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Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC

If you were to list the possible candidates for DLC story lines for Mass Effect 3, Aria T'Loak's name would crop up almost immediately.

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The self-proclaimed ruler of Omega formed an integral part of Mass Effect 2's opening hours, running the rank underbelly of the station's criminal elements with all the straight-forward flair of a mob boss. You made some seedy decisions to help with her cause in the belief she's help you with yours.

Somewhere between sequel and trilogy finisher she was ousted from her throne and fled to the Citadel, where you encountered her languishing - with her usual cool detachment - in the station's Purgatory Bar. She swore revenge to reclaim her kingdom. You believed her. That no clear resolution come the end credits, in a game full of definite character conclusions suggested there was more to come.

Hence this. The Omega DLC pack, wherein you join up with the Asari to take back Omega from Cerberus takeover.

We went hands-on with a ten minute preview version of the DLC - starting with our arrival on Omega (though not confirmed, the station likely appears as new waypoint on the galaxy map) then automatically fading to black after one of the bloodiest, and goriest, cut scenes in the series.

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Mass Effect 3

It's a conclusion that follows a massive rout against Cerberus forces, as you arrive by a bridge fortified by attack squads and Atlas mechs. The courtyard offers little in the way of defensible areas, forcing you to continually sweep around cover points as waves of enemies storm in from all sides.

Its endemic of the section we played - Omega's not going to be retaken easily. But this time Aria's pulling the trigger rather than the strings, joining you on the field. She's got a biotic-heavy load-out, but can be customised to suit your style upon joining your party.

Chatter's kept to a minimum, but what we do see suggests witnessing a different side to T'loak. Not warmness - you're still very much a pawn in her eyes - but a softening of her steely exterior, even a glimmer of uncertainty, when you both encounter the third wheel in your makeshift team: Nyreen Kandros, a female Turian.

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Nyreen is cloaked and painted in a fashion that echoes your old shipmate Kasmui, and while there's few words passed between the two on surprise encounter, facial expressions and body language speak volumes.

She and Aria whave a love/hate relationship, and have "very similar goals but very different methods", according to the developer - with you stuck between the two trying to make a choice. While certain elements of your past interactions with Aria will inform your standing with her here, the vast majority of choices that impact you and her will be formed during the events of the DLC.

While we need little excuse to run through the game's combat system, it's by rote now. And from what we've seen so far, it's hard to gauge how much more there is to the DLC past some tough clashes.

Mass Effect 3

We'll come back here when the DLC releases at the end of the month (Tuesday 27th) to see the layers of one of Mass Effect's more interesting characters gradually peeled back - something only touched on in tie-in comics and novels.

The demo build was about 90% combat to 10% talk, and there's no suggestion yet whether Omega will become a mini-hub past the mission's conclusion.

The developer's confirmed we'll be revisiting the likes of the Gozu District and Afterlife, but we'll also be seeing new areas like the station's underground, that we see a sampling of during our time with the game - all pipes and dingy corridors (if Omega couldn't get any more seedier).

But given that the DLC pack is the biggest DLC for the game, according to its creators ("around four hours of gameplay"), and weighs in at 1200MP/around a tenner, there's some hope that Omega will remain open for visitors come future DLC plans.

With the imminent release of the Mass Effect Trilogy collection, we've asked the team to look back at the series and recount their impressions of Bioware's franchise over the years.

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