A great military leader is only as good as the soldiers he commands, and Mass Effect 2's Commander Shepard is no exception. Humanity's last hope has traveled the vast expanses of the galaxy to assemble a team capable of beating outstanding odds not once, but twice, with one last adventure remaining. Mass Effect 2's 'Arrival' DLC will set the stage for the third and final chapter in the trilogy, but recent details reveal that Shepard's side-quest will see him take on a terrorist cell relying on his strengths alone.
The dramatic shift is an understandable one, and should do a great deal to drive the point home: only Commander Shepard can save Earth. We know just how much a challenge Mass Effect 3 will pose, so a massive ego boost could prove useful.
We still know very little about 'Arrival,' only that Shepard will be getting to the bottom of a potential Reaper discovery on the edge of Council space, and plot twists and catastrophic disasters are sure to arise during the investigation.
Along with the new image of Shepard and the mysterious artifact's discoverer Dr. Amanda Kenson comes a few important bits of information on the plot of 'Arrival.' The mission is self-explanatory, but due to the sensitive nature of the task, Admiral Hackett wants Shepard to accomplish it without involving his team. Losing an entire team is nothing new to the series, but having to enter a skirmish without some backup will be a new challenge.
The result is some seriously challenging combat that will punish players who favor a shoot-first-think-second approach, with tactical decisions and some stealth necessary to achieve success. The Mass Effect universe is a big place, so a little variation won't go unnoticed among the at-times repetitive shooting galleries and corridors that became more popular with ME2.
While the DLC is described as more of an epilogue than a bridge between the second and third games, the increase in tension and weight is an inspired idea. Conversations and plot twists can only do so much to stress the growing risks of the Reaper threat, but making the game even harder to play will send the message loud and clear.
What are your thoughts on the changes made to for the 'Arrival?' Do you welcome the chance to test your skills without back-up, or were you hoping for a taste of what Mass Effect 3 has to offer?
You'll get the opportunity to become a one-man army when Mass Effect 2's Arrival DLC arrives on March 29, for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.