"From Ashes," the day one DLC for Mass Effect 3, was a source of controversy before the game's launch. Some players accused BioWare of slicing off a crucial part of the game and selling it as a separate product. Is it crucial, though? Well, not really.
Warning: Minor spoilers for the DLC are included in this article.
"Ashes" opens up a new mission that will take Commander Shepard and his squad to Eden Prime. That name might jump out at you if you're a long-time Mass Effect fan; Eden Prime was the site of the very first mission in ME1. The fanatical pro-humanity group Cerberus has found something of great importance on the planet: a relic from the Protheans, a long-dead species.
If you're more interested in the action side of ME3, the mission isn't going to provide you with much nourishment. You're sent into a colony and must clear out the Cerberus ground troops entrenched there. The mission culminates with you defending the Prothean relic against a few waves of troops and a combat walker. There's little to differentiate these battles from another of the other firefights you find yourself in throughout the campaign.
If you're really into ME3's story, though? Oh man. It turns out that the relic is a cryogenic pod with a Prothean hibernating inside. After thawing him out and bringing him onboard the Normandy, this Prothean (Javik) tells you pretty much everything you'd want to know about the race. The details on the Protheans and their defeat at the hands of the Reapers are really interesting and worth the price of admission if you love the series' lore.
Javik will also join your squad as a playable character. While I think an action junkie might find him entertaining - his biotic body slam is fun - he's far from a necessity if your Shepard is an Adept or you favor another biotic companion. The particle rifle you unlock by recruiting Javik reduces enemies to goo and also regenerate ammo, so you might find that handy. However, as with Javik himself, you might never use the rifle depending on how you play your main character.
As someone who's really into the game's story, though, I really like the thought of having Javik on my squad. I'm fighting the Reapers alongside a soldier who's been waiting 50,000 years for a chance to avenge his entire species - how cool is that? He's a colorful addition to my squad of misfits.
Mass Effect 3's campaign is huge so you won't miss the hour or so of entertainment that this DLC brings. You'll find much more entertaining missions throughout the base game. Still, if you're really interested in finding out more about the Protheans, then "From Ashes" might feel like an essential purchase.