The heart of Mass Effect is its characters, not its combat. As a means to an end, it works well enough, but what stands out most about it are the interactions with my squadmates as a sortie unfolds. I've spent tens of dozens of hours with Garrus, Mordin and Vega so I know their individual strengths and weaknesses. On this mission, those familiarities were stripped away as soon as I started. Aria barely trusts Shepard and won't allow any of the Normandy's crew besides him to step foot on the now Cerberus-controlled space station. It didn't seem like that big of a deal until the first firefight erupted. I fumbled against the Illusive Man's army because even though I maxed out a few of Aria's skills, I'd never gone into battle with her. Eventually I gained another temporary squadmate, but she too felt like a stand-in for those I knew best. This was a shame given the DLC pack's combat-heavy focus.
Returning to Omega excited me at first, but aside from the Cerberus-occupied Afterlife nightclub, there weren't many familiar sights. In Mass Effect 2, Omega felt grimy and dangerous. As I canvassed the wards looking for Archangel and later Mordin, I couldn't escape the feeling that I wasn't welcome and at any turn, I'd have had the barrel of a heavy pistol thrust against Shepard's temple. Something told me during their stay, Cerberus wasn't wasting time scrubbing the floors and tidying the place up for my liberation mission; this Omega doesn't
Asari crime boss Aria T'Loak teams with Shepard against Cerberus