Author's Note: Minor spoilers for Mass Effect 3.
Mass Effect 3 has been the subject of conversation since its release on Tuesday. One major topic of conversation was the game's day one DLC From Ashes, which some may consider to be a crucial part of the main game that has been sliced out to be the first of many $10 add-ons.
Is it a crucial part of the game and a necessary purchase to enjoy Mass Effect 3? The answer is not at all.
From Ashes sends Commander Shepard to Eden Prime, the place where everything started back in the original Mass Effect. However, what was once a desolate planet is now the subject of interest for Cerberus, and it's up to the Alliance to investigate what could be of such great importance. As Shepard soon discovers a relic from the Protheans, a long-dead species, it is up to her to make the call and protect the artifact.
In terms of story, From Ashes is very satisfying, as it's an incredibly focused and self-contained plot. Players will discover tons of lore surrounding the Protheans, as well as information about the rise and fall of their race. The relic that Shepard discovers is in fact a Prothean named Javik who has been slumbering for over 50,000 years since the annihilation of his kind. After his awakening, Javik tells Shepard about the trials and tribulations of the Protheans and their fight against the Reapers is sharply written and draws players back in the lore surrounding Eden Prime.
The story aspects are strong and offer tons of intrigue, and Javik will join the party as playable character. In fact, his reaction to the Normandy and it's crew priceless. Javik will certainly prove useful for those interested in having another biotic on the team, especially if you're not fond of your other biotics. That being said, he's no Jack or Samara, but he's a worthy addition.
While the story aspects are excellently woven into content, there's not actually a lot to do except collect Prothean lore throughout Eden Prime and shoot some Cerberus baddies. The amount of combat within the DLC is fairly minimal, and in fact the DLC only takes twenty minutes to complete with only two obtainable achievements. While the story is quite excellent, $10 is fairly steep for twenty minutes of content plus a new playable character and gun. On the flip-side, Javik is an interesting party member who's full fleshed out compared to previous DLC characters such as Kasumi and Zaeed who felt like they had nothing to contribute.
It's a tough call to make: if you love the Mass Effect lore and its story, than this DLC is likely worth the purchase. However, it is by no means essential to enjoying the game overall, as players will not be missing out should they choose not to purchase the content. It's a quick and dirty affair, but worth it for lovers of the Mass Effect universe, especially if story is your reason for playing. From Ashes is safe to skip, but a nice bonus if you have money to spend.