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Old 05-11-2011, 08:35 PM   #1
Eric Bowman
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Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

*Third Draft 6/16*

Mass Effect 2 Arrival DLC Review

It Could Have Been Worse... It Could Have Been EIGHT Dollars

HIGH: Admiral Hackett's return after a prolonged absence.

LOW: An attempt at a plot twist that falls completely flat.

WTF: How does the “Covert Action” achievement add anything to the game?

Despite the game being significantly less fun or interesting than its outstanding predecessor and repeatedly charging me 7-10 dollars on superfluous subplots with only minor redeeming qualities, I always seem to return for more Mass Effect 2. It's reached the point where the new content feels more like an obligation than something made for entertainment. Nevertheless, I picked up the latest piece of content the day it was released, and despite deep pessimism, I was willing to give Mass Effect 2 a shot at downloadable redemption.

Unfortunately, this DLC suffers largely due to the fact that the entire mission lacking the slightest trace of a purpose. Once I was in what was probably supposed to be a stealth section followed later by remotely controlling a slow-moving robot drone for about 5 seconds that I knew this mission was in trouble. The foolishness would then continue with a plot twist that only served to render the first half pointless.

The mission continues to stumble throughout due primarily to a lack of inspiration. I encountered one corridor after another, taking out generic Batarian guards using the same techniques I used for every other mission in the game. I have little to no choice in what happens through the course of the mission, although the game tries to fake a moral dilemma near the end only for it to be interrupted and forgotten. Things like this can drain enjoyment from a game rapidly. Perhaps the greatest appeal of science fiction in general is experiencing worlds and creatures not possible in reality. None of this allure can be found when in dank hallways battling the same repetitive guardsman over and over. The bland feel is sustained throughout the entire ninety minute DLC, and is almost a contradiction given the beautiful worlds that are available in the rest of the game.

It truly boggles my mind what message Bioware wanted to send with this final piece of content. Mass Effect 2 is held by many (myself not included) as an outstanding sci-fi adventure, and I'd assume they'd want to send it off properly. For something that's supposed to connect the second game to the third, Arrival feels pointless even compared to the rest of Mass Effect 2's DLC. Considering the original game's varied and colorful (albeit constricting) locales, to end with a series of gray corridor shootouts is rather baffling. No real resolution is ever truly reached or knowledge gained, since we've known the Reapers would return since the end of the first Mass Effect, and we saw it for ourselves at the end of Mass Effect 2. Arrival has no inspiration or relevance, and by extension no reason to exist.

I understand that not all DLC needs to make itself completely stand out from the game's original content, but most begin with some sort of creative spark. This final slice of DLC has none. It is a black hole of boredom from which no enjoyment can escape, saved only by the fact that the pain ends quickly and still has a shred of Mass Effect's enjoyable combat. Unless you're like me and can't let a Mass Effect 2 achievement go unearned, This rushed content isn't worth anyone's time.

2.5 out of 10

Disclosure: Mass Effect 2 's Arrival DLC was purchased for the Xbox 360. Approximately one hour was put into it, and it was completed. There is no multiplayer.

Parents: Mass Effect 2 is rated M for Mature by the ESRB, however the content in this particular slice of DLC is no worse than the full game. So if you allow your children to play Mass Effect 2, Arrival should also be suitable.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Subtitles are available, both the cutscene and general play variety. You shouldn't have an issue finishing the game.

*Edited 6/16, listening to criticisms*

Last edited by Eric Bowman; 06-17-2011 at 05:09 PM.
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