* Prices may differ from that shown
have owned and played all three of the mass effect triology and have thoroughly enjoyed them all with the second one being the one I favour over the three of them. I play it on the xbox 360 and have found the gameplay very good. Graphics are very good in comparasson to some games I have played and I have always prefered third person shooter games over first person shooter on a console. The story line is good continuing the story of the reapers, who are machines, who in this particular story line are enforcing the abduction of humans by the collecters to make a reaper/human hybrid.
You are for the final part of the game at the collectors base where you have to destroy the reaper/human hybrid and you are then to opt wether to overtake their base or destroy it. The choices you make during the gameplay will be relevant to the next stage of this game and the third game of the series.
I would recommend this game to others, and have played it several times myself.
Mass Effect 2 continues the story of Commander Shephard on his mission to end the threat of the Reapers and it brings some new changes to the game, all but one of them good.
-The old cover system was improved by having a 'touch button to enter/exit cover' this eliminates that annoying 'whoopsie your in cover again' that the original mass effect seemed to have.
-The inventory has been dispensed of. This eliminated all of those horrid moments where you were converting hunders of weapon upgrades into omni gel just to free up inventory space.
-No more laborious Mako exploring on planet. The Side mission are simply land where the mission is, take out the bad guys, save the day and take off again, no spending 20 minutes trying to climb a mountain in the mako to find theres another 5 of them before you get to your destination.
-The introduction of resource mining for upgrades. This is the only tedious part of the game although it is an optional feature you will soon learn you require it to upgrade your weapons and armour and it becomes quite tedious scanning planets and launching probes.
The storyline is truely exceptional and the action is much better with the new changes to the cover features, improved squad member AI also. The conflicts between the characters are truely believable and the sense of being a part of the whole scheme of things really becomes apparant towards the end. The moral choices are just as thought provoking as they were in the first game and the consequences of your actions really become noticable in the second game. The game autosaves a lot more frequently too so if you forget to save at cruciable moments and die you wont have to retrace much of the game before you are back in the thick of it.
The Mass Effect series is one that I have a longstanding love and affection for. For all it's faults and foibles, these are the games I always seem to come back to when I tire of my shiny new purchases and just want to lose myself in a game. In this review, we're signing up with Cerberus and returning to the fight with Mass Effect 2.
Mass Effect 2 opens up with the death of Commander (First-name-lost-to-history) Shepard and the destruction of his/her vessel at the hands of an unknown enemy. Fast-forward two years and Shepard finds him/herself surprisingly alive and in the employ of Cerberus, a shadowy pro-human group lead by the mysterious Illusive Man. Human colonies are disappearing and Shepard's been brought back from beyond the grave to find out why. However, the galaxy has become a very different place in the two years you've been gone. Now, you must gather your allies, both new and old, and lead them on what everyone else calls a suicide mission.
The first thing that Mass Effect 2 does is allow you to import your character from the original Mass Effect, meaning that decisions you made in the previous game have bearings on events in this one. This keeps the game feeling personal and virtually guarantees replays. After all, we all want to know how things might have gone differently. Mechanically, Mass Effect 2 is quite a departure from the original Mass Effect. Combat feels slicker and more responsive, with an improved cover system (admittedly ripped straight from any other third-person shooter) and more distinction between weapon types. However, the biotic and tech abilities that made the previous title so distinctive have been substantially reigned in, almost to the point of being useless. Most of them will not even effect an enemy until you've whittled down their special defenses, by which point they're virtually finished already. This is then further compounded by the limited number of abilities you and your squadmates have access to, making it very difficult to balance your team effectively. Armour and weapon modifications are removed, instead replaced by purchasable upgrades which require special resources to obtain. Unfortunately, gathering these vital (and they are vital) resources is a tedious task involving scanning planets and probing them every time you detect a juicy deposit of minerals. This is time consuming and, worst of all, costs you credits as you expend fuel and probes hoovering them up. The writing and aesthetic design is still top-notch, however, with major improvements to the graphics and cutscenes. The game also introduces a new interrupt option during dialogue, allowing you to perform a dramatically action and alter the course of a conversation, often with firearms if you like playing the renegade.
Mass Effect 2 improves in some areas but stumbles backwards in others. The good writing and characterization are still there, but the focus on shooting robs the game of some of its predecessor's individuality and charm, especially for players who prefer playing an ability based class. Still definitely worth a look. Good game, but perhaps a shaky sequel.
Mass Effect 2 is quite simply the best game of 2010 and in my opinion the best game ever made.
Mass Effect 2 is the sequel to the 2007 release Mass Effect. Mass Effect has it all, the game play is great, the graphics are superb, there is so much content and value, the story is tremendous and you will get very attached to the characters.
I bought this game for $20 and it probably the best $20 I have ever spent. I bought this game with huge expectations and Mass Effect 2 absolutely blew those expectations. It delivered on everything.
You play as Commander Shepard and go on a suicide mission to save the galaxy from the Reapers. The Reapers want to wipe away the human race. You must gain trust of your crew, to be successful. The characters in Mass Effect 2 are great. One stand out is Mordin, a scientist who has a great personality and who will make you laugh throughout this great game. The voice acting by the entire cast is very amazing.
Mass Effect 2 is an action-rpg. The game play is absolutely great. It has been improved a lot from the original and you will love it. Mass Effect is unique because it lets you decide how you want to play your story. All the choices you make will affect the story. I love how you get to choose your dialogue, that is one of the many things I love about this great game. If there's one minor thing that might annoy you it's that the loading times are a bit long, but that shouldn't annoy you because there so many other great things.
The graphics in Mass Effect 2 are also great. They look tremendous, especially if you are playing on an HDTV. Some characters bodies and faces have been scanned from the people who voiced them so they look just like them. Those characters include Miranda Lawson who is voiced by Yvonne Strahovski and The Illusive Man who is voiced by Martin Sheen.
This game also has a lot of content which means it has a lot of value. It took me about 35 hours to beat it. There is so much you can do in the world of Mass Effect 2. There are a lot of side missions and the main mission are also quite long. You will definitely get you moneys worth.
Mass Effect 2 in conclusion, is the best game I have ever played and I am sure you will love it. It is just a master piece. It is only $20 right now. I would buy this game if it was $60 even if it was $100. Games of this class are extremely rare. Mass Effect 2 is an absolute must buy.
Mass Effect 2 has the unfortunate task of following up the great Mass Effect, and it does not disappoint.
Mass Effect follows the adventures of Commander Shepard after the events of Mass Effect 1. The game begins with the Normandy getting destroyed by an enemy ship and Shepard falling to an unknown planet to his death. The game then follows Shepard and his new eleven crew members working for Cerberus, a pro-human company instead of the Alliance.
A very unique feature in Mass Effect 2 is the ability to import a character and all his/her choices from Mass Effect 1. Unfortunately, all the weapons and experience points cannot be carried over due to balance issues, but importing does give your Mass Effect 2 experience a lot of bonuses that can help on higher difficulties.
If you have not played Mass Effect 1 or have deleted its save, do not fear, you can start again with a new customizable Shepard, although it does not give you the full experience.
The combat in which you usually are engaged in is not turn-based like Knights of the Old Republic but fluent, cover-based action. The combat is greatly improved than in Mass Effect 1 and classes now vary more.
Dialogue is fully fleshed out again, with characters reacting to either insults or praise. In Mass Effect 2, depending on what your choices are, you can be a Paragon, Renegade or Neutral. Renegades usually just get the job done and Paragons usually follow the rules.
The 11 crew mates in Mass Effect 2 are believable and have very intelligent A.I during combat. They also react differently to your choices in the game.
Side Quests are greatly improved in Mass Effect 2 as the terrible MAKO has been removed and landscapes vary more.
The universe in Mass Effect 2 is once really good but the Citadel is a bit disappointing.
The worst thing about Mass Effect 2 is the lack of RPG elements. The game completely ditches weapon mods in favour of shallow upgrades.
Mass Effect 2 really grabs your attention from the get go. I had not played the Original Mass Effect, but I got hold of a cheap copy of ME2 and decided to give it a go. The first thoughts through my mind were, I cannot believe I didn't play this sooner, it's amazing! My second thought was; I'm glad I am now experiencing this game for the first time when so many others no longer have that luxury. On to the game...
Graphics: This is a beautiful game, the environments, textures and details are fantastic and the opening scene/training mission is a wonderful render of a derelict ship, ripped apart by a rival ship from which you now have to escape. As the hull has been breached, you are in a spacesuit and using a form of artificial gravity. The feel from this is intense, especially with an adequate sound system of headphones. The atmosphere the game presents sets the precedence for the remainder of the game, and it lives up to! Each world/Planet/Station you attend has a sense of individuality and beauty allowing you to easily identify quickly where you are. Very hi-tech, sci-fi feel about everything in this game, the cut scenes are excellent and the face mapping and speech patterns are true. There are occasions where you will navigate your ship "The Normandy" across the galaxies, through Mass Effect Relays and to mining planets. This particular part of the game is less glamorous, whereby you navigate a small ship on screen, across a solar system screen that reminded me of a primitive game, not Mass Effect 2! However, I could not allow this take away from the excellence.
Game play: Like any 3rd person of the shoulder shooter, there are some nagging in the camera angles from time to time, but not enough to generate a dislike to the game. The in game graphics are as delightful as the cut scenes. The character renders are clean and believable. The storyline is massive, and this game lends itself well to side missions and loyalty missions. Basically the aim of the game is to recruit a squad of specialists to march into battle with you. Each squad member has a loyalty mission which will gain this character addition powerups, which comes in handy in the final battle, so keep a track of what you need to do for these. The side missions are primarily about gaining credits and character development in either a good or bad way - This allows you to change the direction of conversations during the role playing elements of the game.
Sound: This game has a beautifully mastered soundtrack and ambience, increasing the pace and beats of the faster action plots, while remaining in the background and light for the in-between bits. I can't say I know exactly what laser pistols and kinetic powers would sound like, but the sound effects in this game means I don't have to imagine!
Overall a worthy experience, well worth the money and playing prior to Mass Effect 3... 9/10
Mass Effect 2 probably has to be one of my favorite games of 2010. Despite some of its frustrating technical problems, BioWare's first in what it promised to be a trilogy took the role playing genre to new cinematic heights. Mass Effect 2 is a better game in near every way to its predesscor. Play the game for 20 minutes and you will know what I mean.
The characters are what truly make this game the ball of epic that it is. As you progress through the story and understand each character better and better, you start to let them sort of become a part of you. Their desires become your desires. You want what they want. You understand their personality. It truly is remarkable understanding Commander Sheppard's mind. It isn't white and black, it's mixed and murky. The minor characters are just as interesting. This is one of those games where you just want to go and talk to every person in the galaxy, as they all have something interesting to say.
Such a fantastic game which I picked up for ridiculously cheap thanks to a "one day only sale" on TheHut.com. This has been the first game I've ever replayed on my 360, and I'm just polishing off my 3rd run through to see and do everything! Great follow on from the first in the series, with brilliant hooks and throw backs to the story and decisions you made. The game moves at a great pace and really compels you to go and try everything and gives you the freedom to explore. The story isn't as as strong as the first Mass Effect but the characters, weapons, combat, levelling, powers and enemies have all improved so much I can easily overlook the plot, which I don't think I've ever been able to do with other games.
Mass Effect 2 continues the Sci-Fi trilogy that began in the first game and there is only one word to describe Mass Effect 2. Amazing. For starters you can carry over your save from the first game so the choices you make will be shown in this game, some big and some small. Story wise the game picks up 2 years after the first game left. Commander Shepherd has supposedly been killed in action and the Normandy has been destroyed. Shepherd has been revived by the organization Cerberus mentioned in the first game. The organization's leader, the Illusive Man (voiced by Martin Sheen) asks Shepherd to investigate human colony disappearances across the galaxy and from there you led across the galaxy to recruit a team to take on the Collectors, the main enemies of the game. Gameplay has been tightened up so the cover and shooting mechanics feel much more streamlined than in the first game with the RPG also streamlined to feel more like a fluid progression. This may disappoint some Hardcore RPG fanatics but trust me that the RPG elements are still there, as well the conversation wheel from the first game where your choices will mostly make an impact in this game as well as the last game in the trilogy. The game also features fantastic voice acting from various Hollywood stars and the whole experience of the game makes it a Must Buy for any Hardcore Gamer.
I recently bought Mass Effect 2 and wanted to share my thoughts with you all.
One word to describe this game - EPIC.
If you loved the first one then be prepared to fall in love all over again, this game is awesome! If you haven't played the first game then don't worry, you can pick this up and crack on without too much trouble. Everything is re-capped (and for those who want to know more, there is always YouTube).
This sequel continues the blend between shooter and RPG, though its more RPG light than the first instalment. Not everybody will be happy but I think it works really well :)
The RPG element consists of opening up good or bad dialog and action options, as well as up skilling your team. For the most part you find yourself doing or saying "the right thing". It's still good to know that you can be a nasty piece of work and do the bad thing if you choose, Mwahahahahahaha!!
Some good re-play value there I feel.
I don't want to say too much about the main story, for the most part you are tasked with assembling a crack team to investigate why entire human colonies are vanishing, who is behind it and how they can be stopped. There are also countless side stories and quests for a better way of describing them. These side quests are optional but all flesh out the already muscular story.
As well as recruiting your team, you also have the option of diving into their own little story branches and performing missions for them in order to gain their loyalty. These are again totally optional but well worth doing to gain the extra ability's and skill options.
Most of the issues with the first game have been fixed, however the load times between missions are still a little long for my liking, though now they are masked with tactical and schematic screens as opposed to your character stood in a lift.
The story is exceptional and the dialog is better than ever, the voice acting is immense which is a refreshing change in a videogame. The score is also atmospheric and helps suck you into the epicenes of the gaming universe.
You can't lose, lots of action, consequences to those actions, multiple story branches, more side quests than you can shake a big stick at, be a good character or a bad one, lots of DLC (Downloadable Content) available, bargain price in most shops (and online).
You also get the option to invest in a significant amount of upgrades, to both yourself and your team. These upgrades cost money and elements, the latter which can be mined by scanning nearby planets in the currently active solar system. Well worth the time taken to scan each planet (and quite relaxing also).
You will want to keep on playing to see what develops next. You also can't help doing just one more side mission to see what it yields.
Don't just take my word for it, buy it!! You will not be disappointed. 10/10 all the way for me!
The sequel to one of the best sci-fi RPG, 3rd person action shooter is back in Mass effect 2. This Xbox 360 exclusive made by bioware has got the perfect blend of gaming element to class it as sci-fi/ action/ 3rd person shooter.
First the story. The game has you control commander shepherd and his team as you travel around the galaxy to neutralise the threat from a mysterious force which has been abducting entire human colonies. He does so with the help of his ship and the story is densely packed with main mission, side missions, individual crew members mission. Rest assured there is plenty of variety over the previous game in terms of missions and numerous outcome to each and everyone.
Something truly wonderful is the fact that the side missions and optional quests have a direct impact on the main quest story and its final outcome. For example a mission might help you develop your ships shield and make your character faithful to you thereby improving their effectiveness in the final missions.
The gameplay is more along the lines of knights of the old republic. You can control shepherd and up to 2 other crew members. Take cover and use one of 4 different weapons at a time. In addition depending on your class your characters could use biotic powers (mass effect magic) or tech power (technology weapons like added shields/ disable) Its got a very refined cover system similar to gears of war.
A big part of the game is how you create shepherd. You can make him male/ female and customize his appearance and character background and the story would change with him. Another big part of the game is how you interact with various characters which is necessary to fully understand the story. Some can have the wow factor, whereas some are just plain funny.
The music is exceptional with great score during battles and the cutscenes are also amazing. The sound effects be it weapons discharge or something exploding is authentic enough to make you believe you are in the game. The graphics is another amazing factor in the game both of character models and of the environment. It can easily be seen that the developers spend plenty of time on game level design. The various alien species are also innovative and realistic
Overall the game is a great play and one that should definetely not be missed unless your not an alien/ sci fi fan
This game was released in January. Amazon currently sells it for £15.
Mass Effect is a science fiction Role Playing Game from Bioware, who previously gave us Baldur's Gate and Knights of the Old Republic. That's quite a pedigree. It was an absorbing, rich, and generally well realised adventure in which you played a tough space soldier called Shepard who had to fight an army of robots to save all organic life in the Universe. The big revelation was that there was an even scarier army of incredibly powerful, ancient robots called Reapers, which were preparing to descend on the universe and destroy all life. This leads nicely in to the sequel.
The sequel does what a good sequel has to do - the same thing, but louder, and with better gameplay. The gameplay improvements are of paramount importance; great though Mass Effect was in a lot of ways, there were some big problems that stopped it from being a true classic.
Anyway, this starts in a most uncompromising fashion by immediately destroying your trusty spaceship, the Normandy, and killing you. Yep, the hero (or heroine) dies, right at the start of the game. But that's OK, you get brought back to life by the shadowy Cerberus Corporation. They intend to use you as a secret agent to fight the Reapers, and you soon find yourself gathering a new team of followers and preparing for a big old fight. This plot twist clears away your personal life from the previous game, allowing awkward facts like your romance with the blue lady to not get in the way. It also clears away any continuity baggage for people who've dived straight into this game without playing Mass Effect first.
The plot is OK. You get about ten followers (including downloadable content characters), and each of them has a reasonably good story arc. They're all scripted pretty well, and a couple of familiar faces return from the first game. The main quest is good, and as in the first game, the threat is epic enough to feel like it's worth worrying about. I hadn't really noticed, but the Reapers are basically Lovecraft's Elder Gods in robot form, and it's always good to get a bit of Lovecraft in there.
If there's a criticism of the plot, it's that it's a bit... well... humourless. OK, the first game wasn't exactly full of laughs either. But for instance, Baldur's Gate 2, still the benchmark for games like this in a lot of ways, had a good smattering of comedy characters among your team-mates. Here you have maybe two followers who are kind of funny. My favourite is the eccentric alien scientist Mordin, who sings Gilbert and Sullivan at you at one point. But even he is nursing a secret guilt about his part in creating a biological weapon which neutered an entire species. Just lighten up!
In addition, the ending doesn't feel quite as impressive compared to the ending of the first one. And there isn't really a villain. There are evil aliens by the score, but the ultimate enemy remains a bit faceless and conceptual. I like a bad guy I can really get my teeth into, someone to gloat and sneer at me and ultimately die with a howl of anguished rage. Preferably voiced by David Warner, or possibly Malcolm McDowell.
While it does look like this would be fine to play if you've not played the first one, you will get a lot more out of it if you have and import a saved game. You meet several characters you've previously met, helped, fought or generally pissed off. Cerberus, you're new employer, was a source of minor villainy in the first game, so some of your old allies now look at you askance. But it's all written so that you probably wouldn't have any difficulty figuring things out if you're new to Mass Effect. It doesn't exactly break radical new ground, plotwise, so knowledge of generic clichés will see you through. And although you're apparently operating slightly outside the law this time round, you end up mainly just doing the same kinds of things as you did in the last game.
There were four major problems with the first game, and happily they've all been resolved now. The most serious problem was that the combat system was clunky, unintuitive and frustrating. This has now been fixed, and it just plays as a regular shooting game, usually third person but switching to first person occasionally when you're aiming at something. This works fine, and, crucially, makes the fights enjoyable. The second problem was that the system for collecting and upgrading weapons and armour was unbelievably annoying and fiddly. Happily they've done away with it completely and replaced it with a minimalist system in which you just upgrade existing weapons instead of collecting new ones.
The other major problem was the samey-ness of the side quests, most of which involved spending ages driving around in a stupid space truck looking for bases to go and have fights in. They've got rid of the space truck, for one thing. But the generic side quests have been scrapped in favour of fewer but better developed missions. There's still a lot of variety, and you'll still stumble across random missions while exploring new solar systems. But the missions are better crafted and more fun. Some roleplaying games - the first Mass Effect, or Dragon Age: Origins, for instance - spend too much time on the roleplaying side, allowing the actual gameplay to suffer a bit. Lessons have obviously been learned here.
It's not perfect, of course. Although the graphics are an improvement over number one, people's skin still looks pretty horrible. Humans look like they're made of shiny foam rubber. Weirdly, when your character walks, her head lolls to one side. Disappointingly, the costumes aren't so relentlessly focused on buttocks anymore.
The main problem is that it takes a long time to load, even if you've installed the game to a hard-drive. It comes on two disks, so there's a bit of disk-swapping (not much). Inevitably, with better quality content, there's more to load. But it's very frustrating when you've died and just want to rush straight back into the fight if you then have to wait ages for it to load up what were just doing a second ago.
It's also a bit too easy. I wasn't tested particularly; I breezed through the final boss fight on my first try, compared to the hour it took me in the first game. While I found the story engaging enough, I was more interested in the game. It sometimes feels like the bits you play are just there to fill space between cut scenes, which would normally alienate me completely. This gets away with it just about, but there's one climactic moment where you don't get to do anything for about ten minutes, which is going too far.
As before, you can romance some of your team-mates. It's odd that, although I got to meet my blue-skinned girlfriend from the first one, she didn't seem interested in carrying on where we left off. (Tsk. Women. Leave them alone for two years without a word, you'd think they'd at least be happy to see you!) I was annoyed that there were no bisexual romance options in this game (I always play as a woman when given the chance). This might be in response to right-wing spitemongers reacting with calculated outrage to the first game. Also, the love scene in this version is a lot tamer (and the one in the first game was pretty damn tame as it was). Still, I did get a sexy cuddle from my female secretary, so it wasn't a complete loss. (Yeah, you have a secretary in this game. She's there for you to rescue and seduce, just like a real secretary.)
The voice acting is all good, and the cast includes Martin Sheen as your shadowy boss. The music is nice, a mix of orchestral pomp and light techno. Basically, most of the incidentals in this game are terrific. The downloadable content, most of which you get for free when you buy the game, is surprisingly good, especially a sad mission in which you get to explore the wreckage of your old ship.
I think on the whole I'd recommend playing through Mass Effect 1 and importing your character into 2. But you can skip 1 if you like and still have a great time. This took me about 30 hours to complete. There's going to be a third Mass Effect, to finish the Trilogy, although I'm kind of wondering how they'll tie together all the disparate strands. But whatever the future holds, Mass Effect 2 is the best RPG I've played for years.
After playing the first game and enjoying it, i was looking forward to Mass Effect 2 greatly. So for fathers day my son got me this. :)
Firstly if you have not played the first I highly recommend you do first of all, not only does this mean you will understand the game better, but you can also transfer characters from Mass Effect 1 into this game, some of the choices you made in first game show up in Mass Effect 2. You also get a bonus to research materials when you do this.
The FPS element of Mass Effect is greatly improved, it now feels like an actual shooter, the squad command interface has been greatly improved along with the AI. Your squad mates are intelligent and take cover as needed. The enemy also flank or rush forcing you to break cover.
Now you can research new weapons and upgrades using research, instead of going down to a planet you scan the surface launching probes to gather resources. These resources are then used to create new weapons, upgrades and upgrades to the ship. Gone are the days of running about in a mako for a little XP or Credits, it now is a bit more work but much better rewards in scanning.
Inventory is gone, you pick which weapon you want at the start of a mission, not what type but just which brand, for example you can choose between a shotgun with high damage but low range and shots or one with low damage but longer range and greater rate of fire.
The Story is good, the characters actualy seem to have a bit of life in them now when you talk, instead of standing like a statue they can become agitated or angry during the course of the conversation.
I feel this was superior to the original in many ways and anyone who enjoyed the first will love this one! It has improved in every level and i cannot wait until the 3rd game! When i got this I sat at it solid for a week! (40hrs of game time and more than one play through is recommended.)
I read recent good reviews for this game, so I had to see what the fuss was about.
I tell you something it's one of the best games i've EVER played.
Where shall I start?
First off, the storyline is very enjoyable, with lots of great voice acting. The best thing about the storyline is the choices. Mass Effect 2 has this choice changing storyline, which i must admit is amazing!
in one cut scene your friend was about to kill someone and you can have the choice by either stopping them, or letting them live. You will gain respect on each decison you make which opens up new stuff, such as new cutscenes and how people treat you, such as whether you'll get a discount at a store, etc.
The main story itself takes around 15-20 hours to complete, but that's missing out the best bits!
The best bits of the game are the side missions, there's so much variety on what to do. You can have missions such as protecting someone, fighting through guards to get to someone important, mining for new weapons, armour, health and delivering a package to someone.
I haven't written a review for a few weeks now. There's a good reason for this and that reason is Mass Effect 2. Any free time I've had recently has been spent on this game. I have been saying to myself I'll get on dooyoo and write a review or two but instead I get lured into playing more Mass Effect 2. Let me tell you why...
You play as Shepard (Male or Female). Shepard is the hero of the first game having saved the galaxy from destruction once already. This time Shepard works for a mysterious organization called Cerberus led by the Illusive man. Human colonies have been disappearing all across the galaxy and you've been put in charge to assemble a team to uncover the problem and remove any potential danger to the galaxy. There is a huge backstory from ME1 however there is a handy Codex log which gives you everything you need to know. You may feel out of place to begin with if you haven't played the first but you'll soon get up to speed and know your quarians from your turians.
Mass effect is a third person Action/RPG set in the distant future. Most websites and magazines will probably describe Mass Effect as a straight RPG however the combat plays out more like Gears of War than a traditional RPG. It is fast paced, tense, full of action and uses the traditional cover system now seen in most 3rd person shooters to good effect. Mass effect is free roaming and you can travel from planet to planet when ever you choose. Main quests and side quests are separated whilst you are free to roam around a few cities to shop, socialize and gain extra experience. The game however isn't fully open ended. You only gain experience through doing missions; not by fighting. You can only enter combat zones whilst on a mission meaning certain areas of the game are only accessible once. If you miss something during a mission that's it; you won't be able to come back again. Thankfully the in game display highlights anything of interest from enemies, items, money and even explodable crates. It means you shouldn't miss too much if you go looking.
Your characters level up in a traditional RPG sense. Every time you reach a new level you are allocated squad points which can be spent on abilities and skills. The levelling up aspects of Mass Effect 2 are very dumbed down. You only have a few abilities to level up and each ability only goes up to Level 4. It's more of a case of just gaining experience to max out abilities like a hack n slash game. It's not like a normal RPG where you can customise, mix n match and choose how your characters progress. Accompanying combat and levelling up is a resource based mini game. Through playing the game you will find and unlock upgrades for weapons, armour and special abilities. These upgrades require natural resources (One of Element Zero, iridium, palladium or platinum) to obtain it. Resources are found by scanning planets in the galaxy and sending probes down to collect the resources. This is a vital part of the game because if you don't research upgrades your characters will be very weak
Where Mass Effect 2 becomes a stand out game is the world itself. There is a hugely in depth conversation system. Whilst engaging in a conversation with someone you are often presented with 3 different ways to respond. One being paragon (Good), one being renegade (Evil) and the other being neutral. Through conversations you gain paragon and renegade points. The more points you gain the more conversation options you unlock which can make tricky conversations much easier. They will also unlock interrupt options where you can stop a conversation with a physical action. What's good here is that it's not one or the other. You can gain both paragon or renegade points at the same time. It's not a one way system.
The world (Or should I say Galaxy) of Mass Effect is incredibly impressive. There are various races in the game each with their own history, politics, religion and story to accompany the main story. The amount of time and effort the creators must have put in to make this game must be massive. It is so detailed and everything is linked together. You couldn't have asked for a better setting for a game. It is simple a joy to be a part of
At first glance Mass Effect may not blow you away. On a second glance the game is visually stunning. Cut scenes are no Final Fantasy master pieces but they are incredibly well presented. They are perfectly suited for an action packed sci-fi film. The likes of star trek/star wars has clearly influenced the game but that's only a good thing; watching spaceships attack each other is seriously cool stuff. In game graphics are also highly impressive. Some of the planets/cities you explore are beautifully drawn. Especially the Citadel and Illium. They look the part and are very believable
Music wise the sounds are dramatic, tense and fitting to an epic sci-fi adventure. Again it would be fitting for any sci-fi flick out there. Mass Effect 2 however surpasses everything so far with some of the best voice acting you will ever see in a video game. There must be near a hundred talking characters in the game and they are all brilliant. All the voices are spot on; it's difficult to explain how good they are but if you can picture that Mass Effect 2 features at least 10 alien races that are all unique getting the voices right is a difficult job. Yet here it is perfect. The conservations are more than believable; you fully understand how these characters feel and act around each other. Whether it is hate, anger, love or sadness emotions are portrayed beautifully here.
The game itself is a heck of a lot of fun to play. Combat as previously said is 3rd person shooter style but with extra special abilities thrown in. These includes the ability to levitate, freeze, burn and confuse enemies as well as special ammo to increase your gun damage. There aren't many gun types in the game; only 2 or 3 guns per class (Pistol, shotgun etc). The same goes for abilities. Shepard will have at least 5 abilities (6 on a 2nd play through) and side characters will have only 3. Mass effect 2 is team based so you will always be accompanied by 2 team mates which does freshen up the combat however. Despite the limited weapons/abilities you never notice it. It's so much fun to play with all the abilities and the gun play stands up to other 3rd person shooters on it's own. The result is a fine action game. It's not super fast paced but not slow and tactical. It's a nice blend between action and tactics.
The difficulty is also spot on. On normal you will probably die somewhere between 5-10 times on one play through. However the game has regular checkpoints so it is never a big deal when you find yourself down and out. Enemies are very diverse and are much more than bog standard gunmen. Certain opponents will have special classes similar to Shepard (Engineer, Vanguard, Sentinel etc) so they will also have special abilities that you have access to. It makes them the game a lot tougher but a lot better in turn
You will have about 10 team mates to chose from by the end of the game (More if you download the extra content). This is a good and bad thing. Each character has different abilities meaning they bring a different way of fighting to combat. It freshens up the game nicely however certain characters are fairly useless to you dependent on your own class. For example if you chose to be a Vanguard then you already have 2 out of 3 of Jacks abilities. This in turn makes Miranda a very useful character because she has useful abilities that you won't have access to. I'm not sure if there was any need for so many characters. Despite them all being incredibly diverse and interesting they have no bearing on the main story line. You're also likely to pick your two favourites and use them instead of the others
The use of so many team mates was an interesting and risky move. Let me explain a little first. The game itself only has about 5 'core' main quests that are relevant to the story (Of missing human colonies). The rest of the main quests come from recruiting , and then later gaining their loyalty, members of your team. This means the actual story itself, despite being fantastically well portrayed, is actually incredibly short. The game itself will take about 30 hours but most of this will be spent not saving the galaxy. This isn't necessarily a bad thing; Oblivion and Fable both had very short stories. However it's the way it is portrayed. You feel a little bit cheated with only 5 missions. There is going to be a ME3 and after finishing ME2 you're likely to realise that this game is a series filler. What does happen is fantastic and a joy but there's no denying the focus of the story is all on ME3.
It is a common feeling throughout the game. What is here is beyond good but it could have been even better. The combat is impressive but the shallow RPG elements hold it back. The same goes for the length of the game. The mass effect universe is huge. The number of planets are in the 100's and every single planet has it's own mini description and data base. But the problem is you can do nothing on these planets apart from mine them for materials. Certain planets will have side missions available however these are few and far between. The side missions also happen to be very short and insignificant. Some do interlink and carry on from each other but there's still not enough of them. A game of this size should have heaps and heaps of side quests. The weak RPG elements are probably the reason behind this. There is potential for a massive RPG game here but it's been cut down to keep casual fans happy. I have never played ME1 however I know it had stronger RPG elements. It's a real shame this game has been stripped down because you know it should be so much more
One final gripe is the scanning/mining resource mini game. It is slow, dull and unbalanced. Scanning planets isn't fun in the slightest and you will have to do a lot of it to get the resources you need. You do unlock an upgrade which speeds up the process but it doesn't reduce the pain that much. One of the expansion packs contains a set of missions where you can dig up resources using a mini spaceship. This extra bit is so much fun and an absolute laugh. Why they didn't use this for the main game I do not know because scanning planets is so tedious. It's also incredibly frustrating. For some reason you always have too much iridium and palladium but never enough Platinum. Many a time I've had over 100000 irridium/palladium yet no platinum what so ever. It's incredibly frustrating.
I have moaned a little at the end but I like a good rant! But in all seriousness this game is an absolute joy to play from start to finish. I just wish it went on for longer because I don't want to stop playing it. At 30 hours you are getting your moneys worth. It has at least a second play through in it. I've completed it twice now, once opting for a paragon character the second time with a renegade character. The different classes are also worth a play through as they significantly change the way you play the game. I bought ME2 for £25 a few weeks ago so it is well worth picking up at this price. I'm giving this game 5 stars but it's more of a 9/10. It's not perfect but 8/10 doesn't give it justice. Having played it twice it's the journey what matters here. You'll quickly be sucked into the ME universe and you will never want to leave. Live it, breath it and enjoy it. Make friends, fall in love and kick some alien ass; I sure well did!