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Wednesday Dec 17

Mass Effect: Pinnacle Station1

Bioware has produced several of my favorite games and to me, their name is closely tied to quality RPGs. Mass Effect is a great game, and two years ago Bioware promised us that they would continue to expand the Mass Effect universe with continual downloadable content. With Pinnacle Station being only the second DLC for Mass Effect, Bioware has fallen very far short of their promises.

Just like the previous Bring Down the Sky DLC, Pinnacle Station opens up a new area on the star map for Commander Sheppard and his team to explore. Pinnacle Station itself, is a lone space station whose sole purpose is to train soliders via simulation. Why Pinnacle Station would be located in the middle of an unpopulated star system is beyond me. Wouldn’t the alliance brass want to locate it near the citadel or at least other colonies? According to Commander Ahern, the leader of the station, it was set up to train the perfect solider. What good is a training center located millions of light years away from your fighting forces?

Batman

That aside Pinnacle Station offers players the ability to test their squad in eight different fight scenarios. The four scenarios will require the player to accomplish different tasks such as, kill all the enemies as fast as possible, survive as long as possible, capture multiple points on a map as fast as possible, and battling against a dwindling clock which can only be raised by killing enemies. Each of these modes needs to be completed in two venues, bringing the total amount of beginning scenarios to eight. Once you have completed them, six more will unlock. Once those have been completed access to Ahern’s special survival mode will be open. It is basically the exact same as the other survival modes but you are required to last for five minutes. Beating it will give you a new gun as well as 150 points to add to your gamerscore.

The DLC falls apart for me at the initial concept. Obviously Bioware has not been spending the last two years working on this piece of DLC. Most of their efforts have been devoted to Mass Effect 2 and this DLC is entirely a money grab. This DLC could have been a great way to get the hardcore Mass Effect fans even more excited about Mass Effect 2. Instead it will leave a bitter taste in their mouths. Most of the levels that the combat scenarios take place on are pulled directly from sections of the other planets. The simulator just dumps you into areas you have already played through, which makes me ask what exactly did Bioware do to make this content? The levels are recycled, the enemies are the same Geth character models. The only new things are a few new lines of dialogue, cut scenes, and a scoreboard tracking your times compared to other competitors. If the scoreboard was a Xbox Live leader board comparing your times against friends and other around the world, than this DLC may have fared a little bit better.

Batman

At least the Bring Down the Sky DLC had a story ingrained into it. Sheppard had to stop the Baltarians, while this DLC basically lets you run loose in Pinnacle Station. Your actions onboard really have no impact on the Mass Effect universe, if you choose to skip it you won’t be missing anything.

Technically Pinnacle Station does not do Mass Effect Justice. There are lots of framerate dips during the combat as well as the repetitive loading sequence. After failing a scenario you will be greeted with Sheppard performing the same walk of shame down a surprisingly bare corridor, entering the main room of the station with the familiar slow loading textures.

The Bottom Line

Pinnacle Station is a lackluster piece of DLC for a great game. While Bioware could have used this opportunity to hype the community for Mass Effect 2, they basically released a compilation of scenarios we have already completed before. Pinnacle Station does not add any value to the Mass Effect Universe and the sole reason to purchase it would be to pursue the 150 points towards your gamerscore.

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