Aug 26 2009
Little did I know when I woke up yesterday morning that I’d be playing brand new DLC for Mass Effect that very afternoon. In fact, I don’t think anyone did. I’m not even sure Bioware did. I think someone must’ve hit the wrong button and knocked this thing online by accident, because I can’t conceive of any reason to release something like this covertly.
That being said, what exactly is Pinnacle Station? Well, it’s a neat bit of DLC that suffers from being far too short and easy, yet totally worth it because it’s only about $4 and it’s NEW MASS EFFECT CONTENT. Sorry, the game happens to be one of my favorites ever, and any new minute of gameplay is worth any price.
Pinnacle Station is more or less Mass Effect’s equivalent of a gladiator arena. It’s a space station that simulates combat via holograms, and you have a bunch of top scores to beat right from the get-go. There is a slight bit of story involved, as you’d expect from Mass Effect, but it’s just “beat this hostile alien’s scores to let this innocent human out of jail.” Not exactly crazy compelling.
So what are the feats you have to achieve to do this? There are four game modes, and the same three maps are used for each of them, Subterranean, Volcanic and Tropical, and are more or less three big rooms.
The four game types are as follows:
Time Trial – Kill a certain number of enemies in the quickest amount of time
Capture – Capture and hold certain points around the map in the fastest time possible
Survival – Live through waves of increasingly hard enemies and try to get the highest time
Hunt – Kill as many enemies as you can before the time runs out. Killing increases the time incrementally
And now, here’s how hard it is to beat them:
Time Trial – It will take you one runthrough to figure out where to go on each level to find the next batch of enemies. On my second try I usually bested the #1 time by a good ten seconds.
Capture – Again, if you know the level, it’s easily done in the first try every time.
Survival – The first survival game I played on Tropical, I lasted for over 10 minutes before I said “this should be enough” and let the Geth kill me. The time to beat? A minute thirty. It’s not horde mode, that’s for damn sure. The enemies do level off at some point, and it’s probably possible to survive all day on some of the levels if you feel like it.
Hunt – Definitely the hardest one, but that means you might have to try three or four times before you top the #1 score. However, on the unlockable “hardest” level, #s 3, 2, and 1’s scores were about 47, 48 and 50 respectively. I got 73 on my first try.
So as you can tell, it’s just SO damn easy to beat these challenges. Not only beat them, but beat them handily. The timed challeneges I was a good 10-15 seconds in front of the computers (a sizable difference, when the times all hover around a minute thirty) and the kill challenges went the same way. I’m not exactly sure what Mass Effect could do to make these games harder, but the way it is now, it sure didn’t seem like much of a challenge.
I have a feeling if the challenges were completed restricting you from wearing super armor and equipping super weapons it might make things more difficult, but they have to realize that at this late in the game, EVERYone is going to have all the ubergear and why would they surrender that willingly?
The only part that’s remotely hard is the final simulation, which is the recreation of a battle the station’s commander fought years ago. Essentially it’s Surivival mode, only there’s nowhere to hide and all the damn aliens have rockets. It’s nail-biting to be sure, but still, I beat it on my first try.
The prize is actually something pretty cool. You win a space apartment on a nearby planet that you can visit. There you’ll find a computer that can call other starships who will send you equipment for a price. I was surprised to get Colossus X armor on my first try, something after 100 hours of gameplay I’d never found on my own. Sadly there is no option to invite certain female crew members to watch the alien sunset from your bedroom.
So the verdict on Pinnacle Station is that it’s definitely worth the $4. It only took two hours to beat absolutely every part of it, but if you’re a fan of the game, it’s definitely fun to play new content, no matter how easy it may be.
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