Mass Effect DLC: Bring Down the Sky

BY Zach Hines  //  March 26, 2008

A fine addition to an already amazing game.

B

ack when I reviewed Mass Effect for the Xbox 360 in December, I was smitten with the game. In fact, I am currently on my third playthrough of the campaign. Now, with the recent release of Bioware's first downloadable content for its award-winning title, that feeling of love has only grown.

Most of the time I don't find myself all too excited for most of the DLC available over Xbox Live. More often than not it's either a few new maps for a FPS title, or a couple of new cars for a racing title. To me, these kinds of additions aren't what I'm looking for. I want new content that expands and deepens existing subject matter. After sitting down with Bring Down the Sky, the first in what I hope will be a series of expansions upon Mass Effect's epic space-faring adventure, I feel it embodies this very principle.

BDtS functions much like one of the major chapters of the game, with its own unique plot and setting, complete with an introduction to one of the universe's myriad of races — the Batarians. If you played through Mass Effect, or read the prequel novel Mass Effect: Revelation, then you'll have heard of the Batarians. In the original content of the game, the Batarians never tangibly enter the picture. Conversely, in the novel, the Batarians play a fairly sizable role. The fact that the new content features an entirely new race makes it that much stronger in my opinion. If you paid attention to the vast amount of history that the game presents, you come to find that there is so much material yet to be implemented into the actual game itself. Well, BDtS is a good start.




Set straight some Batarians
who are up to no good.
I don't want to go into too much detail about the plot — so I'll give you the basics. The content takes place on an asteroid station that the people of the human colony of Terra Nova were transporting near their world for excavation. No longer is the asteroid simply a means for the colonists to gather resources: it has been turned into a weapon against them. A band of Batarian mercenaries have taken control of the station and intend to drive it straight at Terra Nova. It's up to Commander Shepard and his crew to stop the Batarians and save the crew of the station before the asteroid crashes into the planet.

The content itself will take you about around ninety minutes to two hours to complete, and presents a considerable combat challenge. The only requirements to begin this chapter of the game are that your party has been given control of the starship Normandy and that you have completed the requirements for departing the Citadel. After that, you are good to go.

If I was going to give any criticism for the DLC, it'd be only that I would have liked to see the backstory of the animosity the Batarians have for humanity expounded upon a bit more as it is only hinted at. It seems to be fairly important to why the Batarian mercenaries are trying to destroy a human colony. It is my hope that this will be continued in further expansions.

Bring Down the Sky is just what downloadable content should be. It is not a superficial addition — it enriches the game. Given the wealth of history and story that Mass Effect presents, it is my hope that BioWare continues to put out more expansions to their game. Mass Effect is set in a universe filled with all manner of phenomena and different life forms, and it'd be great to see that further related through future downloads. For only 400 Microsoft points, you can have a fine addition — complete with a new achievement — to an already amazing game. We hear, "Many decisions lay ahead, none of them easy." I would wager that the decision to download this expansion should be anything but.

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