Last Monday (14 June 2010), BioWare released a demo for Mass Effect 2 (and yes this is a demo for a game that has been out for awhile) on both Xbox 360 and PC. Additionally, the price recently decreased from release day standard $60 to $40, so now if you haven’t played the game, you can try the demo and then only need $40 to get the full game.
Here’s the blurb from BioWare:
When sent to investigate a Cerberus research base that’s mysteriously gone silent, Shepard arrives to find Geth overrunning the base. The sole survivor, Chief Scientist Archer, paints a dire picture: an experiment to fuse a human volunteer with a virtual intelligence created a dangerous hybrid “VI overlord”. The rampaging VI has already attacked three other Cerberus bases, controlling any technology it finds in an attempt to break free–and unleashing Geth across the planet. Unless Shepard can infiltrate the VI’s fortress and shut it down, this homicidal intelligence will beam itself-off planet and wreak havoc on other systems. The action unfolds over five new level areas, with two new achievements.
Thankfully, in Mass Effect 2 you get to keep playing after beating the game, so I was able to load up my first playthrough and try out the DLC. Yeoman Kelly alerted me to the new mail on my terminal (right as I was opening the terminal), and after reading it, I headed to the galaxy map and hit a Mass Effect Relay. The new quest shows up on the galaxy map, so I don’t have to go back to the terminal to look up the exact coordinates. I head to the new system and probe the non-quest related planets before landing on Aite.
I land and pick my party (Hint: You will be fighting robots for this entire mission, so bring along teammates with Overload and AI Hacking. There are a few shielded units, so Incinerate wouldn’t be bad either.) and then got a message from Archer giving me the first part of the mission. Once I met up with Archer he gave me the full rundown on the DLC and sent me out in the Hammerhead (the replacement for the Mako of Mass Effect 1 to visit the other bases/areas.
Something that is not made readily apparent (though you are likely to stumble upon it) is that in order to get one of the achievements you need to find 6 packages of research notes. The only indicator as to how many are left is when you find one, at which point the Hammerhead tells you how many remain. It would have been nicer to have it show in the quest log, but such is the life of side quests.
When you get to the final stage of the DLC, you can pick up a piece of research (Heavy Skin Weave +10% health for your character) that is basically the reward for playing the DLC. Not terribly exciting for someone who has already beaten the game, but during a regular playthrough I can see the use (especially on the harder difficulties).
Post mortem: I got about 2 hours of playtime out of the DLC and some extra health (for any further bits of DLC or maybe even to carry over to Mass Effect 3). Given that the DLC is cheaper than a movie ticket in my area, I found it well worth it, especially since I will be playing it again on my other characters.