Mass Effect 2: Lair of the ShadowbrokerRodney no comments
If you've read some of my older articles, you'll know I am a fan of Mass Effect 1 & 2. The key reason I love these games so much is I have become so drawn into the storyline. I feel connected to my Shepard and one of the key "complaints" people have about Mass Effect 2 is that you aren't able to continue your romantic relationship from Mass Effect 1. Given the game is all about "your choices", many people have found this to be a real shock.
Here's where BioWare got smart. They knew we wanted to continue our relationships from ME1 and they knew that the majority of people playing ME1 had that relationship with the NPC (non playable character) Liara T'Soni. So rather than let us play this in the "out of the box" game of Mass Effect 2, they've released it as an add on via DLC (downloadable content).
Ordinarily, I'd bork at paying extra for part of a game I already have, however BioWare sucked me in with a low price (about $7AUS) and my love of the game. So I bought the mission and played it through last night. In this sister article, I talk about what's wrong with DLC. This article is about what's right with it.
Lair of the Shadowbroker is of course based on the Mass Effect gaming engine and as such, is pretty much "more of the same". However, it does manage to be more than that, in a few ways.
Firstly, the DLC mission throws a lot more action at you than many standard missions. The enemies come thick and fast and the levels are well planned out.
Additionally, they've introduced a car-chase mini game, which was actually fantastic fun to play and something completely new to the entire Mass Effect franchise. The banter between Shepard and Liara in this car chase is so well done by Jennifer Hale (Female Shepard's voice actor) and Jillian Murray (Liara's voice actor) that it had me actually giggling like a schoolgirl, partly to the humour and partly to the fact that I was having just so much fun (and just excited to be "back in the game").
What it brings to the game
The actual mission itself is superbly polished. It's long - maybe 2 more hours worth of gameplay at least and has many twists and turns. It's easily as long as any of the boxed game components and easily as in depth.
Without wanting to spoil the plot, it also achieves that special magic of genuinely improving the overall gaming experience. BioWare have cleverly given us exactly what we all wanted - a chance to properly connect with our Mass Effect 1 relationship. Through playing this mission to completion, you will have the opportunity, if you romanced Liara in Mass Effect 1, to find out if and how your relationship with her can continue.
I personally found this tied Mass Effect 1 and 2 together in a way the main storyline (save the Galaxy) can't - because it's much more personal. Saving Worlds full of people and stopping the bad guys is great fun - but "getting the girl" while you're doing it, growing that relationship and watching your character's struggle increase through the emotional turmoil of love makes the game human.
I have now played pretty much all of the add on content for Mass Effect 2. Side missions like Kasumi's were fun and got me back in the game but honestly, were too short and added nothing to the overall storyline. Lair of the Shadowbroker was everything I could have hoped for and more.
So that's enough game-gush from me. If you're a fan of Mass Effect, then I thoroughly recommend you get yourself Lair of the Shadowbroker. I'll be looking forward to any new add on content, from now on.