BioWare's latest downloadable content pack for Mass Effect 2, Kasumi — Stolen Memory, is the first to command a premium, meaning it will set RPGamers back $7. It adds a new character and her loyalty mission, a new weapon, and a new upgrade. With all of this DLC coming out of BioWare recently for both Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age: Origins, the question on everyone's mind is surely: Is this latest DLC pack worth it? Simply put, I don't think so. Not because it isn't entertaining, but because it just doesn't add a whole lot, and it makes no sense to release a pack of its sort more than two months after the game's original release.
Stolen Memory is basically divided up into portions. First, players are introduced to Kasumi, the game's new assassin-type character that joins Shepard in a rather humorous way. Remember those holographic advertisements on the Citadel? Kasumi speaks to Shepard directly through one, no doubt making him look like a lunatic to passersby.
" Kasumi — Stolen Memory is not something I would personally feel happy about purchasing with my hard earned currency, unless its cost were at least halved."
After introductions are over, Shepard is free to take on Kasumi's loyalty mission, which brings the duo (no other party members allowed) to the high-class party of a criminal mastermind. This portion of the DLC plays out like a simple adventure game, as the player roams around seeking for objects to hit the spacebar near so he can properly break into a vault. I found it quite odd that nobody could hear the odd shots of gunfire going off as Shepard had to ice the occasional guard. Regardless, once all of these objects are found Kasumi and Shepard break into the vault, which is actually a neat little place to explore, to get what they came looking for and the game then moves on to the combat portion as Kasumi and Shepard must battle their way to safety.
This firefight in Stolen Memory is fun, but adds nothing revolutionary to the game. It brings many waves of soldiers, a few mechs, and a boss battle that honestly feels quite uninspired because it's just like those already completed in other parts of Mass Effect 2. This combat portion provides the most gameplay meat in Stolen Memory, and Kasumi's new battle skills are quite formidable, but it still doesn't justify Kasumi — Stolen Memory's cost when the entire new mission (including adventure portion) doesn't even take an hour to complete.
Once Kasumi's loyalty mission is finished, players get to learn a little more about her, and despite a design that feels a little generic — she's basically a woman with a hood — she is a neat new character to have around, but she's not nearly on par with other DLC character Zaeed Massani. And similar to Zaeed, Kasumi herself doesn't offer much by way of conversation other than a few explanations of her personal objects. Kasumi — Stolen Memory also adds a bar to the Normandy SR-2 where Shepard can have a few drinks between missions, but other than cosmetically it doesn't appear to add any real value to the game.
So, where is the value in Kasumi — Stolen Memory? If anywhere, it's in the fact that Shepard's crew is now complete, and that Kasumi can be taken along on missions. The problem is that it feels like this DLC should have been included upon release, or at least priced much lower. Most players have probably played Mass Effect 2 backwards and forwards by now, so Kasumi's impact as a party character is relatively little at this point. Zaeed was a great addition to the party because he was provided from day one and could be brought along on the first playthrough, not to mention that he was given to the community for free.
In fact, Kasumi — Stolen Memory's value should be compared directly to that of the aforementioned scar-faced bounty hunter. Would it have been worth it to you to pay $7 for Zaeed, his loyalty mission, and the ability to cart him around on missions? Would it be worth it to you to pay that now, having already completed the game, for a character that is not quite as interesting? If the answers to those questions are yes, you should buy Kasumi — Stolen Memory. If the answers are no, then just skip it and wait for Mass Effect 3.
The release of this DLC pack quite honestly only makes me feel like BioWare is nickel and diming its customers by forcing them to pay to complete Shepard's party, and that's not a very good thing at all. Some might say that $7 is a small price to pay as BioWare has already provided quite a bit of free DLC. However, as most gamers will want to get what they paid for, shouldn't the first premium pack at least provide more value than one that was already given away for free?
I can understand trying to extend the life of a product, but Kasumi — Stolen Memory just doesn't have much value in my opinion. Sad to say, even if it were available upon the game's original release date, Kasumi — Stolen Memory is not something I would personally feel happy about purchasing with my hard earned currency, unless its cost were at least halved. The difference of $3 or $4 may seem small, but those dollars matter in the case of this DLC's value. Even for $3, I would feel a little slighted to have to pay for a complete party.