Note: Spoilers Are abundant
Note2: It has been a long time since i wrote anything for Distructoid so i apologize in advance for grammatical errors and other foolishness.
So last night i decided to download the M.E2 DLC Overlord on a whim but largely for Achievement Points as i am trying to catch up to my brother who is about 5K points ahead of me.
Now i am about 3 Quarters of the way into my second play through on Hardcore difficulty. I've completed all the loyalty missions except Legion who i have not recruited yet and I've upgraded just about every weapon and Shepard except for a few items left to buy in Illium. In short the game has nothing left to physically challenge me gameplay wise except for some cheap moments towards the end of the game.
So i was not expecting a challenging experience from Overlord and sadly did not get one.
Overlord has you traveling to a new system in order to investigate why a Cerberus operation which was studying Geth technologies and pioneering ways to fight or control them has suddenly gone dark.
Frankly, Overlords plot screams Lawnmower Man so loudly i was wondering why Bioware Hasn't gotten sued by Warner Bros. (Lawnmower Man was originally by New Line Cinema but was bought by Warner Bros back in the 90s i think).
Upon arriving you are introduced to Dr. Archer who explains that while he started the project with best intentions everything went to hell as soon as they plugged the human in.
The plot doesn't get more complicated then that. This is a traditional Mass Effect 2 mission: you and the two characters you pick to roll through, will often meet Geth or Robotic resistance, while following a bread crump trail left by a Dr. Archer and the "Lawnmower Man" VI.
What Overlord lacks in below average but slightly believable plot (The plot does make sense in terms of the mass effect universe) it makes up for it with rather interesting game play and some rather nice visuals.
A nice addition to the DLC was the usage of the hammerhead. A hovercraft version of the Mako from M.E1. Up untill now i had never tried it having never downloaded the previous DLC which used it. Having an opportunity to use it was a real delight. The fact i died a few times due to a lack of indicators for health and very weak armor was not so delightful. Despite that the Hammerhead turned out to be a interesting experience and i especially loved jumping from rock to rock crossing rivers of lava.
The DLC itself is divided up into Four bases that you'll visit (on-foot) which are connected by the hammerhead sections. Each base has unique layout and confrontation setup. The additional fact that fights will often occur when you least expect it and the addition to the breakneck pace that seems to stem from the DLC's overall ambiance verses an actual timer, keeps your head on a swivel, provoking some intensity or tension that otherwise wouldn't be there.
Apart from some amazing visuals at times, the overall visual look doesn't appear all that different from previous side missions on other planets. The only real wow moment i found was when Shepard was sucked into the V.I realm at which point i screamed 'TOTALLY FUCKING WORTH IT'.
I was also disappointed by the lack of any real reward for the DLC. i barely made about 70Creds or so by the time i completed the DLC in a few hours. It would have been nicer if there was some armor pieces or maybe a weapon or two. it wouldn't be hard and it would have given a lot more people a reason to pick up the DLC. Bioware could have slapped the Firepower pack in with an extra few lines of dialog and called it a day and i would have been happy as a clam. hell i would even be okay if you charged me an extra 100 MS points if it included the firepower pack or maybe the Aegis pack.
i also would have liked some sort of obvious impact to the game. The DLC essentially felt like a VR-like mission -- a structured exercise in combat and procedure. Almost like a demo for M.E2 gameplay. The DLC adds nothing, as far as I can see, to the core narrative of "Mass Effect 2," to its characters, or to the person that is Commander Shepard. The DLC had me collect Cerberus data files on the Overlord project. It would be nice to see some sort of bonus because of the extra effort i put in, like say bonus damage against against the Geth or something.
In the end "Overlord" has a blend of some really great ideas, cool visuals, and pacing akin to a action-suspense movie, but it doesn't add anything to the overall "Mass Effect 2" experience. Like most of the DLC that is out now its largely fluff material that hints at possibilities are that truly epic. Am i asking too much in that i want DLC that hits me on the same levels that the actual game does? Come on bioware, you've shown me that you can make a good game, how about some good DLC now.