Review by Drizzy_Drizake
"Surpasses the first game in almost every way"
If you played the original (which I highly suggest you do if you have not) then you know that story is one of the biggest parts of this series. In a new and very interesting spin on video game story telling Mass Effect 2 allows you to import your save from the original and continue with the choices you made. This really lets you connect to the tale and makes the story feel like yours alone since someone else could have a game go entirely different. The smallest details that you might not even remember from the previous title can come into play at some point. The attention to detail is incredible. The major choices do lose their impact after the first couple hours, but it is still nice to see such a great type of innovation. In ME2 Shephard is recruited by Cerberus to help stop a new threat. A alien species known as the Collectors is kidnapping entire human colonies for reasons unknown. Your job is to travel the galaxy recruiting an elite team for a mission that no one expects you to return from. The story is very good, but the problem is that the only engaging parts are the very beginning and end. The rest of the game is recruiting squad members and helping them with their personal problems. The individual stories of your teammates are very interesting and fun to play, but they contribute nothing to the overall plot. Still it is enough to keep you hooked and when you see the final shot you will be drooling and begging for the third game.
All of the annoyances from ME1 have been fixed here. The awkward menus necessary to change weapons and use powers are no longer there. A very quick press of the button allows you to change weapons and your powers can be assigned to specific buttons as well. You have a much larger choice of weapons and powers this time around and they are much more over the top. Much of the RPG elements have been changed or eliminated, but this new way of playing feels much more natural and keeps the action going. You have dozens of upgrades for weapons and armor and also the option to customize them to your liking. Even when you are not fighting you are always interacting with the people around you choosing what you want to say and what kind of person you want to be. Your decisions will determine if Shephard is a kind, brave, hero with a big heart always doing the right thing or a badass, take no prisoners, hero who will go to any length to get what he wants. The one problem is planet mining. In order to upgrade both your ship, weapons, and armor you must gather special minerals to use. The only way to get big amounts is by planet mining which consist of travelling to random uncharted planets and using a very slow moving scanner to detect minerals then launching a probe that will gather you a minimal amount. It is a tedious process that will take about twenty minutes to get what you need, but it is a minor issue.
The voice acting is incredible. All of the characters are brought to life and really give off their emotions to you. It is really easy to connect with them and care about them. The only dull voice is Shephard who is kind of mono tone and dull, but there is such great acting around him that you hardly notice. The other sounds of gun fire, explosions, ships, and more all sound very real and get you immersed in the entire experience.
The graphics are so amazing there may be times when you find yourself wondering if you are staring at a computer generated character or a real life actor. The details in every character are unbelievable and push the system to its limits. All the environments are unique and never once get dull or start to repeat. You want to be right there in these beautiful worlds being part of the action.
There are so many dialogue options, side quest, and "morality options" that it will be almost impossible to stop yourself from playing through again. You do have the option to start over with all your weapons and stats from a previous run which adds to the fun.
Rent or Buy
BUY, BUY, BUY!!!!!!!! The Mass Effect trilogy has one game left and I highly suggest you buy this and the original to complete the set in the next couple years. The way the game lets you form your own special story lets you go all the way back to game one and change events in game two. It has already been confirmed that both games will have major impacts on the final one as well. Mass Effect is a truly great experience that no one should pass up.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 02/16/10
Game Release: Mass Effect 2 (US, 01/26/10)
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