At the end of last week, Electronic Arts and BioWare announced that those of us who bought “Mass Effect 2” new will be getting more free downloadable content through the game’s Cerberus Network.
(For the uninitiated, new copies of the game come with a one-time code to access something called the Cerberus Network, an interface used to download a handful of “free” extra missions and weapons. “Free” has quote marks around it because if you buy the game used, you’ve gotta pay an extra $15 to access the content. It’s part of EA’s new strategy to encourage folks to buy its games new.)
The linchpin item in this new DLC pack is the new Hammerhead assault vehicle, a hovertank that’s meant to serve as a replacement for the first game’s widely unpopular Mako. Of course, with “Mass Effect 2’s” mind-numbing planet scanning minigame, you won’t be using the hovertank to explore a ton of new worlds. Instead, the hovertank download will come with a handful of new missions that let you drive it around.
As long as we’re using the free downloadable content to address the first’s “Mass Effect’s” shortcomings, here’s my idea for a new, free, download-only mission:
It was pretty clear in the first “Mass Effect” that every single space colony bought prefabricated buildings from the same general contractor. No matter where you were in the galaxy, if you were playing a side mission that required you to enter a building, you inevitably got one of three or four floor plans. Not only that, but every encounter in these buildings played out the same. The battles were in the same rooms, the containers full of loot in generally the same places. After you played a half-dozen side missions or so, it was easy to recognize which building you were entering and plan for the next battle accordingly.
So why not have a little fun with this in “Mass Effect 2?” I want a mission where Commander Shepard and crew are called upon by the Illusive Man to investigate lazy, shoddy workmanship on prefabricated buildings all over the galaxy. The mission, of course, will take Shepard to my mythical subcontractor’s corporate headquarters, where he will, naturally, battle through every single carbon-copy building from the first “Mass Effect.” All the while, the characters from “Mass Effect” who reappear in the sequel could crack wise about how they know which room the CEO will be hiding in and how many mercenaries will be guarding him. Taking down the evil subcontractor would be as easy as robbing your neighbors in Leavittown.
It’d be a great, tongue-in-cheek revenge subplot to reward those of us who patiently slogged through the first game’s tedious, repetitive side quests in the name of leveling up our character as much as possible before the final battle. Come on, BioWare. Make it happen.