'Mass Effect 2: Overlord' Should Have Stayed in 2010

Caution warning: descriptions of graphic imagery and violent ableism

Mass Effect 2: Overlord is a DLC pack for Mass Effect 2 initially published on June 15, 2010. It was met with a fantastic critical reception on release. Eurogamer described it as “wrapped up in a story that builds to a satisfying and pathos-heavy finale,” and said that it was clear that “thought, care, and balance” had gone into the DLC. Gamespot’s review stated that it was “one of [Shepard’s] best” missions, characterizing the ending as “bittersweet.” IGN summed up the add-on as “sure to please most everybody.”


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v7emky/mass-effect-2-overlord-should-have-stayed-in-2010
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I never played Overlord but I recently heard it summarised (favourably) in a podcast and thought ‘god that sounds pretty gross’.

BioWare really shouldn’t try to do Warhammer 40k-style grimdark if they’re not going to be so abhorrent about it that it drifts back into ‘well, it is pretty metal’ territory. This really smacks of 2010-era makes-you-think games. Both sides are bad you say? The ableist bad guy has sympathetic motivations? My mind is being blown here.

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As much as I’m looking forward to the ME remasters, there’s also a ton of this stuff that I’m really not excited about replaying. I know that fundamentally reworking quests is way beyond the scope of what those remasters are about, but “should have stayed in 2010” is right.

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I know that a 2021 cut of the Mass Effect games (fix this kind of thing, make Jack a romance option, etc.) probably wasn’t financially feasible, but I’m bracing myself for an awful lot of “oof” as I make my way through the trilogy. The world is a very different place than it was even ten years ago.

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To be honest, I’ve always found the DLC to be pretty effective (narratively at least), but it’s been so long since I’ve played through the whole trilogy, so maybe my feelings will be different.

Although, and perhaps I’m remembering this incorrectly, but I have the distinct recollection of being able to kill Dr. Archer. Maybe it’s because I played full Renegade? I’m not sure.

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If I remember right, the most you can ‘punish’ Dr. Archer is getting an interrupt after deciding to get his brother out of there where you pistol whip him. So yeah, not a lot of justice to be doled out.

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You know, I think you’re correct actually.

Well, at least now we know which mod has gotta be made…

That ending reveal of what was happening with David remains etched into my mind to this day, and not in a good way. The entire Overlord storyline felt way too cruel for Mass Effect’s tone. Don’t get me wrong, the series can go dark, but this felt altogether sadistic in a way that left me deeply uncomfortable. Granted, in 2010 I lacked the understanding of how neurodivergent folks are depicted in media, but even then it felt too far.

As for whether this should have been cut from the rerelease, I’m admittedly conflicted. The DLC is thoroughly superfluous in the grand scheme of things; it really is just to show how bad Cerberus can be. But on the other hand would it be a disservice from a game preservation standpoint to get rid of it? I’m honestly not sure what the right answer is.

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Mass effect is a series whose favorite question is usually some variation on “well what if you HAD to do a genocide?” I think overlord is fairly in line for the politics of the series lol

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This is what content warnings are for right? Personally speaking, I don’t see any real value in pretending that the Mass Effect trilogy couldn’t be messy by cutting out its more questionable content. I think it’s healthy to acknowledge that the media you find important can still occasionally be gross and uncomfortable

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Yeah, I agree that some kind of content warning is the way to go with something like this. It’s not hard to imagine a TV show or film being re-released with a content warning – haven’t there been a couple of cases of that recently where a short video was inserted before a film explaining what the problematic content is and why it’s problematic? – and there’s no reason a video game couldn’t do that.

As it is, I had actually forgotten about this DLC, or maybe I didn’t play it in the first place, but now that this article has reminded me I’ll probably just skip it when replaying the trilogy.

I know that if I ever re-release Dragon Age Origins, they should put a fucking huge one in front of the City Elf origin, because that thing is a trainwreck of good intentions and horrendous execution

EDIT: Yeah, that’s right, I made DAO. By myself. I was going through a dark time when that origin was scripted

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Good article! Mass Effect 2 is one of my favorite games but I’m realizing I never played any of its DLC (was a long time ago, probably couldn’t afford DLC at the time). At least I know what Overlord is about now. I don’t plan on revisiting the series anytime soon but if I do I’m gonna skip this one. :confused:

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lol I was watching a friend play Andromeda recently and boy did it sound like the section of the game he was on was just about landing on a planet and clearing the locals

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