Review by Zylo the wolf
I know that it might be a bit early to say this, but Mass Effect 2 could actually be the best game this decade.
"Zylo you have to play Mass Effect 2!" "You should really play Mass Effect 2 if you like awesome games!" "Mass Effect 2 is greatest game ever created, play it Zylo!" That's what a couple of friends have kept saying to me for almost 2 years now, so obviously I thought that this game would never be able to live up to the hype. Since I only own a Playstation 3 I never bothered with this game since the first one is exclusive to Xbox 360. I finally borrowed a friend's 360 and the first Mass Effect was the first game that I tried. The game had a couple of flaws, but it still managed to amaze me. Still I was very skeptic about this game, can any game really live up to all the hype it got? To bad that my Tagline already gave it away, so let me now explain why I love this game.
If you played through the first Mass Effect then you know that you had a couple of important choices to make which effected the plot in the game. This time Bioware was clever enough to allow you to import the Commander Shepard that you used in the first game and the plot can be a bit different depending on what you did in the first Mass Effect. Of course it's still possible to start a new career but then the game decides what happened. The game is without a doubt still playable even if you don't have any Shepard from the previous game to import, but you will enjoy it even more if you continue to play as "your" Shepard. You can change the character's looks even if you important one, and you can also pick a different class in this game. I strongly suggest that you find out what each class really is because your play style should be very different depending on which class you picked.
I'm not going to spoil the whole plot from the previous, but Shepard is a true hero and respected over the whole galaxy. The game begins when Shepard is on the headquarter ship Normandy. All of sudden it gets attacked and everyone must leave the ship right away. However the pilot needs help to get out of there and since Shepard is the Commander he or she can't leave any man behind. The pilot called Joker and pretty much the rest of the crew manages to survive, but Shepard dies in the escape pod. However a private organisation known as Cerberus finds the body and manages to bring Shepard back to life, and now Shepard has to work for Cerberus, an organisation that most people would call terrorists. But is this really true?
Just like in the first game you will early in the game understand what the main quest is all about, and then you get to choose in which order you want to do the different missions and which planets you want to explore first. Just like most of Bioware's games you can also get stronger by doing a lot of side quests which can keep your busy for a long time, even if they don't give nearly as much experience points as the main quests.
Another thing that's still important is all the different choices that you have in the dialogue. You can choose to either be kind and increase your Paragon bar or you can be neural or you can be "evil" and raise your Renegade bar. Sometimes you will be able to make choices that are either Blue or Red depending on which side you decided to take and these choices requires that either your Paragon or Renegade points are high enough. For most of the time these choices are without a doubt better than the regular ones so if you can pick one of them, then do it. The choices you make in this game is even more important since it's possible to miss party members if you make the wrong choice.
A lot of things have changed since the first game. The first thing that you notice is that you can't customize your character as much as you could in the first game. Each class only got about 6 different abilities that you can upgrade, and in order to max one stat you only have to use 10 points. At first it seems that you will be able to max everything in no time but no it takes a lot more xp to level up in this game. I think the reason they changed this is to make the game easier to access for players who are not that into RPGs and prefer action games. Even if I didn't mind the system Bioware used in the previous game, I actually prefer how it's in this game.
Another change that actually worried me was the weapons. You had unlimited ammo in the first game but you just had to be careful that the gun wouldn't overheat. You no longer have to worry that your weapon will overheat, but now you have to make sure that you don't run out of ammo instead. I guess it's a lot harder to find ammo on the tougher difficulties but I recommend that you use one weapon that has a lot of ammo on the regular enemies and then save the strong weapons for the more tough ones. For most of the time you get to pick up enough ammo after every battle so don't worry about completely running out of it. Once again Bioware made a change to appeal to a wider audience.
Speaking of the weapons, one of my main complaints about the first game was that you found way to much useless weapons and even more useless weapon upgrades that you never cared about. The same thing goes about the armor and the armor upgrades. It was a pain to remove every item that you didn't use, only to open a chest and get 10 new useless items. This problem is completely gone now. Now you will only find weapons if you carefully search for them and there aren't that many of them. I'm not sure but I also think that the weapons are better good balanced so you can't really say that Shotgun 1 is better than Shotgun 2. But the best improvement have to be that the MAKO does not appear at all in this game.
Some complain that you have to spend way to much time to research for material on planets where there are no life, but personally I think that complaint is way overrated. I didn't try to buy every possible upgrade but I managed to get the best ending and I think I only spend about 20 minutes to find enough material. Since it took me about 23 hours to beat this game, I don't think 20 minutes of boredom is such a big deal.
I can understand if some people think that the plot focus way to much on building an army, I can understand if some people like the original better since this is more of an action game than a RPG, and yes I can see if some think this game is overrated because every fantastic popular game has it's haters, but this game surely delivered all the hype I got from my friends. It's been a really long time since I wanted to replay a game after just finishing it, but Mass Effect 2 was that good.... Now the real question is if the third and final part of the series can be just as awesome as the previous two?
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Mass Effect 2 (EU, 01/29/10)
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