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Published on September 16th, 2010 | by Louis Garcia, Contributor

Lair of the Shadow Broker Review

Reviewer’s Note: This Game was Reviewed on the Xbox 360.

Unlike BioWare’s recent Witch Hunt DLC for Dragon Age: Origins, everything in Lair of the Shadow Broker for Mass Effect 2 is fresh, new, exciting and totally sucked me back into its sci-fi world.

Subtle details like water sprinklers trying to contain various fires in an office building devastated by an explosion early in the mission made a point early on in the game: this DLC was crafted with care and real effort.

Then there’s the not so subtle.

The cut scenes in Shadow Broker rival any of the best action sequences in recent summer blockbusters.

Scenes of Commander Shepard crashing through glass while tangling with a powerful biotic infused fellow Spectre, and busting up a new, powerful alien with hand-to-hand combat are engrossing and exciting.

To keep with the blockbuster-esque feel, there is even a chase sequence via flying car that is absurdly fun for how simple it is.

The scene is exceptional because of the dialogue spewed between Liara T’Soni — one of the more memorable characters from Mass Effect — and Shepard.

Not only do we learn that Liara is a backseat driver, but Shepard is kind of a crank behind the wheel.

The dialogue, like in all BioWare games, is top notch.

Gamers will laugh when Shepard inspects a lustful video starring Asari, — Liara’s blue-skinned species — and they will see a real relationship and connection between Shepard and Liara as lovers and old teammates.

Heck, when trying to get into a locked door Shepard makes a crack about how he and Liara could just stick omni gel onto everything — a reference to an unfavorable gameplay design choice in the first game.

Newcomer Tela Vasir makes for an interesting character, and one of the best boss battles in the Mass Effect series until you reach the last boss of the DLC.

I won’t spoil it, but having to fight a fellow Spectre who works for the Shadow Broker is blown out of the water in terms of story revelations and gameplay when it is time to resolve Shepard’s latest mission.

The whole DLC episode keeps piling on the awesome in more than just cut scenes and boss battles.

Even the ship your team lands on at the end of the story is one of the most amazing environments I’ve been to in a video game.

I spent quite a few minutes just looking at the environment: golden clouds and constant blue streaks of lightning.

Even better is the fact that the lightning strikes are used as a gameplay element, and I could use my biotic powers to send foes flying off the ship and into the storm.

Amazing.

New research for weapons, a collectible ship for Shepard’s room and a chance to rekindle love with Liara are all icing on this delectable piece of DLC.

Even past decisions are brought to the forefront in non-forceful ways.

The horror of Cerberus’s actions will be shoved in Shepard’s face. And, depending on if you became romantically involved with someone in ME2, Liara will bring up your current relationship during an argument.

This continuation of story and consequence of past actions over multiple games and DLC missions really makes the world feel alive and is perhaps the series’ greatest achievement.

Once the main part of the DLC is over, expect to spend at least another 20 minutes reading up on some dossiers full of wacky and important information on your team members.

Reading about Miranda’s actions during her Internet dating days on the site iPartner is particularly funny, and the information compiled on the Shadow Broker’s history is interesting.

Those who read the Mass Effect comic connecting the first and second games will have a deeper understanding of the situation and one of the characters, but thankfully it really isn’t needed.

The Shadow Broker tells a good story that enriches the Mass Effect world and keeps the action level high throughout.

I usually tell fellow gamers that BioWare’s Dragon Age series is oodles better than Mass Effect.

However, the presentation, action, excitement and everything great about ME2 are clearly evident in Shadow Broker. It’s this kind of quality and care with the property that just may make Mass Effect my favorite current console generation role-playing series.

[xrr label=”Rating: 10/10″ rating=10/10]

+ Great story
+ Lengthy
+ Liara T’Soni returns!
+ New environments
– Sets the bar high for future DLC releases

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