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Mass Effect 2 The Review

Mass Effect 2 Review
Platform: 360, PC, PS3
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: Action RPG

Story: You are Commander Shepard, and your on the Normandy (your ship duh). Things happen, and you find yourself "Acquired" by a group of people called Cerberus. These people apparently were not your friends in part 1, but in this one, you work for them.

They have hired you to gather a group of people to find out why colonies of humans are disappearing. Humans, Aliens, Robots, dirty alien sex--it's all there.


Gameplay: It's a third person over the shoulder shooter with heavy RPG elements. By RPG elements I mean a skill tree that you have to get points to unlock new skills with, lots of places to explore, lots of people to talk to, and lots of side quests to distract you from finishing this god damn game... oops I'm sorry that slipped out.

The Good:

All that effort, and that's all you get.

Graphics - At first I was grossed out, but after I got over the "Uncanny Valley" the characters started to look a little more attractive. Beautiful backdrops and stuff.

Voice Acting - They did a pretty good job of voicing this in my opinion, and I don't just mean because Seth Green was one of the voices. We've come a long way since Resident Evil is all I'll say.

Good vs Evil mechanic - As they call it, Renegade and Paragon. In the game your responses, your actions, and pretty much everything you do will award you with Paragon or Renegade points. The more points you earn in these categories, the more things will start to lean in that direction. So in conversations once you've gotten enough renegade points, all those smart ass remarks you made at your mom growing up are available to you again! And once again may earn you a smack in the mouth!

Customization - Each character has certain "Skills" they can learn, and these skills, once you level up to their fullest will branch out in their style (usually either stronger, or area of effect). They can also be linked. So if you have a character who'll throw the enemy into the air, you can have your other character use a move that'll grab them out of the air and slam 'em back down to the ground, then follow up with bursting them into flames :).

Story - Even though I wasn't too intrigued with the story, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there that will. I've never seen Battlestar Galactica, but this game reminds me of something that anyone who likes that would enjoy (also see Star Trek). A great amount of effort went into the story of this game, and I don't just mean the parts you are forced to watch (cutscenes). I also mean those pesky log files that always seem to plague the pause menus. Each one of those are narrated and voiced with care.

Relationships - Yes I said it relationships. It wasn't until the 15 hour mark of this game that I actually realized I was enjoying this game. At that point I realized that I was going on missions and rushing through them so that I may be able to come back onboard, and talk to all of my crew members. Building relationships seems to be the meat of this game.

The Bad:

Bedding that ... thing, might be interesting.

Third Person Shooting - If it's one thing I can't stand is a game that doesn't allow me to fully harness my skills. I'm pretty good at shooters. I won't say that I'm great or anything but I'm alright. So when I'm playing a game that has been hailed as one of the greatest games of all time, and it's a shooter, I hope that things work well. Well they don't. A lot of times the camera is over the wrong shoulder, other times your character is sticking to the wrong walls (yeah its' a cover system). Honestly the shooting just isn't satisfying at all.

Hacking - I don't know who told these people that their puzzles are fun, or challenging but they were dead fucking wrong. After playing Bioware's other Magnum Opus Bioshock, I realized that's just what they do.

Customization - I know I put this in the good. It's also bad because to me it wasn't enough. I'm used to pretty big expansive RPG's where the skills on the skill tree were very big, and very customizable. It felt very cookie cutter to me, as if they didn't have enough time to fully develop the skills, and so they just basically gave everyone the same thing almost. giving you about 3 combinations of skills that can be linked together.

Glitches - Well I don't know how many people this happened to, but whenever you died it would have 3 options: Continue, Restart at last checkpoint, and Exit. Too many times when I hit Continue, would it throw me back to the save point I first began at 2 or 4 hours ago, even though I had saved a couple times after that. I have no idea why it would do that but it did, and not just once, but 3-4 times.

Final Verdict:

The future looks uncomfortable.

In the end I can't deny that this game can be really fun and rewarding, if not for the shooting, or the story, then for the relationships you can build with all the members of your team, and no I'm not just talking about how you can eventually smex up one of your crew members or two. I'm also talking about building loyal friendships with the other crew members, that'll actually change their behavior during battle. Whatever the case, there's something to enjoy for most people in here.

Buttered Toast for everyone!

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