Game Review: Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
Release: January 18th 2011
Developer: Electronic Arts
Available Platforms: Xbox360, PS3
MSRP: $59.99 (PS3)
ESRB Rating: Mature
Mass Effect 2 begins following the final events of the first game, which ended in the defeat of an entity known as Sovereign, a Reaper, a being dedicated to the eradication of all sentient life in the universe.
Even though Sovereign has been defeated, a new menace now threatens the galaxy.
Human colonies are being abducted and it’s up to you to gather your team and save the galaxy.
They say this is a suicide mission. Prove them wrong.
Mass Effect 2 is third-person sci-fi shooter and RPG. Players will battle renegade humans, evil aliens and sentient machines in intense over-the-shoulder style combat.
You will gather a team of elite soldiers and technicians as you navigate the galaxy, seeking answers about this new threat to the galaxy.
As you progress you will need to use your powers of persuasion to navigate through various human and alien encounters. Whether it be by charm or coercion, the choice is yours and will define your interactions throughout your adventure.
Right off the bat this game works hard to impress. Missions structure is vastly improved from the first game, allowing for quick learning and easy navigation.
Your given the choice to customize your character from scratch, or start with a pre-constructed template including the look, gender and class of your hero.
As the game begins, players are introduced to the basics through a fun tutorial mission. Combat, communication and player interaction and the use of special powers and team control are all explained while taking you through the opening of your adventure.
Combat is slow at first, but quickly becomes a fun staple of gameplay, allowing you to determine in just what way you want to approach each encounter, giving the player complete control over the engagement.
Character interaction is fun and addictive, the sweeping story takes you into each crew members personal life in some way, leaving you to decide their fates in this gripping space drama.
Upgrading guns armor and talents while progressing through the game allows you to further customize your character, allowing for more and more modification as the game progresses.
Mass Effect 2 is beautiful, with scenery and characters being sharp and well presented throughout the entire game, allowing a feeling of not just interaction but more as if you were actually there with the stories characters as events take place.
While the complaints I have for Mass Effect 2 are insignificant compared to the beauty the game presents, they are still worth noting.
I encountered continual sound problems throughout the game, sequences of dialogue between characters are suddenly cut off and without the aid of subtitles all information offered up in that interaction is lost. This happens in combat as well as cut-scenes, leaving a blank void in the midst of a blazing gunfight, or sudden loss of atmosphere as an enemies threats are cut of mid-sentence.
There seems to be no obvious connection between gameplay and the sudden loss of sound, it seems to be random and is always disappointing when it takes place.
Another complaint I have is with the loading times, but only the loading times that take place aboard your ship, the Normandy.
Trying to attend to your crews needs becomes unnecessarily time consuming due to long elevator rides in-between decks, and with an almost constant need to travel between the ships decks the delay gets old fast. All other section in the game seem to load quickly, as to why the Normandy’s on board loading time takes so long I have no idea.
One final complaint is with the resource gathering mini-game. Players are tasked with constantly upgrading weapons and gear, and the ship itself needs upgrades if you have any hope of success in your mission and the way you gather resources is by scanning a planetary body, finding a mass of resources and then sending down a probe to collect the resources.
While this is fun at first, the constant need for resources soon makes it a tiring but necessary process.
While the first Mass Effect could be described as overwhelming at start, EA and Bioware made great efforts to improve everything from the first game to make a much improved and greatly enjoyable second incursion into the Mass Effect universe.
Mass Effect 2 is a seamless and beautiful space epic, weaving a truly awesome tale and giving you some some real heart-felt connection between yourself and your crew allowing for an incredible RPG experience all around.
+ Beautifully rendered
+ Fun combat
+ Great characters
+ 35+ Hours of gameplay
– Poor sound
– Long load times on the Normandy
Final Score: 9 out of 10