Mass Effect 3: From Ashes

" To charge $10 for this is absurd, considering that there are great DLC packs for Bethesda titles with ten times as much content for the same price."

While the concept of day-one DLC for games is a subject that brings out ire in many folks, I'm not one of them. Top-tier titles have incredibly long development cycles, and during the final QA stages, the folks who create content are doing what they do best – creating content. So it's not the fact that From Ashes was made available on the same day as its parent game that bothers me; that it's less than an hour long, uninteresting, and overpriced bothers me. What you're buying is more a content pack than anything else – a new partner, a new gun, and a new set of skins for your characters. Ultimately, it's for the most hardcore of fans only, and even then it's not a very good deal.

So, what exactly is it you're going to get for your $10 entry fee? You get a single away mission, which takes about half an hour to fully complete. It sends Shepard back to the starting point for this entire mess – Eden Prime – and you find yourself face-to-face with Prothean history again. Javik is an interesting character and squadmate, and the brief glimpse into Prothean history is at least a little bit insightful. He doesn't have a great deal of dialogue, though, and most of it is learning about the Protheans once you get him back to the Normandy. Beyond this small snippet of story, the rest of this mission is completely subpar. Fight through waves of the same Cerberus enemies you find in the rest of the game, collect some data to help the colonists on Eden Prime, go home.

There's nothing of note on Eden Prime – you spend the entire DLC in an area that's half the size of most of the other away missions and it's all standard Alliance fare. While there are flashbacks to Protheans fighting the Reapers, these sequences are (unfortunately) non-playable. Had BioWare included Javik's last fight as a combat scenario, maybe this DLC would have been worth its asking price. Without it, this is as generic as the away missions in the original Mass Effect.

In the end, this DLC gives access to Javik as a squadmate, as well as access to his beam rifle, which is a fun weapon to play around with. Aside from that, you're looking at a new skin for each character... and you're done. It's the kind of content pack you might see as a pack-in for buying the game new or as a $5 add-on. To charge $10 for this is absurd, considering that there are great DLC packs for Bethesda titles with ten times as much content for the same price. If you're an absolutely dyed-in-the-wool Mass Effect fan and just have to have a Prothean on your side, snag this DLC. Just know what you're getting for your money, because it's certainly not much.

© 2012 Electronic Arts, BioWare. All rights reserved.

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