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Mass Effect: Pinnacle Station Review

Mass Effect: Pinnacle Station Review

The funniest part about the entire thing is the smarmy Salarian
The funniest part about the entire thing is the smarmy Salarian

Pinnacle Station is the second DLC package available for Mass Effect. It was released recently with as little fuss as possible, save a few early listed achievements and a rumoured Swedish “leak”. It’s release coincides with Mass Effect’s new availability with Games On Demand.

The downloadable chapter itself covers a fun, yet basic series of combat simulations. Players can choose four seperate objectives to test themselves on, against scores posted by other NPCs. The categories are Hunt, Time Trial, Capture and Survival, each of which you can run in three different cycling locales.

Most of the different challenges are quite simple if you’ve advanced your character far enough. My Shepard was already at level 50 when I attempted the Pinnacle Station mission, so all the combat challenges didn’t really phase me much. The Hunt and Survival simulations are simple shooting galleries, which have records that are easily beaten by anyone with high stats. I lasted over ten minutes in one of the Survival scenarios, and ended up letting the opponents beat me just to end it. The high score was about a minute and a half.

The Capture and Time Trial modes are based on speed runs. Capture wasn’t too difficult, but Time Trial could be a real pain in the arse, even for a high level character. A top score will only come if you manage to conserve your sprinting ability. And even then, while the combat doesn’t vary too much difficulty-wise from the other scenarios, if your opponents take cover enough they can basically force you to lose first place. While sometimes frustrating, the Time Trial challenges are going to be the only ones that cause you any trouble.

There is only one side-mission in the DLC, and even then it’s tied to the simulations you undertake. The rewards for the simulations are mostly doled out in experience points, but you’ll get the opportunity to get your hands on some exclusive, high-end equipment too. There’s also 150 gamer points tied to completing the DLC completely. Oh, I almost forgot, while the action takes place, you’ll recieve a delightful and repetitive commentary from the Admiral Ahern (the station’s commander) which can get tedious. But that’s OK, because by the end of the mission you’ll be given the chance to ruin his retirement to Space Florida.

While Pinnacle Station is a lot of fun to play, it doesn’t extend the gameplay of the game any more than an hour or so if you’ve played the game through before, and at this point in the game’s life-cycle, I’m sure most of you have already done so. To this effect, even though the 400MP asking price isn’t ridiculous, you could probably find a better use for them. I would suggest that if anyone wants to pick up Pinnacle Station, it’s probably most enjoyable on a full playthrough of the game, and not as just something to download and play with an existing character. At least if you’re making a full run, the sims will fit on as supplements as your level increases, rather than just get muscled over within an hour.

The Verdict:

Good, but nothing amazing
Good, but nothing amazing

Pros: There is some challenge to be had in Pinnacle Station, the rewards are quite useful for a full run and ANY extra Mass Effect is good gaming.

Cons: The mission itself can be beaten quite easily for any player with a higher end level, and there isn’t an amazing amount of variation between the simulations. The play time is quite short.

Overall: There ARE worse ways to spend 400MP. Believe me, I know. But Pinnacle Station is at it’s best if you have to keep improving your character to improve your scores, which means that if you’re just downloading it to play through an extra little section you’re going to be disappointed at the length. Let’s call it a 2.5 out of 5. It’s nothing special, but it IS more Mass Effect! Don’t bother if you’re just recapping, however!

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