Today was bittersweet for Mass Effect fans. The final DLC mission for Mass Effect 2, Arrival, is available for download.
Like previously released DLC missions, Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker, Arrival does not disappoint. Combining elements of stealth and survival, this mission provides new challenges, grants new rewards, and bridges the gap between Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3.
*Minor Spoilers Ahead*
Contacted once more by Admiral Hackett (reprised by Lance Henriksen), Commander Shepard is sent on a one-man/woman rescue mission. The rescuee in question is Dr. Amanda Kenson, an alliance operative who has discovered a Reaper artifact, but was subsequently captured by Batarians. Unlike every other major assignment in ME2, Shepard goes in alone and does his best Solid Snake impression for roughly the first third of the mission. Granted, the stealth approach is optional, but if you manage to sneak past a half dozen inept Batarian guards, you’re awarded one of 3 new game achievements.
The next major portion of the mission involves a very challenging survival round. Hunker down and keep your shields up for this one. Shepard gets assaulted by at least 5 waves of increasingly difficult enemies, which include those ever-popular heavy mechs. If you can make it past wave #5, you are rewarded once again.
And without giving too much away in terms of spoilers, I will simply say this: The last major firefight takes place on a moving asteroid with an orbiting Mass Relay visible in the sky. A truly spectacular sendoff for ME2.
One final face-to-face chat with Admiral Hackett (who is finally given a face!) makes it clear that the consequences of your actions in Arrival will carry over to ME3. It is also what prompts Shepard’s return to Earth.
While Shepard does not face off against any actual Reapers, like many fans had speculated, Arrival provides plenty of noteworthy moments that one would expect from ME2. Yes, it would’ve been nice to have two of your trusty team members along (if you’re thinking stealth, Kasumi and Thane are first to come to mind), but the unchaperoned aspect did provide a new dynamic for the game. Who knows, maybe there will be more solo missions in ME3. We’ll find out this Fall.
Mass Effect: Arrival is available now for the Xbox 360 (560 Microsoft Points), PlayStation 3 ($6.99), and the PC (560 BioWare points).