I had high hopes for Kasumi’s Stolen Memory DLC. It’s Mass Effect 2‘s first significant paid downloadable content and on paper appeared to be exactly what you’d expect for Shepard’s space opera. You meet with a sophisticated art thief who is said to be a valuable asset for your team. She looks like an extra in Star Wars and the promise of an intense firefight while retrieving an item stolen from her deceased partner sounded like a perfect mission for Shepard. But sadly it never quite managed to be anything more than a forgettable side mission, easily lost amongst the more entertaining assignments that are already on the disc, not setting you back 560 MS Points (£4.80). There are a few redeeming aspects however which I’ll go into after the break.
It began like all other tasks aboard the Normandy. Shepard gets an email telling him to seek out Kasumi, a talented thief, who should be on the Citadel. So off I went for an unusual meeting with an advertisement board – since Kasumi likes to keep a low profile, she thought that broadcasting her intensions on a human-size advert to Shepard and anyone else within ear shot would suffice. I found it odd that a master thief would take such a risk but still, graphically it looked nice and made for an interesting scene regardless of its oddities. Once you convince Kasumi to join your crew, she takes residence on board your ship much like your existing team mates. Unlike Thane who contemplates his life or Garrus who actively works on the ship, Kasumi is more akin to Zaeed, staying in her quarters and unavailable for any lengthy conversation outside of her mission other than a few sentences. Her room is full of memorabilia from her past and you do get to question her about them all offering a nice glimpse of what made her but not a lot more than that.
As for the mission itself, this time around it’s only a two-person operation and sees you and Kasumi attend a party of infamous arms dealer Donovan Hock where you must break into his vault by various means in order to retrieve the stolen item. It did make for a pleasant change of pace from all the shooting of Mass Effect 2 and allowed for a bit more interaction with characters and the environment as a lot of time was spent trying to break down the security of the vault. Only once inside does the killing begin. But before that, you must complete simple tasks like following an electrical source or collecting DNA to trick the vault’s computer. Nothing all that special or indeed very challenging but an endearing calm before the storm. Once you successfully sneak into the vault and find the easily locatable memory chip, you’re then met with a barrage of space bullets for reasons that I’ll not mention for risk of spoiling the already weak plot. The firefight is quite entertaining as it’s like any other skirmish in ME2; dive from cover to cover and take out anything in your way. Nice, fun but still something you would have already experienced in one of the many better battles that ME2 offers. What you’re really paying for is the additional character and all that comes with her which, like Zaeed, isn’t a great deal.
Kasumi’s Stolen Memory does end with a touching conclusion and your choice of squad mates will increase by one but the biggest problem of the DLC is that right now, there isn’t much of a reason to play it. The majority of people who buy this would have completed the main campaign and aside from the twenty hidden side missions (found by scanning planets) why would you want another member of your already impressive team? And if you’re still to complete ME2 then Kasumi offers little extra for tactical combat and even less when it comes to conversations. There are some enjoyable moments in the 45 minutes it took to finish and it is a reason to load up Mass Effect 2 one more time but don’t expect anything more than a fairly enjoyable but equally average experience.
But not a lot more. Hardcore fans of the franchise/genre maybe a little more forgiving of its issues.