Mass Effect 2 Review

Posted on February 28, 2010 by

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Part two in Bioware’s epic trilogy of Space Opera action RPGs, Mass Effect 2 takes everything that was good in the original and turns it up to eleven, before discarding everything that wasn’t so good like a mouldy old twix.

It’s two years after the events of the first game where Shepard and crew saved the galaxy from the Reaper Sovereign and his lackey Saren. Shepard has been missing, presumed dead after an attack on the Normandy in the first minutes of the game, but it turns out that he’s been revived by the devious Cerberus corporation (A xenophobic organisation who have a ‘humans first’ policy) who want him to investigate why a number of human colonies have vanished without trace, beginning an epic quest to recruit a crack team for what might, or might not be, a suicide mission.

Mass Effect 2 lets you carry over your saved games from Mass Effect 1, so you can keep playing as your old Shepard, and carries over all the choices that version of him/her you made in the original, no matter how insignificant they might have seemed. Going back to being my old biotic renegade space lesbian was like slipping on a strangely well-fitted glove.

Visiting the wreckage of the Original Normandy is a sombre affair.

Inventory management is, thankfully, stripped to bare-bones- you don’t have to try organising hundreds of guns and sets of armour after every mission, lugging them to the nearest vendor to hawk for tiny prices, or turning them into omni-gel like some sort of interstellar arms dealer, instead giving you one gun of each type (Pistol, shotgun, assault rifle, sniper rifle and heavy weapon) and one suit, which can be modified, customised and slowly upgraded over time.

The cumbersome driving sections are also gone, to much rejoicing. Although taking them away does take away some of the freedom of the original game, while the one square mile of planet where everything important was conveniently located was contrived, it did at least add an element of free-roaming exploration, while going to planets now just means going through a vaguely linear series of shooting galleries.

Biotic attacks are even more deadly this time around

The Normandy (An entirely new ship) is bigger and better now, too, with upgrade bays, a more fleshed out interior that means this time around, the ship isn’t bigger on the inside than the outside. Shepard has his own quarters, in which he can set up model ships, buy and feed fish, and house his Space Hamster.

Relationships with your crewmates are deeper this time around, too, as you will have to win over their loyalty in order to ensure you get one of the better endings (i.e., one where they don’t all die), and the number of romantic relationships possible have been increased to please fans who wanted to romance the Alien squad members like Garrus, having found workarounds to little problems like genetic incompatibilities.

Pose as a team!

Mass Effect 2 looks astonishingly good, and plays far more smoothly than the original, although you will need a top of the line PC if you want to play it (Or an Xbox). While the shooting-from-cover mechanics aren’t as polished as, say, Uncharted 2, they are definitely getting there. Mass Effect 2 is an absolute gem of a sequel and well worth a play.

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Posted in: Games