Saturday, April 20, 2013

DLC review: Mass Effect 2 - Lair of the Shadow Broker

After receiving some valuable intel from one of her contacts, Liara believes she may have the necessary information and resources to track down the infamous Shadow Broker. While the Shadow Broker was only briefly mentioned in the first Mass Effect, his presence is felt more directly in the sequel, as many a human and alien speaks of him and the many agents he has scattered across the galaxy. With this sudden and potentially life-changing opportunity presented before her, Liara sets out to meet with her contact.

Not long after, her apartment is attacked, and Shepard searches it for any clues that Liara might have left behind. Shepard deduces that she must have gone to meet with her contact, but the moment Shepard arrives at the building where Liara was headed, and explosion is detonated from inside. Shepard fights agents of the Shadow Broker as he/she climbs toward the top, and eventually discovers that the Shadow Broker had agents tracking Liara for some time now, having recognized her as a legitimate threat to the stability of his network. A high-speed chase through the streets of Illium and another intense shootout later, and Shepard and Liara have the necessary coordinates to finally track down the Shadow Broker, and potentially reunite Liara with a lost friend and comrade.

Lair of the Shadow Broker is without a doubt the most well-crafted DLC pack for Mass Effect 2, and serves as something of a bridge to the events of Mass Effect 3. The combat, though familiar, pits Shepard and Liara against unfavorable odds in a variety of environments from the aforementioned blown-out building to the top of a windswept floating platform to narrow industrial corridors. The need to alter your strategy as the environment demands it makes combat far more enjoyable than in most of the rest of Mass Effect 2’s sidequests and even more enjoyable than some of the main storyline missions. The effort put into this DLC pack mirrors that of the main game, and to that end it feels like a missing chapter that should have been on-disc on the game’s release date.

In the event that Shepard romanced Liara in the original Mass Effect, he/she will have the opportunity to carry it on here or call it off if they wish to seek out another romantic pursuit. Shepard can also invite Liara aboard the Normandy to reminisce about their past adventures for a brief while. This final portion of the DLC doesn’t play a huge role in the grand scheme of things, but is a nice little addition that helps Mass Effect 2 feel more like a true sequel to the first game.

My rating: 9.25 (out of 10)*

*(rating applies solely to downloadable content, not its inclusion with the content on the original game disc or other downloadable content)

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