Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Mass Effect 2 | Review

Synopsis: My most recent review copy is from our friends at Electronic Arts, who have provided us with the review copy so that you, our viewers, have day one impressions on the second chapter to the blockbuster trilogy which is Mass Effect. For anyone new to the series, Mass Effect is a science fiction shooter RPG from the award winning development team at BioWare. The sequel will once again put the player in the shoes of Commander Shepard, to seek and lead the most dangerous crew members that the galaxy has to offer, taking on a mission so risky; most would say its suicide. Character interactions and space exploration still play a key role in the futuristic storyline, delivering another blockbuster experience. A new feature to this entry is the ability to import your save file from the first entry to continue the story with the decisions made in the original effecting events players will encounter in the sequel, while new players to the universe will be able to create a Commander Shepard to their own liking choosing the character’s sex, appearance, and personality to uncover the events that happened in the original game, before taking on the new adventure. So after much anticipation, here is your spoiler free review of Mass Effect 2.

Praise: To start, I have not completed the game; I am fifteen hours into the story using the sentinel character class. From the story to the gameplay, BioWare took an already great game and added to story, character classes, arsenal of weapons, and new supporting characters to make playing through this game feel like an adventure I do not want to end. Unfortunately, I managed to have lost my save file from the original, so I was unable to see how importing my save file would affect my play through, but the detailed character customization and new character classes had me easily forgetting about my original Shepard and spending about a half an hour making a newer improved Shepard to save humanity. Action sequences are still played from the third person view, but the new location based damage system provides a stronger sense of control to shoot off targeted body parts or exploit enemy’s weak points, to disable or destroy all that stands in your path. So far, the galaxy seems to be a lot larger than in the first entry to the trilogy with both familiar and new planets and solar systems to recruit team members and probe for resources to improve weapons and armor. This did not seem like it would be a major addition to the sequel, but I found myself spending a lot my time resources on nearby planets whenever I completed a story mission. Choosing conversation responses still require thought as your actions have a reaction to how the story plays out and how NPC’s interact with you, and a new conversation system allows you control the conversation, sometimes with much appreciated force.

Gripes: This may be the first time in which I had to look for things that were not user friendly to the player or gameplay aspects that took away from the experience, but in terms of Mass Effect 2 it was hard with a game of this caliber. My first issue in which I just experienced was, having to change disks at certain points of the play through. I felt this wasn’t a big deal until I realized that even if you install the game to hard drive, you still have to swap disks, and you have to swap more than just once, depending on the order in wish you choose to complete the story. I was unable to take advantage of the Cerberus network as the content is made available on the launch date, but once redeeming the code, I was able to see three pieces of content to go in and download. The only nuance I came across with the gameplay was with the cover system, the issue was that at times I would not be able to enter cover to avoid getting shot and killed behind objects that appeared to be useable as cover, and other times I would be taking cover and not be able to aim, making it so that I would have to leave cover to aim at enemies, making my character vulnerable to gunfire.

Overall, Mass Effect 2 is a well polished, graphically enhanced experience that plays like an interactive blockbuster movie, leaving me yearning for more each time I had to turn it off and return to real life. While the original was a revolutionary entry to the RPG genre, this sequel proves that the Mass Effect universe still has a lot to offer. While some may not have played through the original, it is nice but not necessary before playing through Mass Effect 2, as it provides newcomers a background to what took place leading up to the sequel. Lastly, there is a lot of replay value to this title, as stated my review is based on the fifteen hours I have currently invested, and I am already thinking about how I want to play through the story on my second time. Well done EA and BioWare, you have done it again.

Mashbuttons.com gives Mass Effect 2 a 10 out of 10

Mass Effect 2 is available now on the Xbox 360 and PC.

1 comment:

  1. Yes truly an epic game. I am only several hours into it at this point, and am thoroughly captivated.