Mass Effect 2 - Zaeed: The Price of Revenge

Zaeed: The Price of Revenge
Mass Effect 2 Cover
Platforms Xbox 360, Windows, PlayStation 3
Recommended? Depends
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The supposedly final piece of Mass Effect 2 downloadable content was released recently, and while Arrival bridges the gap between Mass Effect 2 and 3, Zaeed - The Price of Revenge was available at release basically as an incentive not to rent the game or buy it used. Within Price of Revenge is the game's first downloadable character, Zaeed, a gritty mercenary who can pretty much be boiled down to as Wrex the Human - scars and all. We also get Zaeed's loyalty mission, a short little romp into the history of this rather bland character.

Due to how EA set up Mass Effect 2's Cerberus Network, if you didn't buy the game new, you had to purchase separate access to the Network just to play this particular piece of downloadable content along with the Normandy Crash Site that I reviewed recently. I'm not sure if EA originally wanted every piece of DLC behind this paywall, but this is pretty much it for substantial content that the Cerberus Network required. That's a good thing.

So here's another quick review of some content I've been meaning to cover for a while. It's my goal to completely cover Mass Effect 2 before Mass Effect 3 is released in six months or so.

The first thing you'll notice about recruiting Zaeed is that he's the easiest crew member to pick up in the galaxy. You dock onto Omega, the nasty, dirty anti-Citadel, and he's essentially just waiting there for you to ask him to come aboard. So Cerberus has already performed all the backroom dealings to recruit this ugly mercenary, but a basic recruitment mission would have been nice.

This is the same deal with Kasumi, the other downloadable character. I appreciate the developers giving us additional hired guns, but they just feel so bland to me. My other major beef with Zaeed is that you can't talk directly to him on the Normandy. He'll just spout off a one-liner if you click him, and the only way to get any other information out of him is to investigate the items around his room. This is actually a great idea and I wish they would have done this with every character, but it's apparent that due to him being a DLC character, they either didn't bother writing a ton of dialog for him or principal voice work was already finished by the time he was written.

The most interesting item in Zaeed's spartan room is his gun Jesse. Investigating it repeatedly provides seemingly more backstory for the weapon than Zaeed himself! He says that Jesse has killed more than the entire Skyllian Blitz, which Mass Effect nerds like me recognize as the batarian assault on a human colony that some of Shepard's possible backgrounds have participated in. Anyways, Zaeed has killed a lot of scum with Jesse, probably why he bothered to name a gun in the first place. He even tells us her first and last kill: the first when he was crawling through a sewer with two inches of crap on the bottom and the last after Jesse finally locked up and he smashed someone's face in with it.

There's also a model of a ship that served as Zaeed's first suicide mission. The man has been there and done that.

Mass Effect 2 Zaeed Price of Revenge Fireball

About his actual loyalty mission which serves as the bulk of the downloadable content, The Price of Revenge manages to decently flesh out Zaeed's past while providing some fantastic gun fights and interesting moral quandaries. Mass Effect 2 went a lot deeper on information on all the different mercenary groups in the galaxy, and Zaeed used to lead one of the biggest of them all: the Blue Suns. After a falling out with his original partner (who shot him in the face, explaining why Zaeed is so dang ugly), Zaeed went lone wolf. Things come to a head in The Price of Revenge at a large, flammable refinery when Zaeed meets up with his old friend, Vido. As you can imagine, it was not a happy reunion.

The first time I played The Price of Revenge I was using my paragon Shepard, so I was trying to avoid things like genocide and shooting puppies. The big moral choice in this piece of DLC actually made me stop and think about what would make Zaeed loyal to my own suicide mission. In the end, I decided to go with the paragon choice which pissed Zaeed off to no end, but I also had enough paragon sway to sooth him over with a smooth tongue and get him loyal. If I had done the mission any earlier in the game, I would have been screwed. Or I could have just gone with the renegade choice and called it a day.

If you already have access to Cerberus Network, picking up Zaeed is a no brainer. His loyalty mission rewards you with cash, resources, and experience, plus you have a pretty decent fighter on your hands as well. If you don't have Cerberus Network, Zaeed is probably your biggest incentive to lay down $15 for access to it, but if you're anything like Nate, you won't even notice his absence. Zaeed himself is a fountain of one-liners, but like most action heroes, he falls flat at close examination. I compared him to Wrex in my introduction, but unlike the great krogan from Mass Effect 1, Zaeed just feels insubstantial as a character.