Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC Review (Xbox 360)

The latest and final DLC for BioWare’s fantastically awesome sci-fi romp was released yesterday. Having just completed all the achievements in Mass Effect 2, and it’s previously released downloadable content, I had been awaiting the Arrival ever since I first heard of it. I mean this was rumoured to be the bridge between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. Questions would be raised, and with a little luck, answers would be presented. There was much to be expected in the 800MB download and possibly too much for me to reasonably receive.

The DLC begins when you receive a communication from Admiral Hackett, voiced by Lance Henriksen, informing you of an agent held captive on a planet in Batarian space. The rescue of this particular agent is of great importance as they claim to have evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion. Just like that, the mission is given and you are ready to set course for a newly opened area on your galaxy map, and a chance to grab 100 Gamerscore points.

Schla-BAM!

As I am not a fan of spoilers, and in particular spoilers on a fairly short piece of content, I won’t go into great detail regarding the plot. What I will say is that Admiral Hackett requests that you take this mission on solo, so that’s what happens. Whether that is a hindrance or not is debatable, but it certainly is different from the majority of the main game. Not having a couple squad-mates to flank enemies, or at least attempt to, can be missed. But if you’ve played through Mass Effect 2 already, you should be fairly combat aware on your own. There are moments however, that it would be great to have just one member to run as a distraction while you blast from the blind-side. But typically it just forces you to be craftier and more aware of your areas to take cover in.

It is nice to have some interaction with someone other then yourself in combat however. Quite often, when combat begins, Sheperd shouts out “We’ve been spotted”, problem is Commander, you’re all alone. Who are you talking to? Are you talking to me? Possibly overlooked or perhaps BioWare just wasn’t fussed, but either way it couldn’t have been a big deal to shut the good Commander up for a tad while he is doing what he does best. Anyhow, small fry.

Admiral Hackett - voiced by Lance Henriksen

Game-time wise, it took me about an hour and thirty minutes to shoot my way through the DLC. Now mind you I played this on normal mode and would expect a little longer play-time on the harder modes. Now while fairly short, they did squeeze in two challenges, rewarding you in turn with two achievements Рthe last achievement is simply based on you completing the DLC. The first achievement will award you for stealthily manoeuvring to a target location without alerting any guards (Metal Gear Solid style sort of) and a second has you lasting through a gun battle while hauled up in a single room. Both are somewhat entertaining but probably of no great challenge.

While Arrival did have some genuinely good moments in it, I felt a little short changed at it’s conclusion. There is a plot, and yes it does explain a couple things relevant to Mass Effect 3, but not in the scope I imagined it to be. The ending of Mass Effect 2 gave me all the information I really needed, this felt more or less supplementary to that. At 560 MS points I would say it better to catch this when it is a deal of the week. If your totally fanatical about Mass Effect 2 I would imagine you’d have already bought the DLC by now – what did you think about it?

Rating: ★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

About the Author

Dan co-hosts the Gameolio Podcast and handles the administration of the website. Occasional poster and frequent deleter with a strange love of the colour green.