Review by ratlank501

"Dismiss the hype, Mass Effect 2 is mediocre at best."

Firstly, I would like to point out that by no means is Mass Effect 2 a bad game. It certainly isn't as good as the other reviews would have you believe, but that doesn't mean it's bad. It's decent, mediocre, undistinguished and ordinary. Certain aspects of the game are quite fun and entertaining and very well done, while on the other hand, some characteristics are severely lacking. I'll go into more detail on each area of the game in sections below.

Storyline: 2/10
There's not much I can say here except that I hope you don't expect deep, intriguing and quite honestly, interesting stories in your games. If one word could describe the story in Mass Effect 2, it would be this: disappointing. I started this game with high hopes, as I know that Bioware write some of the best stories around. KOTOR, Mass Effect, Jade Empire, Dragon Age: Origins all had wonderful, intriguing stories. Mass Effect 2 doesn't. It start of well, when you are killed in action, but are soon brung back to life by Cerberus. You are then tasked with investigating the disapperance of numerous human colonies. The story has potential, but soon turns into you going around the galaxy. That's right. The WHOLE game is based around you recruiting team members. I though that would just be the first disc, but no. It takes up both discs.

Graphics: 8/10
The one thing Bioware got right. The worlds you travel to are beautiful, yet dangerous places. The characters look just as you would expect them to in a Bioware game... fantastic.

All in all, the graphics are great. But that's expected from Bioware.

Sound: 6/10
Nothing remarkable here. The guns sound as you would expect guns to sound, as does everything else. The voices, for the most part, are very well done and fitting. The background music is forgettable.

But again, this is expected from Bioware.

Gameplay: 6/10
The first Mass Effect felt unique. It wasn't perfect, but when playing it, I knew I was playing Mass Effect. However, when playing Mass Effect 2, it's hard to not mistake it for Gears of War. It feels and controls almost exactly like Gears. Not that that's a bad thing, but I would of rather Bioware just improved the engine from the first game, rather than using a whole new one.

The level design is... poor. You know when there's going to be a fight, as rows of conviently placed boxes will be placed in front of you. This means there's no tension. At all. No surprise ambushes. The levels also feel extremely linear. Having numerous ways to storm a building couldn't of hurt.

Now, there's actually LESS powers in Mass Effect 2. That's right, less. However, you can use those powers more often, as most powers now take around just 10 seconds to recharge. The downside is, once you use one power, you can't use any others until the one you used cools down. It makes no sense why I can't cast a Tech power, right after casting a Biotic one. Shouldn't it be different?

There's also less skills to level up, as you can no longer level up your weapon skills. Only powers. Some people may see this as a good thing, however, I though that it took away any sense of progression. You have pinpoint accuracy at the start, but it doesn't improve at all. Not a good thing for a game that's been marketed as a RPG, in my opinion.

It's no secret that the inventory in the first Mass Effect was clunky and a chore to use. Mainly because there was so many weapons, it was hard to manage all of them. The solution was to reduce the number of weapons SLIGHTLY. Instead, Mass Effect 2 has just 4 or 5 weapons for each type of gun. That's not enough.

All in all, the only good to come out of the gameplay in Mass Effect 2 is the refined, tighter shooting mechanics. Everything else is just too dumbed down.

Replayability: 1/10
Your moral choices don't effect anything other than a few lines of dialogue., so there's no point playing through the game again for that. The level design is extremely linear, meaning no replay value for that. There's no reason, at all, to play through Mass Effect 2 more than once.

Conclusion: 5/10
Mass Effect 2 is a fun game to begin with, but quickly becomes bland and repetitive. It's an above average Third Person Shooter with a shallow RPG system, overall resulting in a mediocre game that is at least worth renting.

Reviewer's Rating:   2.5 - Playable

Originally Posted: 06/01/10, Updated 07/19/10

Game Release: Mass Effect 2 (EU, 01/29/10)

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