Review by SoraLink2649

"The Greatest Space Epic Ever"

The original Mass Effect was a game that I thoroughly enjoyed. It took story- telling to a never before seen plateau and was the pure definition of a space epic. The only gripes with it were the pop- in graphics and somewhat lacking gameplay. Mass Effect 2 continues the saga and tries to improve in every way over an already solid platform. So, does the second installment live up to its name in gold and steal the Game of the Year for 2010? Does Bioware continue to amaze in the RPG field? This gamer says, yes, with flying colors.

Graphics (10/10)
This game looks absolutely breathtaking. The environments steal your eyes with their euphoric details and the characters are so authentic that you'd swear you were looking at a real life specimen. Anything that you would expect to look like in the future feels like it belongs and fits in spot on. Everything seems to be perfect with only a few minor pop-ins that are way less in number than the original. Some of the best graphics I've ever seen, truly amazing work in this department.

Sound (9/10)
The soundtrack for Mass Effect 2 is truly fitting of an epic space game. From the HUB of the galaxy map to the massive Citadel the music for this adventure is solid, but not incredible. As for voice acting, just as great as Mass Effect, no lapse or anything. All characters sound fresh and distinctive and it definitely doesn't leave you thinking they could have done better. Aliens speak how you would expect, each with their own flare that makes them unique and also makes them sound pretty cool. All and all the sound for Mass Effect 2 is pretty masterful.

Story (10/10)
If you're searching for one of the best stories of all time that will keep you interested throughout, give you a keen group of characters that you have will learn to love or hate, and not lag behind in keeping your mind focused on it throughout, then Mass Effect 2 has that story. The story starts with an epic moment to say the least and continues with moments as such for much of the adventure. Saying your eyes will be glued to the screen is an understatement; you will literally be at one with the game because of how real and intense it really is. It mixes every emotion you can think of into its story and characters with a perfect balance. Now to the characters, who surpass the original group bar none. With a goal of assembling a crew, you want the best, and that's what you receive, but first you will have to gain loyalty through loyalty missions. Your crew is comprised of many different beings: humans, an asari, a salarian, and even more that each have their own problems and past that you will delve into making for some incredible small talk. You, the commander, will feel for these characters in many different ways, and that's the beauty, it's really engaging for the player and is some of the best character development ever. By the end, you'll know these guys so well, you'll get the notion that you've known them forever, which is a great feeling that this game also accomplishes. Plus, if you played Mass Effect, get ready for some heartfelt time with your former crew which creates some of the most emotional moments in the game. With the addition of the constant choices you are given of what you want to say, this is the most engaging story of all time. Your choices will make different things happen, sometimes what you expected, sometimes not, but it gives amazing freedom and thought process especially because the story changes so much with a simple decision. This ultimately makes you sense that you are Commander Sheppard because he is made through your personality and moral being. Honestly, these words don't give the story justice, it's just too great to describe.

Gameplay (10/10)
This is the part of Mass effect 2 that needed to be spot-on if it had any hope of surpassing the original. Well, that is exactly what happened; the gameplay in Mass Effect 2 can compete with any game, but also has its own flare that gives it a deceptive edge. Add-ons like a superior cover system, more fluent battle menus, and better abilities to play with make the gameplay not only balanced but a whole lot better. The new and improved cover system allows for some easy maneuvering that feels great and makes survival and ability using easier. The battle menus have a significantly better usage than in Mass Effect. It will take no getting used to and keeps the action going even though you're stopping to use it. The biggest improvement is most certainly the new abilities that each squad member possesses. Each type of person you can be has many useful talents that don't feel tacked on or some that you will never use. The abilities are all important to certain situations and that makes for more of a strategy feel then the first game. This goes hand in hand with your crew members, who you find more of a use for because they have different abilities than you have. Controlling all your members' abilities is key to success and gives the gamer a sense of complete control unlike Mass Effect where you seemed like a lone wolf and your partners were just there for the ride. If you've played countless other mega hits out in the market right now, you will see that Mass Effect 2 is more original in the way you play as it combines shooting mechanics with RPG elements better than any other. Overall, the gameplay is much better than the original and does everything to keep on par with this games amazing story.

Replayability (10/10)
The story alone makes this category easy to score, its something that there's so much to learn and gather, that it will take a few viewings to completely grasp. The gameplay also makes for at least another go because it's so addicting and won't bore you at all. Also with so many different classes that are all fun to be, you could try being all of them to freshen the experience. There are a lot of subtle things to miss on a first attempt of this behemoth of a game so there's another reason. To see everything it will definitely take at least two times around.

Recommendation (Must-Buy)
Mass Effect 2 just has so much to offer, you'd have to be crazy not to own this game if you're an RPG fan. If a 25-30 hour experience filled with drama, suspense, emotion, intensity, and action perfectly spread throughout, with gameplay as good as any game in the market, and a sight to see and hear isn't a must-buy than I don't know what is. Joy comes from playing a game that dares to try something new, Mass Effect 2 is that game because of its amazing cross between a compelling story and thrilling gameplay that usually you only see one or the other of that is truly great. You will not regret playing this game, the greatest space epic of all time, guaranteed.

Final Verdict (9.6/10)

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 03/22/10

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

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