- Resigned EA CEO Says "Gamers Will Learn to Love" Always-Online
- Final Fantasy XIV Marches to August 27th Re-Release
- Nintendo Schedules Next Direct Presentation on First Day of E3
- New Saints Row Hail to the Chief Video Series
- Grand Theft Auto 5 CE & SE Detailed
- EA Supporting Current-Gen Consoles Until 2017
- Mornin '13
- Xbox Live Marketplace Update: May 21st, 2013
- Metro: Last Light Gets 4 DLC Packs Planned, Season Pass Available
- Ryse Confirmed as Xbox One Exclusive
- Battlefield 4 Will Be Available this Holiday for Next-Gen
- Call of Duty: Ghosts Xbox One Media
- Forza Motorsport 5 Xbox One Screens & Trailer
- Xbox One Specs
Mass Effect 2 Review
|ESRB rating: M
release date: Jan 26, 10 (released)
|» All About Mass Effect 2 on ActionTrip|
After a successful release of Dragon Age: Origins (a game that accumulated a massive fan base all over the world), development studio BioWare kicks off its 2010 release calendar with a new addition to one of its most popular franchises. Mass Effect 2 is the company's first sequel after long time. Call it what you like: plain old franchise milkage, the crack of EA's whip... Whatever. None of that really matters. It boils down to the fact that the original Mass Effect was an exceptionally well-told science-fiction story, featuring a mix of both action and RPG elements. There were some gaps in the whole concept, which the developers clearly did not see through or they simply didn't have enough time to implement properly. They had an opportunity to fix this and add more into the bargain, of course.
In many ways, the first Mass Effect game created a foundation for future gaming. Characterization and imaginative story-telling take priority over other aspects of gameplay. Meanwhile, the overall cinematic quality of the original went beyond the standards we were used to. At the time, it seemed impossible the game could make any major improvements in that area. Years later, along comes Mass Effect 2 in a commendably improved package. Luckily, the developers didn't squander the time on making a pointless rehash.
BioWare put a lot of extra work into making the sequel look better. Overall, the graphics engine has been enhanced, making way for remarkably detailed character models, which is extremely important for a game that puts such a huge emphasis on dialogue sequences. When you import your saves from ME 1, your character looks as you'd expect. Of course, this is going to be important for many people, so that's quite an accomplishment there. At the same time though, it looks noticeably better. In addition, the lighting system and the shadows were beefed up and the game now has higher resolution, which is self-evident from the very beginning.
Shepard, make up your mind already.
Look out metal-head, cuz I'm coming for ya!
For the sake of the story and the whole experience, there's absolutely no doubt you're going to want to use ME 1 saves. As Mass Effect 2 kicks off, players may use BioWare's import utility to grab a ME 1 character. The import utility goes through all the important story points, explaining some of the decisions you made and then letting you recap on those. This way, if you had several playthroughs in the first game, it's easier to determine which one of these you wish to continue. The sequel also offers a handsome compensation in experience points and currency depending on your achievements in the first game. So, that's another cool addition and a great starting point.
Mass Effect 2 begins two years after Commander Shepard stopped an invasion of a powerful, unknown race of mechanical beings called the Reapers, who are determined to annihilate all organic life. As a mysterious new foe emerges, Shepard faces his greatest challenge yet. The matter gets more complicated, as he starts collaborating with Cerberus, a cold-blooded organization devoted to human survival through almost any means. Questioning their motives and his own, Shepard goes on a series of missions to assemble an elite crew of some of the skilled warriors in the galaxy. Going against all odds, our hero and his team march straight into the unknown, fighting a strong, mysterious enemy and heading out on what is referred to by many as a suicide mission.
Before we get into the meat of the game, you should know that this isn't a traditional BioWare style RPG along the lines of Knights of the Old Republic and the company's most recent endeavor Dragon Age: Origins. Mass Effect 2 brings fundamental changes to the gameplay mechanics of its predecessor. Focusing a bit more on the action and less on RPG components, ME 2 does away with the original's standard inventory system and other features. Character progression, skill improvement and managing items are segments of the game that have been streamlined to go along with the flow of the storyline and the pace of the action. Adding further to the dynamic gameplay is the newly improved dialogue system, which features so-called "interrupts." At certain points during cut-scenes, the player steers the course of the story, further tipping the character's moral structure either towards Paragon (good) or Renegade (bad).
The game never disappoints when it comes to content and stuff you can do. You will be able to choose one out of several different character classes: Adept (Biotic Specialist), Soldier (Combat Specialist), Engineer (Tech Specialist), Vanguard (Biotic/Combat), Sentinel (Tech/Biotic) and Infiltrator (Tech/Combat). New weapons and new powers are at your disposal, some of them with devastating effects, dealing out massive damage to multiple enemies. Also, it doesn't take too long to access most of these powers (either Tech or Biotic), giving players a chance to max out and expand their skills further. For instance, if you play as a Vanguard character (that was my choice), gaining the top rank in Assault Mastery unlocks two additional specializations: in this case, Champion, giving extra negotiations bonus and the maximum possible reduction in recharge times and Destroyer which boosts power and weapon damage. Things work the same way for every other class, offering you a chance to specialize in any skill you want.
With Mass Effect 2 BioWare steps into tricky territory, placing their sci-fi saga into the much crowded turf of action games. For a game that relies heavily on ever-popular Gears of War shooter mechanics, there isn't a lot of room for innovation, especially for a company that primarily develops RPGs. Strictly as a shooter Mass Effect 2 doesn't set any new boundaries. Bare in mind though, this shouldn't keep you from playing or giving it a try at least. Even if it won't break the mold in the shooter genre, the game boasts many other traits.
Streamlined gameplay, revised structure of side-missions, managing items and weapons is a lot easier and intuitive as is the character progression system, superbly told story, admirable attention to characterization and dialogue, incredibly immersive, great voice acting, noticeable visual improvements, thumbs up for the music and sound effects;
Infrequent AI bugs, not all gamers are into action, RPG elements were watered down and may potentially disappoint fans who prefer traditional RPGs the likes of Dragon Age (so, I guess they should go and play Dragon Age then, huh?).