Review: Mass Effect 2: Arrival (DLC)

It’s been awhile since Mass Effect 2 and I have been together. It’s good at luring me back whenever new downloadable content is released but otherwise I’ve moved on. The past few bonus missions were interesting and played with the mission structure of the core game, but Arrival feels like a giant step back.

I absolutely adore Mass Effect 2, and almost everything about it, but by the end of the game the patterns we’re becoming apparent. Get off ship, shoot some dudes, dialogue, shoot some more dudes, discover culprit, hunt down said culprit, more shooting, dialogue, boss battle. Arrival is about an hour and a half of that.

The catch was that Shepard’s mission would end in “The Ultimate Sacrifice” and close Mass Effect 2’s story-arch for good. It doesn’t “lead in” to Mass Effect 3 so much as it raises the stakes for Shepard’s final act. It’s nowhere near as foreshadowing as “The Shadow Broker” DLC, and it’s not as fun.

Along with the some of the previous DLC, Arrival is combat heavy. Shepard is forced to go solo for this outing and because of it, the tactical feeling of the action is lost. If you play this after you’ve finished the suicide mission I can’t see why your faithful crew members would let you go alone–the game is about gaining their loyalty to have your back after all.

The locations are very narrow and tend to always open to small rooms where you can be flanked from multiple angles. Twenty minutes into it, it becomes obvious how things will play out. The problem is that no tricks or new ideas are thrown into the mix.

At $7.50 (600 MS points) you could argue that Arrival is a waste of money. For as much as I hate that argument, I couldn’t agree more. Arrival tries to convey a paragraph of story with an hour of combat shoved in. You’re much better off reading a Wiki or watching a walk-through on YouTube.

The previous DLC for Mass Effect 2 brought interesting new characters and moods to a solid game. For a vital mission that could lead to the Reapers invading Earth and wreaking havoc on innocent lives, Arrival presents a stale excuse for an epilogue.

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