Mass Effect 2 Reviews

AuthorReview
Zendelai
53,121 (37,020)
Zendelai
TA Score for this game: 1,412
Posted on 09 February 10 at 18:04
This review has 80 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Warning: This review is incredibly long. I recommend pouring yourself a coffee or tea or even making a sandwich before reading this.

Foreword
Before this review is read, there are a few things I'd like to clarify. I've never written a review for a sequel, and I'd thus like to treat this review as if I were reviewing Mass Effect 2 as a singular entity. I will leave a section at the end to compare it to its predecessor, but with that being said I believe that Mass Effect 2 should be treated for the sake of this review as its own game. This is beneficial for those who are considering purchasing Mass Effect 2 without playing Mass Effect. This is also beneficial for any of those who have played the original who would prefer a less biased review. With that clarified, enjoy the review!

On January 26th, 2010, a monumental moment in gaming occurred: Mass Effect 2 was released. It was one of the most highly anticipated games of the calender year, and it blew all expectations out of the water. Featuring a good storyline, high quality graphics, and quick and clean combat, Mass Effect 2 is a definite competitor for Game of the Year.

Story
The core concept behind Mass Effect 2 is simple: recruit a strong team to stop an infinitely powerful enemy from destroying the human race. The exact nature of the mission is uncertain, and all that is known is the almost imminent death of those involved. The centre of the story is not where its glory lies, however; the beauty of the story is in each of the characters' recruitment and loyalty missions and within each of the unique assignments obtained through either the scanning of the planets or by receiving them from characters on the main planets.
Each of the characters recruited has a unique reason why they would be beneficial for the suicide mission, a unique personality, and an interesting loyalty mission, which prevents repetitiveness in the story. As the story progresses there are enough twists and turns to keep the player interested while maintaining continuity in the storyline to prevent any confusion. The cut scenes are an appropriate length and keep the story in context without taking away from any action. However, I felt like the story was a great amount of build-up for a disappointing ending. Although the story is about fighting the Collectors, missions involving fighting the Collectors occur very rarely, and the game is mostly focused on recruiting the team members. This sets up well for the sequel to this game, but takes away from the story of this game; this also is very disappointing for those looking for a stronger storyline for the moment.
One of the most interesting aspects of the story that I found was the smooth progression from the first to the second game. If a character from the first game is imported, the decisions made in the first game affect the sequel, and certain previously encountered characters will return, either with a mission or a simple well-wishing. This left me with a delightfully nostalgic feeling, even though I played Mass Effect very recently before beginning Mass Effect 2. The renegade and paragon options are still available in this game and thus can still affect your game, and the personalization gives this game an RPG element among its shooter styling.
The story is strong, especially in comparison with recent titles that I have played; however, it is not the selling point of Mass Effect 2, and I thus believe it deserves a 8.5/10

Characters
I have one word for the characterization in Mass Effect 2: glorious. The characters in this game were one of the selling points for me. Each character recruited onto your team has a unique personality that can be explored in-depth through conversation or by bringing them onto your missions. I had several discussions with each character, and I was thus commiserating with each of them over the pains that were created through their loyalty missions. Several of the characters – Mordin especially – had quite the sense of humour, which became especially evident when they began bantering among each other. Although each character was flawed it made them seem more realistic, even if they were an asari or a drell. The characters are very colourful (No, I’m not trying to say that the asari are blue), and are what takes the story from being typical to well-rounded and interesting. Each of the races has unique customs and history that are interesting enough that the player can sit in front of their television reading the codex entries as opposed to fighting in combat just to learn more about each race. The Mass Effect universe is incredibly well though-out and creative, and the diversity among races and characters allows Mass Effect 2 to transcend from being the average game to being something more.
In general, characters were one of the many highlights in a fantastic game, and I give it a 9.5/10

Gameplay
Let us consider what's been said so far: story is average and characters are above average, so what about the gameplay?
Mass Effect 2 is focused strongly on being a third-person shooter but contains several role playing elements. For example, the player can choose their character's alignment and responses in conversation as well as decide if a romantic encounter with a teammate is desired. However, the role-playing elements are kept to a minimum, and the shooter elements have been nearly perfected. Combat is surprisingly quick and clean, especially when compared to its slow predecessor. That being said, there are several elements in combat that I had problems with and several that I quite enjoyed that I would like to highlight.
First I would like to note how fast combat is in this game. You die quickly, your enemies die quickly, you regenerate shields quickly, your powers are used quickly and have brief cool down times, you reload your weapon quickly, etc. Cover is entirely necessary at almost all times to prevent death, especially when on the higher difficulties. Combat becomes a lot more tactical, for shields and health become a precious commodity. Mass Effect 2 is generous with autosaves, however, so death in combat will not result in much time lost.
Secondly I will cover assignments and missions in the game. Each mission or assignment received is different, and there is no repetitiveness in the assignments. That being said, a lot of the same types of enemies are encountered throughout the game; consequently, certain missions that are focused on combat feel the same unless different teammates are brought on the missions. The way the missions and assignments are obtained is vastly different from most Bioware games; instead of having three or four major missions to choose from, the player is given Dossiers to obtain each of the team members. In order to receive assignments and upgrade weapons, armour, and the ship, the player scans planets to obtain minerals or discover anomalies which lead to assignments. Although I have heard several complaints about the monotony of scanning, I found that the elements were obtained quickly enough that a great amount of scanning was not required and thus the monotony was eliminated.
Thirdly, the difficulty of the game must be considered. I only played the game on normal, so I am biased, but I found that there weren't a great amount of major bosses in the game; rather, the game preferred to focus on fighting hordes of increasing size and difficulty. There were several difficult classes of enemies that were repeatedly encountered and caused frustration, though this could not be considered a boss battle. The final boss battle wasn't of an extremely high difficulty, and I frankly found the plot behind the battle to be rather contrived. That being said, I have heard horror stories about the game on insanity, and thus I cannot fully appreciate the difficulty of the game.
Fourth, weapons and armour are an important aspect of the game. The weapon system in this game is oversimplified, to the extent that the player no longer has any sense of customization or any choice if they wish to maximize their fire rate at the loss of firepower, for example. Mass Effect 2 provides the classic ammo setup, which feels like a backwards step considering how far in the future the game is meant to be set. The ammo clips are far smaller than necessary, although the reload speed is quick enough that this does not become a very large negative factor. A new heavy class of weapons is now implemented, which is extremely effective against bosses but has to be used conservatively because of the limited ammo. The armour can be personalized to choose the buffs as well as the look of the armour, but the system is almost too simple.
Finally, powers are what take Mass Effect 2 away from simply being a shooter. Each power is unique and useful in different situations. Although they can't be considered a necessity, they give the player a definite advantage, especially against well-protected enemies.
A final quick note to add to the gameplay is the dual disks. Although this is necessary for the powerful graphics, I did not like how the disks had to be switched thrice in the game. You begin on Disk 1, switch to Disk 2, and return to Disk 1 for the final battle. Although this is a small nuance, it remains a nuance.
Though I found the combat to be enjoyable, gameplay in general has certain attributes that could have been improved on. Overall, a 9/10

Graphics and Sound
Mass Effect 2 is put onto two disks for a reason: the graphics are smooth and generally well done. Although they are not considered outstanding, the movements are very smooth and more natural and there weren't any rendering issues. I found the colouration to be a bit of a problem in differentiating if enemies were behind or in front of cover, though this could have been a personal problem. The graphics provide a good compliment to the game and make combat even more attractive than before.
Sound was very average in Mass Effect 2, and though it was suitable for each situation, it was not extravagant. The majority of the music was taken from the first game, and I would have appreciated new scores.
Although the graphics and sound are good, they receive little credibility for originality and aren't considered above average. They are therefore granted 8.5/10

Achievements
Achievements in Mass Effect 2 are noticeably simple. All of the achievements can be completed in two playthroughs, possibly one if a lot of level grinding occurs and the player is willing to start on the insanity difficulty. The vast majority of the achievements are based on the story line or loyalty missions, and there are a few that are combat based. I completed my first playthrough in approximately twenty-five hours and I have 43 of the achievements, keeping in mind that several of my remaining achievements can be easily obtained.
That being said, Mass Effect 2 is the type of game that can be replayed even without achievements considered.
Achievements in this game are a good compliment and very straightforward but cannot be considered difficult in any way. This will be greatly appreciated by completionists and achievement hunters. 8.5/10

Comparison to Mass Effect
As stated in the foreword, I wanted to put a comparison of Mass Effect 2 to its original, because there are a lot of very obvious differences between the two games. So many, in fact, that I'm having difficulty deciding where to begin with this. Let me commence by saying that a lot of the weaknesses in Mass Effect were either vastly improved or completely removed in Mass Effect 2; for example, I found the combat in the original to be slow, and as a result it was sped up greatly in the sequel. I also found the grenades in combat to be weak and slightly unnecessary, and thus they eliminated grenades in the sequel and replaced them with the much more useful heavy weapons.
One of the biggest changes between the two games was the role-playing element. Many considered the role-playing element of the original to be weak – which is valid – but the micromanaging of weapons, armour, and upgrades was enjoyable. The sequel responded by eliminating almost all role-playing elements and focusing on the strengths of the combat concepts from the original. One of my biggest problems with the sequel was the weaker story, outlined earlier, especially when compared to the first game. The original is a great concept: there is a lot of build-up to the ending, questions are left unanswered, there is a solid antagonist that remains evil throughout the game and there is a very linear and well conceptualized story. The second game threw a lot of those concepts out the window, making a bit of a mish-mash story without a true antagonist and without the feeling of purpose. Although the player realizes that there is an enemy in the Collectors, it does not feel as if the story focuses on the enemy and focuses more on obtaining a team to take on the enemy. Story was one of the strongest points in the original and one of the weakest points in the sequel, which felt very unusual to me.
Thus far, my comparison sounds like the original is a far better game in comparison to the sequel. This is not the situation, however; although the games are vastly different, I do not consider one better than the other. The combat in ME2 is improved so vastly that it's shocking, other than the implementation of ammunition as opposed to the overheating weapons system in the original. Ammunition was necessary in the heavy weapons, but I didn't believe it was required in the normal weapons. The powers are also different in the sequel; instead of each having a long individual cool-down time, they have a collective brief cool down time. I preferred this method, for it also allowed combat to be faster and prevented the player from feeling helpless when they had no powers to use. The powers were more carefully chosen and thus there were fewer available to each player, resulting in the powers becoming more equal in regards to points placed in each power during levelling. In general, the combat is improved in almost every way in the sequel, although this is at the loss of a great storyline.
A notable absence in the sequel is the notorious Mako. With the loss of Mako the developers also took away the need to drive endlessly along the planets searching for minerals that earned too few credits and a potential Thresher Maw attack. The planet scanning is much more quick and effective than driving around in the Mako, and the major cities – such as the Citadel – are traversed more easily because they are compact and have an improved fast travel system. The assignments are a lot less monotonous in the sequel and have different lengths, and are simply improved in general. Graphics are also improved, with the rendering issues from the first game eliminated.
Although I could continue endlessly about the differences among the original and the sequel, I would prefer to sum it up by saying that although the two are great games, an experienced Mass Effect player is in for a surprise upon commencing Mass Effect 2, because despite the returning characters and some similar story concepts it feels like an entirely different game.

In conclusion, despite its flaws Mass Effect 2 is a truly fantastic game and a must purchase for both those who have played the original and those who haven't. Although the story is a loss, the game more than makes up for it in graphics, characters, and combat.
I give it a total score of 9/10. Although I am very hard pressed to give any game five stars and I consider this game far from perfect, it is still one of the most enjoyable games I have played in many moons and takes a spot among my top games of all time. I will thus grant it five stars, though it is not a genuinely perfect game since I consider every game to be flawed.

I also grant it five stars because Adam Baldwin voices a character in ME2, and anything involving Adam Baldwin gains at least a star in basic awesomeness.
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Zombiephobia
394,899 (261,630)
Zombiephobia
TA Score for this game: 1,096
Posted on 29 January 10 at 02:37, Edited on 29 January 10 at 14:18
This review has 49 positive votes and 9 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
I've always been an avid RPG player. I loved all the final fantasy games and played pretty much anything that was an RPG over the last few years. I really liked Dragon Age Origins and Oblivion and Fallout 3 were masterpieces. But all of those dull in comparison to Mass Effect 2 epic presentation and streamlined controls. In lots of ways this game is RPG-lite as the micromanagement of team members, equipment, weapons, and armor is quite simple and only takes a few minutes to get the hang of. What makes this game stand out is its amazing character development and character driven story. The action is fast paced and frantic but never overwhelming since squad control and command is so simple.

The story picks up right after the end of Mass Effect 1. The story starts with a huge bang. Through some thoughtful integration of the required "start up orientation" into the story, it actually makes sense why your character is re-learning the basics of gameplay all over again. The plot is quickly established and then you are tasked with assembling an elite team to ultimately save mankind. This is where the real meat of the game exists - through your characters recruiting of the necessary personnel to pull off this suicide mission.
There are some time consuming elements of mining planets to acquire the necessary elements to create much needed upgrades. Though this can be boring at times, nothing beats the exhilirating feeling of upgrading your weapons, armor, and associates.

Gameplay consists of travelling to and from destinations aboard your own spaceship. Each destination offers either a combat situation or exploration area. The conclusion of each mission yields new characters, weapons, and resources. Sometimes these missions allow you to help one of your crew, which leads to them becoming loyal to you (which gives some excellent perks). This game shines very well in the graphics department. The only way you can tell the gameplay from the cutscenes is the fact that you don't have control of your character in the cinematics. Overall the game plays like an interactive movie when it comes to conversations and interactions with other characters. In lots of ways this game is one of the prettiest and most detailed games on the Xbox 360. The controls in this game are simple to learn and easy to master. Everything is accessable through a simple button press. The wheel system from the first game returns though it seems more intuitive and refined. After a few minutes you are quickly giving commands to squad mates and pulling off combo biotic and weapon manuevers leaving nothing but bodies in your wake. The combat feels very satisfying.

The achievement list has some cool variation but some are the standby - kill X number of enemies with X power or weapon. Overall they are much more streamlined and much more easily attained than the first game.
This was a game that I was very stoked to play. I loved the first game even though it was flawed and glitchy. I knew that Bioware were going to bring their A-Game for this title, and they don't disappoint. This is a very well crafted and polished modern RPG masterpiece. It is very easy to pick up and play and once you get started, you cannot help but get absorbed into the brillant story telling and vibrant universe of Mass Effect 2.

Gameplay 9/10
Graphics 9.5/10
Controls 9.5/10
Achievements 9/10
Overall 9.5/10
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Sashamorning
1,682,628 (1,018,570)
Sashamorning
TA Score for this game: 1,403
Posted on 30 March 10 at 21:04, Edited on 31 March 10 at 07:42
This review has 35 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
How does one review a game like Mass Effect 2? It's epic, exciting, loaded with additional content, and has that little... risque factor. To me, playing Mass Effect 2 is a lot like watching The Empire Strikes Back... Mass Effect was good, but it had its flaws. (Don't hate me... I love A New Hope, but it's no Empire.) Mass Effect 2 starts out with a bang... literally, and doesn't let up until the final moment, leaving us wondering exactly how it'll end when BioWare's masterful trilogy comes to a conclusion in ME3.

Mass Effect 2 improves on ME1 in practically every way. Gone is the endless, bulky inventory list, and the skill leveling has been streamlined. It's easier to coordinate your squad's abilities to attack enemies and cover each other. The combat cover mechanics work better as well. There are more (and cooler) weapons. The storyline is darker and edgier. The plot provides more urgency. Basically, Mass Effect 2 is an unqualified improvement to ME1, which I really liked as it was.

Even the little details are well thought through. If you buy fish for the fish tank in your quarters, they'll die if you don't feed them. If you act more just in your actions, the scars on your face will heal faster, and vice versa. Advertisements in the Citadel are specially tailored toward your Shepard character (and some of them are hysterical).

The details are enhanced if you continue your game from ME1. Minor missions that you completed in the first game will make their consequences felt in ME2, whether its in a comm message or a short scripted dialogue on the Citadel. Characters that didn't survive ME1 don't appear in ME2, and BioWare has announced that the same will happen in ME3. To me, that makes me excited to carry a well-leveled character into ME2, and then into ME3... if I survive. ;-)

And, oh yeah... there are more people to, um, visit Shepard in the Captain's quarters.

What I still can't understand is why you can only take 2 teammates with you on a mission. I mean seriously. If you have a small army available to take an outpost... why are you leaving most of them on the ship? But I suppose this is fantasy.

The achievements are straightforward, and most of them can be completed in one playthrough. The one you can't is the Insanity achievement because you have to unlock it by playing through it first. (It would be insane to try Insanity first without leveling up first anyway.)

One caveat to the game: ME2, along with Dragon Age: Origins, are part of a new system devised by EA to discourage buying used games. In order to access DLC for ME2, you need to have access to the Cerberus Network, which is included in new copies of ME2. If you purchase it used (and the person before you used the code, which is very likely), you'll have to shell out 1200 MS points ($15) to gain access. Part of that access is a new character and mission (and achievements), as well as more exclusive DLC such as the new Firewalker pack (with a new vehicle), special armor, and other perks that are all free with Network access. Some people are going to feel cheated... well then, wait for the price to come down for the new game. :-D

I can only hope that Mass Effect 3 can live up to the potential that Mass Effect 2 has created, unlike Jedi's weak denouement after the epic Empire. At the very least, I can expect that there won't be Ewoks.
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Richard Bastion
136,725 (87,157)
Richard Bastion
TA Score for this game: 1,635
Posted on 31 January 10 at 07:33, Edited on 06 February 10 at 02:26
This review has 32 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
If you've played the original Mass Effect, then you'll know it was held back by a few things. That didn't stop it from being an amazing game, but it did hinder it. Namely, the framerate drops, the ease of accruing vast amounts of money(Which became worthless after acquiring the SPECTRE weapons), and how similar some of the classes felt. Well, all of that has been changed! For the better, I might add.

The frame rate has been kicked up this time around. It will run at a constant 30 FPS(No drops!) The gun play feels reminiscent of Modern Warfare 2. It's quick, and fun. They've also added limb damage. In other words, if you shoot someone's leg, it'll cripple them, or if you shoot their head, it just may pop off. All six of the classes feel and play drastically different and they've all got unique abilities. The amount of abilities, however, has been toned down from the average of eight in the original Mass Effect to five. This is for the better. It keeps the action fast-paced, and all the abilities are different enough to make having less seem like so much more. The level cap has been reduced by half(From 60 to 30). It'll still take you about one and a half playthroughs to reach it, though.

The controls have also been changed slightly. Instead of only having one "Quick use" button, you've got three. Additionally, instead of being forced to order your squad as a whole, you can also order them to move individually. This gives you a bit of a tactical advantage.

The dialogue that you know and love is still there. The addition here is the Interrupt system. Every now & then a paragon or renegade mark will appear on the bottom left or bottom right of the screen, respectively. When a mark pops up, you can hit the corresponding trigger button to make your character perform a paragon or renegade action. This can be anything from quickly dispatching several guards, to catching someone before they fall.

The credits that you acquire along your journey are used for all sorts of things. From tipping dancers in nightclubs and betting on Varren fights, to buying fish N' ships(Get it?!) for your private quarters.

The Normandy has gotten a few upgrades itself. Instead of just being a simple object in which you use to get from point A to point B, you can now research upgrades from the tech lab, change the look of your armor, or just admire the fish that you've acquired in your private quarters. Oh, and it no longer has an elevator ride. As a matter of fact, there are no more elevators! Instead, you get a ten second load time.

The Mako from the original Mass Effect has been replaced by an equally annoying game mechanic - planet scanning! Planet scanning nets you minerals, which you use to research upgrades in the Normandy's Tech Lab. So unless you want your weapons and virtually everything else to be weak, you've gotta use the planet scanner. The planet scanner is slow, tedious, and if you want to speed it up, it makes your fingers hurt. This is the only drawback in this entire game.

The mission system has been changed up a little bit. Nothing compared to the other sweeping changes, but since there's no more Mako, there's no more driving around planets and entering the same building, with a slightly different layout of chairs and blocks and killing the same enemy for each mission. The missions now have more story elements and varying environments. That brings me to the Loyalty missions. Each time you recruit a new squad member, they'll have a loyalty mission for you - sooner or later. These missions are always a blast and always give you valuable insight into what the character is like. You don't have to do them, but I guarantee that you'll want to.

The love scenes are still in the game, though, I'm not sure you can call it making love, seeing as how the characters leave their clothes on through the endeavor.. For better or worse.

The story(No spoilers) starts out with a bang. Quite literally, as a matter of fact. Shepard meets a man who is referred to only as the "Illusive Man." He is mysterious, carries himself well, and is accompanied by some very ominous music. Oh, and he's voiced by Martin Sheen. It's hard to tell what his true intentions are, but Shepard has no choice in the matter. Colonies start disappearing, and Shepard soon learns just how the dark the future is. The story may, or may not, tug at your heart strings. How it plays out is largely up to the you, the player.

The graphics have been very much improved. Each light looks real, every detail on every character and object is vivid. All the powers and effects look vibrant and alive. You'll enjoy this eye candy.

I can't say much about the achievements. Not because I haven't gotten most of them but because it shouldn't factor into your decision of whether or not to buy this game. It has a good variety of difficult/easy to obtain achievements, and time consuming/quick achievements. Since there's no online mode, it obviously does not have online achievements.

One last thing I'd like to touch on: Importing. This really has nothing to do with how good or bad the game is, but it confused me, so I'd like to clarify a few things. THIS WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM MASS EFFECT 1! First of all, in order to import, you need to have an auto save from the final fight with Saren. The auto save will take place when Saren gets reborn by Sovereign. When you import a character, you're allowed to change everything about Shepard except for: The choices made in ME1, background(Spacer, war hero ETC), and gender. If you import a level 60 character, you'll get a few bonuses. You'll start at level 5, with 10k of each mineral, and 50k extra credits. Additionally, if you import a "Rich" character, you'll get an extra 100k credits, regardless of level. The bonuses decrease the lower the level you import. And only if you're 60 do you start at level 5. Should you choose not to import a character, you'll still be able to thoroughly enjoy this game. The story will simply be "Defaulted." The Council, Kaiden, and Wrex die, and Ashley is romanced. Your background is, I believe, set to Earthborn War hero.
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Grimslinger19
218,653 (136,653)
Grimslinger19
TA Score for this game: 1,780
Posted on 05 February 10 at 09:28
This review has 23 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
So I got this game on Day one because of a pre order. I have three complaints about the game, two of which are gameplay.

But on to the review; Without spoiling anything this is a game that easily kept my attention to the point of not being in any parties with any friends while playing just so I could hear everything, and do what I needed to do.

There are some unique plot twists to this one and, gameplay wise is a bit different from Mass Effect. In this game, you have a more detailed cover system, I would compare it to Gears of War 2, but I think it compares better to Army of Two: The 40th Day, because you can slide into cover and if you run too far you'll jump the cover instead is getting mag locked into it like in Gears 2.

You can run out of ammo in this game and at first I was really worried about that issue, but they did something to make up for it. Your biotic powers will regenerate faster and not only that but they gave you biotic ammo upgrades so that your ammo will in fact do more damage with specific upgrades. My favorite was to use the Ice ammo because then you could freeze your enemies and make them easier to kill.

You don't get as many Biotics, and you don't have as much to level into. You have 4 basic abilities and can gain one more through research(for Shephard only) and then for beating the game once you get an additional ability boost that you can pick from if you've done any of the loyalty missions-you will get to choose from all powers if you did all the loyalty missions however.

Everything in this game is pretty straightforward. You need to stay in cover to survive, your Biotics ae your best friends, and your team is.... sometimes really smart and at times they are really dumb, which can get frustrating. But all in all I did not have too many issues with my Team AI.

Enemies in this game can and will bum rush you to flush you out of cover, so keep that in mind.

Some old faces do return for this game, and obviously there are new characters as well as worlds to explore. One new addition to the exploation is that in order to do tech upgrades you need to scan planets for resources, but this time its not so much scanning as it is scanning and sending a probe out to retrieve the resources. Which can get annoying at times, until you get the upgrade to make the scanner go a bit faster, and even then it is the slowest part of the game and can get boring. But it is something that you need to do.

The paragon and Renegade choices do not seem to matter as much. That is to say, there isn't much bonus for being all paragon or all renegade. But putting effort into those actions does help because there are certain areas of dialogue that'll open up as you gain more points in either part. And then there are 'interrupt' sequences' Where you can either do a good thing for someone, or you can hurt them. The LT option is the paragon route and the RT is the renegade option. You can mix and match with these interrupts as you see fit, I know I did.

Okay, on to my complaints. There is no crouch. Yes, you crouch in cover, and that's really helpful. But say you want to crouch to avoid being hit, or as just a way to sneak up on someone? You can't do that. The next complaint is that the RPG element got scaled back a ton. Yeah, it made the game a bit easier and less stressful to place points in, but at the same time the level cap they have does not allow for completetion when it comes to your skills, or your teams, especially if you attain their loyalty. And the third complaint has to do with how the pre orders were handled..... That was hard to guess at and you could have messed up a lot and not gotten your bonuses.

But EA, even though you had to wait on the phone for about 2 hours, they got it straigtened out. Was just a very strange way of doing it.

Some advice, to those of you that buy this game new after seeing a review, you will want to go to your Ea account. And odds are you will have one. Try to find out what email address is linked to your EA account. If it is not your gamertag you need to call EA. Activating Cerebrus will not happen if your EA account email is not tired to what your Live Email is. Calling them is easier, if a bit time consuming. Of course, they might not be as busy now that the game has been out for a bit, so good luck to anyone needing to call them.

I really enjoyed this game. I am currently working on my insane run, and for those of you that beat the game of ME can bring in that character for this game, and then after beating ME2 you can then bring that character into ME2 for Insanity. You'd do that by selecting import character, and then ME2 and not ME1.
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DavieMarshall
211,171 (110,443)
DavieMarshall
TA Score for this game: 944
Posted on 11 May 10 at 09:36
This review has 21 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
Mass Effect 2 is the sequel to the fantastically well received Mass Effect. Much more than 'just a game', the cinematic Mass Effect experience is set to build to an incredible conclusion in Mass Effect 3 (provided no more titles are announced).

If you played Mass Effect then you will be able to port your character over to retain some rewards such as bonus cash, upgrades etc, but, perhaps more importantly the way you shaped the Mass Effect universe comes with you.

If you slaughtered a key character in Mass Effect, don't expect to see them make an appearance in number two. Similarly you will encounter previous NPCs who will remember your actions for or against them and treat you accordingly in dialogue.

With this set to carry on over to Mass Effect 3 as well (it says so in game!) you will find the choices of morality you are face with throughout the game are even harder to reach a conclusion on.

Mass Effect 2 retains the titles favoured third person over the shoulder view, a much welcome breather from the horribly bloated FPS genre. The graphics have been sharpened up and look really good. The detail in the characters and environment are top notch, and the weapons/armour looks great too. You can customise your armour this time around too adding personal touches to the colour scheme and patterning. Whilst it's not groundbreaking, it's a nice touch.

The incredible detail extends once again to the voice acting too. Entirely believable it makes the dialogue more compelling and easier to digest. This is a great thing seeing as how Mass Effect 2 relies heavily on large sections of dialogue to progress the story, as in the first title. As ever you still retain a degree of control over the direction of the conversation and can 'put words' in Shepard's mouth. New to Mass Effect 2 this time is the instant Paragon/Renegade reactions. At key points in a section of dialogue you may be prompted by a flashing symbol to take a Paragon action (LT), or a Renegade action (RT). This of course impacts upon your overall rating and decides whether your Commander Shepard is a bad ass or the honourable sort of chap.

The firefights have been improved with better AI and new added heavy weapons, such as the grenade launcher or my personal favourite, 'Cain'. A nuke launcher (complete with mushroom cloud!) in a nutshell.

Some elements have been withdrawn from the game though sadly. That massive degree of customisation you enjoyed in the first game? That's gone. Now you get a choice of weapons, but you can't apply alterations to them such as stabilisation or new ammo types (unless it's through a Biotic power you or your team have access to). You can make a limited degree of upgrades to your weaponary, but the scope is far more limited this time round. The same applies to the armour. You can tweak your own, adding new chest plates and such, but your teams armour is outside of your control. They wear what they wear, that's it. Plain and simple. And that's the thing, sure it's simpler to play this way, but I did miss it a little.

The true joy of Mass Effect 2 however lies in it's stellar plot. Of course I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't played it here, but the way in which the plot develops and unravels is marvelous. You have your 'key' missions to complete, but as ever there are plenty of side missions you'll uncover on various worlds, not to mention quests your crew present you with in order to gain their unwavering loyalty.

The replay value is high as always with the chance to do the more or less opposite of your actions first time round (which can seriously alter things it has to be said), and a game of this magnitude and depth deserves to be enjoyed more than once in any case.

A fantastic title, and a must play for any Xbox 360 owner.
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smoke731mcb
223,201 (144,855)
smoke731mcb
TA Score for this game: 1,780
Posted on 05 February 10 at 03:44, Edited on 11 May 11 at 15:44
This review has 20 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
I think it's important that you know that I played the original Mass Effect and I enjoyed it. I borrowed it from a friend of mine out of fear that it would suck. I didn't think it was something magical in its creation, I didn't think that it changed games forever but the story was great and the world was interesting and immersive. I liked it enough to beat it twice. So when I started seeing Mass effect 2 commercials I started getting a little interested. I purchased the game a few days after launch after reading some of the things the internet was saying and I have to say that the game went above and beyond my expectations.

First and foremost, The story is amazing. From exploring the histories of each of my crew members to solving problems on a criminal-run Omega. The whole story is based around the idea that after you are traumatizingly ripped from your original crew from the first game you must search out a new crew that will join you on a mission that is certain to end in the death of everyone involved. Your success is dependent on how prepared you are when you decide to head to the final mission.

The characters this time around are each distinctly different and interesting. There are a few surprises in store with your party member options, especially if you played the first game, and a few old friends make cameos. No one is off limits to be killed off if the wrong choices are made and I found myself actually caring about each of the characters and what became of them. Romances return in this installment with a few choices for each gender of shepherd.
The voice acting is a little corny at times but in a way that seems genuine. The cast includes Martin Sheen, Yvonne Strahovski (of Chuck), Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Gallactica) and Jennifer Hale (Ophelia of Brutal Legend).

The gameplay this time around seems more streamlined from the previous game. The ungodly amounts of weapons I accumulated through Mass effect 1 annoyed me as i found myself every couple of hours having to clear my inventory or i would have to liquidate every "chest" I opened. Luckily, that is not a problem in Mass Effect 2 as you have a few different variations of each weapon type and the real customization is included in the forms of upgrades. These upgrades are funded by scanning planets for resources and sending probes out to recover them which replaces the Mako segments of the original. The main gameplay is that of an over-the-shoulder 3rd person shooter. Abilities and ammo types cna be mapped to three different buttons and squad powers and location is altered via the d-pad.

The option to import your Mass Effect 1 character is an option that needs to be taken advantage of if you have the option. It was amazing to see the choices i made in the original translate to the next game. This is what actually made me feel closer to certain crew-mates and the option to export this character to Mass effect 3 makes it even cooler.

I bought my copy new and somehow lucked into getting a code for the terminus weapon and armor so i exploited the cerberus code that came in the package and the pre-order code. The actual redemption of the code was a little bit of a hassel but it seems like an effective way to go around xbox live rules. I pulled it off without any problems and even got the Dr. Pepper promotional items on my list of DLC. The Normandy Crash DLC is interesting and nostalgic for fans of the first game but may be a meh experience to newcomers. Zaeed is an alright character that i personally didn't use that much of but his loyalty quest was interesting. The Terminus armor reminded me of an old-school cylon and made me giggle a little whenver i saw it. The three Dr. Pepper items were mostly cosmetic in nature but add a small bonus to varying skills. I really liked and used The Black Storm or as my little brother like to sing (to the tune of Black Hole Sun) Black Hole Gun, It was incredibly effective against smaller enemies and did some damage to the bigger ones. *cough* Maw *cough*

I genuinely love this game and pretty much everything about it. The only thing i can think to complain about is that the text is unneccessarily small on standard def TVs but it is worth it to work through it. This game entertained me the entire time and i can't wait to start my second playthrough on this one and the first one. Now i have to go buy my own copy of Mass Effect 1
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dropK1CK ninJA
548,092 (295,450)
dropK1CK ninJA
TA Score for this game: 1,780
Posted on 20 June 10 at 18:40, Edited on 20 June 10 at 20:37
This review has 24 positive votes and 9 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
This is a review I know I will get hammered for. This is a review that has also been highly requested. It breaks my heart to do it, but Mass Effect 2 is not a 5-star experience. This installment of the trilogy is a step backwards on what they had established with the first game. When you have a sequel, you must compare it to the predecessor and ask yourself did it improve on the dynamics of the first game? Did it fix issues from the previous installment? As it further capitalized on those mechanics that made the previous installment successful? I believe Mass Effect 2 fell a little short of the prize. Please, hear me out on this one. This review is bound to contain spoilers.

Story – 4 out of 5
Mass Effect 2’s story is not as good as the first. The first one set you up for greatness. Taking down Saren, discovering the larger threat, establishing humanity as a legitimate Council species, you would have thought they couldn’t go wrong with the story. Instead, they kill off Shepard in the first 5 minutes with a cut-scene. It isn’t even a heroic death! Then they resurrect him in that same 5 minutes. What is the point? Why couldn’t you continue the same path? That type of story path seems, in my mind, a way for the writers to minimize any impact your decisions from the first game would have really had in this game.

As someone who has read both novels before playing this game I did enjoy seeing the Collectors. A species rumored to have existed within the context of the novels and something to be feared of and whispered about. I can see where the fear comes from, they were able to abduct entire planets, but at the same time, it would have been neat to see the Collectors acting as if they had done nothing and continued their nefarious ways on trading technology for weird quarks of various species (i.e. trade them 50 left-handed females with blonde hair). You got the impression that the Collectors were a scientific species, but to what extent?

Another huge criticism I have about this game is displaying the game’s end point right in front of you. Having the Omega Relay right there before your face really took away the “adventure” aspect of the game. You know your end point. You can see it. It’s right there where you began. In fact, so much is implied from the beginning that you need to go through there why bother even playing the rest of the game? It would have been an awesome, classic Chrono Trigger-esqe move to allow players to travel into the Omega Relay right away and attempt a different ending than other ones.

I did enjoy being able to collect some of my old crew, especially Garrus and Tali (two of my favorites). Those that you could not get to join your new crew, you still interacted with throughout the storyline which was awesome.

Don’t get my wrong, the ending of this game is epic and I enjoyed the story line, I just believe that this game falls short from story told in the first installment.

Characters – 5 out of 5
The character personalities are wide, unique, and interesting. I enjoyed each one of the characters you get to join your crew. I loved having them interact during missions, hearing them discuss their lives, bickering amongst themselves, and debating philosophies (Tali and Legion). It was awesome. The characters and their interactions, how you handled them, attempted to keep all loyalties (or abandon them) was so much fun.

Gameplay – 3 out of 5
Bioware took a step backwards in the gameplay category. The best way to summarize what they have done is that they took all the mechanics anyone ever criticzed about Mass Effect 1 and just abandoned them. Half-realized exploration, combat, leveling, RPG elements, inventory system, etc. were all forgotten and abandoned. They made no attempt with this game to take those concepts and try to refine them and crystallize them.

Let’s start with combat and tactics. First, my biggest complaint about this game is how they now installed ammo into the game instead of keeping the overheating mechanic. In a sci-fi setting you had a perfect, futuristic, answer on ammunition. It was infinite. Each gun was installed with a bar of metal and the gun would slice a sliver of that metal off, superspeed it, and bam! There was your ammunition. Of course doing so overheated the guns easily. This balanced the game and kept combat interesting. You had to stop let your gun cool down before you could use it again.

Without rhyme or reason, the entire Universe has abandoned a very neat convention and decided to go with ammunition? It doesn’t make sense within the mythos of the universe and it is a frustrating as hell game mechanic. It doesn’t make enemies tougher to beat, it just means your ammunition ruins out much quicker in higher difficulties with less to restock. I can understand ammunition for heavy weapons, but the others shouldn’t have ammunition. Within the realm of the game, who said it would make sense to abandon guns with infinite ammunition that could overheat, with guns that have ammunition and you still are required some downtime to reload the blasted thing in combat? The move to finite ammunition in this game was a very ill-advised decision.

This leads into the next huge step back. Instead of working on refining the inventory system Bioware completely abandoned it. No longer do you pick up guns, armor, and grenade types off of enemies but you only get a set amount of guns per type. Something like 2-3 gun variations per type. So the entire universe now operates on 3 different assault rifle models? This was a silly decision to make. If you were going to introduce ammunition why not instead have kept the inventory system and allowed players to choose between infinite ammo guns and finite ammo guns? With an inventory system you could have allowed higher customized with the characters (which I missed greatly) and it would have felt more like an RPG. Characters are now set with two different uniform types (if you finish their loyalty mission) why even bother? The new uniform offers nothing in terms of gameplay value. The only person who can upgrade their armor is Shepard. Even that system is very thin in terms of what is offered.

Exploration, how could you abandon a staple of space science-fiction? Did no one watch a little Star Trek when they were a kid? Yes you can maintain the story line missions where you fly to specific planets, touchdown and launch into those storyline missions but whatever happened to the spirit of exploration? This has been replaced with surface mineral scanning? Come on. What a weak co-opt of what could have potentially been a great acclaim for the game. Let players go out and explore for side missions, minerals, loot, and just enjoy the scenery. One of the charms from the predecessor was climbing up a mountain in a Mako and enjoying the view of an alien landscape. That is greatly diminished in this game. Don’t get me wrong, you can get some very interesting landscapes in this game but they are all scripted events.

This review was written after the introduction of the Hammerhead. This should have been part of the original retail experience. The Hammerhead is a great improvement over the Mako and it could have solved at least 75% of the complaints people had with exploration. Most complaints had to do with the Mako and the cookie-cutter appearance of some planets. So what? Create randomized events. Steal some game design decisions from other open world games. Mass Effect is a blending of genres.

The robust leveling system and potential for character customization is gone. It has been replaced with three skills and a class general skill. Yes when you max out the skill you can customize the character by choosing between 20% damage with 5% reduced cooldown or 10% damage with 15% cooldown, but is such a poor way to claim that you can customize these characters how you want. What happened to choosing a class (like soldier for example) and then picking the guns they were good in by placing skill points there. If I wanted to emphasis a sniper, I could jack up my sniper skills. If I wanted an assault rifle dependent character, I could do likewise. It felt like leveling up was only necessary so you could be on equal ground with your enemies, not to become more powerful. Mass Effect 2 is RPG-lite. Low on calories and experience points.

Speaking of leveling up and equal footing; scalable enemies are lame. Never once in this game did I feel like the Shepard character could kick ass and refuse to take names. I felt like my character was always trying to get a firm footing in all combat situations. I never felt like I was more powerful than my opponents. At some point I should be on equal footing with some of the creatures I fight in this game.

Combat is now the emphasis of Mass Effect. If you played the first game to completion then pick up the second game you can clearly see and feel the shift in gameplay emphasis. The combat is improved, but it seems like that is where all the time and energy was spent on development between games. You no longer find yourself shooting walls while attempting to hide behind a corner and clipping people off from cover. The tactical system feels improved and the AI teammates are now much more involved in combat and using their combat powers. However, in higher levels of difficulty a number of combat situations felt like they required way more luck to finish than they did skill.

Music – 5 out of 5
The music was just as stunning as the first game. The scores created for this game create and establish necessary moods to get across story elements. This soundtrack joins ME1’s in my playlist of video game music. They did not lose a beat here.

Achievements – 4 out of 5
For an RPG these achievements are easy street. I drop a point because there are no over arching RPG-like achievements. Where are the achievements for completing all the side missions? Or include some of the grinding achievements with weapons and enemies? I know people hate those type of achievements but these achievements were way too easy. After all the DLC is completed this game has a TA Ratio around 1.2. I just felt like Bioware made them easy so more players can claim completion. I mean if you’re going to include an achievement for an insane difficulty, through in some grinding achievements to encourage a second playthrough.

Conclusions
Mass Effect 2 is not an RPG game with shooter elements, this is a third person shooter action game with some minor RPG elements. If this was a spin-off of the main trilogy, I would have had no issues with some of the development decisions Bioware made with this game. As a direct sequel to a game, these design decisions are very puzzling. Many felt a step backwards over the previous game. However, aside from all my complaints for Mass Effect 2 it is still a 4 out of 5 game. When you have a direct sequel you must compare it to the previous installment. Especially when you had one released only a few years beforehand. Aside from all of that Mass Effect 2 is still a solid title and has its moment of shine, but comparing it to the first game it falls a little short.
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This review has 17 positive votes and 4 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
As written for Gameboyz.com and found on Metacritic (Da Gameboyz)

Review – Mass Effect 2


Developer - Bioware
Publisher – Electronic Arts


Features

Single player story mode
HDTV - 720p native resolution
In-game Dolby Digital Audio
Downloadable Content

My hands shake, I have sweat on my brow and my breathing is short and rapid. That is how I would describe opening the packaging for Bioware’s latest offering; Mass Effect 2. For me, Mass Effect 2 and the return one of my more favorite video game characters, Commander Shepard, exciting given how much I enjoyed the first Mass Effect.

I feel I must offer some context as to why I my pulse raced in anticipation of playing Mass Effect 2. The original Mass Effect has proven to be one of the richest gaming experiences I have had the pleasure to enjoy. I was consumed by the story, the game play, the sights, sounds and the development of the characters. Metaphorically, playing Mass Effect is like piloting a fighter jet; a lot of instruction and ground work in preparation of mastering the controls before you strap yourself in for the ride of you life. To say I had set the bar pretty high for Bioware’s sequel would be a gross understatement. Little did I know that Mass Effect 2 would rocket me to new heights in video gaming.

Gameplay

When playing a title for the first time I am always looking for something new, something that goes against the “been there, done that” feeling. From game play to graphics to sound to story, show me something I haven’t seen or experienced before. To my delight Mass Effect 2 is the reincarnation of the original Mass Effect both literally and figuratively. From the games central character, Commander Shepard, to the gameplay mechanics, everything about the game is reborn. Having said that, I should have prefaced my remarks by stating that I did import my character from Mass Effect to play Mass Effect 2. Never before has a developer offered the gamer the option of importing a character from a previous game to such critical effect. The result is nothing short of innovative. All of the choices I made when playing the original Mass Effect have a bearing on how the storyline in Mass Effect 2 unfolds. The traits Shepard developed in the first game dictate how he/she will be played and how he/she will interact with the other characters in the game. This option was key for me as I began to play Mass Effect 2. I had come to consider Shepard as an old friend so I was grateful the choices I had made in the first game carried over to Mass Effect 2; from saving Wrex on Virmire, to choosing not to romance Ashely, all of them fit in my personal sense of ethics. Character customization is an option for both the new character or the imported character. I chose to keep my character just as he was in Mass Effect. The scope of customization is limitless and it is conceivable that a player could tweak Shepard’s look to their heart’s content, but be aware, once the choice is made they are your choices for the duration of the play through.

Should you have not played the original Mass Effect, have no fear, as the game offers up the same amount of customization options. The only difference here is that those decisions you may have made in the original which could affect the play in this second instalment, are now played out with the game assuming what those decisions were in the past. You may feel a bit lost now and then, but it won’t be anything that makes you lose interest. The game has to assume some sort of decision was made in order to continue telling the narrative in Mass Effect 2.

* SPOILER ALERT* In this outing Shepard and the crew of the Normandy are fighting the Collectors, a race of interstellar baddies bent on invading unsuspecting colonies too nefarious end. But, just as in Mass Effect, Shepard is conflicted by his sense of duty to the controversial and feared organization Cerberus, who is responsible for his rebirth. Shepard is destined to revisit some old friends to gain new allies to his cause. Shepard regularly reacts to the questionable motives of the head of Cerberus, the “Illusive Man.” How Shepard reacts and the moral choices shape the outcome of Mass Effect 2’s story.

The storyline and the characters of Mass Effect were my main focus in the game. I was enthralled with the RPG element of it. So it was important for me that the character interactions in Mass Effect 2 play a major role. These strong characters, and my interactions with them, which form the meat of this game, make it a compelling experience. Interacting with Urdot Wrex, one of my favourite characters from the original Mass Effect, proved to be a blast. Morality also plays a major factor in what option(s) are available to you and how they will be rewarded as the story unfolds.

One of the major improvements to Mass Effect 2 over its predecessor is that it is finally a true shooter in such that the elements for shooting combat are much improved and help make this sequel a much more enjoyable experience. Long gone is the wonky aiming of the original Mass Effect where headshots were a fluke. Mass Effect 2’s weapons offer more precise “down-the-sights-aiming” that I need in a heated gun battle. The weapons in Mass Effect 2 just “feel right.” Your gun’s abilities and traits can be upgraded (and much more easily than in the first game) by mining for minerals on planets you explore throughout the galaxy. By using these minerals to conduct experimental research within your ship's lab your biotic abilities and weapons for both Shephard and his allies can be mapped to the controller for ready access, allowing you a more strategic approach when faced with the baddies. I also found as I played through the game’s story that your teammates become less dependent on you telling them what to do and where and how to do it. Their AI routine seems to have been improved and they less of a hindrance this time around.

The term “open world” has been used repeatedly when describing game releases of late. Mass Effect 2 is an “open universe” game more than Mass Effect could have ever hoped to be. The are many worlds throughout the galaxy that Shepard must venture to and fro in his effort to save humanity from certain annihilation. A new and improved Normandy piloted by Joker is at his beck-and-call, but there is no more bouncing over a new world’s surface in the passenger compartment of the Mako. The Mako has been replaced by a shuttle that is dispatched from the Normandy transporting Shepard and his teammates to the surface. Prospecting in the Mako has been replaced by the more efficient, albeit tiresome, method of scanning the worlds and firing a series of probes. These probes, along with fuel, must be purchased at the fuel depots located at the hub of each star system. Fuel management and mining planets from afar are nice additions,but for me it really didn’t add a “must have” element to the game. I actually hope that they bring back the Mako for Mass Effect 3.

It should take you around 30 hours or so to play through if you are in more of a rush, but should you really sit back and enjoy the experience, you can make the game last a little longer. Personally, I currently have logged over 40 hours in the game I have relished every minute of it. In short being a heavily story-driven adventure game, Mass Effect 2 is also a simple shooter. Depending on what special skills you chose Shepard to have at the start of the game, you'll have a host of fun weapons to make baddies dead with during adrenaline fuelled gun fights while enjoying the improvement to the gameplay.



Graphics

I felt that a 720p native resolution was odd for the Xbox 360 and that it was a substandard offering from EA/Bioware from the traditional 1080p that a lot of tech heads prefer. It doesn’t matter here though as the visuals in Mass Effect 2 are breathtaking. The vastness of space as seen through the roof panels in the cock-pit of the Normandy, are stunning. The vistas, the characters, the environments have all been painstakingly created and rendered and present a visual crispness that I haven’t seen since Uncharted 2. This is evidenced by the need for Mass Effect 2 to come on two discs. The need for two discs is due to the size of the world that unfolds and the textures, special effects, and skilful attention to detail that are used to bring everything to life. I have to say that you really need to see this game in motion as the still shots, as good as they are, just don’t do the graphic engine justice. Bottomline, this is a good looking game


Sound

The sound track, dialogue and sound effects found in Mass Effect 2 are crafted to enhance gameplay. One of my favourite moments is the Normandy passing through a Mass Relay as it traverses to another star system and the accompanying whoosh and thump as it achieves its’ trajectory. The voice characterizations are fitting, and I was pleased to hear all the familiar voices from the first Mass Effect as well as some new ones. The dialogue is exceptional and logical as dictated by the story’s script. Finally, the sound effects have also been finely crafted to support the environment and are muted when appropriate and rise to a crescendo when the action is fierce. All in all the game does a great job of using the 360’s audio chip to the max and I don’t think there is much people will complain about here.



Conclusion

Mass Effect 2 is a sequel that offers a much improved experience over its predecessor. The story, the graphics, and the gameplay all combine to offer a more refined open universe game then the original. In typical Bioware fashion the characters are finely crafted and presented in stellar detail while the soundtrack and accompanying sounds effects take their cue from the stunning and oft times moody environments. In my view Mass Effect 2 is as epic a story as it is a gaming experience. Bioware/ EA have set the bar high with the “Rocket Ride” that is Mass Effect 2. I can only hope the heart pounding RPG/Shooter space encounter can be superseded by Mass Effect 3!

Bioware has taken the original Mass Effect, remoulded it, reshaped it, retooled it and refined it with the final result being a highly polished, finely tuned and exceptionally well crafted Mass Effect 2. From the stellar graphics, larger-than-life sound, to the compelling story, endearing characters and greatly improved gameplay, this is one game the truly shows how to make a fantastic sequel. You will find yourself wrapped up in the games narrative from the get-go and the option to import your game save from the original Mass Effect is a great addition for veterans of the series. For those new to the world of Mass Effect, you shouldn’t worry, except for a few bits of story that may seem strange the overall experience is just as good even if you have never played before. Taken as a whole, Mass Effect 2 is a title that I really recommend and I personally can’t wait to see what Bioware does in the third chapter of what has become such a fascinating franchise.


Score

Graphics - 4
Sound – 5
Game play – 4.5
Tilt – 5

Overall score – 4
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LessrOf2Weevils
81,073 (46,695)
LessrOf2Weevils
TA Score for this game: 1,780
Posted on 17 October 10 at 18:36
This review has 12 positive votes and 1 negative vote. Please log in to vote.
The much anticipate sequel to Bioware's mega hit, it's tough not to be caught up in the hype. That said, this is certainly a solid game and, overall, an improvement over its predecessor.

Let's start with the improvements. The combat is much more shooter based. Gone is the RPG model of needing to develop your ability with a weapon in order to use it effectively. Now, the bullets go where you point the cursor. The controls have been tightened and the experience more visceral. Indeed, the combat is so much like Gears of War (right down to the conveniently placed cover) as to be a bit unnerving. However, layered on top of the combat are the still present tech and biotic powers, including the ability to call up a radial menu that pauses the game and allows the user to give individual commands to squad mates, and you have a tactically more complex experience than a typical shooter.

The leveling system and powers have been refined, some would say simplified, from Mass Effect 1. There are fewer options when it comes to abilities, but the abilities you do have are amped up and combine together more effectively. Mixing and matching squad mates is more flexible and gamers that can learn to combine and coordinate their squad's abilities can lay devastating pain upon their enemies.

Bioware continues to develop their ability to create deep characters and stories. Both voice work and character animation are second to none. The dialog scenes, always a big part of every Bioware game, are far more dynamic than before. Much more like participating in a movie drama. Once again, relationships become a big component of the game. Indeed, the story consequences of your relationships with your squad are more dramatic than in Mass Effect 1. Also fun is your ability to import your Mass Effect 1 characters, which effect the starting conditions of the universe in which you play. This is a feature that Bioware promises to expand upon even more in ME3.

Now for the bad. Gone is the mako and driving around generic planet environments to search for resources and side missions, but that has been replaced with slowly scanning the planet from orbit, which is even more dull. Once you find a side mission, they are much more various than in ME1 as well as being better integrated into the story, but the actual process of finding these missions is boring as hell. In addition, the resource gathering is essential to upgrading your ship and equipment, something you're going to want to do to get the most out of this game.

This game is also easier than before, with a sense of trying to appeal to a wider audience. The game is more shooter now than RPG and there is a general sense of the game being dumbed down a bit.

That all said, none of this is a deal breaker. The story does suffer somewhat from being that middle child of a trilogy, bridging opening and climax, but overall its exciting, engaging, and stands well on its own. The challenge can still be found by cranking up the difficulty. There's certainly nothing here that doesn't leave me eagerly awaiting ME3.

Story: 5
Interface: 4
Game Play: 4
Challenge: 4
Fun: 4

Overall: 9.0/10
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joedahoc93
97,266 (69,375)
joedahoc93
TA Score for this game: 1,582
Posted on 06 January 11 at 23:27, Edited on 06 January 11 at 23:44
This review has 11 positive votes and 2 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Story:
Epic and Powerful.
With the fate of an entire galaxy in your hands this seems as if we've been waiting for the sequel. The game opens with the death of Shepard. Which was pretty suprising. Then you go to make your character or if your like me and want to experience the trilogy as it was intended you imported your Mass Effect 1 character. Then the game simply shows how your decisions from the original game effected the galaxy and the people (Asari, Krogen etc.) in it.
The characters in the game are not only interesting but also the most powerful of thier kind. Grunt, Jack, Miranda, and even the "DLC only" Kasumi were all good character with different beliefs and points of view. The game also rewards players who who follow the guidelines of being Renegade or Paragon, but unlike the first, you can only do one or the other never both. After getting your team together and aiming for the Omega 4 Relay to take down the collectors adds to that impending doom feeling that the game forshadows for most of the game.

Gameplay:
The game play like a shifty third person cover shooter. The game seems to be ugly in motion but when engaged in conversation it look downright amazing. But the gunplay seems more fluid compared to original but it still has some downright annoying problems. Your allies, as cool as they are, just can't carry thier own wieght. The killing is mostly left up to you, which of course doesn't bother me too much, it's just the fact that the A.I. doesn't do a damn thing, I don't even see why they tag along half the time. The game has also remove most of the armor and guns from the original. The game does feature some basic armor (and the awesome blood dragon armor) and some basic guns that only the soilder can use. However the powers in this one have been upgraded and, unlike the first one, you actually want to use them.

Graphics:
The game is one of the best looking of it's kind. The glimmer on the armor, Grunts skin, Jack tatoos are all rendered with perfection. I'm suprised the game actually looks so good (two discs). And I'm wonderin how the PS3 version will look.

Overall:
Great story,
Great dialouge
and just a flatout great game.
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Balsin Fase
158,942 (104,053)
Balsin Fase
TA Score for this game: 1,271
Posted on 01 August 11 at 21:06
This review has 8 positive votes and 3 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
As usual, I failed to play the game that won Game of the Year from a lot of websites. It seems that Mass Effect 2 has been cleaning up on the awards circuit, showing a fantastic story and fun game play if you ask almost anyone. As I tend to hate everything that other people love (Don’t ask me about Uncharted.), I wasn’t in any big hurry to play it. I enjoyed the first one; don’t get me wrong, because there were aspects in it that I doubted would be fixed in the sequel.

I was, well, half right.

As far as the plot in this game goes, the people in charge of it really, really know how to take things and put them on a grand scale. Dangers that would encompass the entirety of one game most of the time, like missiles being launched at a city or rescuing people from a hostile jungle are just little steps along the way. It feels like everything you’ve ever done, be it exploring underwater cities or fighting terrorists in an office building, seem so absolutely small scale compared to the attack on the galaxy in this game. It’s like it’s saying that everything you’ve ever played before is small potatoes compared to this game. Plus, the start is so utterly new and wild that it grabs onto you and never really lets go.

Sharp dialogue keeps the plot moving. Although not as fluid as the stuff in Alpha Protocol, there is a whole lot more of it. You will be talking to people a whole lot throughout the game, almost cleaving the game in half. It’s part action and part talking, and it helps keep the game from getting stale on either front. You can talk your way through many of the situations in the game, or at least far more than I would have expected. It makes for a better role-playing experience in the game, keeping it from falling too much in the shooter category and making it feel more like you’re playing Dungeons & Dragons on your own. The fact that it’s well written and mostly well-voiced doesn’t hurt, either.

Their vision of the morality gauge is as cool as ever, too. Instead of making you good or bad, it just skews toward how much force you’re willing to use to get the job done. Good choices have you leaning more toward never sacrificing anyone in order to finish the mission, whereas the ‘bad’ choices just have you doing whatever it takes to get things done. You might shoot someone to get through a mission faster, or beat up somebody to get information faster. It’s not ‘bad,’ per se, but it does fall into a gray area that games with morality systems tend to avoid. It’s a refreshing departure from the usual ‘save the orphanage/burn it down’ kind of decisions.

Great story, great dialogue, great play system. So, where can you go wrong? Well, once more, the shooter portions of the game aren’t so hot. For starters, the rooms have only gotten slightly more interesting than they used to be, in that they aren’t one of the same three buildings each time. There is a lot of variety in places you fight in during the game, zipping to spaceports and jungles. You at least feel like you’re going all over the galaxy. The only trouble is, with the ability to roam across a whole galaxy at your hands, you feel like you’re just walking through one linear path each time. There are a few branches, but mostly you just go straight without deviation. It makes the variance in locales just look like a coat of paint put on a long and bending hallway.

Enemies are blah, too. You’re fighting many different kinds of aliens, but there are really only four types of combat class, and three styles of armor to fight through. So, while it gives an appearance that you’re fighting different enemies, it never feels like you are. At least they’re trying, but the enemies lack the same scale that the plot does. They are almost all humanoid, small, and uninteresting. You only really fight two larger creatures during the game, and this feels like a dropped opportunity. For a game about the grand scale, I really wanted to see some huge and complicated bosses.

In that regard, it really feels like all of their concentration was put on making an amazing plot, but only throwing a sub-par action game into the mix. The shooting has some neat combat abilities, but nothing that really wowed me. Since the combat is all spread out it doesn’t feel that bad, but it’s still only a little bit less than a chore to do. It’s a shame, since it feels like they’re on the verge of something amazing here. Maybe the next game in the series will be the one to bring the people who didn’t like the first one on board, but this one isn’t going to change any hearts or minds. It’s good, I’ll admit, but falls far short of the amazing it’s trying to be.
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This review has 5 positive votes and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
*Wish I could've written the first review for this one... but here goes*

Mass Effect 2 is a bit of a moral conundrum, in which I can easily say that in January we already have the 2010 game of the year, yet it doesn't come close to the feeling of the original. I'll touch base on that a bit sooner...

But anyway, ME2 takes place a few years (2 to be specific) after the original. The basic story may be altered depending on if you imported a save, (which is another thing I’ll talk about) but once again you are Commander Sheppard, brought back from "death" with one primary mission: a race known as the Collectors is abducting human colonies, and you've got to assemble a badass team to stop them.

That's where I'll stop with the plot, or I’m bound to hit some spoilers. I will say that your new team consists of interesting characters, and a few friendly faces. Numerous characters from the original Mass Effect also make appearances. It's one of those games where you don't have to play the original to understand the sequel, but a lot of things make more sense.

Now, the gameplay in Mass Effect 2 is really altered from the original. It feels more like an action game rather than an RPG. It's hard to describe, but think of X-Men Legends 2 compared to Ultimate Alliance. Both were very similar games, but Alliance had much less "RPG elements" and a greater focus on action. Mass Effect 2 is the same way; you have fewer armors and guns to find, grenades are mysteriously gone, guns require ammo, experience is gained from completing missions instead of kills... in short combat is a much bigger focus. There is a decent cover system in place as well, but much like Fallout 3, if you play it like a straight-up shooter you won't have a good experience.

For some reason, the overall story seems uninteresting to me. Maybe after coming off of Bioware's own Dragon Age (which is a true RPG) makes it hard to compare. I felt myself skipping numerous dialogue scenes. I know Dragon Age had about 10,000 lines of dialogue, but I doubt (but can't confirm) ME2 comes close to that.

One hook of the game that feels somewhat broken is the import feature. What this is, is the ability to import your Mass Effect save into Mass Effect 2, altering some of the plot choices (and giving some starting bonuses, like a small level increase and credit boost). Only problem is you have to beat the game to do this, but this is VERY SPECIFIC, because I finished Mass Effect, started a new game+, and stopped playing. YOU NEED TO NOT START A NEW GAME OR YOU CAN'T IMPORT. Also, the Level Cap in the original was a fair 60. The second one is a wimpy 30. WHY IS THAT?!?!?!

There are a few other things as well, such as the ability to upgrade your weapons, armor, and ship with resources you find from scanning planets (Which is BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING) and the ability to fly your ship around the map, (which makes you use gas, and I don’t want to know what happens when you run out) but those are fairly self-explanatory and not really worth mentioning in great detail.

Also, the sex scenes return. But after doing it in your underpants in Dragon Age I really can't say I’m excited.

It's been said before that the achievements are similar to the original, and are fairly straightforward and mostly story based. Interestingly, some of them (like incinerating armor and punching then shooting enemies) encourage you to try different and highly effective abilities and techniques. Insanity difficulty is unlocked right off the bat too if you have the balls to try that out.

Unquestionably, Mass Effect 2 is the best game of 2010 so far. But for whatever reason (I was personally awestruck by Dragon Age but not this as much) I didn't feel that I had as much fun as I wanted to. But after a good 25 hours in one week, I can say there was more than enough fun to be had with time. But being both a primary a RPG and a shooter fan, Mass Effect 2 didn't blow me away on either front, but combined it was something truly spectacular. People moan about the xbox 360 has no good exclusives, well to you I simply say "SUCK IT DOWN PS-FAGGOTS"
(I have a ps3 too LOL)
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lxI Suicide lxI
120,972 (85,120)
lxI Suicide lxI
TA Score for this game: 1,130
Posted on 23 March 10 at 18:08, Edited on 23 March 10 at 18:14
This review has 4 positive votes and 6 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
This review is for the new Firewalker DLC.

I was very excited to see new DLC out for Mass Effect 2. I loved the first game and enjoyed the second one just as much. There has been much talk of the lack of vehicles and actual exploration, replaced by the scanning of planets, in Mass Effect 2 and it was with great excitement that I learned of the Hammerhead tank included in the new DLC, as well as 5 new missions!

I downloaded the content first thing this morning and was highly disappointed. I have to assume they released the DLC to incorporate the tank into the next DLC that is releasing April 6th, because each of the 5 new missions just seem to be thrown together.

The Tank

The tank, while looking fairly cool, can take about as much damage as a 3 week old baby in the hands of mommy dearest. One rocket and it’s screaming and two, it’s destroyed. It’s not just rockets. Of the 15 or so Geth you encounter along the way that shoot with typical rifles your Hammerhead sirens will be going off in a matter of seconds. It’s the weakest tank in the history of tanks. My Chrysler could take more damage than this thing.

It does have collector ability, which takes the place of jumping out of the vehicle in ME1 and mining spots. A yellow square appears on the ground, move the Hammerhead to the location and hold Y to “mine” the area. The tank bounces around while you mine and it becomes a game of labyrinth trying to keep it over the spot until the lights on the top of the Hammerhead go from yellow to green. All of this happens like you are on rails as well. There is really no open terrain to explore and find these spots. It’s very evident in the missions where you are supposed to go next.

The booster and jump functions are pretty cool. You can jump and boost over cliffs and lava pits; it makes for a short flight experience. The Hammerhead spends quite a bit of its time in the air. The maps are designed to use these features, which is about the only good thing I can say about the layout of the maps.

The Missions

It takes about 10 – 15 minutes per mission, so with travel time to each spot, 1.5 hours is plenty to complete this DLC. Most are boring and don’t make much sense. One mission has you racing from point to point collecting things, trying to get there before your tank engine freezes over. I never did figure out how collecting money warmed up your engines enough to make it to the next spot...

You only exit the tank in two missions, both of which take about 5 minutes or less to complete and you are back in the Hammerhead.

Overall

It is my hope that this was just a way to give us a little something extra, include the vehicle for future releases, and give you some practice driving. The DLC was way too short. It added nothing to the story, and each mission is worth a measly 156 experience points. Last night I was hoping this would allow me to get those last 3 levels for the level 30 achievement, but I didn’t level up even once.

It’s part of the Cerberus network, so if you have that, it’s free and a way to kill about an hour. There are no additional achievements in this DLC so nothing there for the gamerscore. If you don’t have Cerberus, don’t bother with this DLC.
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This review has 3 positive votes and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
(Caution Virgin Review)

How do you sum up the incredibilty large galaxy of the Milky Way into a twelve hour twist of epic events layed through out this seemingly large plain of exploration?Easily said "Mass Effect 2." If your familiar with the first tale of "John/Jane Shepard" than you will feel as though you never left the shuttle.Until of course the Normandy is shred to peices by an unknown shuttle with an unknown intent.You try to save your crew member when your knocked into space only to awaken 2 years later under cerberus wing while being attacked.From there your story unfolds and Your path is what you make it.Create the ultimate alliance or be cerberus's ultimate tool.Graphics of course are Superior and could be a movie to the others around influenced in the cause.Aside from it being RPG it loses some Rpg Values and bases itself on more quick battles and logically wants to intensify your lust for thrilling cutscenes and keep you indepth on whats happening in the galaxy around you.Music varies and fits each moment in tatical carnage either if its simply shooting down bloodpack members or interrogating Lowlifes on the alien inhabitied planets.This is the game to revolutionize how we see the games world and comprehend our actions.Expect moments of choice when the context sensitive moments appear during dialogue cutscene.Truly cannot see what awaits in Mass Effect 3.
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ZachRobins0n
442,400 (268,551)
ZachRobins0n
TA Score for this game: 939
Posted on 07 February 10 at 20:05
This review has 1 positive vote and 5 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Unquestionable the best game i have played this year.

Mass Effect 1 ended on a cliffhanger it was an ok game but mass effect 2 is complete improved nearly every aspect as the graphics were redeveloped from scratch to increase how they could improve them also the charcter control system was inhancent to give easier more friendly control they way the story plays out is also quite remarkable and how your choice throught the game demterin how the game ends.

The way the game starts is like the continuation from a film as they collecter ship appears behind you a wipes your ship out the shepard dies leaves you wondering is this what happens at the end of the game as if the whole campaign is going to be a flashback but then you see that cerbus have pick you up and the way it shows them reconstructing your body is quite cool.

The this whole shady charcter of the illsusive man makes you think am i going to get stabbed in the back or is he going to help me throughout the game.

I like the fact that some of the old charcters are in it but at the same time the add some new ones, garrus getting pure wiped by the gunship you think hes dead but hes a tough old turian and he can prove to be a valuable member of your team as if you use him often he will eventually show you how to get the best out of your snipe(he gives you 2 damage upgrades for it but this is only if you use him from ever mission and talk to him alot more than the other something simliar to getting the paramour achievement i found that he is one if the strongest time members apart from grunt and legion.

At the end you find your self up aganist a reaper who is quite eay as all you have to do is shoot his weak points but this is no ordinary reaper it is a human reaper also depending on your choice it could have armour if you leave the people in the pods they get pumped into to it along with alot of the other people as this happened to me the first time but also if your team members die or not is quite simple down to there loyality and your paragon and renagende points.

Graphics 9/10

Plot 9.8/10

Controls 9/10

Overall 10/10
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Justin0hio
55,985 (39,737)
Justin0hio
TA Score for this game: 850
Posted on 06 February 11 at 05:34
This review has 4 positive votes and 12 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Easily one of the best video games i've played to date. Definitely in my top 5. While playing through the game, I was drawn to each character. I constantly was wondering what was going to happen next. I have a lot of sleepless nights to prove it. Another great thing about the game that noticed is hard to find with games that are coming out is the replay value. Although it lacks multiplayer, there is plenty of reasons to replay the game. The decisions you make in the game alter your allies decisions and their loyalty to you and change ultimately change the overall storyline. Plus, the game is filled with plenty of pretty easy achievements. A definite 10/10. Looking forward to Mass Effect 3.
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This review has 1 positive vote and 10 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
the star wars of video games this game easily surpasses mass effect 1 in terms of graphics gameplay and lengh. mass effect 2 art with character devolpment yes character devolpment and acting, it never gets boring and theres always stuff to do and things to upgrade. most the weapons pack a punch especialy the mini nuke gun. you can choose any choice you want you can be good or evil you can be charming or you can be a pervert. theres loads of intersting characters. shame they only used ashley for five minutes though she was my fave sqaud member from mass effect 1. oh and easy achievements
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