Mass Effect 2 - Arrival Review for Xbox 360

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Mass Effect 2 - Arrival screenshot
Mass Effect 2 - Arrival screenshot

And whereas Mass Effect 2's previous DLC packs gave you intricate characters and difficult choices, much of the interaction in Arrival is spent with Amanda Kenson, a wafer-thin character sporting a greyscale version of Kelly Chambers' haircut and a face so ugly I can only assume somebody inputted the incorrect character code.

The problem is that for the most part it doesn't really feel like a genuine Mass Effect experience. Playing without your squad is a noticeable misstep, and unlike Kasumi's Stolen Memory there's no accompanying character to make it all worthwhile. There's not much dialogue in general, to be honest, and everything unfolds in a distressingly linear fashion.

Overall satisfaction will probably rest on whether you can stomach one particular sequence. While much of the quest follows a familiar structure, at the moment when you're supposed to make the big, bold, morally-questionable decision - as is the way with the series - the game snatches it away from the player and executes it via cutscene. You are essentially robbed of Arrival's definitive moment.

There is no emotionally-fraught choice, and there will subsequently be no discussion with friends about whether you chose to, say, abandon the Destiny Ascension, reprogram the Geth heretics, or save Wrex. With Arrival, you are not in control of the character you've invested years in, but are simply along for the ride.

For a piece of content sold on the basis that it will bridge the gap to Mass Effect 3, it's a shame to see BioWare's writers resort to age-old tropes of TV writing: when the end credits roll nothing whatsoever has really changed. The quest tries to grab you with the idea that your efforts will make a difference, but anyone who has so much has glanced at some promotion material for Mass Effect 3 will know the truth. The Reapers are coming.

Still, some of the incidental story threads will go down well with those interested in the Mass Effect universe. Arrival's closing sequences suggest a bubbling pot of interspecies conflict, some potential ramifications in Mass Effect 3, and a hint towards what's on the horizon via brief but entertaining dialogue with one particular non-human character.

There are some choice moments across Arrival's duration, but it's just a shame that Mass Effect 2's final piece of DLC is undoubtedly its weakest.

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SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Show Spoiler I found it so damn weird when it didn't give me the option to save the 305000 Batarians. Just flew in the face of everything the game had led me to believe

Still, I'm glad I bought it :)
Posted 20:13 on 30 March 2011

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Mass Effect 2 - Arrival
6
Out of 10
Mass Effect 2 - Arrival - No boxshot available.
  • Some nice moments
  • Whets your appetite for Mass Effect 3
  • Dissapointing lack of choice
  • Little squad combat
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/03/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 2,988 4
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