Some people might say I am a tad obsessed with the Mass Effect games. I admit, I may have played both games *mumble* times, but I won’t say “obsessed”…. Or maybe I would. It was with much joy and celebration that I waited for the highly anticipated new DLC “Lair of the Shadowbroker.” Did it live up to my extremely high expectations? Overall, I will say that it was well worth the 800 Microsoft points. Here is what I thought of it- and I will try to keep it somewhat spoiler free, but be warned: If you don’t want to know who shows up and in general what happens, don’t read on.
The general storyline is that you go back to your lady Liara with information about the Shadowbroker. You can do this either in the middle of the game, or at the end. I played both ways, and would recommend playing at the end of the game after you have beaten it. I found the dialogue and the information you are given to be much richer and fuller.
The Good: The first thing you notice about the game is how beautiful it is. You go to many different locations, including Liara’s apartment, and a drive through Illium. It really shows how much the designers took in creating these places. Along with the design, the writing really pops out at you. The dialogue is both heartbreaking and at times witty. There were times I actually laughed at out, especially at a particularly off-color joke between Liara and Shepard. For example, when you are driving through Illium, Liara turns into a backseat driver and the dialogue is hilarious. The storyline is solid, and yes, you do get to confront the Shadowbroker. I have seen many theories on who the Shadowbroker is, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The Average: Driving & Combat: The actual gameplay was pretty average. It was on par with Mass Effect 2, which means lots of ducking and shooting. They did add some interesting elements to help you with combat, and I appreciated that. The other element added was driving, and I’m not talking about the Mako or that hovering thing they forced into the game. This is an air-car chase that takes place in Illium, and I found it to be more fun than I would have thought. It wasn’t spectacular, but it was a nice break in the action.
The Bad: Length and interaction with teammates: There were only two things I thought were bad in the DLC Lair of the Shadowbroker. The first was the length. I played it on Normal and Hardcore. On Normal I whipped through the game in 2 hours. Hardcore was a little better – it took me about 6 hours to complete. I am unsure if it was because I had played the game so much that I was just REALLY good at it, or if it was just that short. My other disappointment was in the interaction with your teammates and Liara. I brought along Garrus and Talia, since they had been in the first game, and there was not ONE single interaction between them. I found this to be a little heartbreaking, and surely they would have SOMETHING to say to someone who helped them save the galaxy!
The Romance: I played the game with my two Shepards that romanced Liara – I haven’t had the courage to use the character I cheated on her with (only to get the romance achievement, I swear!) and I found their reunion to be quite satisfactory. You confront Liara about her attitude from when you first met, and you learn a little about WHY she acts the way she does. You get a satisfactory conclusion at the end, just make sure you invite her back to the Normandy for drinks.
Overall: The Lair of the Shadowbroker DLC was fun to play, and it introduced a few new characters that were intriguing. At the end you get access to the Shadowbroker’s files, and I spent HOURS just going through them. The developers and writers are not above poking fun at their own creations. Reading Miranda’s emails in a dating service website were hysterical, along with the observations of the other crew members. You get access to video surveillance of characters that you met along the way, and it gives the game much more depth, seeing all the things that were only talked about.
The Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadowbroker DLC is well worth your time, and it will make all the lesbian/bi gamers out there very happy indeed.
Review by Dani