Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC Review

While I have enjoyed all the Mass Effect 2 DLC missions thus far, I’m a little miffed that none of them really played into the overall of the Mass Effect saga. Firewalker was cool, and Overlord told another tale of Cerberus atrocity, but they were just side missions, and they didn’t demand to be played.

So a new DLC episode about Liara and the Shadow Broker piqued my interest. First, it wraps up the story from the Redemption comic book, and, second, after having completed the mission, I get the feeling that events here will have a significant impact on Mass Effect 3 in a couple ways.


Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC (PC [Reviewed], PS3, XBox360)
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: September 7, 2010
MSRP: $10.00

The Story is this: Cerberus has obtained some intel that points to the Shadow Broker’s home base. You take that intel to Liara, because she’s beefing with the dude, and then you’re off. Explaining the plot any further would spoil some nice twists, so I’ll leave it at that. But since the pack is called Lair of the Shadow Broker, you can safely (and correctly) assume that you’ll make it to the Shadow Broker’s House and start some s**t with him.

This mission is hard. BioWare here throws wave after wave of baddies at you, and at a couple points I flashed back to those parts of Uncharted where Drake starts whining about the enemy just won’t freaking go away. And, right in the middle of the mission, you’ll face the most difficult boss fight in the entire game; it’s right up there with the final battle with Saren at the end of Mass Effect 1.

However, the pack is still pretty short. I managed to wrap it up in a little over an hour, and I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed with the reveal of who the Shadow Broker is, though it isn’t necessarily a bad reveal. Ultimately, though, the mission underwhelms because it’s kind of awkwardly paced, and the writing leaves a bit to be desired; I don’t feel like the folks at BioWare were on the top of their game with this one.

Considering the mission is less than half the length of Overlord and more expensive than that pack (it’s 800 MS points instead of 560), you might think you’re getting screwed on this one, but there are a couple reasons why it’s worth it. As I said before, the events in this pack will almost certainly affect events in Mass Effect 3, and if you had a relationship with Liara in the first game, you’ll get a chance to hold onto that relationship. On top of all that, once you get into the Shadow Broker’s base, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do, like taking a look at your crew members’ extranet usage and learning that Miranda uses an online dating service and that Jack writes poetry.

Oh, and you get to drive one of those flying cars around Illium, although the controls are screwed, because you steer with the right stick and accelerate with the left trigger. That’s backward, BioWare.  But it’s still fun, and the banter that goes on during it is entertaining.

One last note: there’s a lot of joking about the first game here. Some samples: Shepard complains about how bad he is at driving the flying car, and Liara comes back with, “It’s still better than the Mako”; Shepard: “Remember the old days when you could just slap omnigel on everything?” Liara: “That security upgrade made a lot of people unhappy”; “[Joker] did ask me record any parts of our conversation where my eyes ‘do that freaky black eternity thing.’ ”

The mission itself did not blow me away like Overlord did, but I still think it’s worth it for the peripheral stuff.

Pros:

Impacts Mass Effect 3, probably
Good to hang with Liara again
Flying car!
Funny

Cons:

Short
Awkwardly structured

Final Score: 80/100

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