Dr Masslove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying About People’s Bums And Love The Game

I found the first 20 hours of Mass Effect 2 a bit too familiar, it’s fair to say. And, of course, the next 10 hours were regrettably spent taking, developing and analysing photographs of my first officer’s bum.

Er……..this was taken on the holodeck.

But the final 12 or so hours really turned things around.

Firstly, the Overlord DLC is a great example of what DLC can and should be. Genuinely unsettling at times, imaginative, with a sharp twist in its tail and set against a beautiful backdrop easily at least on par with anything Bioware provided out of the box, I was impressed.

My sense is that, much of the time, DLC offers false value and often transparently exposes active efforts from developers/publishers to provide less product out of the box for the same price. I wouldn’t take away their right to do so, but I would still smack them round the face with a wet kipper for it, should both opportunity and a wet kipper present themselves to me.

The Bring Down the Sky DLC for the original Mass Effect is a case in point, but, the DLC for Mass Effect 2 marks a big improvement. Not just Overlord, but Lair of the Shadow Broker too. They offer refreshing substance with worthwhile plot arcs, and it’s very easy to believe that they simply couldn’t be completed in time for the retail release of the game.

So, two space-faring thumbs up for the DLC.

Pictured: two space-faring thumbs up.

The second reason I’ve fallen for Mass Effect 2 is the finale. Even great games often struggle to close out on a bang, especially fairly open RPGs such as this which can naturally suffer from pacing issues as every Tom, Dick and Harry meanders through the quests at their own speed. Fallout 3 fizzles out with a slightly wet pop, and the finale of Dragon Age: Origins offered little more than an opportunity to discover whether the 1,000th or 2,000th time you ineffectually club a dragon in the chops with your sword is the most disappointing.

Many times, developers apparently feel that they have little remaining recourse but to provide some sort of lumbering menace with a glowing weak spot and, while Mass Effect 2 does succumb to this convention, what comes directly before before is fantastic. Your decisions made both earlier in the game and as you plan your attack on the enemy stronghold quickly come back to haunt you in what is initially a seemingly arbitrary fashion, but on closer inspection can be seen as a relatively smart comment on the importance of knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your friends, and taking the time to earn their loyalty.

Failing that, at least there will be less of a queue for the Mass Effect shower each morning.

So, I’m going back for a second bite. Partly to best it on Insanity for the kudos and achievements, but also partly because I now know the finale is worth getting to, and this time I’d like to see it through different eyes. Not just those of a dirty Renegade, but also those of a converted cynic.

Plus, there are other things Shepard needs to tend to.






2 responses to “Dr Masslove Or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying About People’s Bums And Love The Game”

  1. John.B avatar

    Overlord was, for me, how DLC should be done. A tightly contained well told story that expanded the fiction without feeling forced. Shame about arrival which felt contrived and lacking.

  2. wcd45 avatar

    I was dissapointed with the majority of the DLC for this game, apart from arrival. What happens at the end of that one piece of DLC reminded me of why I loved the game soo much in the first place.
    Good luck on insanity, my advice be a soldier, always use the fire ammo and for god’s sake don’t leave cover until you know every enemy is dead.

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