Tom Francis Nov 02, 2010

Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker

If you Kirked it up in Mass Effect and romanced the blue alien, you probably weren't impressed with the curt, emotionless reunion with her in Mass Effect 2. If you investigate, you'll find Liara is tangled up in unfinished business with your one- time ally the Shadow Broker, after betraying him to rescue you. This £7 DLC finally lets you chase up that subplot, and get either closure or continued sex from your old flame.

The good news is that it's split between Illium, Mass Effect 2's most deliciously sci-fi city, and a space ship that's almost as impressive. Installing the DLC gives you a mail from Cerberus with a lead that's useful to Liara, so you arrange to meet.

That leads to a humdrum clear-out of a pretty office riddled with Shadow Broker agents. The highlight ought to be a brief and potentially exciting section where you manually fly a hovercar through Illium's airways. Sadly, it's part of a disappointing chase sequence that fails on every conceivable level - starting by telling you the wrong controls (if you've customised yours), plagued by maddening 'nag' lines from Liara, and ending because "You lost [the target]!" even when they're in plain sight.

The lair itself is conceptually interesting and visually cool, but fiddly to navigate with the game's awful cover/clambering system. The relentless combat is brightened by a few surprisingly funny lines, but for all the build-up about his intellect, the Shadow Broker is a depressingly ordinary boss monster.

Your past relationship with Liara, if you had one, is eventually addressed. In her endless procession of nonsensical excuses for not coming with you, she says everything short of, “BioWare's voice acting budget wouldn't stretch to it, my love.” But addressing it at all is an improvement over ME2's universally botched reunions, so I'm somewhat appeased.


Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker

Takes a dangling plot thread and ties it up, but unsatisfyingly and with a lot of repetitious combat.

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