Mass Effect: Bring Down the Sky
Mass Effect fans didn’t have to wait long for their first add-on to the expansive universe that has seen some 1.6 million copies of the game sold since last November. On March 10 gamers got their first new adventure with Bring Down the Sky, a downloadable content pack that has our fearless Commander Shepard trying to save a colony from a mobile asteroid station that is on a crash course.
Mass Effect places you in the role of Commander Shepard, a character you can customize to look, act, and fight in any way that suits you. In the main game, there are numerous side adventures and plots, but the primary mission pits your skills against a malevolent force bent on releasing an unknown evil that could destroy all the known universe.
The game has been a massive hit, and has even been the subject of strange controversy thanks to a few misguided comments from an American television show that imagined the brief sexuality in the game as something akin to pornography. It is in fact one of those rare games that has a Mature rating, and earns it for actually have an adult storyline, beyond the battle scenes and very brief sexuality.
Playing through Bring Down the Sky, I was slightly impressed, but perhaps also saddened to see how seamlessly this extra adventure fits into the whole package. For some reason I wanted the adventure to stand out from the other side-quests, but it is also a testament to BioWare’s abilities that it doesn’t feel like we have left the rest of the Mass Effect universe to play this add-on.
The story essentially has you landing on an asteroid that the Batarians are trying to crash into the colony of Terra Nova. We discover that the Batarians are one of the alien races in the universe with a grudge against humanity, and they have attacked the researchers on the asteroid known as X57.
Getting into the add-on, you’ll first have to head to the Asgard system, and find the X57 asteroid. Landing on the rock you’ll find three fusion torches (big rockets that are buried in the asteroid), and your job is to go to each one, enter the installation, and shut them down. While you get a warning that there isn’t much time, you actually have all the time you need to explore the asteroid, beat back the enemy forces, and save the day.
Following the primary mission, you can head to each torch, destroy the defenses, and go inside to kill off the bad guys. While I’m sure most people will want to explore all of the possible storyline, it’s conceivable that you could finish in under an hour. Following the side-plots though, in activating the transmitter towers and finding out what happened to the three research stations, you’ll end up closer to an hour and a half.
During the mission there are numerous weapons and upgrades to be found. There are also at least two points in the game where you can get paragon or renegade points, which involves dealing with two Batarians, and some hostages. In the conclusion it is also possible to get your hands on a very nice Savant Omni-tool, although you’ll need to have a decent intimidation rating.
Bring Down the Sky certainly offers a fair number of challenges, a great final fire-fight, and some decent extras along the way. The boss fight was a little disappointing, if only because the boss himself is pretty easy to deal with, but for a mere 400 MS points, the download is well worth it. Overall it’s an extremely satisfying adventure, with decent gameplay and extras.
Finishing the battle and saving the day is also worth 50 achievement points.
Playing the add-on also has me salivating for much more Mass Effect content, and hopefully a new adventure in the 800 or 1200 MS point range.
So what do you say, BioWare, got a bigger adventure lined up for us in the near future?