The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

I’ll avoid making the same pun everybody else made

The new Mass Effect 2 "Arrival" DLC is out. Somehow — and I think it might be a bug — BioWare actually managed to post the installer this time, instead of the old tactic of just posting an announcement and forgetting about the content. In another shocking turn of events, they’ll now permit you to buy their bullshit "BioWare points" in multiples of how much the damn DLC costs. I guess somebody somewhere in the EA brain trust finally clued to the fact that selling points in multiples of 400 and pricing all the DLC at 560 points is pretty obnoxious.

The game itself is pretty intense. By which I mean the cutscenes the game’s wrapped around are pretty intense. Without spoiling anything, the big climactic moment is a bit difficult to take (though the surprise twist is so obvious you’ll probably have it figured out before the thing’s done installing). The only complaint I have about the game from a lorelol perspective is that, much like Shadow Broker, it’s rather uninteractive — there are almost no points where you actually get to make any choices, and the great big decision is auto-piloted by the game, which is kind of a huge ripoff; if they’d made it more player-triggered, the ending would be amazing. As it stands, the ending seems more like a choreographed conclusion to a sequence of events we really didn’t have any control over. It’s still pretty great, though.

The game parts are pretty good, but they have their annoyances. It’s structured as one long mission, just like Shadow Broker was, but Shepard has to fly solo the whole time. This was a bit tough for me, since I’m an infiltrator, and I’m built as a total support gun — I’m in a lot of trouble if I don’t have somebody else to draw fire while I line up my shots, or to coax mobs out of cover for me. And the game is very dependent on seige-type set pieces, where Shepard has to defend a location for a certain length of time.

The first part of the mission is pretty neat, since you have the option to play it like a normal Mass Effect 2 mission and just run and gun, but you also have a stealth option — it’s possible to reach your mission objective without aggroing a single humanoid mob (though there are a few dogs you have to fight), and you get a HACHIEVE for doing it that way to boot. So that’s pretty neat. It’s not an aesthetic that’s followed for the entire expansion, though; all the later areas are more standard get-cover-and-then-shots-mans action. The last one, by the way — just throwing this out there — goes on way too long while you wander through identical corridors fighting identical pulls.

Overall, probably worth your $7.44 if you liked Mass Effect 2. It’s short — only two hours or so — but it’s a lot of fun, and it really builds in to Mass Effect 3. Though it would be nice if they backed off from building their bridge just a hair so maybe we could interact with the world some. Or at least stop making Commander Shepard do completely boneheaded things.

March 30th, 2011 Posted by | Games | no comments

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