DLC review: Mass Effect 2 - Zaeed: The Price of Revenge

Zaeed Massani is a gun-for-hire who has seen his fair share of combat on many outlying alien worlds. His combat experience and driven nature has made him an ideal candidate for Cerberus’ fight against the Collectors, and so the Illusive Man has sent Commander Shepard his dossier, detailing his current location on Omega. Recruiting Zaeed is a simple matter of revisiting Omega and engaging in a brief conversation – it is his loyalty mission that proves more challenging, making up the bulk of this DLC pack.

To be frank, Zaeed is rather lackluster when compared to practically any other member of Shepard’s ragtag team. He has quite a few stories to share about his weapons and kills on hostile worlds during humanity’s early treks beyond their home system, but the writing concerning his character feels significantly less inspired than Tali’s role as daughter of a Quarian admiral, Samra’s justicar code, Legion’s emergence as a ghost in the machine, and so on. While he stays generally calm and focused on board the Normandy and during any regular mission, he suddenly adopts a ruthless lone wolf strategy when he and Shepard embark on his loyalty mission.

The mission sees Shepard, Zaeed, and whichever third character you decide to bring along for the ride dropped onto a humid jungle planet. As it turns out, Zaeed was one of the founders of the Blue Suns mercenary group, and has been chasing his former partner – who ousted him long ago – for years. Having finally tracked him to this remote world apparently sets Zaeed into a bloodlust, as he completely ignores Shepard’s insistence that they develop a strategy, opting instead to blow up the whole facility while the three party members and a number of innocent scientists are still inside. The entire mission is perhaps a bit more visually exciting than many of the sidequests in Mass Effect 2, due primarily to the fact that there are all sorts of explosions being set off around Shepard and Zaeed as they fight their way out of the facility. Aside from the option to shoot a few cases from the ceiling and have them fall on foes for quick kills, combat is pretty straightforward – fight your way from one end of the room to the other, then repeat.

Shepard has to act as a babysitter to Zaeed’s immaturity, insisting that they clean up the mess Zaeed made and help get the scientists to safety (if you are playing the Paragon route), while Zaeed is so concerned with exacting his long-delayed revenge that he threatens to harm the Commander if the Blue Suns get away. In terms of gameplay, there isn’t anything new, though it isn’t apparent that this DLC desperately needs something wildly innovative in that department. What it really could have benefitted from, however, is better writing and a more consistent presentation of Zaeed.

My rating: 5.5 (out of 10)*

*(rating applies solely to downloadable content, not its inclusion with the content on the original game disc or other downloadable content)

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