Review done by: “Cyberstrike” Christopher Back (Contributing writer)
Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.