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Mass Effect 2 Review

Review done by: “Cyberstrike” Christopher Back (Contributing writer)

Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
Developers: Bioware
Publishers: EA

Platform: XBox 360
Other Platforms: Playstation 3 and PC

I loved Mass Effect 1 so much that I knew going into Mass Effect 2 it was either love it or hate it. The answer is I loved it.

Commander Shepard is back in action

You once again play as Commander Shepard one month after the events in the first game is killed and the Normandy is destroyed in a spectacular prologue.

Two years later Shepard finds herself (since 18 out of my 21 Shepards for ME1 were female this is the gender that I will refer to Shepard as) awakens at Cerberus research station that is under attack and you meet two new teammates Miranda and Jacob. After escaping you meet the Illusive Man (who looks like and is voiced by Martin Sheen) who sends Shepard to a small colony there Shepard meets Tali and learns that an alien race called the Collectors is now targeting and kidnapping entire human colonies in the Terminus Systems. Once done the Illusive Man gives Shepard command of the new Normandy piloted once again by Joker (voiced once again by Seth Green) and by EDI (voiced Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica) an Artificial Intelligence that Joker verbally spars with and a bunch of dossiers to gather a new crew for what might be the ultimate suicide mission.

Graphics are much better this time around with no major graphics popping or frame rates dropping (they still occasionally do but it’s nowhere near as bad as ME1). The only gripe I have with the graphics is some odd color differences in areas where they shouldn’t be like on the walls of the Normandy. Also the design and maps are much more diverse and aren’t the same structure with boxes in different places.

Bypassing locks on doors and hacking terminals are all new mini-games and aren’t just random button punching.

Here come the big guns
Combat is greatly improved for the most part with the exception of healing yourself with medi-gel this time you have to duck behind some cover to heal which can be a major pain but it does force you think before charging in but it still for the most part very enjoyable.

The exploration part of the game is VERY annoying. You scan planets and fire probes to find various elements to upgrade the armor, weapons, and the ship and find side missions but the scanning the planets are boring and gets tedious really fast.

The biggest technical problem that I have with it is that the sound goes out occasionally in the game during the climax to Samara’s loyalty quest the sound went totally out, so my advice is keep the subtitles on.

The love interests this time around only heterosexual loves except for an awkward same-sex kiss with Liara and Yeoman Kelly Chambers, who is also Shepard’s assistant with who Shepard can flirt with and who Shepard can have a private dinner with regardless of gender.

The female Shepad gets the chance to romance with Jacob, Thane, and Garrus while male Shepard gets to romance with Miranda, Jack (aka Subject Zero), and Tali. None of the love scenes that I have seen are NOT very graphic in nature and IMHO the Garrus and Tali romances are just pandering to the fanboys and fangirls who wanted to see Shepard get it on with them in ME1.

While Joker, Dr. Chakwas, Garrus and Tali rejoin the crew of the new Normandy the rest of the crew form the ME1 make only make cameos or are NPCs Liara is now an information broker and is wanting to kill the Shadow Broker (for events in Mass Effect: Redemption comic book series), Wrex is now leading the Krogan, and Ash or Kaiden (depending on who survived the first one) are reduced to only to a minor cameo.

Some of the new characters are interesting like Miranda, Legion, Samara, Thane and Mordin but others are bland like Grunt and Jacob or completely unlikeable like Jack.

The voice acting is top notch with a great list of actors including those I already listed Keith David (from The Thing) returns as Anderson, Micheal Hogan (from Battlestar Galactica) as Captain Baily, Micheal Dorn (from Star Trek: The Next Generation) as a krogan warlord whose name I forgot, Carrie-Anne Moss (from The Matrix trilogy) as Aria, and Adam Baldwin (from Serenity) as Kal Reiger just to name a few.

If you beaten the first Mass Effect the import feature allows you to bring the Shepard and the decisions you made from the first game into Mass Effect 2 which is very cool because a lot of your actions carry over and there are a lot of surprise cameos and funny call backs depending on you kill or didn’t kill and what did or did not do. If you haven’t played and beaten Mass Effect 1 you can still play the game it just won’t as rich of an experince for you.

Overall Mass Effect 2 is a great game with some minor technical flaws but they don’t hurt the game. My biggest gripe is all the new characters I think less characters or maybe just more time to get know them better would have been nice.

While it’s a much darker game in terms of tone and characters, but there are still plenty humor and call backs to the first game. If you are like me and loved the first one you’ll love this game or if you love RPGs and shooters you would do well to try this game out.

Verdict: I give it a 4.5 out of 5.

One thought on “Mass Effect 2 Review

  1. Pingback: My Gamer Life in 2013 | Sven's Lazy Videogame Site

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