Go back to Mass Effect 2

Written by: Rik

Date posted: April 23, 2021

If you’re wondering, “Did he play all of the DLC as well?” the answer is no.

I would have preferred to have done so, given the choice, but the process of investigation led me very quickly to believe that this would actually not be very straightforward at all.

As I’ve mentioned before elsewhere, downloadable content and its associated controversies were things to which I paid little attention at the time they were happening, and assumed that they were basically issues of import only to the excitable crop of ‘current’ gamers, reasoning that, by the time I got around to picking a game up on Steam or GOG, there would be a deluxe/complete edition available as the default, allowing me to circumvent the issue entirely. (I know, I’m terrible, not a real gamer, etc.)

My copy of ME2 was a Steam gift from 2011, which apparently included some DLC. It turned out that this was the Cerberus Network content, which was (and remains) free. The most significant inclusions are an additional character, Zaeed, and his loyalty mission, and the Firewalker pack, which provides some rather dull vehicle-based capering.

Unfortunately, getting it working proved to be a bit of a pain, with elements of the supporting architecture for activation now defunct or superseded. The content was originally hosted on the Bioware website, which was shut down, but was later made available via EA. To get it working with my Steam edition, however, I needed to log into my EA account (which apparently I did have already) and enter a serial key for the DLC (which I didn’t, and wasn’t provided or accessible via Steam).

This led me down a rabbit-hole of web searches which brought results like “Do NOT buy Mass Effect 2 on Steam!” and various hints and tips which did not seem to apply to me.

And so I looked into acquiring the rest of the DLC, which is only available via EA’s loathed Origin service, at a price that is more than I paid for the rest of the trilogy combined. To take this option it also looked like I would also have to buy the game itself on Origin again as the DLC would not work with the Steam version. A significant red herring was the fact that all of the DLC can in fact be downloaded directly from EA’s website, but will only actually work with your copy of the game if you have the right accounts, activations etc.

Having waited 10 years or so to actually play this game, the last thing I needed was further procrastination, so I resolved to just put all of this tinkering to one side and get on with it. (As it turned out, about 5 or so hours in, Steam magically offered a Cerberus DLC code to me upon launching the game, which I was able to activate via EA and use to download and activate the free content at least).

It was a bit of a shame, although I took the view that it was additional content, a bit like the expansion packs and mission disks of old, which I rarely bought, rather than something integral to the main experience. Others, particularly series superfans, may well disagree.

However, it was slightly disheartening to see how complicated it was to actually track down and access all these bits of content all these years later, bouncing around between different online stores and accounts, and not even for an obscure title, but one that was a big hit.

No doubt the reasoning would be that most people who wanted to play it at the time did so, and for those that didn’t, there’s the forthcoming Legendary Edition, which bundles everything together and could well then become the only commercially available ‘definitive’ version, with access to these originals being limited further. Not something with which I agree, but there you go.