Arrival DLC For Mass Effect 2, Uh, Arrives

By Jim Rossignol on March 31st, 2011 at 10:06 am.

It'd be better if they were honest about how much this game is basically macho Star Trek.
Hmm, I’m not hearing great things about the Arrival DLC for Mass Effect 2, which turned up last night. The add-on is supposed to set things up for the third game, and is a mission in which you rescue a missing agent, who has news about the reapers. Doesn’t sound like people are enjoying it that much – but maybe it’s fine. Just fine.

So is anyone getting this? Or able to comment, having got it? Moreover, how many of you have actually gone back to ME2 to play all this extra stuff? I picked up the first few months of DLC, but I’ve not been back.

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77 Comments »

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  1. TheBlackBandit says:

    Shame about the quality of this DLC. I like Batarians.

  2. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    Who’s the protagonist in the trailer? He some kind of new squad mate that will be appearing in ME3?

    • Flobulon says:

      What’s weird is how they kept calling him “Shepard” too, maybe he’s meant to be Commander Shepard’s brother or something?

    • Bret says:

      But Shepard’s whole family was killed by Batarians!

      Maybe a cousin or something. Anyway, I never saw him in the DLC. Someone must have pointed out the no family bit in time.

      Only okay DLC as a whole, but it had a LOT of dead Batarians, so it gets a pass.

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      Hidden_7 says:

      Ridiculous, Shepard’s whole family wasn’t killed by batarians, she didn’t have a family, and also his mom is fine and calls in now and again. Also, she had blonde hair and this dude has brown hair, so he can’t be her brother. Also he used sniper rifles. And her armor was white.

    • Sabadaba says:

      Excuse me fellows, but Shepard is a sexy redhead, although I do agree that she uses sniper rifles. And she has the standard N7 armour because she never realized it was possible to modify it.

  3. strangeed says:

    Sigh, I was hoping for a good final bit of DLC. I’ll still get it, since I’m not right in the head and was considering getting my female Shepard out for another jaunt across the galaxy.

  4. westyfield says:

    I’m planning on buying all the main DLCs (not the alternate appearances or extra weapons/armour) sometime, and playing through ME1 and ME2 + DLC before ME3 comes out to get the complete experience and refresh my memory in time for the third game.
    So, in answer to your question, I haven’t played any of the DLC other than the release-day content (Zaeed, crash site investigation).
    I’ve heard bad things about this one as well, shame because I was looking forward to it. Hopefully if this one is not popular it might discourage developers from making DLC to link games – I don’t mind extra content but when it ties in to the main story like this one or Lair of the Shadow Broker, it annoys me a bit.

    • rashan says:

      I was concidering doing the same. What really hangs me up is the lack of a DLC pack. I dislike the Bioware store, and the points method intensly. If the DLC were to show up on Steam, either individually or in a bunch (much in the way of the Borderlands DLC pack), I’d probably go ahead and purchase the lot of them. As it is, I’m more likely to give this a pass.

      Hear that Bioware? ditch the points, put DLC on Steam and take my money.

    • Atomosk says:

      @rashan

      Yes! The worst thing about Bioware points is you always have to buy a couple more then the DLC costs. It’s such a scam.

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      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      @Atomosk: Er, no you don’t. You only need to buy the exact number of points you need (on PC at least). Which makes the whole system a bit daft, as it pretty much makes the idea of points moot. I can only fathom that their idea was to standardise the PC prices with the console prices (since 1 Bioware point = 1 Microsoft point).

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      Hidden_7 says:

      I think three times now I’ve caved and decided to get the ME2 DLC (the proper content ones, not the weapon / appearance packs) even though I had decided they probably weren’t worth it, and three times now I’ve been stopped from giving Bioware my money because they didn’t want it that much. If you’re going to market an online sort of impulse purchase (since it’s priced in that range) maybe make it easier for me to buy it. Don’t make me have to search through your website to find out where to purchase the pack, then make me search through your website to find out where to purchase the money, then make me buy the money, only for me to have thought better of giving you any money at all.

      I bought most of the (not MoxxI) Borderland DLC and the Fallout New Vegas DLC because it was both a) the price of a lunch but more importantly b) required one click from me on a program I was already using to chat to my friend online. Get it together, Bioware.

  5. csuzw says:

    It’s not worth the cost certainly (as seems to be increasingly the case with Bioware/EA DLC). There’s very little new or interesting in it, and the story is full of holes.

    • Coins says:

      I’ve not seen ANY dlc worth the cost.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Coins

      I’ve heard v.good things about Lair of the shadow Broker tbh.

      Like a few I’m planning a big pre ME3 play through of the previous titles plus all associated story DLC.

    • marach says:

      Lair of the shadow broker adds some nice stuff and kasumi’s one isn’t bad, even overlord is pretty decent. Arrival however is SHORT i mean short, short it took me about 30 minutes to complete and the hardest fight was a solo fight against a YMIR.

    • Jimbo says:

      Shadow Broker is great for what it is. Haven’t played any of the other DLC.

  6. TheSaddestSort says:

    “Just fine” more or less encapsulates my feelings on this particular bit of dlc. The whole of it felt rather slapped together to me, with the spelled out ramifications at the end being the only thing that was really of interest. Thing is we won’t even see any of these effects until — you guessed it — ME3.

  7. Derpington Hurrrrrrr says:

    Is this DLC worth another run through the game? I kinda feel bored just thinking about ME2. Couldn’t get myself to get the DLC with Liara as a companion either.

    • marach says:

      just load up an endgame save it creates a new one when completed no need to replay at all

  8. Giant, fussy whingebag says:

    Hmmm… I might pick this up if it gets discounted at some point. I hear that it is more guns and less conversation, which is what has stopped me.

    I went less overboard with the ME2 DLC than I did with Dragon Age. I only got Lair of the Shadow Broker, which I thought an excellent addition to the game. A shame it wasn’t in the first draft, as it suddenly gave Liara a purpose in the 2nd game (beyond a fanservice cameo).

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      Fatbubba says:

      Dragon Age’s DLC left me with a bad taste though. Those really felt uninspired and were basically all just old maps re-used, except for maybe the Golems of Amgarrak DLC.

      As for Arrival. It was “just fine”. Gameplay was just run and gun, sadly without companions as it’s a solo mission.

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      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      @ whingebag: More gun, less conversation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Overlord was equally light on chatting and that proved to be the pick of the DLCs for me. The problem I have with Arrival is that they’ve made it an entirely solo mission, which automatically makes fights 80% less interesting, against the same opposition throughout and the few things it does do to mix up the formula just aren’t enough.

  9. Nemon says:

    Does it really “link” ME2 with ME3 or is it a quest you can play whenever you want during ME2? My initial thought was that this was happening after the main quest in ME2.

    • Ringwraith says:

      I think it’s available any time after Horizon if I remember some random bit I read about it correctly.

      Though, would make more sense after the main plot is finished, though Lair of the Shadow Broker was designed to be played after the main mission too but was open at any time after talking to Liara.

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      phuzz says:

      I thought you got bonuses from that DLC that directly helped the final mission?
      I could be wrong though, it has been known.

  10. somnolentsurfer says:

    I”ve only played the release day DLC. I was planning getting it all and giving it a run through between finishing DA2 and Portal 2 coming out, but if it’s not worth it maybe I’ll reconsider.

  11. Meat Circus says:

    It’s alright, Lair of the Shadow Broker and Overlord are both still great.

  12. hyos says:

    To answer some questions:

    a) The trailer does not show any new squadmates – the protagonist is Shepard – in ME canon Shepard is male and this is what he looks like
    b) The mission is available after the mission on Horizon in ME2 apparently, not in the beginning.

    I finished it already on Insanity, and it is quite easy and unfortunately really short. The real connection to ME3 is probably the debriefing talk you have at the end.

    I own all of the DLC content for ME2 and this one is overpriced (as are the appearance packs and extra weapons). Overlord was quite cool, Hammerhead too, while Lair of the Shadow Broker is excellent in my opinion and you definitely should play it.

    • Bret says:

      a) That was a joke.

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      Hidden_7 says:

      Yes, it’s very much the thing to do to insist that Shepard is a lady, since the received wisdom is that Jennifer Hale does a better job of it than Mark Meer. Interestingly, though everyone agrees that Shepard is a lady, none can agree what she looks like.

      Personally, I’m on a playthrough of the series as a lady, up to ME2 at this point, having played them through the first time as a fella, and while I can certainly see the point people have, I think it’s been much exaggerated by the internet wind tunnel effect, which is to be expected.

  13. Flameberge says:

    Bioware DLC seems to be constantly of very iffy quality. Same with Dragon Age, some very good DLC (Shale, the day one character was awesome, as were a couple of other bits) whereas others, Return ot Ostagar especially others were utter trash.

    As for ME2 DLC, I’ve cherry picked the ones worth playing somewhat succesfully. Lair of the Shadow Broker is very good – definitely has some flaws and even it is a bit too much of a shooting gallery in places, not to mention a stupid boss encounter with someone who is just an ordinary asari and not a giant metal space machine which spoil the experience. Definitely closest you can get to an extra slice of ME2. Overlord is pretty good as well. Katsumi’s DLC whatever it is called is actually also pretty nice, it at least has you doing more than just shooting endless waves of NPCs.

  14. ReV_VAdAUL says:

    I’m really torn, I used my meagre maths skills to work out how I could get exactly the right number of points to get all the mission DLC and the weapons pack with no remainder. But now arrival doesn’t seem worth the money. Not sure what to do, maybe I’ll just use the money to pre-order Arkham City instead.

  15. Icarus says:

    I picked this and Overlord up yesterday and played through them both. Shadow Broker is still my favourite DLC by a long way. Overlord and Kasumi are tied for second place, with Overlord edging ahead on the basis that it’s basically System Shock, but Kasumi’s ‘heist’ mission is still pretty fun. Arrival is probably third, due to the spelled out ramifications from the end debriefing and wondering how it’ll play out in ME3.

    Firewalker was good, Zaeed was decent.

    I don’t really care about the weapons and alternate-appearance packs, I don’t have those. Just the day-one stuff and the extra missions.

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    Rinox says:

    How much is 560 Bioware points in real money? Anyone know?

    I may pick this up down the line, but only right before I start playing ME3. Tbh though, I’ve only ever played the Bring the Sky Down DLC (which was free) and it felt like such a massive disconnect to come back to the game long after I played it to do a long mission.

    DLC doesn’t seem to work well with story-based games.

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      Man Raised by Puffins says:

      It’s just shy of 5 quids.

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      skalpadda says:

      Around $8. Funny thing, when I bought the other DLC from the Bioware Store, the points buying site was giving me the price in my local currency (Swedish Crowns) but still had a $-sign in front, meaning it claimed the price was over $50 for one piece of DLC. Seems they fixed that now though.

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      Maltose says:

      80 bioware points = US$1

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      Hidden_7 says:

      Oh, that’s easy then! It’s just like the exchange rate of CAD to USD when I was a kid. Shame years of near parity have ruined those conversion instincts I used to have.

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    skalpadda says:

    I recently had a run through ME1 and then ME2 with Kasumi, Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker to get my “perfect” Shepard for ME3 and I quite liked the DLC so far, through Kasumi is only really worth it if you’re doing a new play-through so you get to play with her in the party and talk to her on the Normandy for the rest of the game.

    Not really feeling this one, but I’ll probably get it at some point before playing ME3 anyway because I’m weird.

  18. mcwizardry says:

    I quite enjoyed it, although if you’re only going to play one DLC before ME3 it should probably be Shadowbroker.

  19. Tiddler says:

    Having played through it already I’d say its about the quality of the other DLC from bioware atm. Just “meh”, the actual plot etc could be summed up in a couple of sentences but I suspect it will affect part of ME3 a bit so it may be worth the cash if you are big on the series.

  20. Caleb367 says:

    Got it and played it through.
    First impressions: decent. Not as good as Lair of the Shadow Broker or Overlord, but in my opinion a better bang for bucks than Kasumi.

    tl; dr version: some decent gameplay, some decent view – not as impressive as the ubership from LotSB, though – story is a bit shallow and you see the plot twist a mile away, and the usual difficult moral decision at the end. The ending is the better part, as being successful implies you may have sabotaged yourself in ME3, which would make for a LOT of interesting plot stuff. All in all, worth the 5 quids, i think.

    However, i’d advise people wanting to play to go for it after having finished the main quest. Plot makes much more sense that way.

  21. derella says:

    Arrival was alright. There is very little talking, which was disappointing, but not surprising. I don’t think it really had much impact on the story, though I guess there was one “consequence” that could carry over into ME3.

    It wasn’t as good as Lair of the Shadow Broker, but I thought it was about as good as Overlord.

  22. AlexW says:

    Extremely disappointing. Not enough interesting gameplay, not enough great vistas, boring NPCs to interact with (not even a new costume for the female character it centres around, let alone decent facial animation or voice acting, and what was that about discovering a little more about Hackett?), and the morality choice was so extremely underwhelming that it revealed its Magician’s Choice underpinnings and didn’t make use of a potentially brilliant way to begin ME3.

    If it was cheaper, it might be excusable, but since they suggested that they wanted everyone to get this DLC in order to transition from ME2 to ME3 well and it’s this mediocre it just feels like a cash grab. Stick to Shadow Broker and Overlord.

  23. vodka and cookies says:

    Yes that was quite underwhelming, a little more effort could have gone a long way Bioware. I’m guessing there’s no choice in the mission because the arrival mission is cannon even if you haven’t played it & sets up the opening for ME3, the Reapers delayed for a year and Shepard on trial at Earth.

    We know what ME3 is going to be now opening with Shepard on trial at Earth followed by assembling alliance of fleets to combat Reapers (which they’ve been hinting at all the way in ME2).

  24. Riztro says:

    Well that was. Ok-ish.
    Story was a bit naff. It’s a brilliant concept but the execution is pretty bloody crap. The assets seem to be, in almost every single instance, reused not just from ME2 but within Arrival itself. The batarian mooks you fight look just like the human mooks you fight. In fact, I can’t think of a single memorable character, even the one that should have at the least triggered fond recollections just sounds like evil overlord (generic).
    Oh and come on, if I’m going to pay this many moonbucks for a mission that feels shorter and less inspired than any of the ME2 loyalty missions at least get the proper voice actors to do a few lines of dialouge. It’s not as if anyone speaks all that much anyway and you’ve oh so cleverly barred me from using the crew I collected in the base game but when Shepard calls Joker you’ve actually got some random crewmember responding. Even reusing some line from the other games would have added some much needed character.

    Ahh, so not so Ok-ish after all. Do better Bioware, I know you can.

  25. fuggles says:

    As others have said, it’s really average. I bought it because I had all the others, but it takes an hour to complete, making it on average cost £4.33 an hour. It is a solo combat/stealth quest with a plot that can be summed up in one sentence and has no bearing upon anything. If you have all the others then I suspect you will get it (like me), however if you are in doubts then don’t. There is a video on Giantbomb which essentially shows the whole thing, plot spoilers and all – that’s 20 mins long and free.

  26. Nighthood says:

    Nobody likes Batarians really.

    Or Volus. Or Vorcha. A number of species actually.

    • steggieav says:

      Volus are awesome. I’m holding out hope for a volus companion in ME3. Also, an elcor vehicle section.

    • Caleb367 says:

      HANAR! Who can say no to BLASTO, the hanar spectre?

      “Enkindle THIS.”

  27. ChromeBallz says:

    Witch Hunt all over again :/

  28. kyrieee says:

    I though it was quite bad, the Eurogamer review lays it out well:
    http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-03-30-mass-effect-2-arrival-review
    Solo combat is terrible, very weak plot that doesn’t hold up to any scrutiny, no choice in a situation where there absolutely had to be a choice, it doesn’t advance the plot at all, it doesn’t flesh out the universe any more and it has a lot of big consequences that feel totally pointless. The complete lack of voice acting from anyone in your crew, even when you address them, makes the whole thing feel cheap.

    This has nothing that was good about ME2. The game was based around squad based combat with interesting conversations interspersed, this has neither. It wasn’t made by the ME2 team and it shows. What happens in this DLC is worse than if BioWare had taken away the choice at the end of ME2. “Are you sure you want to do this?” “NO!” “Doesn’t matter, you’re doing it in a cutscene.” … “Hey Shepard, that thing you did was pretty fucked up, we’re gonna have your ass for it” “Wtf???”

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      Drew says:

      Some spoilers ahead, for those who care.

      I was amazed how often I found myself yelling at Sheperd during this DLC. It wasn’t just tat awful moment when he took the big Chin-Scratching-in-Space decision away from me, but the fact that he has no choice but to walk into obvious trap after obvious trap. I felt like his predicament was his own fault. His, not mine.

      And there’s the fact that you have to choose whether or not to kill a person, and that if you choose not to kill her, she dies immediately afterward anyway. And then there’s the fact that killing her doesn’t even prevent the thing she’s about to do when you kill her, and then there’s the fact that preventing that thing wouldn’t have made a difference to the mission anyway. The whole event is completely out of the player’s hands.

      And if taking choice away from the player was a thematic decision on BioWare’s part–if the point of the mission was to make us doubt that the galaxy is actually up to fighting the Reapers–then Sheperd should have (a) failed to complete the Project or (b) had to sacrifice someone or some place he actually knew and cared about in order to complete the Project. Being forced to destroy some Batarian colony you’d never heard of before was cheap, sloppy storytelling.

      When Mass Effect 3 rolls around, I’m thinking I’ll just import my save from before the Arrival mission. If my Sheperd is going to be a mass murderer, I’d like to have had something to do with it.

    • kyrieee says:

      Unfortunately I’ve heard that this and LotSB is cannon, so it won’t matter if you’ve played it or not =(

      I think they could’ve made something good out of this. The thing that happens is pretty messed up, but what if they had made a hard choice out of it? Stop the thing from happening but sacrifice something to do it, like a crew member. Or save a crew member but let the thing happen. If I felt like I gained something by letting it happen then I could accept the consequences of the action, but I don’t feel like I gained anything because the world is in almost exactly the same state as it was before the DLC.

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      Drew says:

      Well, it matters that the Reapers have been delayed. If we gave the galaxy an extra year, that’s not nothing.

      But man, if this is canon, that’s going to be even worse for those who didn’t play Arrial. They’ll, what, find themselves being tried for warcrimes they have no memory of committing? “Oh, if you want to understand what’s going on, $7 please. But don’t expect to be able to change anything.”

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      thestjohn says:

      I hope there’s an option to turn up to the trial in ME3 and say “Look, I’ve saved the Galaxy a few times, been a paragon of excellence and all that is best in humanity, hell, I’ve even died and come back to life. And you’re going to need me to do it all over again soon. How about we wrap this up, call me innocent on all charges and go for a pint eh? It’s only 1pm we can get a good few in before the Reapers turn up.”

  29. Mendrake says:

    Well, I enjoyed it, but I enjoy almost ANYTHING that has to do with Mass Effect 2.

    I thought the first part was fun due to sneakyness, then came that part? you know that part? yeah, I died in two seconds. then I actually had to face concequences for dying, which seems cool. Then I rode and asteroid into ALIEN TECHNOLOGY.

    In all seriousness, it could have been shit. I really dont know. all I know is it was fun and actually gave Shepard some charecter.

    • Riztro says:

      What sneakiness? It was the same covershooting as in the later stages, against identical enemies. The only sneaky part was that the enemies were fewer and stood facing the other way rather than rushing in to the room at the start of the fight. Oh, and that I left my squad at home. But not my Cain nukegun, no, the nukegun is fine.

    • bleeters says:

      You can sneak past the guards before finding the operative without attracting their attention, and doing so is apparently an achievement or such.

      Thing is, I wouldn’t praise it myself. You accomplish it not due to any particular skill or subtlety, or by taking alternate routes to bypass enemies. Instead, they’re thick as pig shit, and wouldn’t notice your presence if you stripped off your power armour and started dancing. Hell, I opened a door at one point to find two guards a few feet away, facing in my direction, and neither seemed to care.

      Also, in That Part, you ‘die’ either way. I personally held off every enemy myself, considering how much this reminded me of some other shoddy game I’d played lately involving waves of faceless goons jumping off high ledges, until the game decided I’d lived long enough and it was time for the arbitrary loss-of-consciousness-so-we-can-skip-the-story-ahead.

    • Riztro says:

      Aha. Well I stand corrected on the sneaking then. :)

  30. Pijama says:

    Ah, Bioware…

    …After the Lair of the Shadow Broker, I had high expectations for this.

    le sigh

  31. Iskariot says:

    I am planning on buying the goty ME2 containing all the DLC for a maximum of 19 bucks total somewhere in the future. And I am planning to do the same for ME3 in a few years. No way I am falling into the Bioware DLC money trap ever again.

  32. eightbitrobot says:

    It was alright but no where near the quality of Shadow Broker or even Overlord.

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      Drew says:

      I really just should have spent my BioWare FunBucks on Overlord, which I still haven’t played.

  33. PeteC says:

    As others have said, LotSB is still the gold standard and this falls some way short of that but I thought it was still OK. Worth playing if you enjoyed ME2 but the fact it’s a solo mission takes away much of the fun.

    I chose my vanguard save to play it through rather than my infiltrator which struck me as a little lucky as it didn’t seem suited at all to sniper rifles; especially without any squadmates to back you up with any other weaponry. Anyone play through as an infiltrator able to back up that impression?

    The one thing that bothered me the most though was why did the Batarian helmets only have two eye holes?

    • bleeters says:

      I ran through headshotting people with a sniper rifle just fine.

  34. Zenicetus says:

    I probably won’t get this, since solo Shepard isn’t that appealing.

    Lair of the Shadow Broker is the one to get, if you’re only getting one DLC. I thought the Kasumi mission was kind of boring, but she’s an interesting (if somewhat overpowered) additional crew member to finish the game with, if you do it early enough. I didn’t like Overlord at all. The plot was predictable, and I hated the toy hovercraft action gamey bits.

  35. Dlarit says:

    The good:
    -Fills the Mass effect 3 wait slightly with a bit more story
    -Admiral Hacket is voiced once again by the excellent Lance Henriksen (Bishop from Alien) was disapointed he was only used in mass effect 2 in text!

    The Bad:
    -Very short, i played on hard mode and even this only extended it to around an hour
    – All original cast who appear in it are mute! (Couldnt they have just reused some old sound files from ME1 or ME2?
    -You are given the Mass effect options a few times but without giving away spoilers i found the paragon options acually had little to no effect and same results to the renegade
    -Story a bit weak, Some of it was good but it felt very rushed and no reference to the game i’d played, i started this DLC post Suicide mission and the cut scenes and chat seemed to assume i’d not gone yet and i still had a “mission”

    Overall i enjoyed the other DLC’s far more than this one, its not financially sound maybe they should have given this one way free for anyone who had purchased ME1 and ME2 as a build up to ME3? would have been great PR.

    • Pattom says:

      You forgot the combination of flash grenade spam and rushing pyro troopers. You know, those flamethrower guys who will make you dance around helplessly for ten seconds if they hit you? Fighting in tiny quarters against enemies designed to incapacitate you, one of which does high damage at short range, is a ludicrously unfair method of raising the difficulty.

      As for the bit about “Mass Effect options,” agreed. I think John actually nailed it in the new post about Dragon Age II: two options that seem different but lead to the same result, except one of them gets you there without you meaning to do it.

    • Dlarit says:

      I think the only reason avoided the pyro and flash grenade issue is I had adrenaline skill.
      I agree with you on the dragon age post I thought the same thing myself, I’m not going to play DA2 until it drops in price wasn’t overly impressed with demo, I hope this isn’t biowares new style…

  36. Dachannien says:

    Sadly, it seems like EA/Bioware were really just milking people’s completist desires wrt the ME series. The story of Arrival isn’t actually that critical to the ME story. Even worse, it reveals a huge plot hole, namely, how fast are the Reapers actually going enroute to our galaxy?

    At USD 7.00, it’s overpriced, falling near the price-to-entertainment ratio of a movie, I guess (that is, if you have only one Shepard to play through, you’ll finish in about 90 minutes, i.e., the length of a movie, for roughly the price of a matinee sans concessions).

  37. dethtoll says:

    I’m getting it next week. I’m a recent convert to Mass Effect so I’m devouring anything ME-related I can get my hands on.

  38. Jason Attard says:

    Arrival is OK. They had a few interesting action sequences that mixed up the standard combat a little bit, but I thought the lack of squad members hurt.

    Shadow Broker and Overlord were both far better. If you’re considering ME2 DLC, go for them instead.

    I liked adding Kasumi to my crew, so I give it a slight edge too.

    All of the above just my personal opinion, of course.

  39. Gvaz says:

    This is worse than Overlord. It’s no LotSB