Review by Boot_Bunny1

"I wish it were perfect..."

On January 26th, 2010 Mass Effect 2 was released. So many people were expecting it to be one of the greatest games ever, me included. There was so much evidence that this game was going to be historical. When that day finally came and so many of us played it we realized that we... were right. For the most part at least.

-The Beginning

The first few hours of the game are outstanding.You play as Shepard, a member of the Alliance Military (human military) who previously saved the world from a giant robot ship that wanted to wipe out all organic races. The opening scene (don't worry, I wont give out any spoilers) leaves the player immersed beyond all definitions of the word. The tutorial (although very tiresome after multiple play-throughs) is effective, has an acceptable length, and gives players a little insight on what exactly has happened since the first game. Overall its great at getting the player hooked in the universe and wanting more.

-Classes and Combat

In Mass Effect 2 there are six classes, soldier, adept, engineer, vanguard, infiltrator, and sentinel. The classes are split into or between three basic categories, combat, which deals with the use of weapons to take out your foe, biotics, which deals with the use of abilities that deal damage to take out your foes, and tech, which deals with the use of abilities that manipulate or weaken to take out your foes.

I played the game as the vanguard, soldier, sentinel, and infiltrator. The vanguard (the first class I played as) was a mix between combat and biotics and was extremely fun to play. It specialized in close quarters combat and had an ability that let you warp to any enemy one the battlefield, which led to some amazing combat scenarios. The soldier (pure combat) was also quite fun, as it specialized in the ability to use many weapons effectively, which led to events like sniping an enemy on the other side of the room and then pulling out your shotgun and blasting the rest in the faces. The Infiltrator (half combat half tech) was a pure sniper, but had the ability to go invisible for a few seconds which as you can imagine led to some great gameplay.

The sentinel, on the other hand, was a completely different story. The sentinel is a mix between tech and biotics and has the tech armor ability, which gave the player reinforced shields until a certain amount of damage was taken. Although this sounds quite useful it was actually very in-practical due to one reason. Cool-downs. In Mass Effect 2 when you use any ability, that ability triggers a universal cool-down for all other abilities available to the character who used said ability for a set amount of time based on the ability used. Basically, if you use something you have to wait a bit until you can use something else. The tech armor was obviously quite powerful so it had a long cool-down, which led to me waiting for my abilities to recharge during most of the combat. The cool-downs also applied to every other ability, which is what sentinels use to kill. This whole situation could have been avoided if the cool-downs weren't universal and only affected the ability that was used. Quite a disappointment overall.

-Missions (Main Plot)

Missions are all quests that affect the main story. There are subsequently more missions in Mass Effect 2 than there were in the first game, and they are much more unique and enjoyable overall. Each individual mission (I would say about 25 in total) can last about an hour and takes you to completely unique areas unlike any others in the entire game (with the exception of two at the beginning). The missions are divided into three main categories (which I made up for the sake of this review), preparation, loyalty, and end-game.

The preparation missions involve you mostly venturing to the ends of the galaxy to recruit members for your squad, but some involve gathering information or technology. These missions give you slight insight on the member you are recruiting and result in gaining that member, allowing you to use them for further missions or assignments. This form of recruiting members is a step up from the first game, where your members joined you simply because you preformed a small favor for them.

The loyalty missions are a mostly new concept. They are missions that will become available to you as you progress through the story and develop your squad mates into further detail. It is a welcome feature and allows you to really understand your squad mates.

I'm not going to go into any detail about the end-game, but I felt like it didn't really fit into either of the above listed categories, which is why I made it a category all by itself.

-Assignments (Side-Quests)

The assignments of Mass Effect 2 are a tricky subject... They are split into two categories, city assignments and N7 assignments.

The city assignments are great, and are also relatively the same as the ones from the first game. A citizen of the city you are in will ask for your help and you help them, which usually involves finding something, talking to someone, or killing something within the city. They almost always involve conversation and make you feel like you are actually in the universe that much more.

N7 assignments, on the other hand, are a completely different story. They involve you scanning plants in the galaxy for anomaly's and then landing on the planet to sort out the problem. There is an amazing amount of detail put into each one and no two feel alike. The game-play differs from solving puzzles to working your way through a maze with an endless amount of enemy's in it, to protecting crates from giant rocket-shooting robots. But with all of this detail, the lack something very very important. Dialogue. They feel almost soul-less, as if your not playing as Shepard, but instead a Shepard look-a-like who can't talk. It is during these missions that it truly feels like a game and you get painfully ripped from the immersion. But there still fun.

-Mass Effect 1 Decisions Passing Over

Bioware talked a lot about this, and it is pretty crazy to see how all of your decisions affected things... But the affects were far too small to make a major impact on game-play. Not a single decision made in ME1 affected the main story in a way that would make you actually do anything different other than having and making different conversation options. Bioware said that your decisions would have a greater impact, but some of them just led to you getting an e-mail telling you what happened, which really wasn't that comforting. I really think they could have done more, such as make the decisions from the first game affect the squad mates that you could get or how entire groups of people would treat you.

-Graphics and Sound

Both the graphics and sound are outstanding. Nuff said. But I'll explain anyways. The graphics are outstanding for the environments, and the faces or jaw-dropping. The sound is so believable too, not once during the entire game did I think a line that a character said was out of place, or something that someone wouldn't say, or wouldn't sound like. The music is also quite enjoyable and fits the mood in every situation.

-Wrapping it All Up

Overall this game is just spectacular. I have to say that it is the best game I ever played and I can tell that Bioware put a lot of thought into it. Its easy to push aside the bad things to embrace the hours upon hours of outstanding game-play. 9/10.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/05/10

Game Release: Mass Effect 2 (US, 01/26/10)

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