Thursday, March 31, 2011

Bite-Size Review-- Mass Effect 2: "The Arrival"

With the Mass Effect trilogy's final chapter already on the horizon, BioWare has returned to last year's Game of the Year for one last mission in "The Arrival". While providing an interesting hook in the story that gives insight into the beginning of Mass Effect 3, one critical design error almost breaks the whole experience.

"The Arrival" starts off like the previous DLC, where someone contacts Commander Shepard on the Normandy, leading into a new mission for Shepard to deal with. In this case, the conditions of the mission require Shepard to go at it alone without the aide of his compatriots. While this decision to keep combat a solo affair enables a fun stealth segment, it later comes at the cost of almost ruining the fun and strategy of combat entirely. In all other Mass Effect 2 missions, the combination and balancing of you and your squads specialties and powers allowed for combat to be dynamic, fresh, and exhilirating. This new mission feels like a neutered version of the original game and it becomes frustrating as you cannot establish a flow to combat like you normally do. While there are a few cool settings for key fights, overall the removal of your squad makes the game much more monotonous.

Where "The Arrival" does succeed is its strong ending, which provides an epic encounter and a key lead up into the final chapter. Furthermore, there is a major decision that appears will have big consequences in ME3 as well.  However, with these two notable exceptions, the rest of the story leaves much to be desired. Dialogue sections are uncharacteristically sparse, that the ones that are present are fairly dry and uninteresting. An attempted "twist" comes off as way too obvious and even borderlines on the unbelievable.

At the end of the day, "The Arrival" is only recommendable to those who absolutely cannot wait for Mass Effect 3 and need to feed that thirst with more Mass Effect 2. Otherwise, it falls well short of the towering standards set by its predecessors.

($7 / 560 Microsoft Points)


1 comment:

kyaminy06 said...

This game really has me going. I am totally addicted to this game. I have to play it everyday.
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