Mass Effect 2 Firewalker DLC

24 03 2010

Like Zaxxon, only prettier.

Pew! Pew! Pew! WOOOOSH!

I downloaded and beat the new Mass Effect 2 DLC from the Cerberus Network.  If I hadn’t been doing other stuff (folding clothes, beating Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, watching Lost) then it would have taken me about an hour.  The verdict:

Meh.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that Bioware is feeding us free content, and it’s well polished, it’s just…it doesn’t really have anything to do with Mass Effect.  You get the Hammerhead, zip from place to place doing a modified ore sweep, and then fight some geth with the big gun on top, which is now “heat seeking”.  What that seemed to mean is “hope there isn’t more than one enemy within 15 feet of each other”, because the heat seeker gets confused and just hits the ground.  There is no ground combat at all, no character interaction, and the barest inkling of a plot linking these 5 new planets together.  The one thing I can say about the new DLC is that Bioware really knows how to ratchet up the tension.  My heart was pounding in at least two of the missions, and the last planet has some pretty cool animation and graphics surrounding the artifact you’re after.

The Hammerhead does handle better than its predecessor the Mako, and the jump mechanic is easy as pie to get used to.  The top-mounted gun is nice and powerful,  but like I said, the “heat seeking” mechanic is a little broken.  It’s also hard to tell how much damage you are taking, as there is no health bar.  All you get is a beep beep beep, and then your Hammerhead is on fire, and then boom! You’re dead.

Remember this? Yeah, I doubt anyone does.

The whole time I was playing this, I couldn’t help but notice a similarity to a game that I hadn’t played since the Commodore 64.  That is the game you see above, Zaxxon.  Strafing back and forth, shooting geth, trying not to get hit, it all felt very familiar.  Keep in mind I haven’t played this game in over twenty years.

Along with this free DLC, there is an “Appearance Pack” available on XBOX Live you can buy for $2.  In this, you get alternate costumes for Jack, Garrus, and Thane.  Jack and Thane get Oakleys, and Garrus gets decked out like TRON.  I didn’t get it, because I’m just not a huge clotheshorse.  I’ll save my $2, and put it towards something a little more interesting.

Of course I’m going to recommend this, hell, it’s free!  But don’t expect the same Mass Effecty goodness you’re used to.  Think of it as a minigame within the game, and you’ll be fine.  Kasumi’s Stolen Memory, the second paid DLC, is coming in April.  New party member, new loyalty mission, woo hoo!  I just hope we get a full on expansion, a la Dragon Age.

Follow me on Twitter! @CharlieHamlin

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