Everyone is safe! If you've played Mass Effect 2 for more than a quarter of an hour (behaviour we recommend), nothing you read below will spoil anything. If you still haven't started playing, you might want to get that out of the way before you read page two, but you're quite safe until then.
If you bought Mass Effect 2 new, then you already have free access to The Cerberus Network - the vessel through which downloadable content for BioWare's latest universe-spanning RPG will apparently be conveyed.
Anyone who buys the game second-hand, however, is unlikely to find the redeemable code needed to unlock the Cerberus Network still inside (unless the original owner was a prize idiot, obviously), and will need to hand over 1200 Microsoft Points (£10.20!) for the privilege, or the equivalent in BioWare Points.
You could be outraged by the price of the content, but that would rather miss the point. This isn't another example of a publisher hopelessly out of touch with the public perception of DLC value. In fact it's quite the opposite.
Yes, The Cerberus Network is meant to be off-puttingly expensive. The tenner it costs is probably more than the difference in price between new and second-hand copies of Mass Effect 2, and - EA and BioWare hope - punters who realise this will choose to buy a new copy of the game as a result.
That's the theory anyway, and it's a good theory - good enough that it would be slightly irrelevant to review the first two chunks of downloadable content that came out last week and whack scores on the end.
Furthermore, it's not entirely clear whether future downloadable content (including the Hammerhead hover tank) will be sold separately or provided free as another Cerberus Network bonus, so until that's cleared up it would be even sillier to review the content in the context of its misleading 1200 MSP price-tag.
With all that said, however, there's nothing to stop us telling you whether it's worth your time and valuable hard disk space to download the first two bundles of downloadable content for Mass Effect 2, so let's get on with it.
Zaeed - The Price of Revenge
Perhaps having learned the lessons of Bring Down The Sky - the first of two chunks of downloadable content for the original Mass Effect - once installed both The Price of Revenge and its fellow day-one DLC add-on for the sequel can be accessed at pretty much any point in the story after the initial scene-setting.
Should you reach the endgame and wish to continue rumbling around the universe, you can even see to them then, although it's better to deal with them sooner.
By far the more substantial of the two launch DLC packs, The Price of Revenge introduces a new companion with his own special ability, a new heavy weapon, a heavy weapon ammo boost and even some paladium and credits. Oh, and 15 more gamerpoints for Xbox 360 owners. Not that we care about that or anything.
With the pack downloaded, your outrageously flirtatious PA alerts you to a new message at your private terminal. It's another one of the Illusive Man's charmingly sinister emails, explaining that he has negotiated for a fearless human bounty hunter to join your party, and that you can recruit him by visiting Omega.
There you find Zaeed Massani, and discuss his terms while he busies himself subduing a batarian bounty. Unlike the other recruitment missions, which are quite elaborate (consider the length of Thane's intro, for example), this is straightforward stuff. To paraphrase: "Would you like to join my crew?" "Yes." "Do you promise to be more interesting than Jacob?" "Yes. Also, despite my facial scarring, I will attempt to look less like I have a dislocated jaw."
Without ruining anything for you, it does at least turn out that President Bartlett's deal with Zaeed involved more than monetary compensation: you've also been roped into helping him solve a bit of unfinished business with one of the game's big mercenary organisations, the Blue Suns.
Along the way toward resolving this and gaining his loyalty you learn a bit about why Zaeed looks so weird, and discover that he really isn't a hooker with a heart of gold, he's a cold-blooded killer who will kill anyone who gets between him and his prize.
Of course, there are a few moments in the main game (particularly in these circumstances of trying to gain the loyalty of your crewmates) that BioWare pushes the Mass Effect dichotomy of Paragons and Renegades further than at any point in any of its other RPGs, and implies greater ramifications - something it has the luxury of doing with a third game still to come.
But Zaeed still represents something different: whether you choose to accept his behaviour or question his methods, it feels like a test of your moral leadership as well as a risk to his loyalty. And when you finally resolve his problem, for better or worse, his code of honour is laid bare for scrutiny.
Combat in The Price of Revenge, meanwhile, is much as you will have come to expect, although it does benefit from a couple of interesting layouts and environmental hazards that you won't see elsewhere in the game.
The real bonus though is Zaeed's recruitment itself, conferring as it does another powerful ally, who apart from fairly standard disruptor ammo and concussive shot abilities also has his own tactical advantages. And, perhaps more importantly, along the way you pick up a fancy flamethrower, which has surprising range and impressive stopping power.
Once he's on the crew, you can also visit Zaeed down on the maintenance level, where his quarters are piled up with the spoils of battle, and he's happy to ramble through the odd war story. BioWare may be running out of space on the ship for new crew members, but Zaeed arguably deserves his bunk, and represents a worthy download.
Normandy Crash Site
It's a bit of a shame that anyone who gleefully unwrapped their copy of Mass Effect 2, redeemed the Cerberus Network code and set about downloading the free add-ons before they began the game had to read the three words above in the process, as it does rather spoil the opening.
Oh well, hopefully you were spared that fate. Either way, once installed you receive an email from the Alliance encouraging you to visit the last resting place of the Normandy SR1 and find out what happened to the people who perished in the crash, and perhaps honour them while you're there.
It's a sombre occasion, despite my original hope that Navigator Pressly would have survived, tattooed leopard spots over 90 per cent of his body and gone feral, feeding off the scraps left behind and establishing a colony of elite wild men who you would have to bravely and compassionately loose the mortal coil with your particle beam and repeated use of Heavy Slam.
Unfortunately they haven't even turned into husks. All that remains is the broken, bony remains of the shattered Normandy and a lot of memories.
The ship has been split into pieces, half-buried in the snow, and visiting each one triggers a particular memory - the sight of Pressly grimly considering some calculations, for instance - and perhaps reveals a half-working data-pad, still home to touching snippets of entries reflecting on the shifting multicultural views of the former crew who, as mentioned, are sadly not around to go all Lord of the Flies.
In fact, there's no combat at all - just a bit of wandering around, placing a memorial, and then collecting 20 dogtags. In a sense, then, it's a dull fetch-quest with a few haunting images. But another way to look at it is this: what better way to salute the memory of the original Mass Effect, than by roaming around a lifeless plateau searching for a large number of meaningless items?
Turian Insignia. Never forget.
Plus, you can finally say a loving goodbye to the Mako, and that's surely enough to merit a few bytes of your disk.
Mass Effect 2's Cerberus Network comes free with the game and is also sold separately for people who bought ME2 second hand.