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ME2 Lair of the Shadow Broker Day#1: The Need to Know

(A big shout out to Margaret M for recovering these. A thousand times thank you.) As you may have seen in previous posts, I really liked Mass Effect 2. It wasn’t perfect, but the story was quite good and I found the gameplay quite fun.  So when downloadable content came out for the game that tied to story, I was all over that. And I am very happy to say that I am very pleased with new content. The narrative ties together in tighter and better ways than I could possibly have imagined, and the gameplay was simple more Mass Effect goodness. Spoilers within.

So this was my first ever downloadable content for a hardcore game. I am generally  interested because it continues the plot of the last game with Liara, who you will remember as a team member in the first game and as a revenge seeking information broker in the second.  She’s also my Shepard’s ex so I am personally motivated on this one. Some interesting X-Box facts: downloads seem to go faster when you’re not doing anything else on the 360. (The download slowed dramatically while I revisited Lumines to kill time, but a happy time killing that was.)  Who knew? This piece of DLC cost me $10 in Microsoft points , which leads to another interesting fact. Helpful hint: the $4.99 for 400 points is the best deal, so you should just buy repeated 400 point chunks. Anything higher than round up to the nearest $.99, so you’re losing pennies on all the higher point packages. I don’t really care about the pennies, but math like this fascinates me.

Anyway, I finish the download  and launch the Mass Effect 2 game. I’m not sure how to start the DLC, but I figure that there will be something on a menu on the main page to tell me. Surprisingly, there isn’t. I exit the game and look around my interface on the X-Box. Nothing. I go back to the downloads page to see if there’s a launch page there. Nope. I finally turn to the internet. A post on a random forum tells me I can start the mission by looking in an email in my in-game mailbox. Well, that’s confusing. They should put it right on the surface when you enter the game; I almost never played the DLC because I could not find it. Just terrible. Oh well. I restart game and click resume to get back to my saved game. When it loads, I weirdly feel a need to talk to Miranda before I start this one since we slept together in the main game.  It’s the same conversation as always, a flirty conversation where I choose to still show interest. I then go to read my email. There’s a new message where the illusive man says he has info on the Shadow Broker and wants to help Liara since the Broker helped the collectors. I immediately head to Illium to find Liara, and immediately have to insert disc 2.  Oh, I forgot about that. Welcome back to the SERIOUS console games.

I land on planet, and I use my old crew of Tali and Garrus. We find Liara in her office, and give her info on the Broker. She views it — it’s about Faren, a friend of hers who’s still alive to her surprise.  Apparently, Faren helped Liara recover my body after I died for the Shadow Broker. The Broker wanted to sell me to highest bidder, but Faren and Liara protected me, resulting in Faren going down and Liara giving my body to Cerebrus because they said they could bring me back. Wow – that’s not small story. That’s like a major bomb and it explains something huge. I am SO glad I got this DLC.  I choose to thank her, and replies she didn’t know how Shepard would feel about all that. I probe her on Faren (are they a couple?) but it doesn’t go anywhere. She’s shaken and needs to think.  I have Shepard choose to offer to help and he says he’ll go to her apartment. She goes ahead and asks him to meet her there. I get control to go to the cab station. The cab arrives and takes me CS to her apartment.

We cut to a CS of the crime scene at the apartment. There’s an asari there named Vasir who comes in and lets us into the crime scene after we’re stopped at gate by some funky. She’s a Spectre too, and she says Liara was attacked at her apartment. Shepard says Liara was looking for an information broker, and asks to help investigate. I get control to do so. I wander around a bit and by clicking on things discover that someone shot at the apartment and Liara left. Shepard says she would have left a message for him, and I subsequently get to look around for it. This lets me investigate her room, and there I find lots of neat narrative stuff — my armor, degrees from her education, pictures of other worlds. I find a picture of the old Normandy, but when I click to pick it up, the picture changes to a Prothean dig site as Shepard CS touches it. I have to search for some Prothean stuff in the apartment (ah that’s right, she was a Prothean expert) and find three relics of Prothean origin, the last one revealing a disc of data. On the disc is a call Liara took with some other information broker, Tskat (sp?), to discuss the Shadow Broker. We have to go to Drakon trade center to find them and that ends the scene.

We cut to a CS of the approach to the trade center. A car lands and the team gets out. There’s a giant explosion in the building as we walk up. There are lots of dead people from the blast. Vasir says she’s going to the roof, and Shepard CS says he will go in from the ground with his team. I get control and enter building. I look around a bit and  get a bunch of credits from searching and hacking. I find crude bomb on a wall, which Vasir via radio says shows they didn’t have time to plan the attack.  I run upstairs and get into a long, somewhat hard gun fight. I’m rusty but we take them without me going down. I keep moving to find fire blocking a hallway. I have to find a switch to put out the fire, and it’s right in the next room, so it’s a trivial puzzle. There’s more fighting down the hall and then we enter a room to a CS. Inside, the info broker Tskat gets shot by an assassin, and Vasir immediately shoots the assassin. The CS shows that she clearly took her time. Shepard CS comes in, and Vasir says she got there too late. She asks if they found Liara’s body, but then Liara comes out of the shadows with a gun and accuses Vasir of being the one trying to kill her. I get a conversation choice and I agree with Liara that Vasir has been fishy.  Liara says Vasir still has the Shadow Broker’s information on her. Vasir throws a bolt at us and runs. Shepard tackles Vasir CS as she jumps out of the window.  Vasir kicks Shepard away and runs.  Liara follows, and Shepard gets up as a slew of new attackers enter. I get control and fight them off quickly with my sniper rifle. I follow in the direction Liara went and stumble into another fight in close quarters. When we win, I enter another door to a CS of us approaching as Vasir and Liara shoot at each other using parked cars as cover.  Vasir jumps into a car and zips off.  We get into a car with Liara and Garrus. Shepard CS ribs Liara about not asking how he was, and she has an appropriately witty reply.

We cut to a view above ground of our car levitating and Vasir’s car disappear before me. What, I get to control the car!?! OSSIM!!! The controls are left analog for speed and banking, and right analog to steer.  Well, it’s not quite as cool as I hoped, because the controls are not totally intuitive. I lose my target a couple times figuring out the controls. The race is then kind of fun once I figure it out but not very challenging as I don’t seem to be able to die despite all of the threats of oncoming traffic and missiles fired. The banter here between Liara and Shepard is just great though. I  get through it to a CS of two cars ramming each other, and Vasir crashing on the roof. She gets out of the wrecked car and shoots a robot while calling for back-up. Shepard and company land and prepare for what is clearly going to be a big fight with the aforementioned back-up. I am loving this DLC, but this seems like a good place to call it a night. More next time.

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