Mass Effect 2 Review

I should start by saying that Mass Effect 2 is an incredible game, one of the best I have ever played. It’s such an unique experience that it is hard to compare. It’s not without its flaws but the good things easily surpass whatever could’ve been better in the game.

First I’ll get of my chest my complains because after that it’ll be all wonders.

When the game starts, you get to import your character from Mass Effect 1, which in my case was a vanguard. In Mass Effect 1 I had a lot of different powers, so I decided to keep this class, as we have an option to change class, but if I knew what was coming to me …
From lots of powers, I had only four to chose from, two of those were bullets modification, one was charge, which throws you at the enemy damaging him a little but throughout the game I couldn’t use it much because it leaves you open on the field, which means instant death. The other power was shockwave, which is good, but biotics can’t be used on an enemy if they have a shield on, so many times your only option is shooting.

And here comes my 2nd complain: the shooting. It is no doubt improved from the 1st game. It’s faster, you can take cover like in Gears of War or Uncharted but unlike those, it isn’t as well executed. While taking cover, many times you get stuck in the wrong place, and you can’t quickly change cover like in Uncharted or Gears of War but it still works really good.

This is my 3rd rant with the game, but from here on, it’s all awesomeness. The RPG elements were stripped down so much that you hardly will get any fun out of it.
Later in the game you have more abilities to choose from, but on the beginning only for.
The upgrade for your guns are weird to say the least. As I said earlier, from my class, the options I had with guns were small, and most were useless; one was good but had little ammo, and the other had lots of ammo but was bad. I could complain about the need of ammo, seeing that in Mass Effect 1 had replenishing ammo and this game is 2 years in the future, but never mind, let’s suppose they developed better guns that need rounds.

Now with the good; I could just say everything else and be done with it, but I’ll go by parts.

The graphics are out of this world. Really, every scenery in the game is nothing short of spectacular. Everything was created with so much care and detail that isn’t easy to find. IF you take the fact that so many developers use the Unreal 3 engine and Mass Effect 2 uses this same engine and looks light years better than other games that use it too, shows how much commitment Bioware put into making this game one of a kind.

The sound is fantastic, and I don’t mean only the music which is immersive and puts you always in the right mood, but also the ambience sound, the voice work ─ which is one of the best I have ever seen ─, even when there is no music playing you still hear something and it makes sure you’re always pulled into the experience.
The voice acting is so good that not only the main characters have great performances but even NPCs you meet along the way have terrific performances as well.

The story is great, but in my opinion not as great as the first game, however if you played Mass Effect 1 I think you’ll enjoy each part of it a lot more. The real star of the show here are the characters you meet along the way, as to save the galaxy this time you’ll have to recruit the best people available and make a final team.
There are some that come back from the first game with interesting things to add and fantastic new characters. My favorite was Thane, the assassin; I won’t go into details to not spoil anything but I wanted to share this because I found myself surprised how a character nicknamed as common as assassin came to be the most interesting character for me.

The gameplay is good but not without its flaws as I mentioned in the beginning. Besides the streamlined RPG elements, the shooting not being as tight as Uncharted there isn’t much to complain. The hacking mini-games are a great improvement and fun. The planet scanning isn’t all bad, it’s only sad you get so little resources from it.
The dialogue options are much better, because this time you’re not restricted to just talking but you have renegade or paragon moments that lets you make a move according to the situation.

In all, this game is amazing and unique. It took what was good from Mass Effect 1 and Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic (one of my favorite games of all times) and moved up to another level rarely seen not only in games but in any other form of entertainment.

Even with a few shortcomings and a few annoyances I had in the beginning of the game, it’s nothing short of spectacular, and being an RPG fan, especially of good stories, scenarios and characters, to not play this game or I’d rather say, to not experience this game would be an incredible mistake.

After a disappointing start this game turned out to be one of the best I have ever played.

(Original review date of Apr 11, 2010)

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