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August 2022

Mass Effect 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: EA
Developer: BioWare
Release Date: Jan. 26, 2010 (US), Jan. 29, 2010 (EU)


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X360/PC Review - 'Mass Effect 2' Kasumi's Stolen Memory DLC

by Jesse Littlefield on June 3, 2010 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

The Mass Effect trilogy is a scifi adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life forms and mysterious uncharted planets. In this dark second chapter, Saren's evil army of Geth soldiers has just been defeated, and humans, who are still struggling to make their mark on the galactic stage, are now faced with an even greater perilÂ….

From combat to story pacing, Mass Effect 2 has already proven to be an exceptional game, outdoing its predecessor at almost every turn. Mass Effect 2 has also seen a steady supply of new missions and armor come down the pipeline in the form of downloadable content. When the game was initially released, most of this content was free from the Cerberus Network, which you could access if you purchased a new copy of the game. In the original batch of free DLC, you got the character Zaeed Massani, a brutal mercenary, and the Firewalker tank missions, which put you in a gravity-defying tank. This is the kind of DLC against which Bioware's premium (paid) content will be measured. Thankfully, Mass Effect 2: Kasumi's Stolen Memory is better than most of the free content we've seen thus far.

Kasumi's Stolen Memory costs $7 USD and adds a new character to the party. Kasumi Goto is one of the biggest thieves in the galaxy and has been paid enough to join your team. Since she's a new character, you'll also get her backstory and a loyalty mission. Getting her to join the team is a relatively easy process; there isn't a fancy recruitment mission, as you had for the majority of your team during the main game. Recruiting Kasumi is as simple as receiving an e-mail that tells you to go to the Citadel, and right next to the entrance is an advertisement that calls out things about Commander Shepard and Kasumi.

As a playable character, Kasumi is an infiltrator, so she'll try to use stealth and technology to make her way around during combat. Her coolest ability by far is the Shadow Strike, which allows her to be cloaked (much like the active camo in Halo), sneak up on an enemy and hit him with an often-fatal blow from behind. Otherwise, Kasumi is a fan of pistols and SMGs, thus making her more of a combat support character instead of anything too heavy duty.

The main draw of Kasumi, though, is her loyalty mission, which is definitely one of the best loyalty missions in the game. In the loyalty mission, you take on the role of super spy and try to pull off a big heist with Kasumi. Her old partner is dead, and she intends to steal back something of his that fell into the hands of a powerful, rich scumbag who just happens to be throwing a party for the rich and famous. Going undercover as a famous pirate type, it's up to you and Kasumi to break into his locked-down vault and make a clean getaway.

It's a very neat setup for a mission, and the initial stages are excellent as you essentially play James Bond; you appear to be just another party guest, but you're doing some fairly clever things to get inside that vault. Of course, like any mission in the Mass Effect universe, something goes horribly wrong, and guns start blazing. The mission devolves into a gun-and-escape mission, but the twist is that it's only you and Kasumi taking on the hordes rather than the usual three-member squad. The boss fight at the end doesn't even play out in the usual manner, as victory conditions require you to get Kasumi to a certain location intact before the boss is even vulnerable.

After that mission, though, the Kasumi's Stolen Memory DLC doesn't offer much more. Much like Zaeed before her, Kasumi isn't nearly as fully developed a character as the main cast. All of the characters in the main game have deep, personal stories and tons to talk to you about, but anytime you chat with Kasumi, she has a handful of things to say and then tells you to come back later. The game doesn't even enter full conversation mode when you're chatting with her, so you can listen to her and still move around in the game world. Her entire character is developed during the loyalty mission, and although it's a lot of fun, the story isn't as deep and enticing as the loyalty missions for the main cast. Her main story is better than Zaeed's, but on the flip side, Zaeed has significantly more interesting things to say than Kasumi.

The technical work on the addition of Kasumi is outstanding. Her voice work is wonderful, and it feels as if no expense was spared in her creation. The hall in which the party takes place looks amazing, the camera work is great, the audio is sharp, and general quality of gameplay is consistent with the main game.

Ultimately, the question you have to ask yourself is if an hour-long mission and an underdeveloped new character are worth $7. To most people who have already played, beaten and put away Mass Effect 2 for good, the answer is a resounding no. The cost isn't a particularly good value for a new loyalty mission, and it isn't going to drive you to come back to the game. For those of us who are still playing Mass Effect 2, though, Kasumi's Stolen Memory is a new character and new mission to add to an already-massive game. This is a fun, unique mission, but it's over all too soon, and all you're left with is an underdeveloped character. If you're still playing Mass Effect 2, give Kasumi's Stolen Memory a try. Otherwise, there's no reason to come back to a game that you've already finished for this bit of DLC.

Score: 7.8/10

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