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Suskie Susquatch

Title: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni after all).
Posted: April 10, 2011 (09:58 PM)
[Brief note: As of now, I will no longer be writing for Gameroni. If my contributions aren't wanted, then I'm not going to force it.]

So itís been a good 14 months since Mass Effect 2ís release, and now that the gameís long-winded DLC run has finally come to an end, I think we can officially declare EAís infamous Project Ten Dollar a resounding success. Hereís a meaty single-player game that already warrants at least one revisit Ė itís a BioWare game, after all, so itís impossible to get a full grasp of the story in just one run Ė and EA has kept it alive for over a year through some of the best downloadable content on the market. Arrival marks Mass Effect 2ís swan song, giving it an emotional relevance to those of us who have returned to the game time and time again, and that only makes it all the more shocking that the mission itself is a rushed, uninspired mess.

I wonít beat around the bush here: Arrival is boring. Iíll grant you that itís got two tough acts to follow, but even if it canít live up to the standards that BioWare has set for its DLC so far, Arrival is a disappointment. It consists almost entirely of linear shootouts and endurance-style defense scenarios set in bland, repetitive environments. Whatís worse is that Shepard goes solo for the entire mission, meaning squad play with your companions is out (which is especially damning if youíre playing a class like Soldier or Sentinel thatís relatively boring on its own). I like Mass Effect 2ís combat, but not enough to endure it in such a manner for so long a period of time. Itís telling that Arrival is one of Mass Effect 2ís shortest downloadable missions to date and still feels like it overstays its welcome.

The mission starts off promisingly enough. Lance Henrikson reprises his role as Admiral Hackett from the first game, who is now given a face and has come to Shepard for help. A friend of his, Dr. Kenson, seems to have some information regarding the impending Reaper invasion, but sheís been captured by batarians. After what I think is supposed to be a brief stealth mission (in which you can choose to engage enemies or simply sneak past them), you rescue Dr. Kenson and she fills you in on the grim details: that sheís discovered which mass relay the Reapers will be using to enter the galaxy, and that they plan to show up inÖ two days. Um, whoa.

This, of course, is where Arrival is meant to bridge the gap between Mass Effect 2 and its sequel, in which the Reapers will eventually invade the galaxy and attack Earth (which we know from the gameís announcement trailer). Itís an intriguing setup to say the least, and even if Arrival falls short of its potential simply for being blandly designed, I could have seen it being worthwhile for hardcore fans on the grounds of providing some context to the impending Reaper invasion and even giving us the edge in the third game.

The kicker is that BioWare has already stated that they wonít ďpunishĒ players who donít partake in Arrival, which effectively kills the urgency that this mission is supposed to have. If players complete this DLC, then theyíll have thwarted the Reapersí plans and delayed their impending invasion. If players ignore this DLCÖ well, then Iím pretty sure the Reapers will still happily wait for Mass Effect 3ís release before showing up, and Arrivalís doomsday countdown clock wonít even be referenced. So Arrivalís only purpose is to reiterate what we already know, which is that the Reapers are on their way and that everything weíve done so far has only delayed the inevitable. Even a climactic encounter with Harbinger only sees him repeating what heís been shouting at you for the entire game (and, for that matter, what Sovereign was shouting at you in the last game).

But the worst thing about Arrival is that it presents us with an absolutely devastating moral dilemma and doesnít give us a choice about it. Shepard makes the decision completely free of player input, which breaks the spirit of the series and destroys any possibility of long-running consequences that this mission could have had on the third game. So in every way, Arrival falls disappointingly short of the consistent level of quality that BioWare has to this point maintained with Mass Effect 2. Had the mission been included out of the box, it would have felt jarringly weak and underdeveloped in contrast to the rest of the game, and the fact that BioWare wants us to pay for it is nothing short of absurd. After Dragon Age II, this is twice in one month that BioWare has hugely disappointed me. If Mass Effect 3 follows suit, there will be hell to pay.

Arrival can be purchased for 560 Microsoft points and requires 781 MB of hard drive space. It adds three new achievements, totaling 100 achievement points. It will last roughly an hour and a half and can be initiated by checking Shepard's inbox.

Addendum: This review is dedicated to RunningFree.
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 10, 2011 (09:59 PM)
Huh. I guess the title's too long for the forums.
[reply]

TrueUser: True
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 10, 2011 (10:16 PM)
Yeah. You broke it. The forum posting thing I mean.
[reply]

jerecUser: jerec
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 10, 2011 (11:40 PM)
Jason likes it when nothing new is added to Gameroni for a few days, so those people who view it once a day don't have to bother.
[reply]

fleinnUser: fleinn
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 10, 2011 (11:57 PM)
"Lance Henriksen". Great read.. It seems a bit backwards, doesn't it? By now the voice-actors probably have started to understand their character better, the direction probably can be more careful, and allow more complex play. Maybe some interjection or cross-talk once in a while. ..I'm imagining a team of writers having nightmares about this kind of thing..

..I like the oral style better and better the longer down in the text I get. I'm not sure, but if the first paragraph was a bit more.. short and to the point.. more Hackett :p.. maybe it would work even better?
[reply]

honestgamerUser: honestgamer
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:15 AM)
I'm not sure what you're talking about, Suskie. I responded to your HG Mail to say that I looked forward to your review and that I would be happy to post it on Gameroni. Am I missing something?

Edit: Oh wow, I see that I am. I have no idea how that snuck through without me noticing that you had posted it. Shit, man. I'm sorry!
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni after all).
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:25 AM)
You're missing the part where I posted this for review on Gameroni's board nine days ago and I still haven't gotten a response from you.
[reply]

fleinnUser: fleinn
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:27 AM)
:)

ot, btw: .
[reply]

TrueUser: True
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:28 AM)
Uh...oh.
[reply]

WilltheGreatUser: WilltheGreat
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (02:37 AM)
I was considering re-installing ME2 to play this. Now I'm reconsidering.

Thanks for sharing, Suskie. I say this a lot, but I'm always jealous impressed with the consistent level of quality your writing displays.
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni after all).
Posted: April 11, 2011 (08:04 AM)
I should mention that details about Mass Effect 3 have since surfaced and Arrival's plot will actually play a bigger role than I'd thought, but that doesn't change my opinion of the DLC, which is that it's boring and inconsequential. And if the story in Arrival is as pivotal as they're making it sound, then they certainly shouldn't have saved it for such a poorly-constructed throwaway downloadable mission.
[reply]

MastersUser: Masters
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (08:11 AM)
Lance Henrikson comes across as a poor man's Peter Cullen. And that's STILL awesome.

What's been decided here? How come this review isn't up on the front page?
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni after all).
Posted: April 11, 2011 (09:27 AM)
HG doesn't host reviews for DLC, which is why I offered to review it for Gameroni (as I did with ME2's previous DLC). I put it up in the writer's lounge and never heard back. Apparently this was due to negligence on Jason's part, but that certainly doesn't make me any more eager to have it posted there.
[reply]

TrueUser: True
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (09:48 AM)
HG doesn't host reviews for DLC, which is why I offered to review it for Gameroni (as I did with ME2's previous DLC).

I think we should. When I first started, DLC was practically unheard of and even two years ago it wasn't a big deal. Anymore though, some DLC are practically new games--like the Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare.

Sadly, of which I never checked out. Had one of our talented members like Fleinn, Joe or Wolfie written on it, I may have (or not, depending on their critique.)

Anyway, not saying we should do all things available but at least make exceptions for larger content.
[reply]

MastersUser: Masters
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (10:14 AM)
Well, let's hope Jason put it up now. It would be retarded for you to have worked on it for no reason. And let's hope he considers including DLC here at HG.

I have high hopes!
[reply]

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (10:33 AM)
We post DLC stuff. I've reviewed DLC stuff. It's been brilliant every time.

Look to the west, Mike.
[reply]

wolfqueen001User: wolfqueen001
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:03 PM)
I'm surprised you didn't link to your Resident Evil 5 DLC review, too.
[reply]

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:04 PM)
I didn't link to any reviews.
[reply]

overdriveUser: overdrive
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:16 PM)
There are DLC reviews on this site. I've done one for Oblivion's Shivering Isles. I think, by rule, it tends to run along the lines of if it's a full expansion, it tends to be allowed; but if it's just a bonus quest (like the bonus dungeon for Lost Odyssey or the half-dozen or so 3-5 hour DLCs for Dragon Age Origins), it doesn't get put on this site.
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni after all).
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:26 PM)
Yes, Jason has underlined the criteria for DLC content on HG before and it's exactly as OD says. So no, I would not be able to submit an official review for Arrival here.
[reply]

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (12:49 PM)
Screw that: I have an half finished Undead Nightmare and Shadow Broker somewhere. They're going up here should they ever get done.
[reply]

wolfqueen001User: wolfqueen001
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:05 PM)
Suskie: EmP already created the game profile for you. You may as well just sub the review. =/ It won't hurt anything....I hope.
[reply]

TrueUser: True
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:08 PM)
Screw that: I have an half finished Undead Nightmare and Shadow Broker somewhere. They're going up here should they ever get done.

You can actually buy a physical copy of Undead Nightmare in stores. That alone should qualify it as acceptable content.
[reply]

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:10 PM)
And you should!

It's running zombies done right.
[reply]

TrueUser: True
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:19 PM)
...

That wasn't your review was it?
[reply]

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:21 PM)
Yes.

8/10.
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni after all).
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:26 PM)
WQ: I was not aware. I'll do so as soon as I'm on a computer and not my phone.

I'd offer to sub it as a staff review, except ha ha fuck that.
[reply]

TrueUser: True
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:33 PM)
You sold me, Emp.
[reply]

EmPUser: EmP
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:39 PM)
WQ: I was not aware....

Right there in the hyperlink. Kids are all too cool for hyperlinks these days.
[reply]

SuskieUser: Suskie
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni after all).
Posted: April 11, 2011 (01:44 PM)
I've been reading from my blog and there's no hyperlink there, so nyeh.
[reply]

LerouxUser: Leroux
Title: Re: My review of Mass Effect 2: Arrival (because apparently Jason doesn't want it posted to Gameroni aft
Posted: April 11, 2011 (03:03 PM)
I don't know if I was supposed to but I just accepted it.
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