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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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Old 05-12-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

I like it. I guess it's a bit personal - you make no secret of your disgust - but you have that right when reviewing DLC, I reckon. It's not a rant, but has rant-like qualities. *

I like that you knew deep down that it was going to be terrible, but got it anyway.

* EDIT: I should explain that. The review is well written, and you absolutely get your point across, so it's not an incoherent rant, for example. But you do take the poor quality of this DLC personally, so it is a bit of a rant in that sense. I think it's good though.

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Old 05-13-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

I didn't think that it was quite as terrible as you make it out to be. I'd say in my eyes it is the worst of the DLC for ME2 that I've played (I refuse to pay for the cerberus network when I'm entitled to it already). It does feel like you're judging this DLC based on previous experiences, so I can't tell if your 2.5 rating would still be a 2.5 rating if this was the first DLC you played instead of the last one.
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:24 AM   #4
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

I get your point but I have to agree with ubergoat: I can't tell if your 2.5 rating is about this specific DLC or your disappointment with the direction Mass Effect 2 went as a whole. I'm not even sure if you don't give the 2.5 to yourself for still buying ME2 dlc after being repeatedly disappointed by previous dlc's

As a sidenote:
Quote:
I've never liked the Mass Effect 2 format of Shepard gaining sidequests via email, but I can forgive that.
I get all the 'sidequests' in my dayjob via email, things that are not of vital importance don't justify a meeting in person most of the times. I don't see any problem with that.
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:57 AM   #5
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
I get your point but I have to agree with ubergoat: I can't tell if your 2.5 rating is about this specific DLC or your disappointment with the direction Mass Effect 2 went as a whole. I'm not even sure if you don't give the 2.5 to yourself for still buying ME2 dlc after being repeatedly disappointed by previous dlc's

As a sidenote:

I get all the 'sidequests' in my dayjob via email, things that are not of vital importance don't justify a meeting in person most of the times. I don't see any problem with that.
Thanks for the comment!

I gave the game a 2.5 based on it alone, not due to my issues with ME 2 as a whole. As I said, I thought Lair of the Shadowbroker was decent, but Arrival was simply abhorrent to me due to it being so bland and meaningless. Shephard learns nothing through it, since we already knew via ME 2's ending that the Reapers were coming. Hell, Shepard said it himself at the end of ME 1. If you like the DLC, that's totally fine, more power to you! But for me, it fell completely flat.
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Old 05-14-2011, 11:53 AM   #6
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pedro View Post
I like it. I guess it's a bit personal - you make no secret of your disgust - but you have that right when reviewing DLC, I reckon. It's not a rant, but has rant-like qualities. *

I like that you knew deep down that it was going to be terrible, but got it anyway.

* EDIT: I should explain that. The review is well written, and you absolutely get your point across, so it's not an incoherent rant, for example. But you do take the poor quality of this DLC personally, so it is a bit of a rant in that sense. I think it's good though.
Thanks for the comment and kind words, Pedro. I knew I wanted to express my true feelings of this awful, awful DLC, but at the same time I knew I didn't want to make some incoherent rant. So I tried to strike a balance.
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Old 05-16-2011, 01:16 PM   #7
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Hey Decabo, a few notes:

-This does come off as a bit more of a rant than a review to me, and it sounds like your dislike of ME2 is just spilling over into this piece. Try talking a little bit less about what you didn't like about ME2/the other DLC and more about what disappointed you about Arrival specifically.

-Also, try and read it to yourself and see if you can't pick out some awkward phrasing in there. For example:

Quote:
If this was a full game, I'd be dying to turn off the console. Since this is a one-hour DLC, I was dying to finish and never return to it.
I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. You could turn off the console either way, right?

-Break the paragraphs up to make a little easier on the eyes.

-Use 'I' instead of 'you' in almost all cases. Writing in second person assigns value to the reader, which you don't want. Only acceptable use of 'you' is something like a rhetorical question.

Thanks!
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Old 05-16-2011, 03:27 PM   #8
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Naik View Post
Hey Decabo, a few notes:

-This does come off as a bit more of a rant than a review to me, and it sounds like your dislike of ME2 is just spilling over into this piece. Try talking a little bit less about what you didn't like about ME2/the other DLC and more about what disappointed you about Arrival specifically.

-Also, try and read it to yourself and see if you can't pick out some awkward phrasing in there. For example:



I'm not sure what this is supposed to mean. You could turn off the console either way, right?

-Break the paragraphs up to make a little easier on the eyes.

-Use 'I' instead of 'you' in almost all cases. Writing in second person assigns value to the reader, which you don't want. Only acceptable use of 'you' is something like a rhetorical question.

Thanks!
Thanks for the advice! The comment you quoted was basically saying that since the DLC is so short, I just wanted to get it over with, as opposed to a long game, where I just want to turn it off. I didn't think it was too awkward, but I'll be more careful with that in the future.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:53 PM   #9
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you are right

you are right !
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Old 05-28-2011, 06:15 PM   #10
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Edited the review on 5/28 based on your helpful comments.

@SanderZ

Thanks!
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Old 05-28-2011, 10:41 PM   #11
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

good review, i totally agree on arival. it was shit.
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Old 05-29-2011, 11:36 AM   #12
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

I love the "black hole" line.
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:39 PM   #13
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Finally got back to this review, addressed many of the criticisms provided, removed all the "you"s, better spaced paragraphs, improved presentation, made it less of a rant. I'd appreciate any comments.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:24 AM   #14
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Good review! Now that it's sounding less like a rant I enjoyed reading much more.
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Old 06-17-2011, 07:55 AM   #15
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Re: Please Rate this Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Second Opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Li-Ion View Post
Good review! Now that it's sounding less like a rant I enjoyed reading much more.
Thanks Li-Ion. I took a lot of steps to make my opinion more controlled and succinct, while still maintaining my passion towards explaining how much of a blatant scam this DLC really is.
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