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BioWare has a checkered past with DLC. Mass Effect’s Bring Down the Sky looked like it was indicative of what was to come – short, satisfying bits of content – but that never truly took off. Dragon Age: Origins DLC releases have ranged anywhere between a waste of time and a waste of money due to the content gravitating towards more combat than anything else. This trend of a flaky DLC history isn’t surprising considering the kind of games BioWare tends to make. With such a central focus on narrative and character development, their approach to DLC has to reflect the approach they put into their RPGs in general. The logistics of rehiring voice actors and getting the writers to scrawl additional content makes it so that it’s tougher on BioWare to make substantial DLC content. With Kasumi’s Stolen Memory, it seems like BioWare’s got it down and hopefully, a sign of things to come.
Kasumi’s Stolen Memory is very much in line with how Zaeed was handled. You won’t be able mine Kasumi’s past and current feelings through reams of dialogue. She’ll dole out a handful of responses on your ship and will talk about the little doodads you point and look at in her room. For a thief, she’s got a bit of a bubbly disposition and she’s entertaining to know for the hour or so this DLC lasts. She’s much less one-note than the stereotypical tough-guy-with-scar-and-busted-eye Zaeed was, too. She’s sensitive, continuing to harbor intense feelings for a former thief, Keiji (which means there’s none of that eye-rolling romancing; aw, bummer.), who bit the bullet before you recruited her, and that’s the main impetus behind Kasumi’s loyalty mission.
It’s an interesting scenario. A rich tycoon by the Donovan Hock holds the last remaining remnants of Keiji’s memory. Obtaining this isn’t just for sentimental reasons either, there’s something here that can escalate into events on a galactic scale. Armed with that knowledge, your Shepard and Kasumi are off to take it back.
Much like the loyalty missions for most of your party members, it’s not all just guns blazing. The first half-hour involves a bit of clandestine behavior in the midst of a party that’s all about Hock’s vanity, before it goes down into the high-octane action Mass Effect 2 did so well. There’s a good variety to what’s in this DLC and clocking in at an hour or so, it ends with on a quiet, poignant moment that does enough to establish Kasumi as a character.
It’ll be interesting to see where BioWare takes Kasumi and presumably, more crew members through future DLC releases. Will they make it over to Mass Effect 3? Is BioWare already setting us up with party members intended to be included with the closing chapter in the trilogy? Whatever the case, Kasumi’s Stolen Memory is just the type of content that’s appropriate for Mass Effect 2. The only real hurdle is to determine whether or not $7 works out in your dollars to playtime ratio as a justifiable purchase. Once you start debating about price in single digits though, you really can’t do much wrong, but hey, it’s up to you.