Mass Effect 2 Review

Score: 98 / 100
Good: Unprecedented dialogue, Action packed 3rd person shooting, movie quality graphics, deep storyline, rich and intuitive easy to follow RPG elements...just read the review.
Bad: Hunting for resources can get a little old
Reviewed On: PC

The Backdrop...

Mass Effect 2 takes place just after its predecessor Mass Effect. The game begins with the Normandy, Commander Shepard's ship, being attacked and destroyed by an unknown enemy. Though it may seem like the developers were watching the new Star Trek movie while they were making this first scene, the game quickly restores its beautiful Mass Effect style.

SPOILER ALERT! If you continue reading, I am going to ruin some surprises for you. You have been warned.

The game really begins, much like the first Mass Effect, with Commander Shepard having to assemble a team. This whole process starts after Shepard is brought back to life by Cerberus (a not so ethical organization looking out for the humans of the future). Over the span of two years, Shepard is revived and brought back from a crispy well-done corpse to find out that he is right back in the thick of battle. Then, After escaping the space station Shepard wakes up on, he soon finds out his new career path: working for Cerberus to repay the debt of being brought back from the river sticks. Humans are being abducted and it's now Shepard's job to find out why.

Let's Get Down to Gameplay...

Mass Effect 2 plays a lot like the first Mass Effect, with a big exception. This sequel has some of the best action third person shooting I have ever played in a game. The developers have gone out of their way to make sure that the action was the most important update from Mass Effect and it shows.

Leap for cover, give orders on the fly, and easily switch to or activate whatever you need for any combat situation. These are just a few of the fantastic intuitive elements that Mass Effect 2 has perfected.

There is also the element of exploring and what Mass Effect game would be complete without it? Not only can you explore an expansive galaxy, but you can now search for resources to upgrade weapons, items, and equipment that you find. Don't have enough resources for a certain weapon upgrade? No problem! Just go launch some probes at key spots on a few planets and PRESTO....You now do more damage with your shotgun! While there aren't a lot of weapons to choose from, upgrading them and working to complete prototypes makes up for this fact entirely.

The dialogue in Mass Effect 2 is also superb. Like any other BioWare game, the conversations and cut scenes with other characters are just as entertaining as running and gunning. Talking with the NPCs throughout the game is so in depth and exciting that sometimes you forget that things you say, and do, to people actually have consequences. These consequences can mean everything from you sleeping with someone, to a crew member losing loyalty with you (which is another huge part of this title).

Another feature that Mass Effect 2 greatly deals with is the popular concept of choosing to be good or evil. Not only do the choices you make have an effect on endgame elements, but they also have an effect on your appearance. Being unethical makes scar tissue on your face pronounce itself and being moral causes it to heal. Working on your ethical 'Paragon' points or your unethical 'Renegade' points makes a huge difference in your interactions with everyone throughout the game.

The Visuals...

Saying that Assassin's Creed 2 was a movie pales in comparison to this game. Mass Effect 2 has pushed the envelope for the gaming industry when it comes to crafting titles that provide an all encompassing cinematic interactive experience. Few other titles look this good, play this smoothly, and make you honestly feel like you are controlling a blockbuster movie. With that said, Mass Effect 2 is one of the most beautiful games I have ever had the pleasure of resting my eyeballs on.

The Disappointments....

I have to be honest when I say that it is tough to find faults with this game. You could say that the combat gets old after a while...but it really doesn't. You could say that the dialogue slows things down...but it doesn't. Or you could say that there is too much RPG where there should be action...but you would be wrong.

Disappointments I am willing to admit are that Mass Effect 2 is meant for someone who is ready and willing to be engrossed by a game. It is meant for someone who loves action-RPGs and elegant, in depth, and intuitive dialogue. And, it is also meant for someone who enjoys a close to perfect third person shooter. If you don't fit that description, then this game isn't for you.

Also, and just on a quick note, the Mako is gone (but a vehicle will soon be added with DLC content). Some people might not like that, but I didn't like the Mako in the first place.

Overall...

Mass Effect 2 isn't a game; it is a playable movie. Between the unprecedented character interaction and the thrilling combat elements, this beautifully executed sequel is amazing. With a seamless and expanded integration from the first Mass Effect, this game is worth every penny. If you haven't played Mass Effect 2 yet, please stop waiting.

- Tyler Sanders

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