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Mass Effect: Pinnacle Station Review

Brad Gallaway's picture

It's garbage.

Mass Effect: Pinnacle Station Screenshot

HIGH Nothing.

LOW Everything.

WTF Why in the world was this even released?

So, out of my ten-year career reviewing games professionally, I've only awarded two perfect "10" scores. I'm no math whiz, but if you average that out, I'm pretty sure that's one for every five years. My point? I don't hand out the highest honor lightly.

One of the games to which I gave top marks was BioWare's Mass Effect. Encapsulating everything I love about video games, action, and sci-fi in one complete package, I devoured every last tasty morsel. I couldn't get enough. Although it's true all good things come to an end, thanks to the current trend of releasing post-game Downloadble Content, good things can keep going for a little longer. More Mass Effect? Yes, please.

The first piece of DLC, Bring Down The Sky, was short and felt a little cobbled together, but it was basically another chunk of what I was looking for. A few quick missions, some dialogue and choices to make, and another opportunity to put my own personalized version of Commander Shepard through her paces. It wasn't mindblowing, but it was good enough. Besides, BioWare had promised at least two pieces of DLC before the launch of Mass Effect 2. I still had (at least) one more to look forward to, and surely, that one would be a home run, right?

Not so.

After months of nearly total silence on the final add-on, it appeared on Xbox Live with not a whisper of fanfare or forewarning. Catching me completely by surprise, I drove home at the first opportunity, breathlessly queued it up for download, and was... absolutely disappointed.

Titled Pinnacle Station, the new content is essentially a tiny base that Shepard can enter. There are no new alien races that I noticed, no moral choices, nor any quests to undertake. No tasks, no jobs, no missions... instead, Pinnacle Station is a bunch of combat-driven time trials that players can enter and attempt to rank on a leaderboard.

That's it.

Although there are a few different types of trials, they all boil down to being something that feels completely out of place and inappropriate for a story-driven RPG like Mass Effect. Time trials? Really? After all these months of waiting and looking forward to getting back into one of what I consider one of the best games of the last decade, the brightest idea BioWare came up with was time trials? In recycled environments, no less.

Adding insult to injury, the content is choppy, extremely buggy and glitch-prone. Out of five separate attempts, I was not once able to complete a single round of combat. The first time, my character inexplicably became unable to move and I was reduced to an immobile gun turret. During my next try, the game simply froze. The time after that, I went into the menu screen and the game froze again, necessitating a full hardware restart. Reviewers have a responsibility to go into a game and evaluate it for what it is, but when a reviewer is literally not able to finish the content in question due to its poor quality, any obligation to see it through to the end goes out the window.

I think it's pretty clear that I hold Mass Effect in the highest possible regard, having nothing but the utmost respect and affection for it, but I need to be honest when I say that Pinnacle Station is not only a complete waste of money, it's an insult to Mass Effect itself. I can't imagine why this shoddy cash-in was even released at all, except for a quick infusion of ill-gotten income from all the suckers like me who bought it on faith. Rating: 0.0 out of 10.

Disclosures: This game was obtained via paid download and reviewed on the Xbox 360. Approximately 45 minutes of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the content was not completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game contains blood, language, partial nudity, sexual themes, and violence. Since this game is definitely aimed at mature audiences, all the usual caveats apply. However, most of these warning tags apply to the core game itself, and not this DLC in particular. Specifically, this DLC contains a metric ton of gunplay, but that's about it.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing: You should be aware that the dialogue and speech in the game is subtitled, and there are on-screen indicators that clue players in to when they're under attack. There are no problems with communication or audio cues.

Category Tags
Platform(s): Xbox 360  
Developer(s): BioWare  
Publisher: Microsoft  
Series: Mass Effect  
Genre(s): Role-Playing  
ESRB Rating: Mature (17+)  
Articles: Game Reviews  

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DLC is mostly worthless

DLC is mostly worthless since games are rushed and the DLC is basically left out content.... and they still wont patch and polish a game with the DLC..... everything is put aside for either getting the game to market or DLC so they can milk it for all its worth.

Whaaaaaaa? So glad I read

Whaaaaaaa?

So glad I read this review before wasting $5.

Only GameCritics Understands Mass Effect!

I couldn't agree more with your review of Pinnacle Station.

However, I'm glad that you mentioned how great a game Mass Effect is (minus this DLC). Your original review of the game basically summed up the impact ME had on me back in '07. You're probably one of the only gaming journalists, professionally, that see Mass Effect in the same light as I do. Sure, they (the journalists) all praised Bioware's epic RPG, but many of them failed to see what set Mass Effect apart from other RPG's of its time, or any game at all for that matter.

Mass Effect is completely defined. Bioware created a universe so complex, adding in every last detail regarding planets, locations, items, history, and even mythology, the only comparison is the Star Wars universe itself. To truly understand what Mass Effect really is, you must let the game completely encapsulate you. In order to comprehend it in its entirety, or experience the fullness thereof, you have got to really get your head in the game. Mass Effect is intruiging at first sight, but underneith those gorgeous visuals and top-notch voice acting is something much deeper. I didn't experience Mass Effect fully until my second playthrough. It was at that moment that I truly comprehended how glorious ME is, both as a story and as a game. The soundtrack is really what hit me heart home. It plays a huge part in understanding the world of Mass Effect. After you've hit this point of understanding, similar to watching Star Wars for the first time, you'll end up exploring every planet, completing all the sidequests, and reading/listening to every listing in your Galactic Codex; what a great wealth of information about the ME universe.

I, too, downloaded Pinnacle Station without a moment's hesitation. I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that since Pinnacle Station is new, and Mass Effect 2 still being in development, this DLC might be a small preview of what's to come. But to my great dissapointment (a mere 5 minutes after docking that peice of sh*t station), I realized how shitty this DLC was. Not to mention being very un-Mass Effect-like. No wonder they didn't announce that it was coming. Even Microsoft, the face of corporate greed in America, offered this crap for only 400 MS points. Sad, sad.

ME2 will still deliver though, no doubts there. I wouldn't be surprised if this DLC was done by an external studio. It was nothing like the original game. After having a diamond for a good enough while, recieving a piece of Coal is like getting bitchslapped in the face with a hand soaked in powdered sugar; and it's the same hand that gave you the diamond. Tsk tsk. Pinnacle Station, for lack of a better word, raped my inner nerdism for over 5 1/2 minutes. Even my Commander Shepard looked miserable. We just had to sit there and take it. I think it's safe to that was my last visit to the Argos Rho cluster for awhile. Sorry for the length. Love the website!

i agree but...

i agree it was not mindblowing. I'm the kind of player who like to feel immersed into game, i like very much ME, i've spent many time on enjoying landscapes and views in ME... So i really really like the reward of completing all the tasks. I dont know but i played me 3 times and finally in that house you get on a colonized planet with that beautiful view, i found peace... and now i wont play until me2. NOw i feel i've finished. so i liked it! it worth the money spent. ciao

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