Shortly before Mass Effect 2’s official release, BioWare made comments regarding their plans for future downloadable content. Despite awareness that fans would eagerly pay whatever price determined for such content, the developer thankfully does not follow the same pattern of greed found in most DLC-milking companies (cough— Activision —cough) and has promised an equal distribution of both free and paid downloadable content. Players were recently given free content with the Firewalker pack (featuring exclusive vehicle-based missions), so now it’s time to pay up in order to acquire the 12th and final character to join Shepard’s squad.
What’s that? You thought Commander Shepard already rounded out the “Dirty Dozen”? Think again. With this latest DLC, the squad is officially completed with the arrival of Kasumi Goto, Japanese thief and entrepreneur (no relation to a certain other, ludicrously proportioned Kasumi from a different game series). Discovered in advance by hackers cracking the source code, Kasumi is now available along with a brand new mission. But is this shrouded she-thief worth the price of admission when previous content gave up the goods for free?
Upon receiving a message to meet with Kasumi in the Citadel, the Sith-looking spy offers her services to assist Shepard in the battle against the Collectors…provided she receives some assistance first. A wealthy and therefore evil tycoon named Donovan Hock has murdered her partner and stolen his gray box, a device containing crucial information which could cause severe consequences left in the wrong hands. Shepard and Kasumi must infiltrate Dock’s mansion in an “Ocean’s 2” inspired infiltration, as Shepard must assume a formal wear and fake alias while attending a party with the universe’s dirtiest debutantes.
Completion of the mission rests on finding a way to break into Dock’s safe and stealing back the gray box, which requires several pieces of identification and tampering to gain access. It is here where things get a bit monotonous, as players must circle around the mansion multiple times in order to get all the necessary items to crack open the vault. Once Shepard and Kasumi have gained access to Hock’s hocked goods (sorry), the real fun begins in a heated kill-or-be-killed escape sequence that continues to establish BioWare’s sequel as more FPS than RPG. Sadly, the ever-popular morality choices remain sparse in this mission, with only one key decision available at the end that may or may not play a pivotal role in the inevitable Mass Effect 3.
But the real draw of this DLC is the new character, Kasumi. A fresh of breath air, Kasumi doesn’t have the violent tendencies of Jack or Zaeed, and has a much more upbeat personality than Samara; her concealed face is bound to liken her to Tali, and fans will no doubt obsess over what’s under the thief’s hood just as much as they do the former. Her abilities come quite in handy as well, bearing similarities to the Infiltrator perk; her primary ability allows her to cloak herself and take out unsuspecting enemies from behind, not unlike Team Fortress 2’s Spy, while her Overload technique along with enemy stunning flash grenades make her the ideal teammate for smoother sabotages during the more heated battles. Players hooping to pitch woo with the enchanting easterner will no doubt be crushed to learn that Kasumi is not a romance option, although she’ll provide plenty of gossip concerning Shepard’s eventual choices in a mate.
While the newest quest takes about an hour the first time through, and can be finished in half the time in repeated successions, the new character and storyline justifies the price well enough. The trademark visuals and atmosphere that dazzled in the main campaign carry over to this downloadable quest, including a few throwbacks to other BioWare titles along with a few cryptic cameos that are sure to have message boards theorizing for a good month or two.