Mass Effect 2
Reviewed on Xbox 360
David Hull / Mon 29th Aug 2016
364 views / 2 bites
OVERVIEW The second entry in the Mass Effect series. Mass Effect 2 was a powerful leap forward that took the gaming world by storm.
After tragedy strikes the Normandy and her crew, Shepard, awaking two years later atop a medical table, is informed a race known as The Collectors are subjects of The Reapers. With entire colonies of people being abducted to God only knows where, the dubious Cerberus and its leader, The Illusive Man, enlist Shepard to hunt down the Collectors, travel through the Omega 4 Relay and again halt the Reapers' return.The plot itself is actually fairly thin.
You have context at key points throughout the game and the pacing is well executed, but the focus isn't so much on the destination, but the characters on your journey. The Illusive Man sends you out to build your team of Assassins, Convicts, Bounty Hunters and Scientists. These characters each have their own plot lines that can be completed for deeper understanding into who they are as people. The majority of Mass Effect 2's gameplay takes place on these missions, or doing odd jobs around the galaxy like cleaning out wicked Mercenary hide outs.
This means your enjoyment of the story will ultimately come down to time invested. Someone who blasts past the characters personal requests will jump through the Omega 4 Relay within only a few hours. Credits will roll, and your team will likely be massacred. Spend the time with your crew and your time played will expand tenfold and leave you with memorable, heartwarming and at times difficult experiences that make you want to keep every single team member alive come the finale.
Something of a shift between this game and the first, Mass Effect 2's combat and gameplay take a risky gamble and cut the fat. Inventory from the first game is sliced right back to load outs selected before each mission, skill trees are narrowed down to a handful of talents that only need a few points of investment to master.
It's quite bold and, in this reviewers eyes, was a critical part of the fun factor during gameplay. With less junk to worry about, you are able to specialise your team to compensate for Shepard's weaknesses and, surprise surprise, work together.The dialogue wheel is back as before but this time during some conversations Shepard can interrupt the exchange. For example, a Merc may be giving you a hard time with some information, you may have the option to simply be nice, or to the point. But, you may also decide you've had enough of his crap and shove him off a skyscraper.
GRAPHICS Particularly at the time of release, Mass Effect 2 was at the head of the pack. Issues that plagued the first game appeared resolved with the only bugs pertaining to file corruption and the like. With only six years passing since release, the game is still (perhaps unfortunately) superior to some titles today.But the style is different. Shepard is now in the seedy side of the galaxy and visiting places like Omega, a mining station inside an Asteroid field, express this. Darker, grubbier, corrupt worlds await, instead of the clean, business world of the first game.
Mass Effect 2 moves its soundtrack closer to modern electronica and bombast and away from the sounds of the past. Each character has a unique theme for their missions and the plot specific moments like to pound you with a very empowering and grand theme, something that was a tad absent from Mass Effect.
One aspect worth noting is the voice acting. Characters like Mordin Solus are ludicrously fun to talk to and full of insight. But characters such as Garrus also feel much more real and a conversation with him, especially if following a romance plot, can become far more endearing given a jump forward in the writing and voice direction.
VERDICT Definitely a step up from the first game, but also remaining unique. The game could be completed by someone without having finished the first and they could still have a blast. There's a reason this game received the acclaim it did and that is the entire package, not just specifics segments, worked like a well oiled machine. Truly a product to be proud of.