Mass Effect 2: Overlord
|Mass Effect 2: Overlord|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release date(s)||June 15, 2010|
|Genre(s)||Action role-playing, third-person shooter|
Mass Effect 2: Overlord is a downloadable content pack developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts for the action role-playing video game Mass Effect 2. It was released on June 15, 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. The pack is included in the PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2, which was released on January 18, 2011. Overlord introduces a new series of missions in which the player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier who must stop an experimental virtual intelligence that has gone rogue. The player must traverse from one mission to another aboard a hovering vehicle.
Overlord was announced to be in development on May 13, 2010. BioWare wanted to focus on vehicle exploration, similar to that found in the original Mass Effect. The pack received positive reviews from critics, with an aggregate score of 81 out of 100 for the Xbox 360 version at Metacritic. Reviewers generally praised the story and vehicular sections, but some criticized the simplistic vehicular combat.
Mass Effect 2 is an action role-playing game in which the player controls Commander Shepard. Shepard's gender, appearance, history and combat-training are determined by the player before the game begins. The game features a variety of quests that the player must complete in order to progress. These quests usually involve the player interacting with characters and fighting enemies in combat missions. During the missions, Shepard is assisted by two AI squad members that the player can indirectly control through orders. Combat takes place in real-time, but the player can pause the action at any time to calmly target enemies and select different powers for the squad members to use. Upon completing a quest, the player is awarded with experience points. If a sufficient amount of experience is obtained, the player can develop powers for both Shepard and the members of the squad.
Mass Effect 2: Overlord unfolds in a less linear manner than other assignments found in the game due to its focus on exploration. The pack introduces five new missions and some of them can be completed in a different order. The missions are located on a planet that the player must explore using a hovering vehicle called Hammerhead. Aboard the Hammerhead, the player may transition from one mission to another and gather items such as mineral resources used to research numerous in-game upgrades. The Hammerhead has the ability to jump over obstacles to reach certain areas and is also armed with a gun that the player can use to destroy hostile targets over the planet. At certain points in the game, the player may also encounter mini-bosses that must be defeated. Overlord also adds one armor upgrade and two achievements that are awarded for completing specific tasks. The first achievement is obtained by collecting numerous data packets that are scattered across the planet, while the second achievement is unlocked by completing Overlord.
In Mass Effect 2: Overlord, elite human soldier Commander Shepard is sent on a mission to investigate an allied research base that has gone silent. The base is located on the surface of an Earth-like planet called Aite. Upon arriving at the facility, Shepard is informed that an experimental virtual intelligence has gone rogue and is ordered to destroy an antenna inside a transmission dish before the virtual intelligence uploads a program off-planet. Shepard successfully destroys the antenna and is then met by Dr. Gavin Archer, the scientist that is responsible for the situation. Archer explains that they were trying to gain influence over a hostile race of networked artificial intelligences called geth by interfacing a human mind with a virtual intelligence. In the process, the virtual intelligence overpowered the test subject's mind, Archer's brother David, and has evolved into a virus.
Although the virtual intelligence is kept in lockdown in another research station, Archers tells Shepard that he/she needs to manually override security from two other facilities to gain access to it and shut it down. Once the station where the virtual intelligence is contained has been unlocked, Shepards proceeds to the main server room. Shepards eventually accesses a terminal to cut all access to the outside world, but in the process the virus infects Shepard's cybernetic implants. Shepard awakens in a virtual reality and heads to the central core room, where they manage to defeat the virtual intelligence as it attempts to establish an upload link to the Normandy. Afterwards, the virtual reality goes away and David is shown in the core tied up to tubes in his arms and mouth, begging for help. Archer comes and argues for Shepard to keep the experiment going. Shepard is then given the option to either take David to a specialized academy or leave him at the station with his brother.
Development and release
Mass Effect 2: Overlord was developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. During development of Mass Effect 2, Bioware stated that downloadable content was becoming a fundamental part of the company's overall philosophy. The pack was announced to be in development on May 13, 2010. BioWare executive producer Casey Hudson stated that Overlord was the "biggest downloadable content pack yet" and confirmed that they would not introduce more squad members to the game like they did with previous packs. For the pack, the developers wanted to focus on exploration and vehicle platforming, similar to that found in Mass Effect 2's earlier downloadable content pack Firewalker. Since vehicle exploration was a feature of the original Mass Effect, Hudson called Overlord "a throwback to how some of the exploration worked in [the previous game]." The pack was released on June 15, 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360. Like Mass Effect 2's other downloadable content packs Kasumi - Stolen Memory and Lair of the Shadow Broker, Overlord is freely included in the PlayStation 3 version of the game, which was released on January 18, 2011. The soundtrack was composed by Christopher Lennertz.
Mass Effect 2: Overlord received positive reviews from critics. Reviewer Erik Brudvig of IGN described Overlord as "one of the best series of missions that the franchise has yet seen." Similarly, reviewer Dan Whitehead of Eurogamer opined that the pack "never lets one gameplay element dominate for too long, leavening the expected duck-and-cover combat with openworld exploration and a dash of environmental puzzling, all wrapped up in a story that builds to a satisfying and pathos-heavy finale." GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd credited the on-foot action, stating that "a few of the larger environments let you take on [enemies] from multiple angles, which are a nice change from the straight-on encounters that typify most of Mass Effect 2's battles." He also praised the final boss battle, which was said to exceed that of the main game.
Critics generally praised the vehicular sections of the mission. Eurogamer felt that the Hammerhead "responds well to the terrain, with just the right mix of weight and bounciness." IGN considered it an improvement over the Mako carrier featured in the original Mass Effect. Brad Gallaway of GameCritics, who gave the main game a mixed review, was satisfied with its inclusion and felt that BioWare "managed to incorporate all of the various aspects of Mass Effect together in a way [he] felt was largely lacking in the core adventure and the previous add-ons." Game Revolution's Eduardo Reboucas stated similar pros, but admitted that jumping on platforms with the Hammerhead goes against the nature of the game. Likewise, VanOrd felt that the Hammerhead goes underutilized due to its exclusive use in the content. Some reviewers also criticized the simplistic vehicular combat, comparing it unfavorably with that of the original Mass Effect.
VanOrd gave high marks to the pack's frightening atmosphere, stating that "haunting new music instills a palpable sense of tension, and the dark interior spaces provide a sinister contrast to the shimmering waterfalls and scorching lava rivers on the planet's surface." The IGN review observed that the visuals and audio surpass many side quests of the main game. Critics also highlighted very positively the story. Eurogamer opined that the ending was effective and unexpected, while VanOrd remarked that the ending cutscene "features some uncomfortable images that will linger in your mind even after you've returned to the [main game]." Despite evaluating the pack's short length, VanOrd concluded that Overlord "is one downloadable delight Mass Effect 2 fans shouldn't miss."
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Archer: This is Project Overlord. An attempt to gain influence over the geth by interfacing a human mind with a VI. The results have been... less than satisfactory. [...] My brother David volunteered to serve as a test subject, but his mind couldn't handle the VI connection. He's like a virus now, infecting our networks and seizing control of any technology he finds. It is why you had to destroy the dish. Imagine if his program got off-world. [...] Davi... the VI has fortified itself in the main laboratory at Atlas Station. It's in lockdown now. To enter, you need to manually override security from our facilities in the Prometheus and Vulcan Stations.
- BioWare. Mass Effect 2: Overlord. Scene: Ending. Level/area: Overlord: Atlas Station.
Shepard: So you'll sacrifice your brother's happiness for your own ambition? [...] / Archer: What I've done to David is unethical. If he dies, it's unforgivable. Let me take care of him. Please. / Shepard: [David is coming with me] or [The project needs him]
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