Platform(s): PC, Xbox 360
Publisher: Electronic Arts
With any artistic medium, it’s very difficult to create a follow up of something that was already great. You don’t want the game to feel like a duplicate of the first one, yet you want all the things there that made it so great. It’s a balance that BioWare nailed with Mass Effect 2.
Even if you’re a newcomer to the Mass Effect universe, the story is captivating. The characters, universe and dialogue all make you feel like you’re playing a movie. There are a lot of new faces but each of the characters are so unique and fleshed out. As in the first one, you have the choice to pursue a romance with one (or more) of the characters. The story keeps you guessing with and much of it adaptive to the choices you make along the way. BioWare really wanted your decisions throughout the game to hold weight, so aspects of the store are unique to the player’s choices.
BioWare really paid attention to what Mass Effect fans liked and disliked about the original and bared those things in mind when creating ME2. The single largest complaint was yes, the texture popping. Well no more. Also no more long elevator rides and the need to convert excess inventory to omnigel. The combat is much more polished now. The new cover system feels solid. Also the squad commands and abilities menu are much more intuitive and user friendly. A common feature to be implemented in sequels is the ability to import your character and experiences from the first title. Mass Effect 2 boasted this feature and I for one was very skeptical. I played a few other titles that had that and it really made no difference on the game. ME2 raises the bar for sure. If you play through with your experiences from the first game you can see effects from even your small decisions. This becomes important because it makes the player care about the decisions they’ll make, especially now that we can see that our choices are reflected in ME2.
BioWare has done an awesome job with Mass Effect 2. They played to the first game’s strengths and polished the other facets of the game. There are some things that I didn’t end up liking though. I do miss the “Equipment” option in the menu. I liked customizing my mods for weapons and armor. Its great not having to manage the excessive inventory, but I do wish it was simply dialed back instead of removed. In relation to that, I really expected to see more weapons and armor. I really missed looting around for items and I don’t only gaining weapons with the progression of the game. Be that as it may, these are merely minor annoyances and I honestly can’t sing enough praise for this sequel.