, blah blah blah BioWare endings joke blah blah blah whatever. On the other, this is a company that knows fan service. More than anything, Mass Effect 3 understood just when to trot out yet another clammy skinned space BFF to warm the cockles of our hearts, to stirring effect. I imagine Citadel will have no shortage of similar moments. But, then again, do we really need to live, get loud, and spill some drinks on the Citadel [ultra-bro fist-bump] a second time? Prolonged goodbyes are one thing, but eventually, the tears dry up and it just gets awkward. I suppose we’ll see, though.

Meanwhile, if you’ve stuck with Mass Effect for its multiplayer (which, shockingly, isn’t a completely far-fetched idea), it’s also getting one final dollop of DLC in the form of Reckoning. It’s just more guns, baddies, and the like, but oh well. Going out with a whimper’s still better than wasting away in perfect silence. That’ll be out for free on February 26th.

So then, bye-bye, Mass Effect trilogy. Yours wasn’t always the best space cockatoo voodoo, but – in many ways – it defined giant swathes of our hobby. All-in-all, I enjoyed Shepard’s tale – even if it managed to sprout a few Krogan-sized warts along the way. I have no idea what form the next Mass Effect will take, but it’s got some pretty sizable moon boots to fill.


  1. kibayasu says:

    We never really got to spill some drinks on the Citadel the first time! Jacob had the right idea. Wrex and Garrus can come too. Even Wrex seems to be rocking the Krogan formal wear. A Wrexedo, if you will.

    War? What war?

  2. Surlywombat says:

    I reinstalled ME 3 about a week ago, intending to do a second play through.

    Yet I find myself playing the multiplayer far more than my new shepard. They have added a massive amount of classes and a fair amount of maps to the multiplayer. When it launched I quickly got tired of the maps, that may happen again but it really is a good blaster.

    I do just wish they hadn’t tied it to the galaxy at war, its EA after all. They will be turning it off eventually.

    • kibayasu says:

      They did patch it last year some time so that multiplayer is no longer required to get all the endings. So as bad as they may be considered, it won’t be blocked off if the multiplayer is ever turned off.

      • Teovald says:

        I played ME3 at launch in single player only. I edited a couple of mission rewards in order to get enough funds.
        It was a bit hackery and frustrating, but worked.

      • Naum says:

        Do you have any evidence for multiplayer having been required on launch? I’m pretty sure I had no trouble whatsoever getting the ‘best’ ending in singleplayer only by doing all the side quests, but my memory might be off…

        • Rumpel says:

          renegade ending gave you a few extra frames with effective strength at a level not reachable without multiplayer iirc. was it 5000? could be. with all the dlc thats no longer an issue anyway.

    • caddyB says:

      ME3 multiplayer was the biggest surprise about it . I really liked it, and only stopped playing because it was eating too much of my time.

    • Monkey says:

      I’ve got back into the mulitplayer too recently, and its very entertaining

      • Jesse L says:

        Yeah, what the hell do you mean ‘going out with a whimper’? This final multiplayer pack looks like it’s going to be one of, if not the, biggest and meatiest of their dlc packs. ‘It’s just more guns, baddies, and the like, but oh well.’ You were expecting…what? THAT’S WHAT THE MULTIPLAYER MODE IS.

    • Bhazor says:


      It’s one of the blandest third person shooters I’ve played in a while. The absolute best compliment I could give is that it is entirely functional.

      • Jesse L says:

        Well that’s just like, your opinion, man.

        No, it’s actually a very deep and rewarding game of skill, planning, friendship, and tactical know-how.

        Woo the last word is mine!

      • iPhap says:

        You’re just one big bag of vitriol, huh? Why do you even play games, Bhazor? They seem only capable of upsetting you.

  3. John Connor says:

    Woo, more stuff in the middle of a game I don’t want to replay that doesn’t effect the outcome in the slightest.

    Not interested.

    • Fyrus says:

      It’s a shame that so many gamers only play games to get to the end.

  4. int says:

    From one Sheep herder to another, I now wish to meet Adrian Shepard from OPfor again. He’s been in stasis since 1999!

  5. Risingson says:

    I don’t know what to say; either “duh” or “blergh”.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Good news! For the low price of £0.99 ($40, in the Colonies), you can use my patented exclamation “flargh“. It neatly encompasses precisely what you’re trying to say!

  6. yurusei says:

    “You get to shoot at passing cars with your good pal Garrus Valkarian while being SMASHING DRUNK.”

    If they added this , every gamer would’ve bought it right off the bat

  7. Shezo says:

    Shepard is already dead and buried under the citadel rubles.
    Adding this dlc is like adding some bits of adventure to someone necrologue, very exiting.

  8. kael13 says:

    So I quite enjoyed the Leviathan dlc (the only one I’ve played for this game) and might check this one out. The citadel has always been my favourite place.

    • Corporate Dog says:

      I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite quote about the Citadel being your favorite place… err, on the Citadel.

  9. Jamesworkshop says:

    hmm and i just uninstalled ME3 from my computer a week ago

  10. Corporate Dog says:

    There. Now I can download all the single-player DLC in one go, tack on the expanded ending, play through ME3 one last time, and enjoy a good, long gripe about the price of the GOTY edition being so much cheaper than what I paid for the original game + DLC.

  11. Yosharian says:

    Wow and I held back from my ‘who cares’ comment but I see I’m not the only one who feels that way! RIP Shepard.

  12. brulleks says:

    My Shepherd already had her swan song: a moment of curious experimentation when she turned round and shot the starchild, thus plunging the universe into a millenia-long war.

    It was a suitably ironic end for her, so going back now would only ruin it.

  13. maximiZe says:

    A game comprised of fan service gets more fan service. My condolences if you still are one.

    • goatmonkey says:

      I wish I was still a fan but between the ending and the complete change in tone after the first (and best) game I just feel apathy for something that would one have massively excited me.

    • Jesse L says:

      Thanks for the condolences, I really appreciate it. It helps a lot.

  14. Daarck says:

    ‘Like, growing up, I had a pet parrot.’ Had to stop there, I just didn’t like where the story was going.

  15. Riley Lungmus says:

    Man, I’m impressed to see so much negativity.

    Yeah, I get it. We’re all upset that Bioware couldn’t put a proper nail in the coffin and stuttered on the Eulogy. Twice.

    Doesn’t that mean you care?

    I love my Shepherd. She was one of the finest damn heroes I’ve ever met in a game. While ME3 wasn’t what I wanted, it’s the tragic outcome in her history.

    It’s easy to be inflamed that things don’t necessarily work out the way we like. Life’s similar, at least, and what is truly compelling storytelling if not a reflection of life? If anything, I wanted a Heroes ending. I wanted Shepherd to stumble back from the remains, triumphant and forever immortalized as the Galaxy’s single greatest hero. One who fought harder than anyone could have hoped to, and put her life and the lives of those whom she dearly loved on the line to save everyone.

    We don’t always get to triumph. Sometimes we’re left, bitter and bleeding — what feels like a world away from home and with no hope of ever coming back. Sometimes Heroes die heroically — sometimes that means they end in a crumpled whimper, with the only warmth emanating from knowing beyond any doubt that they did the best damned job they could.

    There’s a reason the Mass Effect series is still my favorite. Bioware crafted an Epic in the veins of the Iliad, or the Journey to the West. They created an admirable hero, and imbued them with your own personality. Their relationships affected those who let him or her in.

    Shepherd got to me, if only by the sheer virtue of their courage and bravery in the face of the End of Days.

    • Citrus says:

      “Bioware crafted an Epic in the veins of the Iliad, or the Journey to the West.”

      Wow, you must really hate Illiad or Journey to the West. Why? Tell us. Better yet, pick from three colours..

      • Brun says:

        I would argue that Mass Effect is more like the Odyssey or the Aeneid, since both of those epics focus on the journey of a single character. The Iliad, while it has its own protagonists, does not focus on a single one overwhelmingly, nor does it focus on a journey.

      • Riley Lungmus says:

        I’m not sure I understand the snark.

        The content is unimportant, I’m referring to epic poetry. Epic stories? Epics?

        Star Wars? Battlestar Galactica? Dr. Who? The Divine Comedy? The Bible? Lord of the Rings?

  16. realitysconcierge says:

    I think it would be interesting to see Bioware take the first two games and update the skills, graphics and combat systems to be consistent the whole way through. Maybe release it as a ME Platinum or something. It may be against the spirit of it all, but I would play it.

    • Koozer says:

      Jesus Christ, how could you possibly suggest ‘updating’ the first game to be like the third? Are trying to give me an aneurysm?

      • MSJ says:

        Is “aneurysm” what the kids call that feeling of “at last, prayer answered”?

      • Kadayi says:

        I’d actually go for the combat model of the third, with the conversation model of the first game. Way too much of the ‘conversations’ in ME3 are either dramatically pared back, or are simply ‘voice overs’ whilst you stand there in 3rd person like this one (*spoilers* skip to the 2 minute mark to see what I mean): –

        link to

        A far cry from the more cinematic conversations of the first game (where even the sub quests were face to face).

  17. Citrus says:

    Creating story based DLC after you have killed of the protagonist in one of the most retarded endings ever? Probably meant for BioWare fanboys.

    You can’t replay the previous games as well now because all the time you are thinking “WHAT IS THE POINT? THESE DECISIONS WON’T MATTER IN THE END.”. Nice jorb BioWare.

  18. Vinraith says:

    Sounds good. It’s always nice to have some new content to spice up a fresh playthrough. Now if I could just disable that damned boss fight…

  19. stevethehare says:

    In a weird way I’m kind of glad the last DLC is finally out. I’m looking forward to playing through ME3 once more with all the DLC added in, and then never touch it again. I love this game and I love the trilogy, but I’m happy to put it to rest (really really this time) and move on.

    • Kadayi says:

      Pretty much the same. Overall I was pretty disappointed with ME3. It didn’t live up to the promise of the first and second games. Bar a couple of emotional high points the writing was largely leaden, predictable and slightly mawkish in places (I cringed at the ‘let Garrus win’ moment) and the ending was a complete fiasco. The only saving grace for me really was I had an absolute blast with the Co-op with a bunch of fellow RPSrs.

      I’ve not touched it since release despite the updated ending as I figured I’d wait until all the DLC was out of the way and do a complete play through. I’m not keeping my hopes up that anything will have radically improved all that much (although I’m aware of a lot of the changes), but I think it’s certainly a series I’d like to put to bed. Quite surprised to hear that Bioware are working on an ME4 in truth. I’m not entirely sure how that’s really possible short of going down the prequel road, or through liberal use of the canonical ending which would rather annoy a lot of people no doubt.

  20. rulez says:

    That’s why DLC for single player games sucks. The story has concluded and I enjoyed it a lot including the ending (lol Internet). I cannot now just rewind a little and play some side quest on the Citadel again.

  21. Sordarias says:

    Good riddance, I say. I’m not usually one to hate the endings of games, being ambivalent about them or uncaring — if it’s particularly amazing, I’ll definitely regard it better, but it usually did not matter if it was crap, so long as the preceeding game was good — but good riddance to Shepard and all that Bioware wrought with ME3.

    I did not want, nor need, a mindless, corridor, hubless game series. I realize I’m not entitled to such, either, but it is still why I love the hell out of ME1 and — while regarding ME2 favorably — prefer ME1 wholly to 2 and 3. 1’s combat was awful. Planetary exploration was awful, but instead of removing it, how about improve it? But no, instead, shovel me through corridor gameplay, albeit enjoyable corridor gameplay, with some pretty decent hubworlds.

    I enjoyed Illum. I wanted to see WAY more of it. The Citadel, I wanted to walk around it all again, not be forced into a few levels of it. I wanted to see more of Omega than I did, as well as Tuchanka.

    Flotilla was fine, but it fell into the same problems — too small, too cramped, and I really didn’t get a good sense of it at all. It’s all trivial, and I liked 2, but it doesn’t hold the same feel as 1 does — though the music is excellent.

    Everything about 3 felt..felt wrong, to me, except for the combat. Combat and gameplay was good — addictive even. But the hubworlds were awful, limited, and regardless of ‘this is a war for the galaxy’, felt too restrictive. It wasn’t enjoyable for me, honestly, and I really do not care for realism in this type of thing. But that’s again, trivial. No, what really, honestly bothered me was the awful soundtrack, with no memorable pieces of music at all, despite having a decent composer at the helm, and the way all of my choices were handled. I have not, nor will ever buy any of the other DLC — Arrival, Omega, Leviathan — except for this one. I’ll buy it, because I want to see the Citadel one last time, without ME3’s arbitrary and idiotic constraints outside of combat, even if it’s only to glance at it at its’ fullest while shooting cerberus.

    Then, I think I’ll move on, keeping an eye on ME4 and DA3, but not planning on buying them day one or pre-ordering. Probably used, in the end. I hold no animosity towards Bioware or the employees, just disappointment. But hey, it’s just an opinion I hold. After Citadel, I’ll probably finish the game off by shooting the Star Child in the face, watch Fem Shep stand by and wait for the end, and then probably put my ME3 game into its’ case and put it up in the attic somewhere.

    • Kadayi says:

      Pretty much agreed. The combat in ME3 was the highlight of the game, but compared to the first it blew in terms of the environments, dialogue etc.

  22. MSJ says:

    Oh I am so giddy at this news. Sad to see it’s the last one, by then I remember more Mass Effect is in development.

  23. Xzi says:

    “the Commander Shepard trilogy.”

    ME4: Milking the Franchise is confirmed.

  24. Cleeyah says:

    Since the DLC will take place after the Cerberus coup on the Citadel there is one team member who we will not be able to hang out with: Thane. Somehow I doubt they’ll change the plot to make this happen.

    Which sucks, since he is my favourite companion. *le sigh*

    But hey, maybe I’ll get the chance to kick Jacob where it REALLY hurts….

  25. kshade says:

    I likely will not buy this. It’s too late now, and, honestly, after that ending I’m all mass effected out. At least about anything that takes place in Shepard’s time. Also I do not care for furnishing a virtual, ultimately doomed apartment, and returning from my finished save would just be weird.

    Hope 4 will be different. I couldn’t care less about the first contact wars time, and I don’t know about a game set in the future (depends on which ending will be canon I guess). I’d like to see a game set 30 years before the first triology with heavy Privateer/Elite influcences, personally. But that wouldn’t sell so it’s going to be just a straight-up FPS.