X360A Review: Mass Effect 2's The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC

Dan Webb

BioWare has certainly been slowly raising the bar with its Mass Effect 2 DLC recently and while none of it has been bad per se, I think it’s safe to say that none of it has been on a parallel with the main game itself in terms of quality. From out of the shadows though comes the latest Liara-centric piece of downloadable content, 'The Lair of the Shadow Broker', and finally we can welcome a piece of content that is finally on a par with the impressive missions in the main game.

Picking up where the Liara story arc finished in the main Mass Effect 2 game and continuing the story of the Mass Effect comics, Mass Effect: Redemption, The Lair of the Shadow Broker delivers a couple of hours of high octane action that really lives up to the high standards we have come to expect.

The Lair of the Shadow Broker is a story of two halves, although, as always, we like to keep things spoiler free around these parts, so without going into too much detail, just expect a new user controlled hover car chase sequence, plenty of combat, a gripping story – with traditional BioWare twists and emotional dialogue – as well as a couple of epic boss fights. With its typically stunning visuals, you not only get to see a hell of a lot more of the Asari planet, Illium – the game’s most beautifully crafted planet if you ask me – but you also get to head to a completely unseen and particularly broody environment as well.

It’s clear BioWare has gone above and beyond with this piece of DLC, with regard to fan service in particular, and for any Mass Effect fan, there is plenty more Mass Effect lore to sink their teeth into. Not only can you purchase more goodies for your ship, plough money into investment opportunities, get more insight into many of the game’s characters, but you can even hook up and check out random pieces of CCTV footage on a certain terminal to get some more knowledge and real insight into said characters. Stuff a real Mass Effect fan will lap up.

The only hang up really is that it suffers from the same issue that the rest of the DLCs have suffered from, and that’s that you can’t shake this detached feeling from the rest of the squad when you take along various members of the dirty dozen. For the first half of the mission pack for instance, one of my squad mates said two words... and that was it. It’s a far cry from the vocal, chatty and argumentative members that we picked up along the way on our battle to fight the Collectors and the Reapers, and for me, it breaks the illusion a little. This pack is helped somewhat by the fact that Liara comes along for the ride, meaning you only have one mute blending into the scenery in cutscenes instead of two. It’s an issue that has plagued all of the Mass Effect 2 DLC to date if you ask me.

The achievements – of which there are 5 worth 200 points – are relatively easy; just make sure you change the difficulty before you start the mission or you’ll end up like me – having to replay it again for the difficulty achievement. Although, that’s not so bad considering the quality of the DLC on offer here. Aside from the difficulty achievement, which is relatively easy truth be told, the rest should just come on one playthrough, so do yourself a favour and don’t look at them before hand. They’re spoilerific.

The minor squad detachment complaint aside, Mass Effect 2’s The Lair of the Shadow Broker is quite possibly BioWare’s greatest piece of Mass Effect DLC yet. Nope, scrap that, it is their best piece of DLC to date. With a tantalising story with some truly gripping and edge of the seat moments, new gameplay elements and some more of that previously promised deeper character interaction, The Lair of the Shadow Broker is what we call in outer space, a doozy. Check it out now, you won’t regret it.

Mass Effect’s The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC is out now for 800 Microsoft Points.

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