Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Mass Effect 2 DLC report: Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker

Mass Effect 2 has recently been named RPG and Game of the year at the Golden Joystick awards and I can completely understand why.

On release buyers were able to download for free the initial DLC that had been developed for the game featuring the british spoken Zaeed and the crash site of the original Normandy. However when more DLC came out I really wasn't too bothered.

However last weekend I had a real urge to play the game, to dust off shepherd and his crew and take them on another adventure, so I splurged on some "Bioware-points" (ugh) and bought the latest two adventure based DLC packs: Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker.

I certainly wasn't going to go for one of the "alternate appearance" packs or any rubbish like that.

So here's what I thought:

Lair of the Shadow Broker starts you off by pushing you to go and have a chat with Liara, one of the original crew from the first game. She's after a dark figure called the Shadow Broker (see what I did there?) And as with most of the missions so far you pick a couple of your mates to come along and help her take this guy down.

Without wishing to spoil it too much you end up having Liara as a team mate with her usefully, unusually high powered biotic abilities (think the force for non-mass effect players) It's a blast from the past and is wonderful but the best bit of the mission for me was the car chase.

There's a sky-car chase half way through where you get your first chance to pilot around air-highways and it has some of the brilliant dialogue interaction between the characters that made Mass Effect 2 just so amazing.

After that the rest of the mission was certainly fun but the final battle was a little dull (not that it was too easy!) Finally however you're given access to a load of backstory bits and bobs through the Shadow Brokers' computers which is well worth the read.

Lair of the Shadow Broker gets a big Go For It from me if you're considering buying it.

Next it's on to Overlord another mission which features a rogue AI gone mad. Most of this is pretty standard ME2 fare where you're given several different objectives to achieve before going after the AI itself. But there are a couple of bits that really stood out for me.

Firstly I chose a character called Legion to assist in the missio, who for those that don't know is a geth (a good guy robot from a bad guy network of robots, it's complicated) but before embarking on the main objectives the chap we meet at the base actually takes notice of Legion and asks Shepherd if he'll be ok, being a computer and all going up against a rogue AI. The fact that they thought about putting in those few lines of dialogue meant so much to me as a fan of the series and makes you really believe that it matters who you bring along with you on the missions.

Other major points of this dlc was the introduction of a hovercraft vehicle which is similar to the vehicle you used to have in ME1, but this is far, far improved. Plus some of the views of the planet while piloting this vehicle are spectacular and wonderfully alien.

The ending was fairly easy but disturbing and a little unsatisfactory but like many of the missions in Mass Effect 2 it's not the destination, it's the journey that makes it so great.

Another thumbs up for Overlord and it's cheaper than LotSB in terms of "Bioware points".

In a nutshell then, both worth getting and I would suggest getting both at once and revisiting the MassEffect 2 universe for an extended period of time because, well it's just brilliant.

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