Review: Mass Effect 2: Kasumi – Stolen Memory DLC

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BioWare has been steadily drip-feeding Mass Effect 2 downloadable content to players since the game’s release in January, all of which has been free via the Cerberus Network up to now. Kasumi – Stolen Memory is the latest DLC add-on and the first that isn’t free, and with the added price requirement (560 MS Points / $7) comes higher expectations. But does it meet those expectations?

Unfortunately, I would have to say that no, it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid chunk of DLC that only adds more of everything that is already great about Mass Effect 2, and if you have money to spare it’s not a terrible buy. The problem I have is that it fails to deliver any more substance than the previous freebie add-ons.

Kasumi – Stolen Memory really is no different than the Zaeed pack. You get a new character, a new mission and some other odds and ends (like the new X-12d Locust SMG) that are decent but never amount to much outside of the mission at hand. In this case, you have the opportunity to recruit super thief Kasumi Goto to your squad.

Getting Kasumi to join your crew begins in the Citadel, where she cautiously meets you through a digital advertisement kiosk while hiding on a catwalk above. She informs you that an infamous arms dealer named Donovan Hock killed her partner and stole his “graybox,” a neural implant containing his memories and other data, and will join your cause if you help her break into Hock’s vault and recover the graybox.

This mission takes you to the planet Bekenstein of the Boltzmann system and has you planning an elaborate heist to infiltrate a party at Hock’s luxurious mansion and crack the high-tech security protecting his vault. For the first half of the mission, you case the mansion in search of DNA and voice samples to crack the vault’s locks, which really doesn’t take much effort. Then after you break into the vault and retrieve the graybox, the action heats up as you fight to escape the mansion and ultimately square off against Hock in a thrilling climax before the mission comes to a touching end.

As a character, Kasumi is pretty cool, particularly in combat with her unique Shadow Strike ability that enables her to sneak up on enemies for a lethal backstab attack just like a thief/rogue character in a fantasy RPG. However, factored in with the existing cast of characters, she doesn’t bring much in the way of a dynamic personality to the game as a whole.

Part of that problem is the timing of this DLC’s release. Coming this far after the game’s launch when most players interested in this add-on have likely completed the campaign at least once already, adding a new character to your crew after the fact doesn’t exactly expand the experience in a substantive way. Her recruitment mission and loyalty mission are one in the same, so compared to the other characters you don’t get the same opportunity to explore her back story in any depth, and thus you don’t feel as attached to her as you do to your other squadmates.

It also doesn’t help that the mission is over and done within an hour at the absolute most – I finished it in less than an hour, and that included time spent pausing to jot down some review notes.

The brevity of the mission, however, is the least of my worries. As I said earlier, the issue I have is with the value proposition. In a vacuum, Kasumi – Stolen Memory is a decent enough add-on. But when other DLC of similar makeup and substance has already been released for free, the $7 price is a tough pill to swallow. Personally, I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy this DLC because there just isn’t enough to it. Therefore, my recommendation is simple:

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Pros:
+ Kasumi’s Shadow Strike ability adds new dynamic to combat
+ Good mix of action and exploration
+ More Mass Effect 2 is never a bad thing

Cons:
– Not enough depth to Kasumi’s story
– Brief mission with little substance overall
– Price seems steep when similar DLC has been free

Game Info:
Platform: Reviewed on Xbox 360, also on PC
Publisher: EA
Developer: BioWare
Release Date: 4/6/2010
Genre: Shooter/RPG
ESRB Rating: Mature
Players: 1
Source: Review code provided by publisher

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!