A Way Too Late Game Review: Mass Effect 2
Welcome back! I hope everyone is having a good week so far. I know I’ve been too inconsistent with posting lately, but I’ve been working really hard to remedy that. This week’s short game review is my about one of the best games in one of my favorite game series of all time. I have played this game more than once over the years and will continue to do so. One of these days, I will stream it, start to finish. This game was Bioware at their finest. The story, the characters, the details…just everything was damn near perfect imo. Mass Effect 2 was released January 26, 2010 by Bioware for the Xbox 360, Windows and later for PS3. Even though it was released a year later, the PS3 version accounted for 10% of sales in the month it was released which opened a brand new legion of fans for the franchise. This game has been considered one of the best games of all time, let’s review why.
Short Story Synopsis:
A direct continuation of the first Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 starts off by your character (male or female Shepard) dying from escaping an attack of unknown origin. Yes you read that correctly. DEAD. But thanks to The Illusive Man, you are essentially “brought back to life” by a organization called Cerberus. Cerberus wants to go after the aliens that have been attacking human colonies who are called Collectors (race of alien that you learn attacked you at the beginning of the game). Like the name suggests, they collect various things and no one knows(knew) why. To battle this threat (to humans, which is all that matters to The Illusive Man), Shepard is charged with putting together a team to essentially save the galaxy. As you progress, you learn about The Illusive Man’s real plan for finding and stopping the Collectors which ends up becoming a suicide mission for you and your team.
Story: The amount of world building this game series has created is still on of the most amazing things to witness. As I stated before, the game continues and builds from ME1. The races of aliens you met and became familiar from the first game have even more depth in this game. The conversations and relationships you develop throughout the game turn out to affect the characters later in the game which could be positive or negative. Most of the choices you make throughout the game, both main story or side missions, will affect the larger story in some way. There are missions that can be done that affects the “loyalty” of a character to Shepard (which affects the end game :-}). For example, if a certain choice is made during one of your team’s “loyalty” mission, you will end up with another character altogether. The way the story flows, it almost forces you to play the game over and over again to see how different choices affect you and your characters in the end.
Gameplay: If you have played the first Mass Effect, then you will see a much improved gameplay compared to the first game. This time around, instead of having to gather specific kind of ammo (aside from special ammo), you only need to collect thermal clips that literally fit in every other type of weapon. In the original, you would have to collect pistol ammo, or light ammo (these are examples) which became increasingly hard to scavenge as the game progressed.
The combat is a lot more fluid than it was in the first game (ME3 really perfected this but that’s another review). The ability to be able “map” your characters abilities for quick use in combat is smooth which makes combat decision making a little more strategy based. You are also able to somewhat control your squad while in combat which comes in handy when you want some heat off of you. This kind of forces you to consider other squad members powers and weapons. You can change you squad mates before setting out on main story missions or side missions.
Character Development: I’m a stickler for good character development. Mass Effect 2 delivers on this better than most games at the time. Some of this stems from the continuation of the first game but as you do missions (both main and side), the choices you make in conversations affect the main characters relationships. There are characters that hate each other but you have to make a choice between the two to which one ends up not wanting to talk to you often. This also affects the chance of romancing certain characters (I know that’s what you came for lol). You will become attached to certain characters because in some way they resonate with you.
Nothing, it’s perfect. Okay, I’m joking (kind of). As with most games, there are bugs that could seem annoying. For example, during some cut-scenes, the dialogue would be ahead of the animation and then there would be a “dead” frame while the dialogue catches up with the animation. It’s not game stopping but it is a inconvenience while playing. Mass Effect 2 also has some of the longest loading times between scenes…at least when it first came out. It was so bad that they immediately created a patch to fix the load times (though they are still kind of long, especially in the PS3 version).
The last thing one could consider a “con” would be the extensive game universe. I know that doesn’t sound like a bad thing but let me explain. I love games with lore…especially lore involving aliens and space. With all of the little missions and ability to speak to almost any character throughout the game, you can find yourself lost in the sauce. Like I said, it’s not really a bad thing but you can easily find yourself straying away from the main story missions (loyalty missions included) so you will end up playing longer than you expected.
My Final Thoughts
Aliens. Biotic Humans. Spaceships . Great story. Minimal game bugs. Mass Effect 2 is one of the best games I have ever played. The way your choices literally affect the story is something really to behold. The amount of detail that went into the world building, characters, and story is something I hadn’t seen since Knights of the Old Republic. Yes there were minor bugs that made the gameplay a little annoying to play but overall a great game.
Overall score: 8/10
Have you played this game? What did you think of my review? Let us know in the comments! If you haven’t played this game and own a PS3 or Xbox 360, you can buy your own copy of the game here! Bear with me as I continue to improve my game reviews! Until next time, Nerd out!