The Leviathans in Mass Effect 3 could have been the ultimate plot twist if they hadn’t been shoehorned in at the end of a piece of DLC. Think about it as if the game were a movie.
The Hero is well on the way to defeating the Big Baddy, but finds out there’s a weapon that can help. The trail is shrouded in mystery, people are missing decades worth of memory, and mysterious threatening messages are being sent from them through people.
The Hero finally tracks them down to a water world that’s littered with shipwrecks and everything is pointing to the bottom of the ocean. The Hero gets down there and finds out that they were the original Big Baddy and they almost got wiped out by their creation. What was their creation? The enemy The Hero is fighting now.
So, after they almost get wiped out, the “last 3” decide to just chill at the bottom of the ocean and wait it out. Eventually The Hero convinces them to get back and in the fight, and what do they do first? Make Reaper creations turn on themselves and make a full blown Reaper nosedive into the ocean and kill itself.
Now, if you’re making this movie, what would you do with this super powerful new “ally”? Remember, they are the ones who created the enemies that The Hero is fighting now. Are you just gonna let them chill and not mention them again? Most people would say “definitely not”. This is obviously a super important character with major backstory.
What are their motivations for getting back in the fight? How were they wiped out if they’re so powerful? Are we sure they weren’t involved at all? Will they stay allies? Will they disappear again? Will they be allies in the first place? So many questions, right? Guess how many were answered in Mass Effect 3. None.
You recruit these super powerful enemies who literally made a Reaper commit suicide and nothing happens. I mean, to be fair they do give a slight boost to the readiness rating, but that’s it. You get a codex entry and they’re never spoken of again. That is such a waste. I’m still so upset about this.
It would have been such a game changer if they hadn’t been DLC but were in the original game. You could have been doing these missions looking for Leviathan in between doing everything else.
You have the genophage, the Quarians and Geth, Cerberus on your ass, and in the back of your head you’re still worried about Leviathan. What is this Leviathan? Is it a weapon like the Crucible? Is it part of the Catalyst? Will it help? Why is it so important? It wouldn’t have to be one block, but sectioned off between other bits of the game.
The first time you hit the Citadel after Mars, one of you stops could be to the Doctor to talk about Leviathan. That’s when shit kicks off and you realize “holy hell, I have a big thing on my hands.” You get sidetracked again by Menae and Tunchanka and Cerberus, but a few more mission about Leviathan pop up.
Just every now and then after you do something big, a few more Leviathan mission pop up. The missions are dolled out over time to keep you sorta creeped out and on your toes the whole time. Anyone who has played the Leviathan DLC will agree it has a very creepy feel to it, especially when you get to the mining operation.
This may seem like a lot, but you have to remember it’s a galactic war. Of course it’s gonna be a lot! It’ll force you to make snap decisions. It’ll force you to make mistakes. It makes things more intense.
You finally get the final Leviathan mission, you hear the backstory they’re telling you and you’re left with questions.
Can I trust them?
Are they telling the truth?
Are they as powerful as they claim?
Can they help?
Should I let them help?
You see the Reapers destroying everything, the galaxy is going to shit, you’re being split between them and Cerberus, and it’s all too much. In the end, you cannot get through this war without them. You’re fighting a losing battle and you know it. So you agree.
They come through like the hand of God just wiping shit clean. Reaper forces turning on themselves and Reapers being straight up destroyed. In all of those reports, you start to notice a pattern. It’s subtle, but it’s definitely there. Some of the Reaper forces start to work for the Leviathans as ground forces. Some of the Reapers start to work for the Leviathans. You thought there were only three Leviathans left, but there are reports of more…
You can’t pay too much attention because you still have Quarians and Geth and Cerberbus, and yes some Reapers to deal with. Eventually you get less and less reports. Then they stop. Even Hackett is worried about how quiet the ground forces are. When you hit that Cerberus base, you rearing the worst. Yes, you’re about to take down Cerberus, but you have no idea about Earth.
You finally get to Earth, hopefully to end this but you don’t see Reapers. You see Leviathans controlling it all. That would have been the ultimate “what the hell have I done” moment. That would have been a moment where ME could have said “you want your choices to matter? Well here ya go!”
None of us would have expected that. No Mass Effect player would have seen that coming. Be honest, would you expect a snap decision you made in the middle of the game to have that big of an impact at the end of that game? No because we expect our choices to have long term effects. The games taught us that our choices take a while to ripple.
Your choice about the Rachni in game one is mentioned in game two and has an effect in game three. Your choice to save the Council in game one has an effect on game two. All of the ME fans I knew were freaking out about the Leviathans because we thought they’d show up in game four.
We thought, ok they’ll help but they’ll probably be major in the next one. If they had taken the chance to make them the last big boss fight in 3, they would have caught everyone off guard. You can talk now in hindsight about how you totally would’ve seen it coming, but don’t lie to yourself. You know you wouldn’t have seen it.
If they really wanted to mess everyone up, they could have made it so that Leviathans were lowkey controlling it all from the beginning. To be honest, it makes sense. Remember how powerful they are. They can control anything and anyone. They made an entire mining operation lose decades worth of memory. They made Reaper forces fight against themselves. They made a Reaper kill itself. Who’s to say they weren’t controlling the Reapers from the start?
In game they need the orb things to control people, but what if that’s just a little power boost? What if the effect was simply magnified because they were uncovered? What if they can turn them on and off at will? Where are the rest of them? How many are there scattered across the galaxy? What if they’re hidden in plain sight, but they can make you “forget” that it’s there? This game could have taken such a turn, but nope. Instead we got a DLC with no real effect. It was fun though.