By rjayb89 17 Comments
Preferred Heavy Weapon: Missile Launcher
Well, I just completed Arrival and it took me maybe about one to one-and-a-half hours to complete. And being the guy who enjoys shooting people before asking questions, I totally acted like an asshole every chance I had. Now, I'm not going to spoil anything with any story-specifics except naming a few names, but do note that you will be playing this completely solo except during an earlier bit in the DLC that you'll probably see in the Ask Me Anything Brad and Vinny did (then was pulled down, maybe it'll be up later today), then after that, you're completely alone.
Anyways, I jumped into the game pretty rusty having not played the game for maybe a month or so, but the DLC begins easily enough with Admiral Hackett asking you to rescue a friend of his in a heavily batarian-populated system. You're given the option to either get to her discreetly or guns-blazing. For the sake of an achievement, I did it quietly and it proved to be much easier than I thought it would be. No need for any special abilities, like cloaking by way of an Infiltrator, or quick-wit maneuvers to get to cover quickly before anyone sees you as you will usually find guards facing away from you. All you need to do is find a different path around the guards (which are clearly laid out for you), and that'll be that.
Eventually, I was led to what was basically a wave-based combat arena. In my first, and currently only, playthrough I was an Adept with a maxed out Warp ability (I'm guessin' it was Heavy Warp I upgraded it to) and killed most enemies with one flick of my hand. Although you'll suffer no consequences for dying during this part, you will receive an achievement for surviving all five waves, with the last rolling out a Heavy Mech. Previous waves will employ troublesome and more enduring (compared to normal grunts) Pyros that can do some heavy damage to you if they get too close to you.
Now the rest of the DLC is fairly familiar as you'll traverse through corridors and the usual room with most obvious places to take cover behind. One thing I will note though, is that grunts really love throwing flash grenades at you. They don't do enough damage, if at all, to make it a remarkable challenge but they threw them too constantly. I can imagine a Soldier having a problem with this since they are naturally shooter-focused and with the washed-out visual effect clouding your enemies things can get a little difficult, unless you move about cover a lot, of course. In the final scramble, I was being bombarded with flash grenades and a second, and final, Heavy Mech encounter.
After all was said and done, Arrival proved to be a solid Mass Effect 2 experience. No big surprises here, except for one unique mechanic that puts you in control of the enemy for a short time, and a completely combat-avoidable section in the game. Between the bare-bones conversations with your colleagues about the upcoming mission and impending arrival of the Reapers, combat varies dispatching of a small group of grunts to those led by a shielded merc, or sometimes a mech. While the outcome of the DLC will not be seen in full effect until Mass Effect 3 comes out, the arrival you've all been waiting for is nothing spectacular. It's just more of the same and a final message to hold you over to the next game.
3 puppies out of 5
So, there you go. A little mini-review for you, I suppose. I had fun with it, by the way.