Reviews// Mass Effect 2: Arrival

Posted 31 Mar 2011 16:45 by
Mass Effect 2: Arrival is bad. I want to get that out there early on, in case there might be any shadow of doubt. Don’t buy it. Seriously, just go to a web forum, read the plot spoilers, and get on with your life. I played it so you don’t have to. The maps were terrible, enemies boring, battles mundane, scripting was weak, and the plotline shoddy.

This final DLC for the ME2 series goes out with a pitiful whimper rather than any sort of exciting bang, or even a dignified silence. Let’s start with the premise; Shepard is contacted to break a deep cover agent out of a batarian prison. But guess what? He’s not allowed to bring any squad-mates.

That’s right - this squad-based tactical combat game deprives you of squaddies for essentially the entire DLC. You get a single useless squaddie for the second half of the first mission, but that’s it. So, uh, you know all those battlefield control tactics that you’ve honed over dozens of hours in ME2? Forget them. It’s just you versus the world. But don’t worry; this appallingly short DLC is only two small missions, so it’ll be over soon.

The world. Oh yes, the world. On the first level, the maps are labyrinthine to the point of utter madness. Switches and interaction buttons everywhere, with virtually no clues as to what they do. I just kept wandering around, occasionally in a circle, and eventually found my way through. Compared to the beauty of the outside of the Shadow Broker vessel, or the glamour of Kasumi’s loyalty mission, this was dingy and boring, much like the enemies.

There were four. Seriously, there were four different types of enemies. Guard, elite guard, pyro guard, engineer guard. Oh, and there were a couple of varren at the beginning. Then the terribly exciting boss battle! It was a terrifying, never-before seen… YMIR mech. Yes the same robots encountered in the original game. Whoop dee freaking doo.

This would have been fine if the battles were at least exciting, with interesting environments like the Shadow Broker DLC lightning rods and windstorms. But nope, just mundane “fight down the corridor” battles, no different to what you saw in the first level back at Cerberus HQ. What on earth were these designers thinking? There wasn’t even a hint of the puzzle genius found in Overlord’s DLC number room, or Kasumi’s DLC “thievery in the bedroom” routine. The game even hints at excitement with a countdown clock in the environment, but it has no impact on the gameplay at all. It’s just such a wasted opportunity.

Finally; the scripting and plotline. Neither made any sense! First, Shepard was clumsily denied even a single squadmate. Then, when Shepard gets told about the impending Reaper invasion, he sounds sceptical and demands proof. This is the guy who has been desperately trying to convince anyone who would listen that the Reapers are coming, and now he says “I’ll need to see more proof”. Huh?

I wish we could load every copy of this DLC and fire it down a mass relay into the galactic core. That’s pretty much the only use for it. If only digital content worked that way.

Score: 22%

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dementedbaboon 1 Apr 2011 01:40
I agree: dull setting, weak plot, terrible lighting, lack of characters or characterization, and worst of all Shepard acted differently than at any other time. Wish I'd read your review before I spent seven dollars on this crap; frankly, i'd have paid seven dollars to have never played it.
JC 4 Apr 2011 16:03
Mass Effect 3 could be another one of Bioware's recent disappointments if they continue creating half-ass DLC and games like Dragon Age 2. Something is definitely missing or going wrong in Bioware.

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