Sunday, April 11, 2010
BioWare’s post release support for Mass Effect 2 to date has been commendable, albeit rather drip fed, and for fans and owners of the Cerberus Network, the blessing in disguise has been that it’s all been free. Earlier on this week BioWare’s first piece of “premium downloadable content” hit the Xbox Live Marketplace and although we’re excited to jump back into the Mass Effect universe, it’s another piece of DLC that proves that BioWare are still trying to find their feet as far as implementation goes.
Kasumi’s Stolen Memories introduces players to Mass Effect 2’s twelfth character – thus completing the dirty dozen – named Kasumi Goto. Kasumi is a human master thief whose enigmatic and secretive nature makes her a welcome addition to Shepard’s line-up of unlikely heroes. After picking up the mission on the Citidel via an exchange with an advertising billboard, Shepard and Kasumi are tasked with the mission to recover her former partner’s “graybox” from a ruthless arms dealer, Donovan Hock, who has now seized control of it.
This priceless graybox according to Kasumi houses some super sensitive information that could be potentially dangerous in the wrong hands. Whilst the beginning of the mission feels a little off for those that have already seen the end game – Shepard and Kasumi talk briefly about why Cerberus wants her on the squad... wait... I’ve done that already! – once you land on the planet of Bekenstein, the loyalty mission actually feels fresh and well delivered, as Shepard will have to acquire passwords, voice prints and DNA from the South African – well he sounds South African! – arms dealer.
The hour long mission, that is basically broken up into two equal halves – infiltration and combat – has Shepard attempting to crack a safe in Donovan’s home during a shindig and then escaping with the graybox, taking down a bunch of mercs and mechs along the way. It’s all well and good so far, but like the Zaeed DLC, the inclusion of Kasumi feels laboured and distant from the high quality character interactions of the main game. Just frequenting Kasumi’s quarters on the ship and not being able to communicate fully with Kasumi is a bitter disappointment.
As far as a one off, standalone mission goes, Kasumi’s Stolen Memories not only gives you the chance to net an extra tech upgrade should you need it, a new longer distance SMG – the X12d Locust – and an achievement worth 15 points for your troubles, but it’ll keep you entertained for the full hour. Its definite stumbling block is how disjointed it feels from the Mass Effect 2 experience that we came to love at the turn of the year and for that, we can’t fully well sit here and tell you to rush out and buy it. Whilst it’s quite clear that BioWare are in a good run of form with their full retail titles, creating RPGs from the upper echelons of class and sophistication, Kasumi’s Stolen Memories is another piece of DLC that just goes to show that they haven’t taken that art across into their DLC.
With Kasumi’s Stolen Memories being content that wasn’t ready to ship and with this being plucked off the cutting room floor, we still have some hope that BioWare’s next instalment of Mass Effect 2 DLC continues the high standard set by the main game.
Put it this way... Kasumi's Stolen Memories is a hell of a lot better than that Firewalker DLC!