Mass Effect 2: Overlord Review

It’s been a few months since Mass Effect 2 completely blew me away, and the constant stream of great titles following the game has fuzzied my memory of the outstanding adventure. In the time since I fought off the Collectors and saved, well, everything and everyone, my only thoughts on the game were about the agonizing wait for the third and final chapter. True to their word, BioWare has made available a decent amount of tantalizing downloadable content, both through the game’s Cerberus Network (free) and Xbox Live (not free). And this DLC isn’t the normal lame multiplayer maps, ridiculous costumes and other worthless goodies that disappoint in other titles. We’ve gotten new weapons, new characters, new achievements, new planets to explore, new missions to conquer and even a brand new vehicle. The latest in the line of exceptional DLC is Project Overlord, a set of new missions based on a mysterious science project and an attempt to control the Mass Effect universe’s intriguing robot species, the Geth. The DLC is short, sweet and most likely my favorite add-on in not just Mass Effect’s history, but in the entire history of DLC. Sorry, Borderlands and Resident Evil 5; you’ve been one-upped.

The (short) story and atmosphere are what sets Project Overlord head and shoulders above most other DLC. No matter where you may be in Mass Effect 2’s story, you can play this mini-mission with no strings attached. Of course, my game was previously saved after “completing” the story, but if you haven’t made it that far yet, never fear. Anyway, Project Overlord refers to an experiment by a Cerberus scientist in which a “virtual intelligence” would be introduced to the Geth’s … consciousness? in order to control the semi-sentient species. If Saren, the villain from the first Mass Effect, could do it, why can’t Cerberus? As countless movies and theme park attractions have told you, something goes awry and Command Shepard and company must step in and set things right. That’s where the fun starts.

The entire mission takes place on a single planet, which exists in an all-new star system. You know what that means: A bunch more planets to strip-mine for materials. The planet that holds the mission is easily one of the most beautiful in the entire universe, resembling an open-air rainforest with cliffs, waterfalls, indigenous life, etc. You’ll eventually venture beyond this paradise to the planet’s two other environments, but the first one, which could be considered a hub, takes the cake. You get to do your traveling in the hovercraft vehicle introduced in the last batch of DLC and, best of all, there are six little pickups to discover for a new achievement.