lies's Pinnacle Station (Xbox 360) review

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  • lies has written a total of 9 reviews. The last one was for Halo 3: ODST

Missing the point

Pinnacle Station, the second DLC package for Mass Effect, is special. I say special, because I have never seen a game developer so spectacularly miss the point of their own game in a follow-up to that very game. Bioware delivered a fantastic product with the first Mass Effect; epic story, compelling characters, and a good balance between role-playing and combat drove the title to success. Pinnacle Station takes a sledgehammer to this mixture.
Pinnacle Station's gameplay eliminates everything except combat, hardly even bothering with the RPG trappings- no story to speak of and only a minuscule amount of dialogue. The 400 Microsoft Point download will net you a new space station to land on- the titular Pinnacle Station. Unfortunately, there's not much to do on Pinnacle Station but fight. The station is home to an advanced combat simulator which has a total of 13 scenarios the player can run through. Tragically, these scenarios do not improve in any way on the combat from the base game, and don't even provide any new environments to fight in or enemies to fight. You are essentially being charged $5 for the ability to experience more of Mass Effect's wonky combat. 

 Remember how much you liked Mass Effect's dialogue trees? There are about 2 in Pinnacle Station
Of course, you get some even wonkier new modes in order to justify the $5 price tag, although none of them improve the combat in any significant way. You've got 4 combat modes, and three maps each to play them on (based off of environments you already played in the story), with one bonus scenario after you complete the previous twelve. The modes are:
  1. Hunt, where you have a set time limit which killing enemies will increase. The enemies spawn in such a way so that you have to keep moving or time will run out.
  2. Time Trial, which is fairly self-explanatory. You're given a set period of time to wipe out all the enemies on the course. Similar to Hunt, this mode is designed to make you move.
  3. Survival is probably the most interesting mode- your team has to survive for a set period of time against waves of increasingly difficult enemies. A bit like Gears of War's Horde Mode, except not nearly as fun, because Mass Effect's combat wasn't designed for situations like this.
  4. Capture plays exactly like Battlefield- fight through enemies to reach a control point, stay in the vicinity of the control point for long enough to capture it, then move to the next control point. You need to capture all control points on the map within a given time. 
These do provide some variety, but in the end, this is still an add-on based exclusively off of Mass Effect's combat, which was never the strong suit of the game. That's all there is to Pinnacle Station. If you complete all the combat simulations you will be rewarded with an apartment on a planet, but this is useless as there's nothing to do except buy random items from a nearby shipping convoy- not even new items either.
 Pretty sure this is a Mass Effect 2 image somebody put in the ME1 gallery, but I need an image to put here
Put quite simply, Pinnacle Station totally missed the point of a download pack, which is to give more of what made the original game so entertaining. In fact, Pinnacle Station takes the least entertaining part of the base game, removes any sort of context, and simply expects the player to shoot things. The combat in Mass Effect is fine as part of a larger whole, but presented on it's own, as it is on Pinnacle Station, it falls flat on it's face.
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