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ME2 Lair of the Shadow Broker Day#2: The Real Broker

Day 2 completes this DLC, and it remains solidly awesome. Hats off to Bioware for making a great product in this new chapter. There’s another great set piece in the middle and it ends with a very nice tie up. The story is very strong and completely relevant the whole way through, and the gameplay remains generally fun, although there’s an old fashioned boss battle at the end that’s sort of cool and sort of contrived. Still, the game is a winner visually, narratively, and playwise, and it is completely worth your ten dollars to spend a few more wonderful hours in the shoes of Commander Shepard. Spoilers within.

We begin with me back on the roof hunting down the asari Vazir. I get control in the parking lot as  lots of mercs land in cars. It’s a long fight and I get close to death a couple of times, but I get through it. We’ve landed on some kind of hotel, and I have to go inside it to catch her. It’s an exotic hotel as Liara explains, and apparently a video we pass is even referring to asari sex acts. I find a blood trail and follow it. We hear screaming inside an oncoming room as we approach it. We open the door and cut to CS close-up of the blood trail and a zoom to Vazir walking. The team CS closes in as Vazir grabs a hostage from a nearby cafe. At Vazir’s demand, the hostage says her name is Marianna. I choose to tell Vazir to let her go.  Vazir points a gun at Marianna’s head. In a nice evil exchange, Marianna pleads that she has a son and Vazir mocks her, saying it’s a horrible thing for a child to lose a parent. Vazir then tells us to throw our clips on the ground. There’s a choice of dropping our weapons or wounding the hostage; good guy that I am, and knowing that Liara has biotics, I choose to drop the weapons.  She then drops the hostage. When she does, Liara attacks with biotics (called it!) and disarms Vazir. She pulls another weapon and we FIGHT! At the beginning of the battle, I have to grab back my ammo first, which is a nice bit of immersion for you. The fight is split between waves of mercs and a teleporting Vazir with a really strong shield. It’s hard to get Vazir down, but we win.

Vazir CS goes down, too hurt to continue. Liara calmly takes the disc from her as she struggles to stand, and says that with it she can find the Shadow Broker. Vazir says that the Broker’s been in power for decades and is going to be a tough fight — yeah, yeah.  Shepard confronts her about betraying the Council, and she says she didn’t — the Broker gave her info and she made people disappear for him.  All this helped keep the Citadel safe.  I choose to confront her about blowing up the building. She says that this is what Spectres do and the Council doesn’t look closely.  She tells me that Cerebrus did bad shit too, and before Shepard can respond, she dies.

We cut to a CS of Liara reading the Shadow Broker data as Shepard approaches. She explains that she’s going to go rescue Falen and kill anyone in her way. During this cutscene, there are a few paragon qtes here I miss because my hand is off the controller to type, so I replay the scene. I don’t want to miss content because I was blogging.  She reveals she’s worried about leaning on Shepard too much. She says she knows she got the information guy killed, but she would do it again. Shepard CS points out how she left him behind in the earlier scene. She says that she had to be rational and get Vazir, and that Shepard is tough and can take care of himself. Shepard stops her one more time to confront her about their relationship. She says Shepard was dead, and then in a totally surprising move, she throws my affair with Lawson in my face. Oh snap! But wait – she had already turned me down in the last game. Liara told me back then that she didn’t have time for a relationship.  That actually makes the scene more interesting. She’s just jealous. She finally says we’ll talk about it later, and that ends the scene.

I have to re-choose my party, and I again go to my right hand guy Garrus.  The other party member is automatically Liara. Dear lord, Liara is underpowered right now. She has all of her points, but none of them are assigned. I quickly get her up to speed. We cut to a CS of the Normandy arriving and the shuttle entering a stormy planet. We see a huge ship sailing the skies that must be the Shadow Broker’s base. It’s a beautiful CS of lightning storms and rolling clouds.  We’re on this awesome crazy world of temperature extremes, and the Broker’s ship follows the livable and undetectable part. We’re going to land on the ship and go in, but can’t remain outside for long because of lightning storms. I get control as we land. I run along exterior of the ship looking for an entrance. I kill some drones along the way, using a couple of capacitors sort of as gas canisters, shooting them to start explosions to kill other robots. There’s lots more fighting as we weave around the exterior of the ship, but then get inside on a short corridor. The ship is just incredible looking. I’m back outside to criss-cross the ship and have a neat fight on an extremely tilted angle. I finally get to the door, but it’s locked and I have to defend the door while Liara’s hacking device is opening it. There’s nice banter between Liara and Shepard (e.g., Liara says the illegal shunt didn’t come with a warranty) and a particularly nice omni-gel joke (that’s a tool from ME1 that opens doors) with the good diegetic answer about why we don’t have it (a security upgrade made it not work). It is a LONG FIGHT, but we get inside after holding off waves of enemies. That fight was very fun.

The door opens and we cut to a CS of us entering into another immediate fight. We fight through hallways to an empty room with lots of communication noise. From there, it’s a bit of maze, but we eventually find our way to the prison section. I fight my way in, and bypass a door to a CS of Farin in some kind of torture bench. We have to cut power to get him out, or he’ll die when we try to remove him. We have to go to central operations to kill the bench. I go down the hall to Shadow Broker’s den. There’s a CS of us entering the room.  The Shadow Broker is a giant alien of a kind I haven’t seen before. There’s a quick dialog where he notes how many of his crew we’ve killed, but that they’re rehirable and Liara is well-known. There’s also a very nice shout-out about Garrus being Archangel — good touch to reinforce the status of the information master.  Liara identifies him as a Yag, a pre-space race locked to their home world because they killed the Council’s first representative. She observes that since no one sees the Shadow Broker, the Yag must have killed the old one and taken his place, and goes on that the Yag must have been a trophy or pet of some one else. That pissed him off and he gets up. WOW he is HUGE. And then the fight begins, although cheaply they have the Yag knock Garrus out of the fight in the CS by throwing a desk into him. Despite that, it’s a nice boss fight where we shoot him until he puts up a shield and then I have to punch him to damage him directly. We go through three loops of that, and then Liara takes him down CS by blowing up a power cell in the ceiling over him after I punch him into stun.

In CS, Liara picks Shepard up off of the ground. Falin gets out of his bench. All of a sudden, the information channels in the HQ start asking why the feed is down. Liara thinks for a moment, and then steps up and pretends to be the Shadow Broker, telling everyone that there was a technical glitch, but things are back on and that she needs a full report. Falin comes in as she ends her message.  She tells Shepard wants to be the Shadow Broker to help fight the Collectors. Falin and Garrus step out of the room. Liara and Shepard talk about what’s next.  I choose to hug her and they kiss, but then they pull away and she says it’s been two years and they are different people. There’s a paragon thing I hit but it doesn’t seem to do anything.  She’s going to stay on as Shadow Broker to help. I choose to tell her I’ll miss her, and she tells me the door will always be open. The mission is done.

I figure I’m going to end up back on the Normandy now, but instead I’m outside the Shadow Broker’s office. again. Liara talks to me through a monitor to tell me there’s information for me if I want to get it. I go back into the Shadow Broker’s office and there are a bunch of terminals where I can access different kinds of information. There’s one where I can do a bunch of good by spending money, such as taking down corrupt politicians or helping the poor. I can look at dossiers for most of the NPCs; I take a look at Lawson’s files and see that she’s gone to some dating sites. That makes me feel a bit dirty and I stop reading the dossiers. I can do some training as well. I decide to talk to Liara one more time and I make choices that let me invite her up to my room. We cut immediately to a scene in the room. Wow. Another scene I did not expect. She talks about the old crew and asks me what I think about the future mission. I choose to tell her I’m worried. She talks about how much we did by defeating the Collectors and then realizes some people died and apologizes for bringing it up. I say the dead were heroes (even though it’s just Jack who died in my game). She comments on how we’re just talking about other people and she wants to know about OUR future. I choose to tell her that I want a  happily ever after thing with blue children.  She tells me I’m joking but then she worries about me going off into the fray again. I choose to tell her I will always come back, and they start getting physical as the scene fades to black. She leaves the ship and I say I’ll miss her as the elevator goes. And that’s the story. Wow, so much better than I thought it would be. Points to Bioware for such a tight integration into the previous game.

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