Review: Lair of the Shadow Broker

Review: Lair of the Shadow Broker

Posted by on Sep 15, 2010 in Commentary, Reviews | 2 comments


So I just finished Lair of the Shadow Broker two days ago. Here’s what I can tell you guys about it:

The Shadow Broker is the most powerful information broker in the Mass Effect universe, a mysterious yet lingering presence capable of manipulating people, factions and perhaps even entire planets to do his bidding, all while remaining hidden in the background. Who he is and how he’s able to do allthis have been unanswered questions since the first game. Reuniting with former squadmate Liara T’Soni in the second installment reveals that he had a hand in recovering Shepard’s corpse and, somewhere in the process, earned Liara’s wrath. Lair of the Shadow Broker promises to take you to his base of operations and a chance to continue your relationship with Liara. Does it deliver?


You’ll begin things with an email from the Illusive Man saving that he has information about the Shadow Broker’s location that Liara might be interested in. Citing the former Prothean researcher’s distrust of him, he decides to forward the intel to you instead of sending it to her directly. Bringing Liara up to speed prompts her to rush to her apartment, which is where you see the actual new content (as opposed to only seeing new dialogue and email up to that point).

Without spoiling everything, here’s a summary of the content:

There’s an investigation mechanic similar to searching Donovan Hock’s apartment in Stolen Memory.

  • An entertaining car chase sequence.
  • Two unique boss fights.
  • New research and one new loyalty ability for Shepard.
  • Needless to say, lots and lots of shooting.
  • Plenty of extra but trivial stuff once everything is over.

I can’t make a comment about the relationship angle because my imported Shepard didn’t have one with Liara (she didn’t have one with Kaidan either, by the way).

The one thing that’s been common among the new DLC packages is that combat has become more frenetic. LotSB remains true to that. Expect wave after wave of enemies to come at you relentlessly, often from all sides. Gone are the days when they simply charged at you from the front. Now they’ll try to take you out from behind you or maybe even flank you. This DLC will force you to micromanage your squad’s skills to deal with your foes. In short, combat is fun and fast-paced (yes, even with the pausing). I actually loaded a different save game after finishing LotSB and found fights from the original content to be rather dull. Take that as a good thing. At this point most of us have finished the game already so the change is more than welcome.


Lore-wise, the content doesn’t disappoint. I can’t say much without spoiling anything but I liked what I found in LotSB. For example, the banter between Shepard and Liara is exactly what you’d expect from ex-squadmates. Also, once you find out where the Shadow Broker is located and get to see it for yourself, it’s hard not to be awestruck by its sheer brilliance. It will take a bit of Codex reading to understand it all but once you get past that, it’s impossible not to recognize and appreciate the effort he put into keeping himself hidden.

The only new thing that Lair of the Shadow Broker adds to gameplay is the car chase sequence. Other than that, it’s more of the same. There are more fights, more research, more extras. While it won’t change what you think about Mass Effect 2, you can’t help but appreciate what’s in it, especially what it adds to the game’s lore. It’s not directly stated, but what happens here is simply a testament to just how good the Shadow Broker is when it comes to being thorough. And then there’s the ending. Since I’m really struggling to keep this spoiler-free, let’s just say that the ending will have a direct effect on Mass Effect 3.