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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
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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


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