Mass Effect 2: Kasumi - Stolen Memory

Review

posted 4/19/2010 by Tina Amini
other articles by Tina Amini
Mass Effect 2 is a game I would definitely not mind revisiting. The first released PDLC, Kasumi – Stolen Memory, was just the excuse I needed to make the return. I had high hopes for a continuation in the same riveting storyline, character development and unique biotic battling with my crew in a futuristic space-centered environment. That is, after all, what made the sequel to the shooter/RPG hybrid from BioWare so enticing.

The main attraction to this DLC is the new character and her respective loyalty mission. Kasumi Goto, said new recruit, effectively becomes Mass Effect 2’s rogue player. Her invisibility and teleport tactic makes this cunning thief the perfect weapon to wield for stealth attacks against unknowing enemies.

Gaining Kasumi’s loyalty takes you into an infiltration mission where Commander Shepard will need to blend in with the criminal high society. Clad in a tight black leather-looking dress, my female version of Commander Shephard gets comfortable with her feminine side while attending the social gathering. An infamous art collector/criminal known as Donovan Hock is playing host for the universe’s finest badasses, and you’ll be posing as a mercenary come to join the festivities. The actual mission at hand is to recover a box of stolen memories from Kasumi’s recently deceased lover and partner in crime. You’re not really sure of the contents, beside some vague promise that one of the memories retained in the box will be of some use to you.


Gaining access to the party is simple. A little lipstick and some rumors floating around to stimulate growth of your reputation, and host Donovan Hock’s qualms are quickly appeased. Gaining access to the vault in which the prize is being held, however, is another story. You’ll have to bypass the security precautions by collecting various items and tools to be found at the party. This first half of the PDLC might remind you of your encounter with Liara T'soni in which she had you scouring Illium to hack terminals and steal data. After a similar quick back-and-forth at the party, you'll soon be perusing some of the fine art stowed away in Hock’s vault.

The vault is where you obtain the new weapon featured in the PDLC, as well as the prized graybox with the memories hardcoded into them. Picking up the Locust SMG couldn’t come at a better time, as you’ll make your grand exit from the party with guns blazing and shredding through machine and humans alike. Of course, you won’t be able to board the Normandy till you’ve rid of the boss, who is of course Hock himself. Fighting him is reminiscent of the other Mass Effect franchise boss battles you may have already encountered. Figuring out his pattern of movement and his weaknesses is key to defeating him, as was the case for Saren in Mass Effect 1 and the final boss in Mass Effect 2.

The decoding of the security system at Hock's residence, and the fighting of a boss is what sets Kasumi's DLC apart from Zaeed's. Both are incredibly short lived, but Kasumi's loyalty mission will require more than just good aim and powerful weaponry. However small, there's an interesting substance to completing her mission than what Zaeed requests of you.


Traversing Kasumi's mission was certainly fun and the gameplay felt fresh and versatile, particularly given Kasumi’s unique abilities. She’s a bit of a weakling in terms of how much damage she can take before going down, but she’s light on her feet and proves a worthy companion. Unfortunately, the DLC ends quickly thereafter if you’ve already finished all other missions in the game itself. In that case, you’ll only have the New Game Plus option available to you to really make use of your new crewmember.

I would have preferred to embark on this loyalty mission when I had originally started the game. It would have given me more time to explore the personality of my new friend, as well as explore her value as a fighter by my side. While I enjoyed my mission with Kasumi, it was too short to be a memorable experience, especially compared to the amount of time I spent with my other companions. I shared many epic situations with the other crewmembers watching my back, and it provided for a greater connection with them even if that only amounted to more heartfelt conversation.


I managed to muster the same amount of conversation with Kasumi as I did with Zaeed: namely, their responses to my snooping around their living quarters. Interacting with an object incites comments from both characters. I expected that having gained Kasumi's loyalty that she might indulge me with some hearty conversation similar to the cinematic interactions I've had with the other characters. Kasumi's speaking with me only revealed some insight into her own history, but never established any connection between us, as Shepard never actually speaks in return. Choosing the direction of my dialogue with my companions was something that I'd always enjoyed from BioWare games because the conversation felt like my own instead of something scripted. They've taken that away with Kasumi. Kasumi is fun to play with in terms of what new fighting style she brings to the table, but ultimately given the timing to her arrival to my game she becomes no more than just a tag-along.

How worthwhile Kasumi – Stolen Memory is will be very dependent on your specific progression in the main storyline. If you’ve finished your main missions, you might find some use for Kasumi’s interesting combat abilities along some undiscovered side quests. If you plan on replaying the entire storyline, Kasumi will definitely prove a useful and welcomed addition to your crew. However, if you’re at the end of your game and not planning on restarting or trying your hand at New Game Plus, you might not feel that this first PDLC is worth your time.

My advice? Use your discretion in terms of the $7 price tag, and hopefully you are new to the game or planning on starting a new one with the PDLC already purchased.





B
While what is there in the PDLC is fun to tinker with - particularly Kasumi's unique fighting abilities - it feels like too little too late in the game if you've already completed the missions available to you. Kasumi's loyalty mission and her abilities as a combat partner are certainly enjoyable, but there won't be enough content to utilize her with if you've already finished the game and don't plan on re-embarking with a fresh start.