The major shift between the bittersweet endgame of Mass Effect 2 and the intense opening of Mass Effect 3, as players learn Shepard has been incarcerated on Earth, can feel somewhat jarring without the context given by the Arrival DLC. In the original Mass Effect trilogy, Arrival is a DLC players could purchase. Mass Effect Legendary Edition includes remastered versions of all three games, plus all DLC content, so Arrival is now integrated with the main story. In Mass Effect 2: Arrival, Shepard must infiltrate a batarian base and rescue Dr. Amanda Kenson, a scientist and agent who has proof of an imminent Reaper invasion. The end of this mission results in significant loss of life that directly leads to Shepard being stripped of their rank and incarcerated ahead of Mass Effect 3.


All the DLC for Mass Effect 2 unlock at different points in the main campaign. Shepard won’t have the chance to begin this mission until after the mandatory Horizon story mission. Once players begin the DLC, they will not be able to return to the Normandy or main campaign until it has been completed. Though players can launch this mission any time once it unlocks, many fans prefer to save it until after surviving the endgame Suicide Mission and make it the last thing they do before starting Mass Effect 3 to bridge any gaps between the two games. Here’s how to start the Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC.

How To Begin The Arrival DLC In Mass Effect Legendary Edition

To begin Mass Effect 2: Arrival, Shepard will need to wait until they complete the mandatory story mission on Horizon. When they return from the Normandy after this mission, they will receive a message on their Private Terminal from Admiral Hackett. They can also have a short videoconference in the captain’s cabin, during which Hackett will explain Shepard’s objective to infiltrate the batarian outpost and rescue Dr. Kenson.

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After the conversation with the admiral, Shepard should travel to the planet Aratoht. Aratoht is located in the Bahak system of the Viper Nebula, found near the Local Cluster on the Galaxy Map. Once Shepard enters the prison and chooses the Sneaking In or Guns Blazing path, they will need to complete all the main assignments in the DLC before they can return to the Normandy. Most of these missions will be completed by Shepard working alone, so players should make sure they have a good loadout, the best weapon and armor upgrades, and proper specs before heading to Aratoht.

Though players can begin the Mass Effect 2: Arrival DLC any time after Horizon, most fans place it after the Suicide Mission as the last thing they do before launching Mass Effect 3. Narratively, it seems to fit best here, especially as Hackett explains that Shepard will take the fall for civilian casualties sustained during this mission when they return to Earth. Additionally, the final confrontation fits more naturally after the Suicide Mission than before it.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is available for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.

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