Review: Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker (Xbox 360, PC)September 7th, 2010 | Written by Josh Schwartzman | Topic: PC, Reviews, Xbox 360
While PS3 owners have to wait a few more months to play Mass Effect 2, Xbox 360 and PC owners can get their hands on the latest downloadable content from Bioware today, Lair of the Shadow Broker. A definite far cry from the previous add-ons, the Shadow Broker content is packed with adrenaline filled battles, breathtaking visuals, and a story that will help bridge the gap into the events that lead up to Mass Effect 3. It is everything you could have asked for in a downloadable add-on and one that fans will surely enjoy.
For anyone who has read the four-part comic series, Redemption, you might be familiar with most of the characters depicted throughout the Shadow Broker campaign. Familiar faces such as Sekat and Feron make appearances and events that were drawn out in the comics are often mentioned in both cutscenes and conversations between Liara and Shepard. Those of you who have read the comics and played the first game will undoubtedly enjoy the content more since you can probably relate to all of the characters, but newcomers can still enjoy the fantastic story that is filled with excitement, funny moments and even a few surprises.
The Lair of the Shadow Broker begins with Shepard getting intel from Cerberus about the possible location of the Shadow Broker himself, a mysterious figure who delves into the business of information trading, often enlisting the help of mercenaries to do all of his bidding. He is a figure who is rarely seen and has been in power for decades, so naturally trying to find him will be incredibly difficult. Shepard takes the intel to Liara T’Soni and together they both set out to track down the Shadow Broker and rescue one of Liara’s friends in the process.
There are plenty of battles you will come across in this campaign, and with the Shadow Broker enlisting some of the most hardened soldiers to fight for him, none of the battles will be easy. Enemies constantly flank you and new skills such as Singularity, a sort of force field that sends enemies flying, will have you constantly moving around for cover. None of these fights are ever too incredibly daunting, but we did find ourselves restarting a few segments after getting overwhelmed a few times by enemies who rushed us with shotguns. Needless to say not all of the Shadow Broker content is fighting off enemies and there are plenty of fun segments to help change things up a bit.
For starters, a race scene through the skies of Ilium aboard a skycab is a minute-by-minute rush, with you having to chase down an enemy while dodging traffic and speeding between skyscrapers towering over the ground below. This segment is not very long, but it is tons of fun and reminded us of a certain scene from Attack of the Clones…you know which one. Another segment, that has you running for cover on top of the Shadow Broker’s monstrous ship, is packed with intense combat moments, thanks in part to the massive lightning storm surrounding you and the idea that any sudden force that sends you skyward means certain death.
Besides these adrenaline filled moments, Lair of the Shadow Broker seems to have also gotten a graphical overhaul as some of the textures look impressively polished and slowdowns, which happened a few times during the normal campaign, never happened once in this add-on with the same amount of enemies on screen. The locales which you visit also are breathtakingly beautiful, especially the new planet Hagalaz, which is constantly ravaged by ferocious lightning storms. The thrill of you running alongside a massive ship, staring off into a red horizon and watching lightning strike around you is truly one of the most memorable moments in the entire series.
Lair of the Shadow Broker has everything you could have wanted: new weapons, new biotic powers and new characters to help branch together the events leading up to Mass Effect 3. The characters you meet and the missions you perform in this add-on are much more personal than previous entries, and Liara still proves to be one of your most trusting and admirable allies across both games. If you are looking for a chance to finally see the Shadow Broker, visit some stunning locales and fight off some grueling enemies than you will not be let down with what Lair of the Shadow Broker has to offer.