Better late than never! The latest piece of DLC for Mass Effect 2, Lair of the Shadow Broker, was released last week. As it is priced at 800 points, more expensive than any of the DLC to date, the obvious question is: is it good enough to be worth 800 points? I mean, for that money I can get a good XBLA game or 2/3rd of a Modern Warfare 2 map pack with rehashed maps!
Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker (PC, Xbox 360)
You may recall the Shadow Broker through one of his contacts on the Citadel, Volus financial adviser Barla Von, who helped you on your mission against Saren in the first Mass Effect. At the time, Barla Von gave you the information about Saren’s rogue status for free because Saren had betrayed the Shadow Broker.
The DLC summarizes parts of these events from Liara’s perspective as you approach her with the new intel. Of course, in a typical BioWare quest progression, things don’t go exactly as planned when it all sounds too easy. Pretty soon you find yourself doing some detective work in another part of Illium before the action starts. You get to play an Illium cab chase (think Attack of the Clones’ Coruscant chase) and fight a lot of Shadow Broker agents before finding actionable intel on the Shadow Broker’s location.
So far that probably sounds pretty much like what you are used to from playing Mass Effect 2. Where it adds to the gameplay though, is the amount of shielded and barriered enemies you will encounter when things get hot. Although the difficulty is not impossible by any means, even on Insanity, you will definitely find yourself having to pay attention to the flow of the battle more than usual.
The pacing and locations also help a lot in this regard. Going through the Illium parts of the mission feels like a slowly increasing crescendo by itself. But making your way inside the Shadow Broker base and the lead up to the inevitable confrontation (if he is even there!) makes you go from “I can do this” to “Holy shit this is great!” at a very fast pace. Every corridor inside the base leads you to some combat confrontation one way or the other, and the mission does a great job at feeling like you are in for a damn good fight.
Then there is the option to dig through the Shadow Broker’s email dossiers about your entire team and some of the organizations like Cerberus, which can easily take you half an hour to read through. These are not obligatory for anything, but they are definitely worth it if you are invested with the universe.
Being a Renegade dick just means you are all action and business, with no time for pleasure. I didn’t find that there was a whole lot of difference between the two routes, other than the obvious Liara interaction. Then again I tend to look at those things in terms of cost/reward instead of actual role-playing. It’s still worth playing through it twice with the Paragon and Renegade character you probably still have on your saves, just to have a richer save game to export to Mass Effect 3.
I leave you with a haiku for Liara:
Your lips are improved
Score: 9.5 -- Superb (9s are a hallmark of excellence. There may be flaws, but they are negligible and won't cause massive damage to what is a supreme title.)
|9:30 PM on 05.23.2013|
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