Published on February 25th, 2010 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
Mass Effect 2 Review
You’ll start off Mass Effect 2 on board the Normandy after the events of Mass Effect, where you come in contact with a new race of beings called the Collectors. Fast forward two years later, and you’ll find yourself waking up from a coma in a facility controlled by a terrorist group from the first game – and things aren’t going as planned.
Without giving away any of the plot, I can tell you that the vast majority of the choices that you made in Mass Effect, assuming you have a save on your hard drive, effect just about everything in the game. Before seeing any action, you can import your Mass Effect save and retain not only your character’s face and name, but all the choices you made in ME. You’ll receive messages, pick up new missions and affect many character arcs based on your previous actions.
Just about everything about ME2 has been enhanced for the sequel, and most prominent of these features is the combat. Battles feel far more substantial than in the first game. Weapons fire faster and recoil feels better overall. There are more weapon types than before, and depending on your class you’ll only be allowed to equip weapons your character is proficient with.
The Paragon (good guy) and Renegade (douchebag) choices during dialogue have also been upgraded. Your responses during conversation are stronger and the newest feature is the ability to act on either Paragon or Renegade actions during cutscenes, adding another level of depth or your character. For instance, you could use a Paragon action to stop a party member from shooting a vital character. Conversely, you could use a Renegade action to shoot the character yourself.
Hunting down a single ammo upgrade from hundreds won’t be a problem anymore, as the inventory system has been greatly streamlined. Ammo upgrades are available to certain classes and leveling them higher allows you to apply their effects to the entire party.
For Biotic characters, those that can control and manipulate dark energy, the battles are both more intense and power-filled because the biotic powers have been beefed up immensely. Powers can be angled both around and above enemy cover so you’re not just limited to line-of-sight.
Upgrading has become quite a bit more important this time around. Class upgrades have been streamlined, giving you quicker results in the range and power of your class-specific abilities. Exploring the galaxy has become a bit more important, as every planet can be mined for resources which can be used for armor, weapon, character and ship upgrades – all to make you more prepared for the Collectors.
Graphically, the engine has been given a nice boost, and you can see it in the faces of other characters and the environment. If you own a 5.1 system, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the combat sounds on top of hours of fully voiced audio.
The story, while the main attraction, isn’t even the most impressive part of the package. When you consider how much your actions from Mass Effect carry over into this game, the potential of how your actions here will affect Mass Effect 3 become all that much more prominent. Not to mention that your Paragon or Renegade character choice affects the conversations in the next game. It’s the very best type of choose-your-own adventure.
Bottom line? Mass Effect 2 is a must-own title regardless of your chosen platform. Bioware has crafted what is likely the best and most overarching story in gaming. The amazing story, great combat, fully-voiced and interactive conversations, and replay value all combine to make Mass Effect 2 the most solid Game of the Year candidate of 2010, and we’re only in March.
Do yourself a favor and pick it up. You’ll be far from disappointed.
+Combat system is much more focused.
+Voice acting is among the best in the industry.
+Shining example of Western RPG development.
–Scanning planets takes time.
–What’s up with the fish?