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Mass Effect 2

Posted by Conan Caven On February - 9 - 2010

Commander Shepard returns to sort out the Universe.

Mass Effect 2 is developed by Bioware, published by EA and is available on PC and Xbox360.

The game continues after the events of the original game. The Normandy is destroyed by an unknown alien vessel and Commander Shepard is left in space, falling towards a planet, trying to stop air leaking from her/his space suit. Two years later Shepard wakes up, having been reconstructed by the Cerberus organization and you are given your main mission for the game. Investigate the disappearance of human colonies across the universe and recruit a team to lead on a suicide mission to destroy the aliens once and for all. I guess you could simplify it as “Kill the Collectors”.


There are many changes between ME2 and ME1; some would say the game has been simplified, which is true. There have been some changes for the better and some for the worse.

A lot of the RPG element has been taken out to make it more streamlined and the game plays like a third-person shooter with cover reliant action, in the same vein as Gears of War, although you do still get to use biotics to throw enemies all over the place. You have good control of your teammates, and their AI is good and rarely do they do anything stupid.


The good (Paragon) or evil (Renegade) choices have been improved and there is the addition of a quick good/evil response in a few confrontations. For instance a guard refuses to give you the information you require and begins mouthing off. A Renegade option appears, allowing the player to push the guard through a window to fall to his death. Paragon options can include pushing a character out of the line of fire or giving them a hug when they are upset.

The inventory and skill management screens are simpler. You no longer dictate which armour your companions wear, just the guns that they carry. You only concentrate on your own armour (which you upgrade when you find/buy them) and instead of finding/buying loads of weapons – you now have a slim number of weapons (5 choices, with 3-5 variations of each one), which you upgrade through research. There is no inventory. This has meant that one of the fun elements of any RPG, the collection of loot, doesn’t exist. The only credits you get are from completing missions, as the lack of collecting loot has taken out the option of selling anything you find in shops.


The levelling up system is simpler. For instance, if you are a soldier class (which I am) you have the choice of improving bullets that are good against synthetics or organics. There is no levelling up of armour or conversational skills or weapons.

There is no more driving the Mako across “similar but different coloured rock” planets. Although this did increase the scope and size of the game world in ME1, it was still very boring, especially on a second play through. The loss of the Mako has lead to a new way of finding the 4 different elements that you need to make upgrades to weapons, armour and your ship. It’s a bit like a metal detector scanner sweeping over a planets surface. Once the scanner spikes, you fire a probe and it collects it. Some planets you scan result in the detection of anomalies, which will lead to a side quest for more money. The scanning is slow and boring, but better than driving round a random planet as in ME1. Missions on planets involve you landing in a drop ship, and the mission’s areas are more detailed and interesting than ME1’s dull planets and identical space stations and ships layout.


As I said above, the main story is not that complicated or interesting. But what are interesting are the missions you take on to hire your team of mercenaries, and the loyalty missions you do for them. These can involve helping Samara track and kill her daughter who is a killer, helping Jack blow up a building in which she was tortured as a child and to help Thane stop his son, who he abandoned whilst on a mission of revenge, from becoming an assassin like himself. It gives these alien characters more history and more “humanity” for want of a better word.

An important part of the game was recruiting a group of the hardest and toughest people from across the galaxy to join your team for the final suicide mission. I relished the idea of tracking them down one by one and persuading them to join me. Instead you are handed dossiers of all the characters to recruit, and told exactly where they are. It turned in to a “complete this mission and gain a character” instead of a long search to track them down. I did not like that you were sign posted to them instead of meeting them as you go about exploring planets and slowly gaining intelligence on them until you eventually found them.


All of these changes can be a positive or negative thing depending on who you are and what you want from the game. The maps are smaller, especially the Citadel, which has been very down sized, but the lifts are faster and it doesn’t take you 10 minutes to travel to a different floor. This always annoyed me, as they can travel across space in seconds, but take forever to travel 500ft in an elevator. I can see how many people that played through the first game multiple times may be disappointed, but none of the changes are major enough that they can not be accepted and none of it is a big deal or a game killer. These changes do not make it a bad game, its just different from the first. I still found the game enjoyable; love the history of the races and the planets, the encyclopedia. It’s a very detailed game world and one that could spawn many games in the future. As much as the main story was basic, this has to be seen as a “middle” game in the trilogy. One that sets up the third and final part. The final death of the Reapers, and I for one cannot wait for the third game to come out.




1 Response so far
  1. Tweets that mention Mass Effect 2 | -- Topsy.com Said,

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Turtlegirl73, Diane, Cheryl Rowell, topsy_top20k, topsy_top20k_en and others. topsy_top20k_en said: Mass Effect 2 Review [Xbox 360] http://tinyurl.com/yds7l8b [...]

    Posted on February 9th, 2010 at 4:50 pm

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