Mass Effect 2 is a great game that, especially when purchased new, is full of grand gameplay moments that’ll keep you busy for hours. Putting together a loyal crew and cruising the galaxy to understand the Collector threat is a voyage definitely worth undertaking – even more than once.
BioWare is one of the few companies out there that develops games in such a way that they’re actually worth playing again – not just on a higher difficulty setting for a greater challenge, but also because there’s so much to explore, different class types to experience, and story threads that are constantly adapting to the decisions you make.
Because story takes center stage in Mass Effect 2, there are a ton of side plots to discover that nicely complement the overarching narrative. The game disc comes with a ton of such side plots, and, through access to the Cerberus Network, other missions have been brought in that keep gamers playing fresh content. Now BioWare has decided to release a new addition to the mix in the form of the premium DLC add-on Kasumi – Stolen Memory.
The Illusive Man has tracked down Kasumi Goto, the preeminent thief in the galaxy, and he has convinced her to join your cause. However, Shepard has to help her pull off a heist at the home of Donovan Hock first – a shrewd-yet-shady businessman that has stolen data from Kasumi that is of great sentimental value to the thief and of immense importance to galactic politics. After infiltrating Hock’s mansion on the planet of Bekenstein during a grand-yet-eclectic gathering of society luminaries and criminal leaders, Shepard and Kasumi will have to fight their way out of the boss’s vault and complex in order to secure the vital data stored on the grey box (a snapshot of her former partner and lover’s brain).
The tale that unfolds is about as interesting as any of the other Loyalty Missions you’ll have to complete in order to strengthen your crew in Mass effect 2. It’s also about as long too. So, if you were expecting an additional 4-5 hours of content, guess again; you’re really only getting about an hour to an hour and a half more material to explore. Also, the mission that you go on is lackluster – it can’t compare to breaking Jack out of the penal colony station or rescuing Grunt from the Blue Suns. You’ll start off the mission through connect the dots errands in a failed attempt at introducing covert gameplay to the Mass Effect fold. After you’ve “sneaked” around the mansion and gained access to the vault, you’ll have to fight your way through waves of merc forces, mechs, and robots, made far too easy by strategic use of the Arc Projector. In the end, you’ll face off against Donovan Hock in a boss fight that isn’t particularly epic either.
When compared to a movie, the price of 560 Microsoft points ($7 USD) seems reasonable, but many will feel that Kasumi – Stolen Memory is a bit overpriced for what’s on offer. Still, by coughing up the extra credits you will have access to Kasumi as a crew member, and she is a very nice addition to the Normandy indeed. Because Kasumi is a thief, she is stealthy. She has a cloaking ability, called Shadow Strike, which allows her to ‘go dark’ and get behind enemies, incapacitating them with a lethal melee attack to the back of the head. Once you make her loyal and train the ability, you’ll have access to her flashbang grenades, which are great at temporarily blinding and disorienting enemy forces.
This new thief class would be a great way to play through Mass Effect 2; I would love to see the class incorporated as a playable selection during character creation. Alas, you’re not able to use this new thief class to start a new character. What you can do, however, is draw from Kasumi’s abilities by researching Advanced Training, which will let Shepard utilize her flashbangs. Disappointingly, you can’t get access to Kasumi’s Shadow Strike, however – one of the coolest abilities in the game.
In addition to the new crew member, you’ll also get your hands on the M-12 Locust SMG, which is a highly accurate, high rate of fire weapon that takes up a light handgun spot in the radial wheel – for someone that specializes in pistols, this gun is tough to beat. Additionally, you’ll also get some nice cash, precious material, and salvage dumps as well as access to new research options and a 15 point Achievement. The new character, new abilities, and loads of goodies may just make the download worth its price despite the mediocre Loyalty Mission.
In terms of presentation and control, the DLC looks, sounds, and plays identically to the full version of the game, but I did find Hock’s mansion/complex to be a bit bland. Nevertheless, there is no question that Mass Effect 2 and its constituent parts are masterfully developed from the production front.
Should you pick up Kasumi – Stolen Memory for Mass Effect 2? Probably. Even though the mission isn’t all that great, adding Kasumi to your crew is nice – and getting flashbangs is sweet. However, if you’ve already played the game a few times, there’s not enough content here to warrant yet another playthrough. If you’re about to start your second go ’round, the additional goodies that come along for the ride are great to have, especially if you’re playing on a higher difficulty or as a non-Assault class type.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.5 Graphics
The DLC looks identical to Mass Effect 2, but the mansion/complex should have been a bit more detailed and lavish. 4.8 Control
Great third-person tactical shooter controls. 5.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice over and musical work are as high-quality as ever. 3.6 Play Value
Honestly, Kasumi’s Loyalty Mission isn’t that great. Also, you’re only getting about an hour and a half (max) of additional content. At least the extra goodies and crew member are solid. 3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.