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Mass Effect 2 DLC PDF Print E-mail
Written by Starfox / Silver Sorrow   
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 21:05
Article Index
Mass Effect 2 DLC
Zaeed: The Price Of revenge
Normandy Crash Site
Project Firewalker
Kasumi: Stolen Memory
Lair Of The Shadow Broker
Project Overlord
All Pages
Mass Effect 2 logo

For the little anecdote, the DLC concept (short for DownLoadable Content) is something that was first issued by Bethesda Softwork for their The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion then used again for their Fallout 3 but that has also been quite given a warm welcome among the games developers community and Bioware has learned the lesson... very well. Whereas Mass Effect 1 had only 2 DLCs available, Mass Effect 2 has already a real bunch of them from mere cosmetic things to gameplay enhancements or full additional set of missions. For legit owners of the game, the first DLCs that were released are free but not included with the game. Users have to subscribe to the Cerberus Network using a special "one use only" serial provided with their copy of the game and once this done, they may download their "promotions" (or DLCs that could have been part of the game release but that instead are delivered on the side).

Anyway There are enough DLC released for Mass Effect 2 now to grant them their special review page. In here you'll find our appreciation of the diverse DLC (beware that depending on Bioware, more might be added in the future). Also, don't forget to check our vanilla Mass Effect 2 review if you didn't already.

Note that some of our reviews herein might contain spoilers regarding the vanilla Mass Effect 2 story. We made our possible so that doesn't happen but it's sometime unavoidable. When a spoiler was issued though we did our best to restrict it to not be too huge. Those who already played the vanilla Mass Effect 2 have nothing to fear, of course.

List of currently available DLC

The DLC noted as "Cerberus Network" below are available to all subscribers of the Cerberus Network at no charge. Subscribing to the Cerberus Network though is only free if you redeem the special code that comes with your original copy of the game. If you can't redeem this code (because you have a used copy for which the code has already been used for example) you can still subscribe to the Network but it will cost you a one-time fee of 1200 Bioware points (about $15). Non-free DLCs also cost a number of Bioware Points. Prices generally vary between $2 and $10, the minimum number of Bioware Points one can buy being currently 400 ($5). As we are not responsible for putting the price tag on Bioware Points or DLC, this information could be outdated at the time you read this review. Hence, we do not give the price for the DLC we review.

Additional Missions DLC:

Zaeed: The price of Revenge (Cerberus network)
Normandy Crash Site (Cerberus Network)
Project Firewalker (Cerberus network)
Kasumi: Stolen Memory
The Lair Of The Shadow Broker
Project Overlord
Arrival (To be reviewed soon...)

Armor, weapons and cosmetic DLC (no missions):

Note: the list of DLC below is just for reference. We won't be reviewing them as they only features things like armor and/or weapons so there's actually not much to review. We drop just a quick note about these: most of the armors included in these DLC are one piece and not customizable. Only exception is the Kestrel armor provided in the Aegis pack. Weapons provided within these DLC although generally more powerful than the vanilla ones (especially those in the Firepower Pack) are also much more limited in ammo. There is a way to make them more useful but due to the DLC authorization process implemented in the game it involves relatively complex editing that most gamers won't bother to go through.

Only things possibly worth getting in this list for any gamer are the Aegis pack (because of the Kestrel armor) and the Alternate appearance pack 1 (and that's just because it fixes Garrus' wrecked armor from the vanilla game). The Firepower pack would be a good choice too but that is only if you're dedicated enough to go through the tedious process of editing your game files in a way that won't invalidate the DLC so you can then change some weapon parameters (mainly the ammo quantity that is ridiculously low in some cases).

Cerberus Weapon And Armor (Cerberus Network)
Cerberus Arc Projector (Cerberus Network)
Collector Armor (only if you bought the Collector edition of Mass Effect 2)
Blood Dragon Armor (Special -- requires owning Dragon Age: Origin)
Alternate Appearance Pack 1: Garrus, Jack, Thane
Firepower Pack
Aegis Pack
Equalizer Pack
Alternate Appearance Pack 2: Tali, Grunt, Miranda


Mass Effect 2 DLC: Zaeed

Zaeed: The Price Of Revenge

Type: Henchman / Additional mission / Additional Weapon

One of the two DLCs that were available on day one of Mass Effect 2 release. This DLC mainly provides an additional henchman, Zaeed Massani. Zaeed is a human mercenary hired by Cerberus for the mission and is definitely the badass kind. If your Shepard is renegade, you will like him. Reliable under fire, he uses assault and sniper rifles which makes of him a good choice for all those missions where you really don't know what to expect. As all other teammates, Zaeed also has a unique power (incendiary grenade) that is unlocked once you've completed his loyalty mission.

Zaeed's a heavy-hitter, which is quite useful if your Shepard isn't...meaning, if your Shep is a techie or a goop slinger, you'll appreciate the distraction that a tank provides. Until you recruit the krogan, you'll likely rely upon him often.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Zaeed Mass Effect 2 DLC: Zaeed Mass Effect 2 DLC: Zaeed

Zaeed is one of the two teammates for which there is no recruitment mission (you simply pick him up on Omega). However, there is still  a loyalty mission that will take you to Zorya, a planet where the Blue Suns mercenaries have invaded a refinery, holding the workers hostage. The mission is to liberate the refinery and the workers but Zaeed's plans somewhat differ from what Shepard would have expected. The way Shepard will handle the situation will grant either a major paragon or renegade bonus. Either way, Zaeed will become loyal.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Zaeed Mass Effect 2 DLC: Zaeed Mass Effect 2 DLC: Zaeed

Like all missions in Mass Effect 2, The Price Of Revenge comes with its very own environment and settings. Jungle, trees, an exploding refinery and a good bunch of opponents are there waiting for you. All in all the DLC is well made albeit relatively short and with a rather straightforward gameplay (probably the only Mass Effect 2 DLC that doesn't really tries to implement something new); but you can't beat the price (free). Only reproach that can be made is that the interaction with Zaeed aboard the Normandy is pretty limited. Unlike vanilla teammates, you won't engage in any real conversation with him although he will always be there to tell you about his war stories. Other than that, Zaeed is fully integrated to the team and you can take him for any mission you wish without problem; as all other teammates he will voice his opinion of the situation when appropriate. It's even a bonus to have him during the Archangel mission (near the beginning of the game).

A note about the refinery: this part of the mission provides a substantial boost to your Paragon or Renegade scores, depending on the choice you make. As Starfox said, this choice will net you either a Heavy Weapon Ammo upgrade or an Assault Rifle Damage upgrade. Beyond that, this decision will affect the end of the mission. For various reasons, I usually take the Renegade option. For one thing, Zaeed really does have a point. For another, I'm not a rescue worker: I destroy things unequivocally. My Shepards are more akin to Godzilla than Zorro, in short.

Sometimes this justification drowns out the screams. Sometimes it doesn't.

Mission Bonuses:

  • M451 Firestorm flamethrower
  • One upgrade schematic (Heavy Weapon or Assault Rifle depending on your karma decision).

DLC Rated 8/10

Normandy Crash Site

Normandy Crash Site

Type: Additional mission

Second of the "Day 1" Mass Effect 2 DLC, Normandy Crash Site features the only mission in the whole game that Shepard may directly accomplish for his former employer (the Alliance). It all starts when Alliance Command sends Shepard a message informing that the location of the final crash of the old Normandy was located. They would like Shepard to go there to place a memorial for those of the old crew who died in the attack and to locate any missing dog tag so the families of the MIA can be at peace.

Frankly speaking, Normandy Crash Site is more a nostalgic gimmick than a real mission. It's one of the few missions in the game where Shepard goes groundside without any of his team simply because there's not a single enemy there. The hardest part of the mission is to locate the 20 missing dog tags scattered among the debris of the Normandy SR1. That is not to say however that it is badly done. Those who played the first game (and I assume most of the people playing Mass Effect 2 also played the first game) may find some memorable moments in this little harmless treasure hunt on the frozen land where the first Normandy met her final fate, each important spot of the crash site triggering a memory cut-scene. One may also gather some additional resources (Ezo) and retrieve Shepard's lost N7 helmet that will find its place in Shepard's cabin on the new Normandy.

Normandy Crash Site alt alt

On a story level, the location is of some importance because it's also where Shepard died and where his body was eventually found. Depending if you care for your character or not, this may have some impact.

What seems like a throwaway mission is actually quite atmospheric; the music is languid and spooky, as is the environment. Little cutscenes memorializing certain lost crewmen or familiar areas of the ship pepper the dog tag hunt nicely.

And then again you can't beat the price of this DLC which is $0.

Mission bonuses:

  • Shepard's lost N7 helmet (decoration for the Captain's cabin)

DLC Rated 7/10

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker

Project Firewalker (Firewalker Pack)

Type: Additional Missions / Playable vehicle

As we said in our review of vanilla Mass Effect 2, the game didn't first come with a ground vehicle. Released a few weeks after the game, the task of the Firewalker DLC is to introduce players to the M-44 Hammerhead, an armored hovercraft that replaces the good old Mako from the first game. On the plus side, the empty room in the Normandy docking bay is finally filled; on the minus side, the Hammerhead can only be used in missions that were designed for it (you can't decide on a hunch to go accomplish with it one of the missions from the vanilla game; these missions were designed to be accomplished on foot and the Hammerhead needs significantly more room to manoeuver).

Which is a shame. I guess it really doesn't matter anyway, since most of the planetside missions are pretty much linear point-to-point exercises with very little room for exploration (or improvisation, I might even go so far as to say). A hovercraft would just get stuck in the corridors of Omega, but I think there'd be enough clearance to make Aria blast a brick through her knickers, at least.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker

To this effect, this DLC also contain 5 different missions on different planets which will put the Hammerhead in almost any situation it may encounter (volcano world, frozen lands...). The vehicle itself does not handle like the old Mako at all. For one, it doesn't have any wheel. Instead, it is propulsed a few feet above the ground with three specially designed engines. You can perform jumps with it (which are mandatory in a lot of situations) and you can give an acceleration boost to close important gaps or to evade some incoming fire. The Hammerhead features one unique weapon, a rapid-fire missile launcher with tracking capabilities (in other words your missiles will lock on the first target on the line of fire -- which may not be the one you are actually aiming at). It is also to be noted that unlike with the Mako, you can't exit the Hammerhead whenever you want but only at specific locations. The fact is there's no reason to exit it most of the time as the vehicle comes with a feature allowing you to gather resources and the only times that you are proposed to exit it it's because it cannot go where you have to.

I got the hang of the controls quickly for some reason (I'm usually terrible at this sort of thing), and I ended up having a blast and a half on all of the missions. Why can't all DLC be this fun??

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker

The set of missions itself will lead Shepard on the track of two Cerberus scientists Dr Cayce and Dr O'Loy who vanished after the crash of their ship, the MSV Rosalie. Why and how will be yours to discover. Fortunately for you, the Rosalie also transported the only prototype of the M44 Hammerhead. The missions are specifically tailored for the Hammerhead with quite unusually large areas (unusually large compared to Mass Effect 2 Vanilla missions, of course) and various accidented terrain that can only be overcome thanks to the jump and acceleration capabilities of the vehicle. Some missions feature only jumping puzzles and others come with additional opposition (Geth that for some reason are very interested in the research lead by the two scientists).

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Firewalker

The weird part about the Hammerhead though is that the vehicle HUD doesn't feature any kind of indicator regarding its status. You don't know if it has shields, you don't know if it has been damaged or not... Most of the time it's not a big trouble, not in this series of missions anyway. But the vehicle is not indestructible as it was proved to me in another DLC so some kind of damage indicator would have been a minimum and that cost the DLC half a point on the final score.

Not one of the bad guys ever got me! I floated like a hovercraft and stung like an armed hovercraft! Which is what I was...um...driving. Well. Never mind.

Overall, the Hammerhead is fun to use but the missions are short and once they are over you'll leave the Hammerhead in the hangar for good. Unless you buy a DLC that makes further use of the vehicle (at the time of this review only one other DLC makes use of the Hammerhead: the Overlord Pack).

The DLC is bittersweet: it's fun, but short and you don't get to use the Hammerhead again, except in Overlord. A real shame. Maybe Bioware will bring back planetside exploration with the Hammerhead in the next game.

The Firewalker Pack was the last free mission-oriented DLC for Mass Effect 2.

Missions bonuses:

  • one upgrade schematic (Biotic)
  • one strange Prothean relic (Captain's cabin customization) which may be a reminder of a mission from the first Mass Effect. It's real purpose is as unknown as Shepard's VI.

DLC Rated 8/10



Kasumi: Stolen memory Type: Henchman / Additional mission / Additional weapon

This DLC provides the second and last non-vanilla teammate that can be acquired. We could say that Kasumi is the female equivalent of Zaeed but that would be jumping to conclusion too soon. Like most of the missions-oriented DLCs published after Zaeed, Bioware attempted to implement in Stolen Memory some non-standard gameplay elements, nothing as obvious as the Hammerhead but still.

Kasumi Goto is a thief, one of the best thieves in the Galaxy some would say. Cerberus decided to hire her because they think she would make a great addition to Shepard's already vast team of guns for hire. As for Zaeed, Kasumi can be recruited straight on with a simple trip to the Citadel where she patiently waits for Shepard just in the entry area. However, additionally to the huge pay she's getting for the mission,  she came to Cerberus with an additional request. Her former partner and boyfriend -- Keiji Okuda, a thief like her -- was killed by a weapons dealer and smuggler named Donovan Hock. Hock cracked open the skull of Keiji to steal his graybox, a piece of electornic hardware that contains all the memories of his owner and in Keiji's case, a terrible secret that could compromise the Alliance if it was revealed. Obviously Kasumi wants to steal back what belonged to her former love both for sentimental and practical reasons and she expects Shepard to help her for the heist.

alt alt alt

This is the basis for Kasumi's loyalty mission. The completion of the mission will give access to a new power, a flashbang grenade that Bioware is apparently very proud of as you receive a lot of those from the opposition both in Stolen Memory and in the Shadow Broker DLC released later.

The great thing about the mission is not so the second part of it which includes normal Mass Effect 2 gameplay but the preparation of the heist itself which occupies the first half of the mission. Preparing the heist is a series of different tasks needed to crack the security of Hock's vault where he stores all of his treasures, including the famous graybox. This first part of the mission requires little combat (depending on the route you want to take at some point, the opposition might be a tad bit more numerous). A first for Bioware that is usually known for straigth gameplay, there are actually two ways to get to one of your objectives. It's the kind of little experiment Bioware is leading with their Various DLC. As long as this means that Mass Effect 3 gameplay will be better, I certainly don't mind.

The first half of the mission is a unique approach...for the series, at least. (Although...Samara's loyalty mission *is* somewhat similar in a way.) If you've played the game, you know that half of your time is spent running into various locations and shooting everything that moves, while the other half involves talking, talking, talking some more, and even more talking. And then you talk a little bit more. But this was fascinating: you go to a party. (It's an elegant affair; it isn't Caligula meets Star Trek, if you take my meaning.) With Kasumi's help, Shepard actually dresses up for a party! Unreal, right? Male Shepard wears this tuxedo-type thing, which is kind of like his Cerberus officer's tunic. But female Shepard...ah. A little black leather dress.

As a teammate for the rest of the game, Kasumi is somewhat special. She possesses a unique power, the "assassination cloak" that works as Shepard's one (that is if your Shepard is an Infiltrator) but improved. With it Kasumi is able to sneak up to behind a target of her choosing and terminate them generally in one blow. It's cool but it makes of her the most uncontrollable of your teammates. Even when you order her to cover she will likely break her cover at some point to go assassinate someone in the distance. Problem is she's not all that tough and there are real risk for her to be killed if there's opposition around when she decloaks. I even saw her once trying to sneak assassinate an YMIR heavy mech... that didn't end pretty. However she's still fun to have around because of the comments she has here and there.

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Only real complaint about Stolen Memory is exactly the same than the complaint about Zaeed: the price of revenge. The interaction with Kasumi aboard the Normandy is strictly limited to monologue stuff. She's kind of the gossip girl of the ship and apparently spends a lot of time sneaking through the decks including up to Shepard's cabin (if your Shepard happens to go on a date with Kelly, make sure to go see Kasumi after that; sometimes she creeps me even more than Cerberus; next time my Shepard will encode the digital lock on his/her door but that possibly won't help; Kasumi is the best thief, remember?). Anyway those who hope for some kind of romance with her can give up; that's not going to happen. Not in Mass Effect 2 anyway. In the third opus maybe (assuming she survives the suicide mission of course)?

That's my biggest complaint: very little interactivity beyond the whole "kiosk" thing. While I had no real expectations for a romance, it is something of a disappointment anyway. Especially since she ends up fixating on Jacob for some reason. Okay, I'll admit that there's something about the way he moves and--

--I didn't say that. You didn't see that.

Anyway, this is one of my favorite DLCs. Besides Kasumi being a master thief (eternally entangled as I am with the Thief series), she's quite funny at times, as well. (For example, when the alarms go off at the security checkpoint in the Citadel: "I swear to God I didn't touch anything!") She also calls Shepard "Shep," which is endearing.

Mission bonuses:

  • One upgrade schematic (Tech)
  • X12 Locust SMG (without a doubt the most accurate and powerful SMG in the whole game)

DLC Rated 9/10

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker

Lair Of The Shadow Broker (Shadow Broker Pack)

Type: Additional Missions / Liara's romance path continuation (ME1 ==> ME2) / Special bonuses

When you first meet your former crewmate (and maybe girlfriend if your Shepard romanced her in the first game) Liara T'Soni in the vanilla Mass Effect 2, you can chat with her and she will provide you with a couple of quick side missions involving the hunt for the Shadow Broker -- with whom she has a big bone to pick. However the interaction ended there and that felt clearly like a placeholder for things to come. The Lair Of The Shadow Broker DLC finally arrived to close this loophole and allows Liara to regain her status as one of the major Mass Effect story elements. Considering how the DLC ends, the impact her character will have in Mass Effect 3 might be consequent.

They *had* to do something with it...When you reunite with Liara on Ilium, regardless of your romance status in the first game, she wastes no time in putting you to work hacking consoles. The meeting is an incredibly awkward encounter anyway**; why not further muddy the waters by immediately requesting that Shepard run menial errands as well? Perhaps she'd like the savior of galactic civilization to pick up some freaking eggs from the store while he's at it, hmmm?
** "Shepard!"
"Now. Do a little legwork for me. We'll talk later."]


Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker

This DLC is possibly the most involved and complex of all the DLC released until now so what's the story? Well, if you already played Mass Effect 2, you already know that Liara is hunting down the Shadow Broker. For those who never played the first Mass Effect, the Shadow Broker is the biggest information dealer of the Galaxy and via one of his agents might have helped Shepard to reveal Saren's treason to the Citadel Council (that depended on how you played Mass Effect). Later another of his agents came to Shepard to ask him to handle some information that our hero collected on Cerberus. Now Liara is hunting him down because of what he did to her and one of her friends. The Shadow Broker was actually involved in the retrieval of Shepard's body after he/she died but wanted to give the body to the Collectors. Instead of that Liara snatched Shepard's body from his custody and handed it over to Cerberus with the results that we know. In the operation however, she barely escaped alive and saw her friend captured. Now it's time for payback.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker

The fact that Cerberus is a declared enemy of the Shadow Broker helps as the DLC starts when Cerberus pass to Shepard some information that might help to track down the actual location of the Shadow Broker. The DLC itself can be started at any moment in the game, even if you already completed the main quest (later Liara will adapt some of her dialogs to the situation and a few other things will be changed depending on where you are in the story -- before or after the Omega 4 jump).

In the first game, there was an option to share files concerning Cerberus with the Shadow Broker. I have no idea if my actions then had any impact on anything in ME2. Murky. Very murky.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker

The Lair Of the Shadow Broker is a full story in itself with everything you could expect from a story-driven game. Treason, deception, explosions, 4 different locations to visit, even a car chase and a final battle quite surprising -- about which I'll say nothing of course. During a sizeable part of this mini story, Liara will join you as one of your squad, like in the good old days which means that you'll only be able to embark one of your regular crew instead of the usual two. It doesn't matter as Liara is quite capable to handle herself in battle with the full power of her biotics (remember to attribute her squad points when she joins though).

Even though I normally hate boss fights with a passion, I have to admit that the ones you deal with here are actually a lot of fun.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker

The car chase which is the new gameplay trick introduced for this DLC is rather fun (mainly due to the dialogs that occurs between Shepard and Liara all along). Gameplay wise, your role is to pilot the car to keep on the tail of your target while avoiding several obstacles. It is not very difficult and makes for an enjoyable moment that differs from the standard Mass Effect 2 gameplay.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker

Then there is romance. Let us be clear about that: you won't be able to "create" a romance with Liara if your Shepard didn't already romanced her in the first game. If a romance wasn't already existing, she will only see you as a good friend. Now if you romanced her in the first game, you'll be provided with options to pursue this romance. Beware though: pursuing the romance is actually tricky because Bioware based the whole thing mainly on Karma Actions (discussed in our full review of the vanilla Mass Effect 2) and the exact moments where you can pick up these Karma Actions are ridiculously short (much shorter than any other KA in the rest of the game) so they are pretty easy to miss if you're not prepared.  However if you successfully renew your romance we may assume that this will have an impact on Mass Effect 3 too.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker Mass Effect 2 DLC: Shadow Broker

Achievment Note: one of the Achievements centers on playing through the entire DLC on Hardcore or Insanity difficulty. Apparently, you need to change the difficulty (if you aren't playing at one of those settings already) before you talk to Liara and embark on the mission to get the Achievement.

Only bad thing about the DLC is that the interaction with Liara become non-existent after the DLC is completed.

Also, Liara's eyebrows creep me out. It isn't relevant to the review, but I thought I'd mention it anyway.

Overall though, The Lair Of the Shadow Broker is the most brilliant DLC released so far and if you were only able to pick one DLC that would be the one.

Missions Bonuses:

  • A fully featured base that you can visit at leisure once the DLC completed
  • Secret dossiers on important characters and organization in the game (including information -- some very funny -- about the members of your squad -- note that some of this information is updated after some events in the game)
  • The ability to re-distribute the squad points for any of your teammate (equivalent of Retrain Powers for Shepard)
  • The ability to request info on planets rich in resources (locations are added to the Normandy map)
  • The ability to mess up -- as the Shadow Broker would -- with galactic events and politics for some credits
  • Surveillance videos of several of the characters in the game (some funny and some intriguing)
  • Various upgrade schematics and free resources (some during the mission and some after the mission is completed on your different visits to the base)
  • The introduction of a new alien species

DLC Rated 9.5/10

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord

Project Overlord (Overlord Pack)

Type: Additional missions / Playable Vehicle

One of Cerberus research cells fell off the grid without any explanation. Guess what? The Illusive Man would like Shepard to go investigate the reason of the communication loss -- the guy must be really desperate because as the general rule goes in Cerberus no cell must know the purpose or location of any other. The research center on planet Aite was responsible for Project Overlord, a very sensitive matter that the Man doesn't want to discuss even over a secure channel. So Shepard have to set course for the planet not knowing what to expect.

I expected a lot of horrible things to happen to various entities, and I was not disappointed.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord

Once there, Shepard quickly discovers that the whole project involved an attempt at developing a Virtual Intelligence able to control the Geth. Dr Archer, lead scientist of the whole project (and only one still alive) used is own autistic brother "computer mind" in order to give the VI the ability to communicate and interact with the Geth. Although the initial results were promising, the VI (or rather Archer's brother) eventually went really mad and the hell broke loose. Every Geth, Mech and automated defenses in the facility turned against the Cerberus crew. Now the VI attempts to escape the confine of the facility to infect the galactic extranet and of course it's up to Shepard to put an end to the problem. It's also the occasion to witness (if the events in the first Mass Effect weren't enough) just how far Cerberus is ready to go in its advancement of humanity.

On a related side note, reading the Mass Effect novels Ascension and Retribution will cause your skin to crawl every time you talk to the Illusive Man, if it didn't already. Gaaah.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord

Project Overlord is a set of four different missions each in their own environment with a wide outside area hub linking them. This DLC makes quite a sizeable use of the M44 Hammerhead in the wide area hub and two of the four missions proposed but even the missions where it is used have an "on foot" part (except for the wide area that is specifically designed for the Hammerhead). It's also the occasion for you to see that the Hammerhead can indeed blow up in some conditions (the Firewalker DLC wasn't really all that clear about the M44 resistance) and it's there that the lack of any damage indicator on the Hammerhead HUD is bad -- although to be honest, the part of the DLC were your vehicle can be pulverized is more of the one hit/one kill kind than anything else so a damage indicator wouldn't do much good, probably. Some new gameplay ideas were implemented by Bioware for the Hammerhead, a welcomed change from Firewalker.

Also, please note that you don't need the Firewalker DLC installed to use the Hammerhead in Overlord, and vice versa. It's the little details like that which chip away at what little sanity remains to me.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord

The on foot parts of the DLC are well done and there again Bioware tried to implement some new gameplay like blowing pipes to eliminate enemies with a high pressure/high temperature airflow or a platform puzzle. Nothing to complicated though (actually you can even ignore the "blowing pipes" thing; ignoring them will just make things a bit more difficult for you). At times it seems that Bioware is using its various DLC to experiment with different gameplay concepts. Hey! as long as it works, I don't mind.

Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord Mass Effect 2 DLC: Project Overlord

The most surprising part of the DLC though is the finale that I won't detail here because of spoilers. As in the rest of Mass Effect 2, this DLC is story driven and in this particular case it is telling a sad tale. In an already dark universe, Cerberus proves that it can make things even darker. Of course if your Shepard happens to be on the renegade side he/she might rather say: "Everything it takes to win". But eventually in both cases (renegade or paragon) it appears that Shepard is really pissed off with Project Overlord. To be honest I find myself that even the treatment Dr Archer receives at the end by renegade Shepard is far too kind.

If Shepard's permanent sidekick was a certain hyperkinetic rabbity thing, I believe the good doctor's fate would have been quite appropriate...

A fine DLC with some pretty challenging moments and the occasion to play around a bit more with the Hammerhead.

Mission bonus:

  • One upgrade schematic (Shepard's health)

DLC Rated 9/10



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