Spotlight: Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC
Article By: WoLf | Posted: 05/04/2011
Arrival is the final piece of Mass Effect 2 DLC that bridges the gap between 2 and 3. It sets up events for 3 and sends Commander Sheppard (alone) off on a covert op in a Batarian system to rescue a scientist for an old friend, none other than Admiral Hackett. Things arenít all that cut and dried, but Iím not going to spoil the actual events and give you a by-blow account of the story and its twists/turns.
Simply put, Arrival is competent enough but itís not really as impressive as the Lair of the Shadow Broker. It doesnít really have many WOW moments compared to that DLC and the payoff felt a little brief, as well as somewhat forced. I have never been a fan of story turns that immediately result in a no-win situation for the character regardless of what you attempt to try and do.
At the risk of a spoiler, thereís an event in Arrival that basically has Sheppard facing the music regardless of what you do. I can understand why they did do it like this; I donít have to like it though. Of course you can still do the whole, screw you Universe reply that Mass Effect 2 is famous for and it remains to be seen how this will tie-in and play to the overarching story that Mass Effect 3 promises.
The rest of the gameplay is pretty cut and dried, you can tackle some of it without firing a shot if you spend some time poking around, and there are a few new achievements to get along the way. Including one for the former in the first section of the DLC where you donít need to engage the guards at all.
The problem is that the pacing of the DLC feels a little off, the actual combat is pretty much the rinse-repeat of Mass Effect 2 but with none of the heart from Shadow Broker, or the design. The DLC is short and itís over far too quickly, with little in the way of reward. Thereís not much to keep you interested apart from knowing the outcome of the story, how your Sheppard fits into the picture and whatís really going on.
Of course for some people, thatís probably going to be enough and theyíll eat it up since its Bioware and Mass Effect 2.
The set pieces are few and far between, they feel lack-lustre compared to Shadow Broker and the whole DLC has that feel. The environments donít have that usual Mass Effect 2 design pop about them. Theyíre Ok but theyíre nothing special and they donít really do much to give you interesting tactical options during a firefight. Bust out a few Reaves, or Biotic pull attacks and you can own pretty much any situation apart from a few.
The writing side of the DLC isnít too bad, again it lacks the polish that weíve come to expect from the Mass Effect 2 writers and the storyline is a little flat in places, it loses pace a little and then picks up again later on. The final conclusion is a bitter-sweet one that I both enjoyed but disliked at the same time. This is a personal preference thing because Iím very much against railroading in character development.
There are a few amusing moments depending on the dialogue tree choices, and of course the best delivery of the dialogue comes from Jennifer Hale, this is something that Iíve come to expect from her and her performances though.
Overall itís a decent DLC, with a few new bits of research and if you want to know how Mass Effect 3 will be tied into the whole thing, well, you have to play this. Iíd say it is mostly worth the asking price of 560msp but only if youíre a die-hard Mass Effect 2 fan and you want to know the whole story. Otherwise, get the Shadow Broker DLC because that is definitely worth it.
The big problem with the Arrival is that you can beat it in under an hour, and for 560msp thatís a pretty bitter pill to swallow.
So there you go...