It is difficult to ignore the media furore that has surrounded Mass Effect 3 since it hit the shelves this year. With the ending being collectively shat on, GAME not standing by their subscriptions (at least for the UK) and anti-gay activists hitting out at EA for gay relationships in both the Old Republic and Mass Effect (Christian conservatives whom are probably voting for Mr Mitt Romney- irony at its best). Perhaps less dividing than all of these was the concurrent release of the From Ashes DLC on the day of release which begged the question; why on earth was this not released with the game instead of adding to the price of the standard package that was on offer?
From Ashes follows in the same path as the DLC with Zaeed and Kasumi in Mass Effect 2, with a message popping up in your private terminal explaining that something has been found on a planet that may be of interest to the team, in this case it is a Prothean whom did not suffer the fate of the ones on Illos (those unfamiliar with Mass Effect 1- mad AI killed them all). You take on Cerberus on to make sure that the pod is safe and sound and release our man Javik, a Prothean military man whom has been in stasis for 50,000 years. Now if I had had confirmation that the whole of my race had been destroyed and the beings that had just woken me from stasis were at the bottom of the cultural food chain at the time my planet was being destroyed, I would be somewhat miffed and perhaps slightly exasperated. Javik here acts like a drunk for a short time and agrees that Commander Shepard isn’t that bad a guy and helps him against the Reapers.
If it feels that my ‘fleshing’ out of the DLC is a bit whimsical then please post all complaints to Bioware. I, among others, adore the Mass Effect universe but this DLC does not even hold a candle to the Shadow Broker DLC with Liara in the previous game. Very little is made of the fact that you now have a 50,000 old alien from a long dead race as a member of your team, and there is only passing reference from any of the other characters that this is in anyway strange. Other than some nice cutscenes to give more credence to the warped vision Shepard was able to see in the first game, Javik adds little to the Mass Effect universe other than the nostalgia kick of heading back to Eden Prime for one last mission. There are no groundbreaking conversations that are had with him with Shepard unable to actually start a conversation with him, rather dialogues is shouted at you until you get bored of listening.
Javik himself is a rather bland character whom offers none of the witty dialogue associated with the likes of Garrus and even EDI (when an unshackled AI is more amusing than an alien that the whole backstory of the game trilogy is built on than you are perhaps doing something wrong). Nothing is added to the DLC other than perhaps an hour of game time and extra dialogue which is either commenting on the mission needing to be done or stating the flipping obvious.
Would I recommend it? Well for pure completionists and Mass Effect afficendos… no. If you have some extra money lying about and you really cant stay away from Mass Effect 3 than by all means buy it but, simply put, having Mr Javik stay in his sleeping pod for another 50,000 years will make very little difference to your gaming experience.