Without a bigger picture in play, Mass Effect 2’s side-missions are somewhat ordinary. The fact that you lap them up one after another during your first playthrough speaks volumes about how fully realized the game’s universe is. The splendidly-detailed codex entries, delightful back stories, and meticulously-crafted environments aren’t just standard sci-fi filler, as each offers fully realized interactive fiction that further fleshes out the game’s already rich narrative. Now, the “Kasumi – Stolen Memory” DLC pack adds a new squad mate to the fray, the mysterious thief Kasumi Goto. Of course, before she will join your party, Kasumi needs help on a daring heist within the high-security complex of powerful criminal Donovan Hock. And how does one raid the home of one of the universe’s most infamous and well-guarded criminals, you ask? Surprisingly enough, with a tuxedo, a dinner party and a statue packed with guns–the oldest trick in the book.
With this move, Mass Effect 2 suddenly steers itself dangerously close to hammy spy film territory. It’s a new angle that’s unlike any other mission in the game, and some very cool events transpire during this journey. The new character is an interesting addition, as her unique Shadow Strike ability enables her to turn invisible and sneak-attack unsuspecting goons. This DLC pack also offers up a new sub-machine gun and outfit for Shepard, though neither really adds anything to the overall experience.
While some of these elements are very cool, I don’t really think that Mass Effect 2 needed any more characters with wimpy sob stories, long lost brothers, and psychopathic daughters. What the game truly needs is some new, far out worlds to explore, substantial story lines extensions, and a flock of additional enemies, as I’m tired of running into the same handful of mechs and mercenaries that seem to be waiting around every corner. The other major problem with “Stolen Memory” is it’s value, as there’s only about an hour of content to be found here. Considering that this pack is a 560 Microsoft Point investment, the developers are asking a lot for a paltry amount of playtime.
Because of this, those who download “Kasumi – Stolen Memory” are likely to be disappointed, especially when that time could have been used to begin a second (or third) playthrough of the game’s main quest. While Mass Effect completionists might enjoy what’s offered here, casual fans would be best served sitting this mission out.