Mass Effect 2: Overlord DLC

 

Review by · September 19, 2010

Some of the most memorable moments of the original Mass Effect were found in the side missions. Often, Shepard and his crew would find empty starships floating in the black vacuum of space or abandoned settlements on barren planets or moons. More often than not these areas were host to a variety of cosmic horrors or sentient beings repurposed into hideous creatures. As a result, the side missions often had a horror styled flavor to their narratives and executions, and this unique approach was sadly missing from the side quests in the sequel. Obviously, BioWare realized its mistake because Overlord returns this style of play to the series, in spades.

Set on a remote world, Overlord takes place when the eponymous project goes awry. The project lead quickly reveals to Shepard that a human mind was fused with a virtual intelligence interface in an attempt to gain dominance over the synthetic Geth. The results were predictably disastrous, causing all the equipment to rampage throughout the project settlement, killing most everyone who was assigned there. To make matters worse, the malevolent amalgam of human and machine is attempting to transmit itself off-world, threatening a technological apocalypse. As always, Shepard is the last line of defense between galactic stability and cosmic Armageddon.

As mentioned before, the Overlord mission pack is enjoyable for the mere injection of horror-type gameplay into Mass Effect 2, a game whose side missions already involve a variety of gameplay elements divergent from the acton-oriented main story, such as light puzzles and platforming. Exploring the deadly quiet facilities while a computerized human voice randomly communicates in unintelligible screams and terrifying sounds is reminiscent of early Silent Hill games where sound, or the lack thereof, is horrifying in its own right.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that Overlord is a slouch in the action department. There are a great number of enemies standing between Shepard and the human-VI, and exploration sections with the Hammerhead hovertank are mixed into Shepard’s forays into the Overlord facilities. These sections return yet another feature sorely missed from the first Mass Effect, exploration of a foreign planet. There are quite a few areas to explore on the Hammerhead, and BioWare seems to have wasted no effort in making the environment sufficiently breathtaking, visually, going so far as to have the in-game computer tell the player when there is an ‘aesthetically pleasing view nearby.’ Being able to run over alien space bovines while the computerized voice admonishes you makes these sections all the sweeter.

Unfortunately, Overlord suffers from the same problems as previous the DLC, Stolen Memories: if the player finishes the game with certain choices made, the missions don’t mesh well with the narrative, causing some rather unfortunate continuity problems for players who went down a certain path. If played in the middle of the game there’s no real problem, as post-game content, however, these discrepancies can be rather noticeable. While not a huge issue, this can break suspension of disbelief, which is all too important for a game like Mass Effect.

Overlord clocks in at around 2 hours of playtime, and of course, if you weren’t a fan of Mass Effect 2 the first time through this is probably not an intelligent purchase. However, for those who crave something new to tackle in the game, $7 is a modest price to pay for such a high quality DLC release.

Overlord was played with two characters, one following the path of the paragon, the other enacting cruel renegade logic.


Overall

Positive
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Ashton Liu

Ashton Liu

Ashton was part of RPGFan's reviews team from 2007-2015. During his tenure, Ashton bolstered our review offerings by lending his unique voice and critique of the world of RPGs. Being a critic can be tough work sometimes, but his steadfast work helped maintain the quality of reviews RPGFan is known for.