I had high hopes for this DLC which is rare because I usually tend to have low expectations for most everything so I don't end up too dissapointed when it inevitably sucks, so I was thrilled that not only did I actually enjoy this DLC but it was even better than I had imagined it could be.
Highlights from the main mission for me were getting the actual apartment from Anderson, it's friggin huge and later in the DLC you find out just why it needed to be so big, I literally spent around a half hour walking around the apartment checking it out along with Anderson's audio logs. Another great feature was how they factored your decisions into the way the characters appeared and interacted with you. For instance your love interest shows up by themselves at one point to assist you (I had Kaidan of course and he got a really sweet cutscene where we finally got to see him using his biotics, it was pretty badass). There was also a moment where I was choosing squaddies and the ones I didn't pick complained about never being brought along (for me it was Tali though I don't know if that's entirely accurate since I thought I used her more than James) still it apparently picks the one you used the least in the game to make that funny comment.
As for the big twist in the main story (Shepard having an evil clone and Brooks turning out to be an enemy) a lot of people are kind of upset because it's sort of a sci-fi trope, and while that's true I really didn't mind at all. I actually had sort of a funny personal reaction to the whole thing because there's a part where the clone turned to Kaidan and said something to the effect of "I would have picked the other one on Virmire, Ashley something." Now as someone who plays a gay Shepard I sometimes get hate mail from people who tell me I'm playing the game wrong and they say this exact kind of thing so I was sort of viewing the clone as basically a representation of all these assholes who assert that their Shepard's are somehow more legitimate than my own. It was just something that gave me a lot of laughs while playing because it felt like an opportunity to finally shut down the haters. As for Brooks turning on us I was actually really dissapointed because I had started to like her character a lot. She was really endearing with how rookie-ish she was about everything and to find out it was all an act was a let down but at the same time it just made her seem like an even more worthy villain. By the end of the boss fight with clone Shepard you realize it's really her who's pulling all the strings and orchestrating the entire plot against you. Clone Shepard is just an unfortunate pawn. So when you're forced to make a final decision to either save or kill clone Shepard (he dies either way) I had relented and actually felt bad for the guy. Seeing him die was surprisingly sad.
Other highlights included getting to have Wrex back as a playable character. He charges right into battle melee-ing opponents unlike most squaddies so it was great watching him in action. I also loved getting to bring whoever you want along for the casino portion of the mission, seeing your squaddies/LI dress up all fancy was pretty awesome and I'd always wanted them to include a mission where it would just be you and your LI together. There are also character appearances from past games in that section (Shaiira the consort among them). Hands down the best moment of this mission though was when Traynor's toothbrush saved the Normandy, I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time. Unfortunately the actual mission is not terribly long so I'd reccomend playing on a higher difficulty and really taking your time the first play through to get the most enjoyment out of the experience.
Now what comes after the main mission kinda took me kinda by surprise, you are given the opportunity to actually explore a new area of the citadel wards and plan to throw a party for all of your squadmates in your new pad. Now some people may think this is lame because it doesn't fit into the serious context of the rest of the game and that is a totally valid reason. After all millions of people are out there dying while you're having fun but the reason I didn't really mind so much is because they tell you the Normandy is drydocked for repairs, now if Shepard and crew happen to be on the citadel while this is going on there's really not much you can do about the war at that particular time. Plus you have to consider that they've now been fighting reapers for months and this one night is kind of their last chance to spend quality time together before going off to possibly die on the final assault so it makes sense to me that they'd want to enjoy it.
While out gathering party supplies you can interact with all of the characters from ME3 and past games. Some are found randomly on the strip and others have to be invited individually to your apartment via a console. The scenes are all hilarious and touching and each one really serves as a way to say one final goodbye to a particular character. There are also fun mini games to play in the arcade and casino area as well as a fully decked out combat arena with side missions for you to complete. A real highlight of that arena is that you can use your squad mates from ME2. I've already spent a few hours in there trying out different builds and character combos. Been using Kaidan and Miranda mostly since having two sentinels along with my own biotics is insane (though it is still quite challenging against super elite enemies).
The party itself for me was the real highlight of this DLC , it basically plays out in three stages and you can make a choice at each stage to liven things up or keep it quiet, that along with the option to invite particular squad mates to the event results in a huge level of re playability. I've already played it around five times and each time had new dialogue/ scenes. The comedy here is definitely the best in the entire series too, some of the funniest moments I thought were Grunt and Tali's individual scenes where they got wasted and passed out in bathrooms around the apartment. Kasumi also kept cloaking in and out of cover at hilarious moments. There is also a part where Jack and Miranda sit down at a bar and talk things out, it was some of the funniest dialogue I've ever heard. My one complaint about this party and actually in general is that they give you this big ass hottub in your apartment and nobody ever uses it! (well except for traynor during her individual meeting but it's not really a big deal). It would have been great to see them end up in there at some point or at least be able to invite your LI into it, kinda like how you could invite someone up to your cabin in ME2. Once the party is over your big ass apartment feels really empty and this feature would have been great. Plus Kaidan's romance scene was a little too tame and short for my liking.
Lastly, the scene after the party with Shepard and crew looking out at the Normandy was for me the most moving scene in the entire trilogy as it was the final shot of everything we love about these games and having Kaidan offer a final note of encouragement to Shepard was just what I needed to see in order to feel like I can move on to another Mass Effect title in the future. I'm still upset that the actual ending to my game ends with Shepard in a pile of rubble without a rescue scene intact but the dialogue between Kaidan and Shepard at the end just reinforced the idea that they would find each other when it was all over so I was happy about that, Jack's romance scene actually had a bit that specifically mentions the pile of rubble (foreshadowing) and how she would actually pull him out of that pile. I feel like Bioware sees synthesis as the best ending but putting this kind of dialogue into the DLC seems like a compromise with those of us who prefer destroy and needed more hope that Shepard lives on in that ending.
So all in all I'm really sad that it's over, this game has been a big part of my life this past year but at least I'm sad because of the fact that this DLC reminded me just how amazing these characters were and how much I'm going to miss them rather than being sad over the ending not feeling like a fitting conclusion to the story (which was the case for me a year ago). The citadel DLC practically feels like an epilogue more than a mid-game mission but this doesn't really bother me as much since that's exactly what I wanted, this DLC may not be everyone's cup of tea but if you're a fan of these characters and have been with them since the beginning you will not regret this purchase.
There is however one major issue with the game still at this point that really needs to be fixed, the last patch to the game introduced major glitches during key scenes that revolve around your Love interest, so far I've heard of it affecting scenes with Liara, Kaidan, Ashley, Garrus, and Steve and they are happening on all console sytems it would seem. Horrible animation issues like heads spinning around 180 degrees at the party photo op as well as previously working scenes now glitched to high hell with eyes rolling back and forth and dialogue not matching mouth movements. For me this has rendered the pre-illusive man's base romance scene completely unwatchable. The issue is that Bioware has said there will be no additional patches to the game from here on out, this is not ok as we all payed for a product and having our most cherished content left in a broken state because Bioware failed to adequately playtest is not ok. If you have a moment please leave a comment on this thread on the BSN advocating one final patch to fix these recent glitches. The more attention we can bring to this issue the better. I would greatly appreciate it as I"m sure we all want to be able to replay these games in the future and not have the immersion completely ruined. I posted some pics there so you can see just how horrible these glitches really are.social.bioware.com/forum/1/top…