DLC review: Mass Effect 3 - From Ashes

From Ashes sees Commander Shepard and company return to Eden Prime, the colony that the Geth hit first during their campaign in the original Mass Effect. Cerberus forces have apparently uncovered more Prothean artifacts, and knowing the gravity that Shepard’s contact with the first Prothean beacon had, Liara believes this new discovery could be just as important. As Liara has devoted much of her life studying the Protheans, she volunteers to go planetside with Shepard, along with whichever third party member you select. There is a bit of dialogue shared by the third party member, but the majority of the exchanges are made between Shepard and Liara due to their history with Prothean culture and technology.

Once the trio has landed, they discover that Cerberus’ discovery was not one of a Prothean artifact, but instead one of an actual living Prothean. As the Prothean is still sealed inside his stasis pod, Liara instructs Shepard that they must locate certain frequencies from nearby terminals to ensure that the pod opens properly and does not jeopardize the Prothean’s health and safety in the process. There are only a handful of Cerberus troops stationed at the excavation site, and as a result the fight to locate said terminals is not particularly difficult, nor is it the most interesting aspect of the experience. In fact, the real meat of this DLC lies in scripted cutscenes that detail the memories of the stasis-bound Prothean. Only Shepard is able to see them via the terminals, while everyone else sees static, an apparent side effect of his/her contact with the Prothean beacon in the first game.

Once the Prothean – named Javik – is revived, Shepard informs him that he is the only living Prothean in the universe, a matter which Javik already expected would be truth. Instead of spending time in shock or grieving his fallen comrades, Javik almost immediately swears his allegiance to Commander Shepard’s cause of seeking out a means to destroying the Reapers. Javik is highly skeptical of the Commander’s odds of success, and frequently informs him of how horribly the Protheans lost to the Reapers – how the Reapers divided their people, turned some of them on one another and slowly slaughtered the rest. But he also realizes that Shepard’s actions in rallying the fleets of the Citadel species places his strategy ahead of the Protheans’ own. In battle, he controls as a typical soldier class, as his default weapons are an assault rifle and a pistol. He is capable of utilizing the unique power Dark Channel, a damaging biotic attack, as well as Slam, Pull, and Lift Grenade. He also adds unique dialogue in both main missions and side missions, further relaying information on the Reapers, Protheans, and long-extinct cultures of a previous galactic cycle.

My rating: 7 (out of 10)*

*(rating applies solely to downloadable content, not its inclusion with the content on the original game disc or other downloadable content)

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