Should you have reserved some of your free time for more Mass Effect 3, you'll probably be interested in reading these new previews for the upcoming single-player-focused (it still feel weird to write it considering the first two chapters of the franchise) DLC Leviathan.
BioWare is seeking to offer a challenge for fans with Leviathan, while at the same time having it scaled to how far along you are in the main campaign. For instance, taking on the Leviathan quest towards the end of the game will have the tougher enemies appear more, as opposed to taking on the mission early on where you fight basic Husks.
The Leviathan DLC also includes some new weapons for players to get their hands on. During the battle we had access to the new Turian sniper rifle with explosive ammo, and the Anti-Synthesis assault rifle that made quick work of the Husks. BioWare took the opportunity to show off more weapons from the Firefight DLC Pack, which adds seven new weapons for use in the single-player campaign. While a number of them are from pre-order bonuses -- and for the multiplayer mode -- they’ve been rebalanced for use in single-player and add a lot more variety to the crew’s arsenal.
This three-hour side story is set in the middle of ME3’s campaign — and will even affect the game’s ending, if you go on to finish the game after playing Leviathan. As this DLC opens, we learn that a Dr. Garrett Bryson and his team have been investigating rumors of the creature referenced in the title, which supposedly is powerful enough to destroy Reapers, making it a sort of “apex predator,” as associate producer Billy Buskell calls it. Naturally, your war asset–gathering crew would love to get ahold of such a mighty weapon, so you meet up with Bryson — just in time to witness one of his indoctrinated colleagues shoot him dead, ominously telling you: “Turn back…you can not breach the darkness.” It’s a cool scene, complete with a couple of Paragon/Renegade trigger prompts (including one to rough up the shooter while interrogating him!), and it definitely sets the tone for what lies ahead. Thankfully, EDI is able to recover some of Bryson’s data along with a message to Admiral Hackett, and soon you’re off to find the Reaper-killer.
After this intriguing opener, our demo jumped ahead to a long sequence on a rainy planet that’s basically a graveyard for wrecked spaceships. Cortez drops your party (Shepard, Garrus, and Vega in our demo) on the surface of what seems like a giant installation of some sort; it’s surrounded by a sea of lusciously rendered water, with the ruins of various starcraft visible in the distance. As you wander around, you pick up a datapad referring to organic, “cold” alien technology; “You’re probably not the first visitor here,” notes Buskell, moments before a firefight erupts. A huge firefight. Dozens of Husks, Cannibals, Marauders, and Brutes attack in several waves — a blistering example of what Buskell calls “some of the most difficult combat in [ME3].” Though we didn’t get to try this sequence for ourselves, it took three tries for the people (taking turns) playing to get through, and that was using smart tactics like flanking and ganging up on foes.
After exploring the Citadel for any additional information on the rumor, Shepard soon arrives at a mysterious planet, likely yet to be explored on the star map. In the off-hand demo shown at EA Redwood Shores, Shepard and his team (in this case, Garrus and Vega) had to navigate through the top of a metal frigate that almost looked like a deep ocean oil rig floating on the surface of the ocean, all while braving the high winds, torrential rain, and falling meteor fragments. Facing off against a horde of Reapers, they had to take cover behind the angular walkways framed by jutting metal surfaces, much like those on the outer shell of the Shadow Broker's ship in Mass Effect 2.
Eventually, the team realizes that they need to jump-start certain parts of the rig, which prompts Lieutenant Cortez to dig out some universal power cells that the team must carry and deploy. This soon allows Shepard to enter a specially designed Atlas Mech that can both shoot a barrage of missiles and survive deep water dives. I wasn't able to hear much coming out of the speakers about what happens next (they were slightly muted for a reason), but the next cut-scene had Shepard taking the Atlas down to the ocean floor before it faded to black.