Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker Review

There's new downloadable content (DLC) for Mass Effect 2. (ME2) It's a new mission called "Lair of the Shadow Broker." (LOTSB) It'll cost you 800 points on XBOX Live, which is roughly ten bucks. So, is it worth it? Read on, my fellow Mass Effect fans.

If you've played Mass Effect 2 and completed Liara T'Soni's side missions, you know she is hunting down the Shadow Broker, a notorious information dealer. In ME 2, Liara has told you that a mission she was on has gone bad and a friend was hurt. She blames the Shadow Broker. Well, in LOTSB, Cerberus has emailed you, Shephard, with information about the whereabouts of the Shadow Broker and Liara's friend. It's not known whether Liara will trust Cerberus so they ask you to visit Liara with the information. If you've haven't read the graphic novel, ME: Redemption, here's a quick plot point. The Illusive Man who heads Cerberus informed Liara that the Shadow Broker was trying to recover your (Shephard) dead body for the Collectors. That's a reason why the Illusive Man would want Liara to have this information, perhaps to help her eliminate the Shadow Broker.

You travel to Illium to meet with Liara. When you talk to her, you give her the Illusive Man's information. The information tells her of a contact and she also finds out her friend, now called Feron, is still alive. She invites you to her apartment, no not for sex, and you find an Asari Spectre named Vasir. At the apartment you find that Liara is gone but she has left a message about where she is meeting her contact which is at the Dracon Center. You, your squad and Vasir travel there to find Liara.

The rest of the game is you and Liara's journey to find the Shadow Broker and to rescue Feron. There's combat with mercenaries in the Dracon Center. There's a flying car chase. You fight on the Shadow Broker's ship. There are also boss battles.

There's nothing new in terms of combat in the game. However, two of the three combat scenarios, you will fighting with Liara again. That's assuming you fought with her from the original Mass Effect game. Liara brings back the singularity power which is helpful since you can suspend a group of enemies. She also can use the stasis power which is beneficial when dealing with one of the bosses. While not novel, combat is still enjoyable. There is a flying car chase which is reminiscent of the car chase in Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. You fly your cab in pursuit while dodging other flying cars on Illium. It's fun once you get the hang of the car's control mechanics. Plus, there's some humorous dialogue between you and Liara during the chase.

The story itself finishes the plot thread in Mass Effect 2, regarding Liara's search for the Shadow Broker. If you recall Liara in the first Mass Effect, she could fight but still there was always a civilized and educated person under her blue skin. In the ME2, we were introduced to a more wild and angry Liara. It's a jolt. But in LOTSB, you get a better idea of why she's so obsessed. She's distraught over Feron. However, Feron is not fleshed out. He wasn't fleshed out in Mass Effect: Redemption either. I had no sympathy for him. So unlike the Overlord DLC which had an emotional story, it was hard for me to get worked up over this. I do admit the final moments spent with Liara were bittersweet. And there is a surprise at the end which ushers in major changes for a character.

So, should you purchase it? The answer is yes. It's not revolutionary but it's still enjoyable. The mission on the first go around, took me about six hours. After I played it a couple times, I got it down to four hours. Hey, I like looking around. But you learn some important events in the life of one of the major characters of Mass Effect, Liara. Look, you spend ten bucks at the movies. Think of this as an interactive movie, only one that will take you more than two hours to complete. The grade is B+.

No comments: