The Title: Mass Effect 2: Normandy Crash Site

The Premise: The Normandy has been destroyed. Only a handful of crew members of the Alliance’s prized flagship remain. Commander Shepard has seemingly gone down with the ship.

Or has he/she?

The Normandy Crash Site DLC gives the player an opportunity to explore the wreckage of the downed ship that led the assault against Sovereign at the conclusion of the original Mass Effect. What could have easily been turned into some kind of mission exploiting the situation (oh no, Turian pirates are looting the Normandy, kill ‘em all!) is really quite somber. This is the hero of the galaxy investigating and basically laying a monument to the brave Alliance crewmembers who gave their lives to preserve galactic harmony.

Is It Good?: Absolutely. Mass Effect 2 is a game that ratchets up the action in every way, so taking the time to explore an important part of Commander Shepard’s history is a somber reminder of what’s at stake and how the game doesn’t pull any punches. Loveable characters are going to die and as the hero, the player has to be the one to send them to their doom. As the player explores the various pieces of wreckage, Shepard ruminates on memories and images of the Normandy before The Collectors destroyed it. Navigator Pressly, whose anti-alien views softened once put in the company of Turians, Quarians, Asari and Krogan. Kaiden Alenko and Ashley Williams, both are potential love interests for Shepard and both can give their lives to try and halt the villainous Saren’s plan.

Mass Effect 2 is a game that was somewhat criticized upon release for the removal of its’ deeper RPG roots in favor of more action and excitement. The Normandy Crash Site DLC brings a small sense of exploration and slower pacing to an otherwise action-packed game. The first Mass Effect had a good deal of slower-paced planet exploration which was excised in favor of a streamlined planetary mining system, thus removing the need to explore. Being able to not only explore a beautiful planet, but also what is essentially a graveyard for the Normandy’s crew (the primary reason Shepard goes to the planet is to recover some of his crew’s dog tags, 20 in all) is really a fantastic way of showing that The Collectors are both a ruthless enemy but also that they hold some sort of incredible weaponry, able to down the Alliance’s most technologically advanced warship.

Length: A half hour at most.

Moment To Savor: For those who hated the Mako, you get to see its final resting place. Personally, I loved scooting around the surface of various planets looking for mineral deposits and Matriarch writings. Also, you get to read Navigator Pressly’s datapad/journal which is a nice insight into a former racist’s change of heart.

Worth it?: Definitely. This particular piece of DLC is free, however; it requires the Cerberus Network in order to access it, which costs 1200 Microsoft Points, around fifteen bucks. With all the content you get by picking up the Cerberus Network, it’s worth it.

Follow me on Twitter!