With rich atmosphere and intense action, LotSB is the best DLC money can buy for Mass Effect 2

User Rating: 9 | Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker X360
When switching from the first Mass Effect to the second, I was disappointed that I wasn't going to be able to use my old squad mates from the first game. One of them was the smart and beautiful asari, Liara T'Soni. She was reduced from fighting with you in the battlefield to just sitting behind a desk while you do two small jobs for her. Now, to make up for that, Bioware has released an all new DLC pack for all of those who not only wish to use Liara on their team again (even if it is only for one mission), but for those wishing to continue their romantic side story with her. That's not all it's good for though, as Lair of the Shadow Broker offers enough intense action and wonderful atmosphere to make this DLC pack worth your while.

*possible spoilers* To access this DLC, you'll need to be able to fly to the planet Illium, where you normally find Liara. To get the mission, you will see an email from the Illusive Man in your terminal telling you about Liara and her trouble with the Shadow Broker. Now you can finally begin when you talk to Liara, who reveals her involvement in bringing you (Shepard) back to life 2 years ago. This information puts on a nice twist but it is quickly put on halt due to bigger matters at hand: you and Liara must find the information dealer (known as the Shadow Broker) and save Liara's friend, Feron. Liara will then go home and as you take a cab and follow her, you find an Asari Spectre named Tala Vasir is inspecting her house (after an attempted assassination on Liara, and she is nowhere to be found). After finding a message of her possible whereabouts, you and Tala go there only to find that Tala was the one who has the information Liara is looking for and that she is the one who tried to assassinate Liara. The chase is on. The story in this DLC pack is well told and involving, especially with such amusing cut scenes like the characters' reactions and battle scenes. There are some humorous spots to hold it together too like a reference to using omni-gel in the first gaame.

Lair of the Shadow Broker starts you off on the planet Illium fighting your way up a building to find Liara. At this point, you can take two of your squad mates with you like always. The enemies are agents for the Shadow Broker. They aren't too much different than the other enemies you fight, but they do have flash bang grenades this time. After a long chase, you are then placed in a taxi with Liara and from here on out, you can only take one squad mate with you (Liara fills up the second spot). Next is a chase through a city as you control an unarmed taxi. Your goal is to just keep up with Tala as she tries to get away with the information. This part doesn't last long but it's fun to race through and easy to control and it's intense. Then you are on a building top and now, for the first time since the first game, Liara can be used as a squad mate (more on that later). After fighting through a parking lot and several apartments, you are faced with the first of two boss battles. Tala will jump from one spt to another quite fast and is protected by shields, barriers, and armor. A pretty straightforward fight but well thought out.

And that's only half of the entire mission. After you leave Illium, the next part of the mission takes place somewhere else on the Shadow Broker's ship. You must fight your way through more enemies (with Liara and one other squad mate), rescue Feron and finally, face the Shadow Broker. Your extra squadmate will be knocked out during this fight so it's just you and Liara. This guy looks tough but he's not terribly difficult. He's a ton of fun to fight but the battle could have lasted longer though. The whole mission will take you about 2 hours total to complete, but it is one of the best missions in all of Mass Effect 2 and every second is enjoyable.

Of course, the star of this mission is Liara T'Soni. You don't get to use her until after the taxi chase but it's worth the wait. She plays like any other squad mate on your team and you can also improve her stats like everyone else too. Depending on your level, you are given a certain amount of points to Asari Scientist (improves health, weapon damage, etc.) as well as her old moves from the first game like Warp, Stasis or Singularity. All these moves pretty much work the same as they did before so if you played the first game, you'll know how they work. Liara is a valuable squad mate throughout the mission. Unfortunately, don't get to used to her as she doesn't become a permanent member of your team. However, there is good news to those who romanced her in the original game; this pack allows you to continue that romantic subplot. You have at least two spots to talk about the relationship and, more importantly, you'll get an extra, beautiful cut scene at the end of Liara and Shepard spending time together on the Normandy. This adds extra value to those hoping to continue this relationship.

For $10 (or 800 microsoft points), you are given a long and intense 2 hour mission, 2 boss fights, a new squad member (for one mission) and a chance to continue a possible subplot. The problem with other DLC for Mass Effect 2 is they just feel like side quests that don't really add much. The same can't be said here, Lair of the Shadow Broker feels more like a very important part of the story that any fan of the series shouldn't miss out on. I'd recommend this intense DLC pack to anyone who owns and loves Mass Effect 2 but I recommend it even more to those who are fans of Liara (and those trying to romance her). Either way, you'll find Lair of the Shadow Broker is one of the best parts of the already amazing Mass Effect 2.