Spoiler Warning S4E31: Lair of the Shadow Bowser

By Shamus
on Jan 27, 2011
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of Spoiler Warning. Today, we’re going to wrap up the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC with a special two-part episode.

I know this is longer than most of you prefer, but if you can tough it out you will reap the following rewards:

  1. Mumbles and Rutskarn will beatbox their way into your heart during one of the special instrumental “oops Josh is dead again” interludes.
  2. I do my Doctor Claw voice.
  3. Rutskarn and I say something about the game that might be construed as marginally positive.
  4. We find out how much hard drive space Josh has.


Link (YouTube)


Link (YouTube)

Aside from the fact that he was a new, unique alien, I really had no idea what the Shadow Broker was like. I guessed that he looked like Bowser, as a joke. Later I guessed that he was Dr. Claw, as a joke. I guessed that he had a throne room, as a joke. I made these guesses for humorous effect, because of how stupid and absurd they sounded. Then at the end we found out he looked like Bowser, sounded like Dr. Claw, and sat around a throne room.

BioWare is like your high school sweetheart that you marry right after graduation, and then wake up one day years later and realize you simply don’t know this person anymore. Where did it all go wrong? It’s hard to say. Their attention seems to be elsewhere, and you suspect they might be wooing someone else behind your back. The only thing to do now is to start drinking and feeling sorry for yourself.

On the upside, the hook at the end was pretty cool and I can’t wait to see how the consequences of this play out in the next game!

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A Hundred!2020209Many comments. 169, if you're a stickler

From the Archives:

  1. GM says:

    hmm perhaps they play multi world football on the entire ship :)

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Shouldnt you guys make a 5 parts episode for your one year anniversary?And while on the subject of your first season,Mumbles and Rutskarn werent properly introduced to the show.You need to get them through some elevator sequences!

    Im cool with awesome new aliens being introduced now and again,like the thorian in 1.Im also cool with them being beefed up krogan.But making one of them be the shadow broker?Thats just dumb.

    Though making the shadow broker be just a title that goes from person to person is actually a good thing.It almost makes up for everything else that disappoints in this dlc.

    Unrelated to the game,why do you call rugby football when it is mostly played with your hands?That would be like baseball homerunning because from time to time someone does score a home run.

  3. Gandaug says:

    Pretty sure Beardyman has some competition.

  4. Irridium says:

    Guess I can finally post this without spoiler tags now.

    So you get the the Broker, an entity who’s built up as basically having all the knowledge in the galaxy. A meet-up that I thought would be on the same level as when you first meet Sovereign, or Vigil. A meeting where you could ask questions about various things, probably even cover some of the many plot holes in the main game.

    We meet the one character in the galaxy that has more knowledge then anything(except maybe the Reapers), and anyone else in the galaxy. And what do we do on this momentous occasion?

    We listen to Liara verbally destroy him, then we PUNCH IT IN THE FACE! RAWR!!

    Thats what disappointed me the most. A scene that could have had the same impact as Sovereign and Vigil, a scene that could have covered plenty of plot-holes, a scene that could have been memorable. Instead we get you punching some space-ogre.

    Just… dammit.

    Personally, I would have loved the Broker to have been Admiral Hackett. In ME1, he always contacted you, always was watching you. If he was the broker, it explains why he wanted your body so badly. Perhaps it was so the collectors couldn’t get it, and the supposed meet-up with them to exchange your body could have been a trap so he could learn more about them and their ties to the Reapers. It would also explain why he sent Wilson to sabotage Cerberus. He knows what kind of people they are, and wouldn’t want you working for them.

    Granted there are some kinks that would need to be ironed out, like Wilson apparently trying to kill you, but I think it would have been much better then you punching a space ogre from a race you’ll never see again.

    Oh, and another thing, this DLC also seems to tie up her romance. If you romanced Liara in the first game, then romanced someone in ME2, she just basically says “your with someone else, be happy”. Thats not good. This leads me to believe that if you romanced Kaiden/Ashley in ME1, then someone else in ME2, its going to end up like when you meet them in ME2. They’ll yell at you for a bit(with the same dialog and animations), then go on their merry way.

    I hope I’m wrong, but then again I also hoped that Crysis 2’s multiplayer wouldn’t play like Call of Duty and play more like Timesplitters, since it was developed by the same developer. That’ll teach me to hope for the best.

    • anaphysik says:

      “Personally, I would have loved the Broker to have been Admiral Hackett.”

      Wow. I’m stunned. A way to make ME2’s plot begin to make sense. Yes, I agree that this would have been awesome.

      (When does Wilson try to kill you? As far as I can tell, he only helps you, and then gets shot in the face because Miranda is a bitch and possibly the actual traitor. Naturally, you do nothing in response because the DM said you failed a save vs plot.)

    • Vect says:

      According to info from the DLC, Wilson was a Shadow Broker sleeper agent or something. It’s about as good an excuse as any for this game I guess.

  5. Mathias says:

    You know, as someone who studies music, the constantly shifting rhythm of the beatboxing really, really made me laugh out loud.

  6. swimon says:

    Ok I never did this so I don’t know what happens but there’s a quest in ME1 that ends with you either giving some information to the shadow broker or the alliance. Is that ever referenced in ME2? Because it’s played up a lot in the first game as a tough choice since the shadow broker is somewhat sketchy but it would be really good if he owed you. If that’s never mentioned then what’s the point of that quest, I mean after this that shadow broker is gone and the new one is your friend so what does it matter what you gave the last one?

    Also yes the shadow broker having a dossier on legion is incredibly silly, even for ME2 that’s just… odd.

    • anaphysik says:

      Y’know what’s fitting? That data you can give to the Shadow Broker is about Cerberus (and how they’re psychotic bastards). And as far as I can tell, it is never brought up during ME2. *angry*

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Whats more,the information in question is about cerberus and what they did with thorian creepers,husks and rachni.I dont remember it ever being mentioned again in 2,though.

      EDIT:Damn ninjas,spawning in the dark like that.

      • anaphysik says:

        Heh heh.
        In the mission where Cerberus has murdered, you fight creepers and rachni (possibly way before you meet them in the main storyline, as was the case for me, since these assignments were some of the first I tackled), so the files do likely involve Cerberus’ evil science.

        What I find ridiculous is how (afaik) no one comments on how Cerberus has it’s hands in nearly every bad guy ploy there is in ME1 – husks (geth), made from colonists (ExoGeni); creepers (Feros); rachni control/indoctrination (Noveria). (Can’t think of any Cerberus involvement for Virmire, though.)

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Oh but when you throw it in their faces Miranda (in most cases it’s Miranda, I think in one or two it’s TIM) basically says that “this was a rogue cell”, “this cell went beyond their jurisdiction”, “this cell was taken over by mercs who released the effects of the experiments while raiding the lab” and so on and so forth. Basically every single thing that Cerberus did they tell you it wasn’t them or it was done without the green light from the top. Riiiiiiight…

          Of course you have no choice but to buy it and go all “Ahh, that explains it I’m sorry for every doubting you”.

    • X2-Eliah says:

      Meh. Everyone knows the Shadow Broker is actually a distant Cerberus section (of course, the illusive man has no detailed control over it, so it’s semi-rogue like all others Shepard bothered to mention while asking for explanations).

  7. Hitch says:

    Consequences of this in the next game? But… it’s optional DLC content. Don’t they pretty much have to write ME3 from the standpoint that the player probably didn’t do this? Can they really have anything happen that only makes sense if you paid extra for the add-on pack?

    I guess they can, but I would expect copious amounts of nerd-rage if they did.

    • swimon says:

      My guess: ME3 will have one and only one instance where this is referenced if you did the DLC. This instance is probably Liara mentioning it in passing but could be as much as a short sidequest.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well,if you do the asteroid dlc in 1,it gets mentioned once or twice in 2,in a news report or something like that,so I guess an email or a short radio transmission while youre in an elevator seems like the most likely thing to happen with this as well.

      • Kanodin says:

        Normally I think you’d be right. From what I hear (terribly sorry but I don’t remember the source) this DLC was supposed to take place after Me2 and be a bridge to 3, So it might actually be important.

    • Kolobus says:

      Bioware has stated that this DLC is the first in a series meant to bridge the gap between ME2 and ME3. Technically, this dlc is meant to be played after the events of ME2.

      While the DLC itself is optional, a lot of the story can’t be altered. Liara will be the new Shadow Broker in ME3 regardless of whether you played the DLC or not. Bioware will probably just tailor the way the info is relayed to reflect whether or not you played. Maybe if you didn’t play it, then Liara beat up Koopa all by herself.

      • swimon says:

        Wait it’s supposed to be played after ME2? So the whole “well you suck too since you work for cerebrus” that the spectre says makes even less sense. When one of the ending choices is to stop working for cerebrus. I mean forgetting that people might have played through the entire game already is at least somewhat understandable but forgetting one of the two choices that you know the player has to make is just… ridiculous.

        • Kolobus says:

          You know, I never noticed that.

          Of course, I’ve only played it before finishing the main storyline of ME2. I know some of the dialogue between Shepard and Liara change depending on when in the course of the story you play the DLC, maybe the same applies here. Something like, she says “You pay them lip service while working for terrorists?” during the main storyline and “You pay them lip serving after working for terrorists?” post main storyline.

          Can anyone comment on that conversation when played after the main storyline?

          EDIT: So I did some poking around YouTube and found three different lines during this scene. I’m guessing one is used if the DLC is played during the main storyline and the other two are used if the DLC is play after the main storyline. I’m guessing one is for the Paragon ending and one is for the Renegade.

          During Main Storyline: “The Council! You pay them lip service while working for terrorists?”

          Post Main Storyline (Paragon?): “The Council? You ditched them and played dead for two years, then came back working for terrorists!”

          Post Main Storyline (Renegade?): “Besides, you’re with Cerberus. Do you have any idea what they’ve done?”

          • Aldowyn says:

            I just did it on my finished playthrough, and I’m pretty sure she said the “lip service” line, still… (Renegade, btw)

          • Deadpool says:

            Don’t think it makes much difference. Regardless of your choices and how far into the game you are, two things remain true:

            a) You DID work with terrorists.

            b) No one really knows what happaned in the Omega Relay. Not even the Shadow Broker. Probably explains why he still wants to collect the Collector bounty on your body…

            • Kolobus says:

              Perhaps this is an indicator for future DLC (or maybe even ME3)? It would be interesting if Shepard had options later to try and convince the Council and public that he does not work for Cerberus, regardless of his actions at the end of ME2.

              Trying to atone for her/his fall from grace in the eyes of the Council could make for a cool story arc.

              • Bret says:

                Considering you can end several major Cerberus missions by sending the stuff they wanted direct to Councillor Anderson, and that you can tell them about the whole thing ASAP, taking every airquote with a forced smile and a “I’m really sorry about all this, sir”, there’d BETTER be a course where they accept Shepard again with open arms and at worst a “Still on about the reapers, eh? You’re a wacky joker, Shepard”.

                • Daemian Lucifer says:

                  You mean how you used that info to make ashley/kaidan trust you?Or how you used it in the very end to double screw tim about the station?Yeah,Im not as optimistic as you about those.

  8. X2-Eliah says:

    Fun. I really missed the long episodes, so this was a neat surprise.

    Also.. Completely thumbs up for ditching ME2 on the high (though really low, actually, what with the Shadow Broker being a brute and all) note and going on to something else.

    Also, who was choking on something when Mumbles explained the Tali dossier?

    • Anyone in the Tali fanclub. And since i wasn’t in this recording, my educated guess is that it was Rutskarn getting very excited.

    • Kolobus says:

      I’m not sure if you can romance Tali as female Shepard or not, but when you read her files as male Shepard you find that she rents romance movies and reads guides on how to flirt with humans. Having those bits of info dispersed with her habit of turning the in-suit sex toy on and off was funny and endearing to me.

      I also thought Miranda’s files were good. She signs up for online dating services to get laid. You read a bunch of her emails to potential dates and she keeps blowing them off until she finds one who doesn’t have any genetic defects. He tries to flirt with her and she basically tells him to shut up and meet her at a hotel.

      If you go back at later points in the game you can read more of their emails and such too.

  9. Sucal says:

    You forgot the Bloodpack. How can you forget the top hat wearing krogans with monocles and vorcha football.

  10. Syal says:

    I couldn’t help but notice you guys were criticizing the lack of videogames on the ship while walking past a giant computer terminal. Even if it’s a work computer, I’m confident they’ve got some games on there.

    Having the head of the intelligence network go into a rage when you guess about his backstory was just stupid. It would have worked much better if that guy was the Shadow Broker’s personal bodyguard. Then the Shadow Broker gets killed in the following cutscene.
    Better yet, he escapes while you’re fighting this guy. Then you bring down the network, reboot it, Liara takes over anyway, and you ruin him without ever killing him. It could have been quite cool, and left the door open for further conflict.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      Well, for games, there’s also omni-tools.

      And also, this would be a pretty awesome job. Sit around and each pizza all day. Only downside? Very sketchy job security.

      As for the idea that the Shadow Broker gets away but Liara takes over anyways would be awesome. Especially since it allows you to bring back the Shadow Broker as a Collector/Reaper indoctrinated, for a extra bonus story boss character if you got the DLC.

      Nerd Rage? Maybe, but it would be *very* rewarding to get the DLC in ME2 for that.

      Then again, I might just get it anyways. It looked REALLY fun. Also need to play a Vanguard.

  11. Groboclown says:

    Two things:

    I thought the big bad shadow broker looked more like Ganon.

    I think Ruts and Mumbles should put out their own beat box album.

  12. RTBones says:

    A double feature today…a most unexpected pleasure.

    The beatboxing…I must admit, I did chuckle. I could almost _hear_ the caffeine and exhaustion in Mumbles’s…verbal-ation. I suppose it is because when I get really tired, I become silly and everything is funny or a joke (and from the sounds of it – everybody was really tired by the end of recording). It might also be the mental image I have of her with a Super Simon game mimicing every tone from every button she pushed while happily bouncing in her chair with a headset in the middle of recording. Beep-boop-borp!

    I also have to admit…surprise at Josh and Shamus genuinely _liking_ something about the game. Not in a “well, thats kindof cool,” sort of way, but really LIKING a twist the game took. Given the scathing vitriol that is part and parcel of Spoiler Warning, it was nice to hear that not all in the gaming world is bad.

    It is NOT surprising that none of the SW cast follow football (American or otherwise), though I did wonder if Josh knows a bit more about football in the rest of the world than he lets on. As a curiosity, do any of you watch ANY sports? Badminton? Hockey? Curling? Monster Trucks?

    I did wonder if the Shadow Broker was going to turn out to be some sort of pimply teenage incarnation of the Mysterious Stranger. I think it would have been interesting to see this supposedly imposing character unmasked to be talking into a voice modulator to sound all big and bad but in reality be not much more than a pimply teenager trying to look suave and debonair in a trench coat and fedora with a voice not unlike Betty Boop. Big baddie is really a teenage hacker with a god-complex.

    EDIT: As this has been discussed above, I found this nugget in the Mass Effect 2 Wiki:

    Associate Producer Michael Gamble has described Lair of the Shadow Broker as the “…biggest DLC yet, period.” It is the first piece of DLC to begin to expand the story in preparation for Mass Effect 3.[4]

  13. Josh R says:

    Sorry, was it just me that took from the dialogue between you and the yahg that this wasn’t the original shadow broker? but his plaything who had killed the shadow broker and taken his place just like liara does at the end of the episode.

    also, as far as “why did he attack me” what other options does he have? liara is clearly there for blood and he doesn’t seem like the sort to back down.

    • Syal says:

      The “killing him” isn’t particularly bothersome; it’s the “taking his place.” He doesn’t come off as the type to take over an intelligence network. Rip it apart, maybe, but not run it.

      Sure he’s bound to attack you at some point, but why smash his own desk? It comes across as posturing and rage, not the calculated opening move you would expect from a guy with “Shadow” in his name.

    • Audacity says:

      I don’t think the attacking was the problem so much as him attacking right off without attempting some other recourse. He comes off as a big dumb meat head as a result, not some calculating magnificent bastard who manipulates the whole galaxy through information and guile. Which he would have to be if he could take over and maintain the whole operation without anyone noticing the difference.

      EDIT: Nija’d by Syal.

    • DNi says:

      No, the bit about him being the original Shadow Broker’s plaything was just something Liara said to get him riled up. If you read his in-game dossier (helpfully transcribed to the Mass Effect wiki), you’ll learn pretty much everything you need to know about the Shadow Broker, including why he chose to stay and fight Shepard and Liara.

      • Syal says:

        And here I thought Mumbles was making that stuff up. That’s pretty depressing.

        Although, that leaves hope that the real Shadow Broker set the whole thing up, considering the “The Shadow Broker must be calm” message and then the orders to kill him.

      • Luhrsen says:

        Um… Actually that says the Yahg WAS the original Shadow Broker’s plaything/project.

        • Aldowyn says:

          Plaything/project are two very different things… How about (another p word) protege?

          I thought it was interesting, at least. Despite the lack of a, say, stimulating conversation with him, at least it’s a fun/unique (well, not unique. Unusual for ME, in any case) boss battle. Definitely better than the end boss.

          Also, he’s a pain on Legendary, because that gun (I think it’s a Revenant, actually) rips you apart if you even peek around cover.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Actually,after reading about him it makes more sense for him acting that way.

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Kinda, the dossier kinda lampshades it by pointing how he is prone to fits of rage (whether this is a racial or individual trait is of no consequence here) and that he is otherwise extremely smart. I can even understand and commend how this breaks the usual trope of having a huge berserk-prone race that isn’t very smart (Krogans) and a physically fragile race that is intellectually superior (Salarians) but the problem is it just doesn’t work in this case.

          It doesn’t work for a couple of reasons. That trope has been around for ages, it conditioned people to expect a certain balance in things, whether it be alien races or mutants with various powers, breaking a trope can be a powerful device if it is well executed. In the Lair however at no point of this DLC we experience the broker as the mastermind he is supposed to be. There is not a single instance where the SB actually uses his supposed superior intellect or information network. What’s more, while I could understand that he would find Liara’s “information” somewhat unsettling, since he thought it to be secret there is actually nothing there to justify a fit of rage on this scale. What, does he go around smashing everything in his office every single time one of its operatives fails, his info proves incorrect or he gets lukewarm coffee (or whatever stands for the equivalent)? And yes, I am aware that we are told that people don’t always walk out of the SBs office but still, it’s just dumb, I suppose I could buy it if Liara and you really worked on getting the SB enraged or if he went berserk later on in the fight but as it is…

      • Jarenth says:

        Also, I don’t know if you guys picked up on this, but the last line in that last email — “I want a status report on all operations by the end of the next solar day” — is almost exactly the last line Liara says as the new Broker.

        I thought that was a nice detail.

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  15. psivamp says:

    I would watch this crew Let’s Play System Shock 2.

    • Aldowyn says:

      That would come up under the same heading of KotOR (Which, if I remember correctly, they were actually going to do): that is, they can’t because they can’t get the software to play nice with the old game.

  16. Dante says:

    Mumbles fangasm sound when Shamus flawlessly did Dr Claw was adorable.

    But now the most important question: what did Josh delete to make room on that hard drive? I’m guessing it was porn.

  17. Jokerman89 says:

    Mirko Cro Cop

  18. Someone says:

    OH COME ON! I was trying so hard to keep LOTSB unspoiled, and you did a special double feature with it! Goddammit, now I HAVE to play through it. Hope you’re happy.

  19. Jekyll says:

    Shamus, all I have to say is that that Dr. Claw impersonation made me almost die in how accurate it was and how much it sounded like Jibar’s Barry White impression

  20. Kavonde says:

    Just a quick counter-nitpick: the glowy ceiling thing that killed the Broker was the phlebotinum goo powering his kinetic shield thing. Hence why he had it in his office.

    Now, why he had a glowy ceiling thing filled with acidic phlebotinum instead of, say, a bunch of locally-networked disentegrator turrets and a hidden airlock, I don’t know.

    • Robyrt says:

      Even better would be to wire up the airlocks to those lightning conduits and hit the “overcharge” button several times as soon as you see Shepard walk through. Presumably, you don’t hire any mooks capable of taking down the kinetic shield, so you’re safe.

  21. Deadpool says:

    So a Krogan who deals with complex cases by going around killing and maiming people? Other than the Krogan thing, how is this any different from Shepard?

    Btw, Mumbles, a present:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PdvlqU11lao

    Just seemed fitting…

    Anyways, much as I dislike the whole “Shadow Broker is a big, lumbering idiot” it DOES kind of help explain the huge security detail: Clearly the last Shadow Broker’s security wasn’t good enough. Plus, he can handle himself pretty well.

    And in the end, he didn’t set up this operation: He’s just the guy running it. It’s similar to the Brazilian drug cartels in the favelas. They were set up by very smart, educated people who have long since died. The leadership has passed on to the average thugs who joined in the first place. They’re still damned near impossible to break, despite the idiotic leadership.

  22. Desgardes says:

    Mumbles is going to feature herself and Rutskarn on her blog next week, once they hit the studio to cut some tracks. Didn’t the shadow broker want to meet Tali anyways from the last game? I guess you really pissed him off, what with not being captured, and then killing everything on your way to meet him.

    Quick question: WHY DOES THE SHADOW BROKER NEED A REWARD? He already has infinite money, judging by the kind of extravagances he has hanging around him, and did the last shadow broker have that kinetic barrier thing to? Because, that might explain how Liara knew punching would work.

    • Kavonde says:

      One of the cool little dossier things shows that the Shadow Broker only wanted to meet Tali so he could kill her. Seriously, I know there was a lot of complaining about plot holes in this DLC, but the dossiers and the dialogue tie up most of it. It’s actually not bad writing at all, except for the boss fight.

      (Well…and the lack of a “Yeah, Cerberus is evil as hell and I’m going to destroy them as soon as they’re not instrumental in saving the galaxy” dialogue choice after the Specter chick fight.)

      • Aldowyn says:

        My favorite part is that the SB was planning on assassinating the Illusive Man. YES!

      • Desgardes says:

        No, I was just curious, as far as Tali went. I, however, still don’t understand the money issue.

      • Alexander The 1st says:

        It wasn’t the Shadow Broker who wanted Tali. Saren essentially wanted Tali dead, and wanted to use the Shadow Broker’s contact to set her up.

        The Shadow Broker was really angry at that, and sent Wrex to kill Fist for defecting – after all, the Shadow Broker wanted to *sell* the data that Tali had. That’s what I remember the scenario of ME1.

        I guess killing Tali would’ve allowed him to make the most profit, but that makes less sense.

    • Aldowyn says:

      It’s a typical thing with most forms of shielding. Shucks, even Kevlar!

      They’re designed to work against ballistic objects going at high speeds, so something SLOWER than that (like, say, a fist. Or an elbow) can get past it.

      Besides, Shepard TACKLING the dude that must weigh about half a ton was pretty cool.

  23. Joey Palzewicz says:

    I just want you to know, Shamus, that while you’ve been pointing out all the nitpicks, all the inconsistencies, and all the little errors…

    I’ve been enjoying the game on my eighth playthrough. I’ve beaten the game seven times over already, and each time has been a blast.

    Let me be clear: I love everything that you do. I love Stolen Pixels. I love Experienced points. I love your rants, your blog posts, and pretty much everything.

    But on the vast majority of Mass Effect 2 that you’ve complained about, I’ve respectfully disagreed.

    I’ve found that Spoiler Warning is less about you all offering constructive criticism, and more about just whining and moaning over the smallest of details.

    I’ve found that it’s not to my tastes, and so I will have to stop watching.

    I hope that you understand, but you’re starting to suffer from the same problem Zero Punctuation has had for a while: you’re making mountains out of molehills.

    I’ll still read most of what you put out, but I’ll know to stay away from Spoiler Warning.

    • Galad says:

      ZP is *supposed* to be vitriolic, and criticizing in a bad way. Most of the time anyway. *shrug*

    • Retlor says:

      You can love a game, love it to absolute pieces and enjoy playing it through every time you do (indeed, I also love playing Mass Effect 2) and still tear it to shreds and be completely accurate in doing so.

      Mass Effect 2 DID break a lot of stuff presented in Mass Effect 1, and no matter how good it is as a game, that won’t change.

      Bottom line, they only beat it up because they love it.

      • Kavonde says:

        I hate to say it, but while it may have started that way, it’s clearly descended into outright scorn and vitriol towards the game. I’m an easy-going guy and I love me some ZP, but even I’m noticing how discussion of ME2 has gradually shifted from “this game is dumb but fun” to “this game is a pit of agonizing stupidity and I want it to die.”

        I’m not gonna join this guy in huffing away, but it would be nice to hear more occasional bits of positivity. I think they pointed out more positive things in Fallout 3, a far worse-written game, than they have in this.

        • krellen says:

          Fallout 3 had things to do besides shooting people in it.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Being griefed by children?Talking with dady mcdum?Blowing up nukes because they block the view of mars?Yup,tons of fun.

            Anyway.the reason spoiler warning is so negative to the game is because they still stick to the main story,which is bad.The game shines in the side quests you do for your companions.And I hope theyll get to it soon.

            Heck,even this dlc is decent if you can get past the combat and that annoying dialogue with vasir.They actually explain well why yahg attacks you practically on sight.Plus,the whole “if you kill the shadow broker,you become the shadow broker” is a nice,if a tad predictable,wist.

          • Kavonde says:

            Clearly you didn’t watch how Josh played it.

        • lurkey says:

          Scorn? Vitriol? Methinks someone is in a serious need of +1 skin. I cannot be the only one who thinks cutting sarcasm is funny and entertaining thing, not scornful and vitriolic, can I?

          Mind you, the official Bioware forums are full of “occasional bits of positivity”, albeit often from people for whom it seems to be it’s like their first ever attempt to write. Between sheeply illiterate asskissers and whiny, exclamation mark abusing blind haters there, intelligent and creative sarcasm of SW is so very much refreshing.

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      You’re going to flounce out and stop watching because you disagree? And tell us all? Why? Do you expect praise and a mass exodus? Do you expect Shamus to apologize and change the tenor of his review? How would you even know, since you’re no longer going to watch?

      Isn’t this behavior just a little bit … silly?

      • Aldowyn says:

        I thought it was better phrased than most people would have done it.

        It was legitimate criticism, and even if he is missing the point, that doesn’t change that.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Um,why would he not stop because he disagrees?Everyone is entitled to their own opinions,and no one should ever be forced to participate in something they dont like.

        Furthermore,Shamus is always asking for input on stuff he does,so telling him what you (dis)like about his blog serves that purpose.You dont have to expect a response from the creator for your feedback,you know.

        Personally,berating someone for stating their opinion and giving feedback to someone who constantly asks for feedback is a bit silly.

    • Irridium says:

      Thats the point of Spoiler Warning.

      To complain about games. Shamus said as much in his interview with LRR during their Desert Bus marathon for charity.

      I actually like Mass Effect 2 as well. But it has issues. Big issues. And just because you like something doesn’t mean you should just ignore and not complain about it. If you didn’t point out all the flaws, they would never get fixed, and thats just not good.

    • Josh says:

      It’s worth noting that until we started this DLC we were in “The Main Plot: Part 2” section of the game. After this we get to start on loyalty missions, which are by far the best part of the game.

  24. Integer Man says:

    Thank you!

  25. Exasperation says:

    I notice that the hacking minigame seems to have sort of given up in this episode.

    “Look, neither of us want to be doing this, so I’m just going to put every single symbol right next to its match and we can both get on with our lives as quickly as possible, OK?”

    • Peter H. Coffin says:

      Obviously, this is a mechanism designed to reflect your increased skill in hacking. By the end of the game, it’ll skip bothering to obscure the symbols anymore and you’ll have six days to click together all the circuits.

  26. Skan says:

    Aww, if you watched some of the video’s in the room with Feron after you defeated Bowser you could have seen that you aren’t the only one who has punched Al’Jilani the reporter. She really flies in one of them.

  27. Kanodin says:

    “Be careful he plans for everything” Except someone shooting his big dumb electricity window apparently.

    • Syal says:

      Or calling him a pet.

      • swimon says:

        Or really anything, there’s nothing in the game that shows what a genius he is. His intelligence is a massive informed ability.

        • John Magnum says:

          What are some examples of extremely intelligent characters whose intelligence ISN’T an informed ability? Or, one step above that, revealed by them doing Sherlock Holmes style “figuring out stuff that they couldn’t possibly have known, but the writers knew it, so they ‘deduced’ it”? I guess Mordin, off-camera.

          • swimon says:

            That is no small step though. Having the character doing that Sherlock Holmes induction thingie does make them seem intelligent. That’s not the only way of course, just having the character theorise about the world around them helps a lot. Like when Tali talks about the Geth conflict or Legion talking about philosophy or the rights of artificial intelligences, just these small things that shows that the characters are thinking. For villains you could also show the characters plan, how he set up this incredibly robust series of events to make everything go his way or have him have this very thought out goal (both used to great effect in Arcanum).

            With the shadow broker all we get is a dossier that tells us that he took over from the last one after killing him but we’re never really given any details on how he did it so we’re never really shown that he’s smart yet constantly told that he is.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Actually,there is.Ive just read his dossier on the wiki,and it makes sense.He comes from an arogant race,yet he is quite a smart guy.And you can be a smart guy,yet still quite short tempered.Look at newton,for example.And if edison and tesla lived a few centuries back,Im sure edison would challenge tesla to a duel.Or,if you want in game examples,look at wrex.He is quite a smart guy,but he still is a brutal krogan.

          • Kanodin says:

            I personally love stuff like the codex or those dossiers so he never seemed all that ridiculous to me either. The problem may be that you can’t learn anything about the Shadow Broker until he’s already dead, thus the image of him as ludicrous space ogre blots out those facts.

            I would also like to point out that his really being a supergenius makes having that electric window all the more contrived.

          • swimon says:

            well the dossier doesn’t really convince me that he was intelligent. All it really says is that he took over from the last one, the details are so few that to me it just made the last shadow broker seem stupid.

            I agree that you can be smart and short tempered, but that only goes so far. A person who controls this vast information network and has information on everything can’t be so short tempered that saying essentially “you’re ugly” makes him so mad that he goes completely bat shit insane. He would never make it, he would get mad at everything.

  28. Aldowyn says:

    I really liked this one. You guys seemed to get funnier the more tired you got, especially Mumbles, who was SO out of it by the end.

    It’s a pretty fun DLC, but the ship is WAY too long, and there isn’t enough talking. I did like the boss fight (FIGHT, ignoring the fact he’s the SB)

    Plus, they gave a choice big enough to be one of the most important in the game to a SQUAD member, a temporary squad member at that, without even letting you influence it. In a game where this is supposedly a big thing, that’s something that really should have been done.

    • Taellosse says:

      I dunno, that didn’t bother me. It fits with her character’s progression that she’d do that, she’s got a mind of her own and so, reasonably, would make her own decision in the matter, and, perhaps most importantly, this is a DLC meant to set up this exact circumstance for ME3–they can’t really have you choosing NOT to have her take on this role. They’re already going to have to dance around things like the Council, your spectre status, the state of the rachni, whether Wrex is alive, which of Ashley or Kaiden is alive, exactly how many (if any) hostile geth are still running around, which of your squad members from ME2 are alive, whether you’re still with Cerberus or not, and whether the Collector station is intact. Not to mention all the smaller stuff. That’s already a lot of major variables to deal with.

  29. Veloxyll says:

    When you were sneeking up on him I thought he was some sort of Salarian/Krogan hybrid. But nope, he’s apparently a superstrong hyper-intelligent new alien that hasn’t achieved spaceflight and is still all “RAWRG FITIN IS BEST”. Somehow.

  30. RejjeN says:

    Legion didn’t cheat… You have to keep in mind that he’s a robot, his thought process is practically light-speed, thus why he was accused of using “VI assisted play” or something like that, but every time it got overturned. Funny thing is how he apparently flamed someone for being a noob at one point xD only time he got a suspension (that he also accepted). At least, that’s how I remember it, details could be off.

    What? I like Legion! D;

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      After reading this again after seeing Shamus’ comments about Harbinger being a ragequiter because he sucks at FPS’s and keeps coming back after you despite the lag, I’m now imagining a cutscene/Modded video pitting Legion versus Harbinger in a Quake III deathmatch.

      “ASSUMING CONTR-SPAWN CAMPER!”

      “Announcing your spawn location is not correlated with a kill/death ratio greater than one.”

      *Legion turns around and responds to gun fire from behind him and kills Harbinger again with another headshot*

      “Aiming your weapon is directly correlated with an increased kill ratio. Noob.”

  31. Eddie says:

    Ugh, this DLC is reminiscent of the worst parts of Bioshock; endless battles with repetitive mooks culminating in a non-sensical, over-the-top boss battle. In fact, I’m reminded of the Spoiler Warning commentary about how developers feel the need to have the boss be the biggest and baddest thing yet, even when it conflicts with the rest of the setting.

    At least you didn’t have to mutilate yourself to get through the door and there were no children to escort. So that’s good…

  32. Specktre says:

    A’right happy first anniversary of Spoiler Warning!

    Loved Mumbles and Rutskarn singing.

    Loved Shamus’ Dr. Claw impersonation–HOLY CRAP! No really, I mean… I mean… HOLY CRAP!

    Anyway, I myself didn’t know what the Shadow Broker would be. I thought up pretty much every scenario you guys did, and while I don’t think BioWare handled the whole thing as well as they could have, I liked the new big guy.
    I guess my feeling on the matter was if the Shadow Broker really was what we speculated, then I guess I would be a little disappointed. I kinda like the idea of him being this big dude you’d never really think would fit the stereotype. I also think that if it wasn’t a new alien of something, again it’d be a little disappointing and no one would really be quite happy if he turned out to be human or volus or whatever (when I first heard Feron say he was big, I jokingly said to myself maybe it’s a volus in an exo-suit thing).

    Also, I really like how Liara’s the Shadow Broker now.

    I remember thinking, “Great! We access to all the Shadow Broker’s resources and contacts and…

    …wait…

    WHY CAN’T WE LEAVE CERBERUS AND WORK WITH LIARA NOW THAT SHE’S THE BROKER AND HAS ACCESS TO MONEY AND RESOURCES AND CONTACTS AND…???!!!”

    …Why do you repeatedly do this to us BioWare… whyyy…?

    • Taellosse says:

      Well, to be fair, this is really meant to be played after the main plot of ME2 is finished, so its entirely possible that has already happened, if you play it in the order it’s intended. Still, you’ve got a point.

    • Kanodin says:

      I dunno I think asking a DLC to impact the main story might be a bit much. That is not a defense of said story of course. Also I was hoping for an Elcor when Feron said that.

    • Topazwolf says:

      I had the exact thought. Even if it was impossible to change the actual story, why weren’t we given the chance to have a three minute cut scene where we call up Tim and tell him we quit. Then immediately after, flush Miranda out an airlock (or just open her window in the special room she decided to use, aka the normal captain’s quarters). That would have satisfied everyone involved.

      Here’s hoping that Bioware reads this and releases an update.

  33. Michael says:

    Old Shadow Broker also has a Langolier for a face.

    Not that that has anything to do with Bowser or Dr. Claw, but still…

    (In case nobody here has read Four Past Midnight, Langoliers eat the past. Don’t ask me how that works.)

  34. Guvnorium says:

    AXECOP!

    The Star Trek episode in question is “The Corbonite Maneuver” I think. It’s one of like ten I’ve seen.

    Also, I can’t resist.

    “No Sheapherd. You are the aliens.”

    And then Shepherd was the Shadow Broker.

  35. Deoxy says:

    Heh – you know how many of the young ones around here don’t get the Dr. Claw reference? “Get off my lawn.” snicker.

    I might actually watch this one (my first one) just for the Dr Claw impression (well, and Mumbles – that sounds fun, too…. silly-tired people often are).

  36. GabrielMobius says:

    By far, the best part of this episode was Mumbles absolutely freaking out after Shamus did his Dr. Claw impersonation. Which was spot-on Shamus, well done.

    I’d probably have had less of a problem with the way the Shadow Broker was portrayed if it took more dialogue to actually rile him up. It would have been a fantastic time to make use of the Paragon/Renegade ‘skill challenges’ like they do elsewhere in the game. Liara lets slip that bit of information on the Space Ogre’s past, he seems somewhat shaken, but he starts returning fire with horrible secrets from Liara’s past (all the while setting about activating defense systems on the perimeter of the room. Or traps, whichever). Then Sheperd gets in on it, and you can go Paragon to start trying to match wits with him, or renegade to rile him up. And if you pull off enough successive paragon/renegade options, the bossfight goes as above, but if you fail, you have more things to deal with to complicate it. And some interrupts would be nice too.

    It really does seem like a lot of wasted potential for what could have been a fantastic dialogue exchange (with bossfight mechanics thrown in!), but was reduced to:
    “I am the greatest mastermind ever, look at how much I know about you.”
    “You were a pet.”
    “SHADOW BROKER SMASH PUNY CREATURE HRUFHGYURHG”

    • Jarenth says:

      I just keep wondering what Liara would have done had that not worked.

      “I am the greatest mastermind ever, look at how much I know about you.”
      “You were a pet.”
      “And now I’m the Shadow Broker. Your point?”
      “Erm… I was kind of hoping you would go into a space ogre rage when I said that.”
      “What? Don’t be ridiculous, how would that help me? Now, let’s pull up your file and discuss your career options re: not leaving this base alive, shall we?”

      • Bret says:

        Really, that sounds like it would end with a quick look at Shepard’s file.

        “Let’s look at your companion’s record, Liara. There are things, I’m sure, you would not want brought to her attention.

        Oh, wow. That is a lot of people killed. I mean a lot. Okay, this is hardly worth mentioning in comparison… wait. Missed a zero. Cripes.

        Wait. That was on foot? With your bare hands?

        Perhaps we can discuss terms.”

  37. some random dood says:

    Oh well, time for another rant on the ammo thing introduced here (as Josh had problems running out of clips among the waves of enemies). Yup, that still causes me rage! (Maybe one of the reasons I haven’t replayed this game at all.) From the blurb, the “ammo” is supposed to be disposable heat sinks that allow the gun to keep firing, ejecting a heat sink when heat had built up too much. If that were the case, and the game operated *as stated* I don’t think I would mind too much – just keep firing, and when the gun become too hot *if you had spare heat sinks* one would be ejected and the gun keep firing. If you were out of heat sinks, you would have to pause *the normal cooldown period* and then carry on shooting. That would introduce an element that finding a clip of heat sinks would mean you could say fast-fire a shotgun or sniper rifle for say ten or twelve (whatever) rounds without needing to worry about a cooldown. If the heat sinks were made a less common item, it could introduce a new mechanic – do you conserve them for boss-fights?
    However, they ended up being treated like [please insert swearword of choice here] ammo cartridges, along with stupid drops (“ooh look, I’ve killed a mook, and he has dropped a luvly fluffy bunny wabbit giving me another life!”).
    Grrr. Argg. (And no prizes to guess what I’ve recently been watching.)

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      Yeah, that would be awesome if they did the ammo that way.

      It’s not an issue with balance either. Left 4 Dead has the pistols with infinite ammo, just because it’s the pistols. Turns out, that isn’t so great against a horde of zombies [Especially Boomers], but it makes do in a pinch when you fire and hear a “click”.

      Perhaps even do reduced range for each bit of heat – the codex could explain it as the heat sinks being regulated by percentage of heat you can get.

      So yes, you can spam the sniper rifle, but eventually, the bullets lose velocity, and it gets the range of a headbutt. Give me a reason to use strategy, don’t remove the brute force solution because you don’t like it.

    • Kavonde says:

      Clearly something by Joss Whedon. I know, no prizes, but I just like feeling clever and pop-cultury.

      Anyway…yeah, not having the ability to cool your weapons down instead of eating through heat clips like popcorn was INSANELY stupid. I can justify a lot of BioWare’s design and story choices, however tenuously, but the clips were just stupid. (Not as bad as the scanning game, though.)

      One thing to note, though, is that Josh hasn’t bought any of the ammo upgrades yet. They do help a lot with the frustration.

  38. KremlinLaptop says:

    SHAMUS. Next episode? You need to do the Mr Claw voice and go “TAAACOOS” because then Rutskarn’s head will just pop right off.

  39. Sekundaari says:

    Krogan detective reminded me of a certain joke in SG-1.

    Managing the employees’ happiness made me think of Dwarf Fortress. Actually, so did Shamus’ posts about Minecraft a while back, especially the survival mode explanation and his potential love for a game with more complex farming… I think DF is calling for me.

    Serene conversations with Liara in the middle of the bossfight puzzled me.

    Longer episode made me happy. Thanks.

  40. Zaxares says:

    Actually, guys, I think I just figured out HOW the Shadow Broker keeps all these guys on his base loyal and compliant. Do you guys remember the quest “I Remember Me” from ME1? In it, the former human slave Talitha mentions how she was implanted with a control chip in her brain, and the batarian slavers use this to train and condition their slaves for obedience. Who’s to say that the Shadow Broker doesn’t do something similar? Most of his guard force (the helmeted mooks) seem to be batarians anyway (which is where the technology comes from).

    So basically, he’s got this ship full of brainwashed guards who serve him completely faithfully because if they don’t, they suffer excruciating pain. After years of living under such conditions, they’re probably suffering from extreme Stockholm Syndrome and can no longer remember a different way of life.

    Also, Josh? STOP RUSHING. :P Remember that ME2 is a COVER-based shooter. Charge isn’t always appropriate for all parts of the game.

    Infinite Ammo: Nooooo… Then you’d end up like Deus Ex 2! Which EVERYBODY hated for its universal ammo pool.

    The Shadow Broker: Yeah, he seems like a great big brute, but if you read the codex entries about him, that’s EXACTLY why everybody else in the past underestimated him. They look at him and think he’s a dumb bruiser, like a krogan, when in truth, the yahg are possibly as smart, if not smarter, than salarians. (Of course, it’s possible that this yahg was a highly intelligent exception to the norm.)

    However, that doesn’t excuse the rather shitty preparations the Broker made for this fight. The whole build-up seemed to suggest that he would have a dozen contingency plans, traps, perhaps more guards etc. to assist him. Instead, he just smashes stuff and shoots/charges you. The shield was new, but considering how he couldn’t really do anything while it was active, it was rather lacklustre.

    Again though, this may be due to yahg culture; perhaps they believe that if a ‘competitor’ makes a challenge, they are obliged to accept it personally, and with no assistance. It could also be due to simple overconfidence; the Broker has not been seriously challenged for over 60 years, and he underestimated his own abilities.

    One thing you may want to consider though, is the fact that he’s been IN this base for 60 years, and I bet all that time spent reading and analysing information leaves him little time for exercise or combat practice. The Shadow Broker may, in fact, be an extremely fat and unfit yahg, and he’s STILL able to wreak such havoc. Imagine what a fully fit, combat-trained yahg soldier must be like!

    Kinetic Barriers: Kinetic barriers only stop items of a low enough mass. As the codex entry explains, it’s why it can deflect bullets, but it still allows you to sit down without knocking away your chair. Shields don’t stop melee attacks because the person hitting you weighs too much.

    Overall though, yeah… I was pretty disappointed with the Shadow Broker battle. It felt very… unnatural. :P

    Also, that bit about no user safeguards or restrictions makes me suspect that my theory about the REAL Shadow Broker being the VI/AI assistant is correct; once it knew that the original Broker was dead, it quietly reset all the passwords or restrictions, ensuring Liara would have a smooth transition into her new role as its unsuspecting puppet.

    Sock Puppet: One game that pulled this off really, REALLY well was KotOR 2, with the droid G0-T0. Everybody assumed Goto was this super-paranoid, sneaky human male that only communicated via holograms. What people never suspected was that the DROID itself was Goto; the holograms that people were talking to were just a computer-construct.

    Dossiers: Also, Tali has a human fetish. ;) She downloads a video on “Human Courtship and Mating” RIGHT before reinstalling the nerve-stimulation program.

    I highly recommend reading the Dossiers for anyone who has this DLC though. They’re very well written and entertaining.

    • Blanko2 says:

      shields dont deflect objects of low mass, they deflect objects of high velocity.
      else a ships shield would be useless, for example.
      and you would die of a rocket to the face EVERY time, not just occasionally

      • Zaxares says:

        I expect that the kinetic barriers of starships are configured to deflect objects of much greater mass than what personal kinetic barriers would be, since starships don’t need to worry about making contact with incidental everyday objects. The computer that manages kinetic barriers can likely be customised to deflect objects above a certain velocity AND below a certain mass.

        If it were true that they only deflected objects of high velocity, then everybody would literally bring knives to a gunfight and attempt to close in for melee combat as soon as possible, then make slow, but forceful stabs.

        You make a good point about rockets though. Considering that kinetic barriers don’t stop heat or gases, even if the rockets themselves were stopped by the barrier, the heat and concussive force from the rapidly expanding gases should theoretically punch right through kinetic barriers with little problem, making them still deadly even against shielded troops. Likely it was something the developers overlooked.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Starships do so have to worry about everyday objects.Especially in mass effect when they are moving at impossible speeds,and have almost no mass,thus even the tiniest particle would make them spin wildly and slow their acceleration.But,even if they had mass,at these speeds theyd need extremely thick hulls just to fly from one place to another.And barriers reflect all that junk.

          Also,barriers do repel heat as well(incinerate doesnt work well on them,for example).They only dont repel light(and laser weaponry),and slow moving things like regular gas expansion.Thats why you can breathe,and get poisoned even at full shields.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      About the way Josh plays:If you check on youtube how other vanguards are playing,even on insanity,youd see that its exactly like this.Its the one class that doesnt use cover.Ok,so they have more skill and dont just stand in the open after they charge,but this isnt really insanity so it doesnt matter.

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