The end of Mass Effect 2 is very much a cliffhanger. Without giving too much away, the final shot makes it clear that our heroes will be in some serious trouble come time for Mass Effect 3. Bridging the two titles is the “The Arrival,” which is being billed as Mass Effect 2′s epilogue.
The Arrival deals head-on with the Reapers, who have been lurking in the background since their defeat at the end of the first game. What sets it even further apart from previous DLC packs though is that Shepard is solo for this mission, dramatically altering the flow of the combat. Without companions to cover up your Shepard’s blind spots, you will have to work that much harder to maximize your particular set of skills.
The scenes I saw though featured the Soldier-class Shepard, who is easily the most versatile of the bunch. Soldier Shepard makes up for his lack of certain abilities by being able to wield every major weapon in the game in addition to being able to enter his own equivalent of bullet time, meaning that he has a considerably easier time than some of the other classes. Still, even Soldier Shep has to be more careful given the lack of backup, which mostly means maximizing cover.
The first battle pits Shepard against the six-eyed Batarians — possibly the ugliest (and crankiest) aliens in the Mass Effect universe. The initial mission is really only a prelude to the real story though, as rescuing Dr. Kenson from the clutches of the Batarians brings with it a fairly major (and fairly obvious) twist. The demo ended shortly after the big reveal, but an ominously ticking clock and the name of the DLC itself made the stakes quite clear.
Interestingly, it will be possible to access The Arrival before finishing the main story. Seems like an odd choice given the way it basically follows on from the end of Mass Effect 2, but producer Jesse Houston did tell me that the content will be adjusted a bit for those who decide to tackle it before completing the Suicide Mission. My feeling though is that you will want to finish the game first. The Arrival marks the end of an extremely successful run of DLC for Mass Effect 2, and I have high hopes that BioWare will be able to match the quality of Lair of the Shadow Broker. The level I saw didn’t stray too far from the formula set down in the original Mass Effect 2 — certainly nothing as radical as Shadow Broker’s flying car chase — but the prominence of the Reapers means that I’ll be checking it out regardless. Look for it on March 29.
((( ATTENTION SPOILER !!! )))
Jesse Houston from BioWare stops by for a demo of Arrival, the latest and last downloadable content for Mass Effect 2.