BioWare was always going to return to the Shadow Broker; the mysterious information trader's existence has been dangled in front of us for long enough for everyone to know that we would eventually get to unwind that proverbial ball of yarn. But what seemed less certain was whether, after nine months of unremarkable and lacklustre DLC, this addition to BioWare's growing Mass Effect universe would actually be any good.
It is. Thankfully, BioWare has finally delivered on some meaty content that makes going to the effort of reacclimatising yourself to the corridors of Illium completely worth it. The first challenge: check your e-mail. Then remember where Liara's office is.
Everything goes a bit pear shaped after all that, with Shepherd and his gang wrapped up in Liara's ongoing quest to locate that pesky Shadow Broker. New information has arrived about his location, and before you can say how's your Krogan you're all off gallivanting around the universe, shooting people on the other side of some long corridors and getting involved in an exciting hovercar chase.
The quest, which will take a couple of hours to see through, is typical Mass Effect fare and includes, amongst other things, a fistfight, two decent boss battles and a zero-gravity rummage across a rickety spaceship exterior. As always you're mostly being funnelled down long, thin corridors with plenty of chest-high objects for cover, though the game (again, as always) does a good job of hiding this with an abundance of excellent aesthetic touches.
Taken on these elements alone, Lair of the Shadow Broker would be a decent but unremarkable excursion. BioWare's most significant success with the package is that it has constructed a side-story that doesn't feel disconnected from the main game. Instead, the DLC functions as a perfect blend of some pertinent sub-plots that effortlessly tie together story threads from both games. Hardly an easy feat: just look at some of the other DLC packs for proof.
Not to mention the appeal of getting (some of) the old team back together. Liara accompanies you for much of the quest, although her time with the gang is fleeting and she cannot be recruited as a permanent member. Still, there's a certain joy derived from the nostalgic twangs as you trump around with Liara and Garrus in tow.