Mass Effect 2 - EA Press Conference Impressions

We dissect the new Mass Effect 2 trailer and spot new enemies, new locations, and some familiar faces.

At today's E3 press conference, EA showed a new trailer for Mass Effect 2, the sequel to Bioware's critically acclaimed interstellar adventure. Straight out of the gate we see Commander Shepard's ship, the Normandy, appear out of hyperspace looking as sleek as ever. We then hear the voice of the man himself say, "I'm gathering specialists for a mission. It's not gonna be easy. The chances of surviving...slim." Perhaps Shepard wasn't killed in action, as a teaser trailer suggested this past February? Our thoughts are immediately echoed by an Asari woman who stutters, "Shepard...but...you're dead!"

Some of the new weapons look to offer significant destructive force.

No he isn't (apparently)! In the very next frame we see Commander Shepard (as the default male character model from Mass Effect) striking a startled pose, flanked by a surly-looking human and a Quarian warrior with a purple-tinted mask. Shepard is wearing heavy armor emblazoned with his signature "N7," but his companions don't look familiar. At this point we've seen Asari and Quarian characters, but no familiar faces from Mass Effect except for Shepard so far.

The next frames ramp up the action significantly, and we see brief combat sequences from the game's third-person perspective. Both feature Shepard destroying enemies explosively, and though they went by pretty fast, the enemies seemed like alien races that we hadn't seen before. Some later combat close-ups featured glowing plates on both guns and armor that seemed to flash or take damage. When destroyed, a few enemies burst asunder in a spray of gooey red giblets. EA is being sure to show combat as more visceral and immediate, but there are some longer-range, cover-based battles that reflect the range of the combat spaces.

As the trailer gained more momentum, we saw a bunch of cutscene excitement (flying hover cars!), and in a particularly notable sequence, a Turian dropped down from the ceiling and snapped a male soldier's neck. [Update: Several alert readers have written to suggest that this creature is not a Turian, but is a member of a new alien race called the Drell. Upon closer inspection, there are a number of physiological differences that seem to support this theory. What do you think?] The murdered soldier was wearing yellow and white armor, apparently the same armor worn by a masked figure that was featured pretty heavily later on. In one scene, this figure is apparently being pursued by Shepard and his two-man team (it seems three is the magic number again, in terms of field team size) and then ends up defenestrated. This character has a distinctive logo on his chest: a black circle with sunlike flares around the outside. The yellow inside of the circle is spanned by three parallel black bars. Could this be a new faction to contend with? They certainly seem to be attracting attention, both from in-game enemies and from folks who put this trailer together.

More interstellar excitement flashed by as ships cruised the stars and buzzed cities. There were a number of different locations shown, but most had the familiar, metallic, settlement-in-a-box-style architecture--the utilitarian staple of the Mass Effect world. There were plenty of explosions and dramatic character interactions, with a particularly notable one coming closer to the end. A second familiar face from Mass Effect appeared as we saw Joker at the helm of the Normandy, cracking wise and apparently voiced yet again by Seth Green.

Several old characters look to return, but quite how is unclear.

As the trailer came to a climax, Joker ominously observed that there was something coming their way, and "it's not the Geth." (The Geth are networked artificial intelligence beings that sided with Shepard's enemies in Mass Effect). Joker then took the Normandy into evasive maneuvers, and we got a quick look at some other Normandy crew members, as well as a ground-side glimpse of some shambling enemies. Before these goons were blown to smithereens by a large explosive projectile, it was clear that they all bore the same uniform, wore similar war paint, and moved forward with a slow, inexorable stride -- something normally reserved for forces with superior numbers that can afford expendable infantry. They are reminiscent of the husks from Mass Effect (who were also featured earlier in the trailer), but they appeared to purposeful garbed in armor, rather than just spawned out of one of those mysterious spikes. They could be a tougher, more advanced husk, or perhaps even a new enemy race/faction, as seemingly suggested by the purposeful juxtaposition of their scene with the Joker's "it's not the Geth" quip.

Given that Mass Effect 2 will no doubt have a long and dramatic story arc, this trailer revealed precious little of the forces that will shape the game's grand conflicts. However, we did see a renewed emphasis on visceral combat, as well as a confirmation that two characters, Shepard and Joker, will be returning. A number of cutscene clips showcased detailed facial models (perhaps a few more returning faces?) as well as some towering new futuristic metropolises that indicate that the scope of this sequel will be no less ambitious than its predecessor. Check back tomorrow when we go behind closed doors to get a deeper look at Mass Effect 2.

Ed. note: This article has been updated to reflect some keen observations by alert readers. Further updates may not be possible during the busy E3 week, but be sure to check the comments to see what other people are seeing in this exciting trailer, and to add your own thoughts.

Written By

Chris enjoys aiming down virtual sights, traipsing through fantastical lands, and striving to be grossly incandescent.

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146 comments
Dr_Manfattan
Dr_Manfattan

mass effect 2 and dragon age: origins, i cant wait for these games to come out, both so different yet both so awesome!! :D

Hammershock6
Hammershock6

Cant w8 to mow down some more aliens with my trusty rifle and incendiary bullets hehe =)

acerpg007
acerpg007

this is good news for me, i really liked the first..

Azumaa
Azumaa

@ Un_Ordinateur: Pretty sure he was just stating that the first Mass Effect was so incredibly bad ass that this one has a chance and/or hope of being even more badass.

dbpvivi
dbpvivi

I wonder if the story has already been written or if they are just making it up as they get to each part. We will find out end of 2011, ffs!

SaijusX
SaijusX

The first was absolutely amazing, for me atleast. Very few games reach out to you and pull you into an epic story that, in the future, may even be amongst the believeable category. This is going to be another 5 star 10/10 game for me. Cannot wait. Bring it :D

Un_Ordinateur
Un_Ordinateur

@ GamesBond505: What do you think was wrong with the last one? I thought Mass effect was great.

GamesBond505
GamesBond505

oh yeah . . .. . hope this 1 rocks more than the last one

abosh1
abosh1

yes! i cant wait for this game.. .its going to be brilliant!!!

NightLike
NightLike

Now heres a game we can all get excited about!

Sniperwolf_SN
Sniperwolf_SN

one of the best RPG game I'd ever played, awsome graphics and characters. great story. I hope Mass Effect 2 will have awsome story too.

Un_Ordinateur
Un_Ordinateur

Well, this should be incredible. I'm just glad Obsidian is not making it, like some of the other Bioware game sequels (KotOR, Neverwinter nights). They always manage to get it wrong... But Bioware always manages to nail it. Can't wait to see it. Improving an already superb game... This might just be the best action RPG ever made. Lets keep our fingers crossed... And Liara coming back would be nice, also. ;)

william623
william623

i hope it call learn from Final Fantasy franchise a little bit, i mean not the all of them, only visit the city, the previous Mass Effect is good, but when i want to visit the Earth, Oh hell no... cannot visit one, what, i can't just land on earth, come on man, just make some main futuristic mega city. The golden age of humanity picture just the look only, citadel, citadel, citadel... Just the best "shopping center" in universe, or just make some joke, visit the Cybertronia, hehe, just kidding...

bad_fur_day
bad_fur_day

Unimpressed really, It looks identical to the last one. I guess thats okay since the last one was great. But I was hoping for something a bit different.

VivaRevolucion
VivaRevolucion

the main quest in the first one was awesome, you got to make some pretty deep decisions and the characters were nicely done. The problem though was the side quests.... Those planets were far to boring, I know they're suppose to be lifeless... but the game really only had like 4 cities you could visit. A lots of the skins and..."Dungeons" were reused on a lot of the planets and it was just bland and boring to explore the same Merc Outpost, Renegade Soldier Base, And some lab over and over again. Here's for hoping there are more variety in quests, weapons, and armor.

xKratosAurionx
xKratosAurionx

I don't think anyone "didn't" like this game. It had its Cons but the Pros made up for it. I sat and thought of all the things they can add while playingm And well, i'll keep my fingers crossed but i have a feeling this time, They'll hit the nail on the head

Flipyap28
Flipyap28

can't wait... I just hope theres more of a variety of places/citys to visit because just having the citadel and a bunch of lifeless planets was pretty boring

Dreadedsniper
Dreadedsniper

Looks amazing, i played so much of the first one can't wait til this comes out.

mslug8
mslug8

This is just my opinion, but i played mass effect 1 for a couple of days and i just couldnt get into it. I found the planets too big and too boring. I think this game would be better if the planets had more to do than just walking around flat land. That said, i didnt get to see all of mass effect 1, and i probably missed out on a hell of a lot.

Forsaken-Soul
Forsaken-Soul

By the looks of thing I'm will not be geting a lot of sleep when it cames out

BrazeMyTrail
BrazeMyTrail

I will definitely buy it...It's worth it

BboyMasochist
BboyMasochist

I played the first game straight through, only stopping to do side-quests when they were handed straight to me. It was incredible; I remember staring at the screen for 5 minutes when Shepard had to make that decision on Virmire. The second time through, yeah, I stopped and made sure I did ALL the side-quests, just for completion's sake. And it still managed to be fun, even though I played the same paragon as the first game.

sivasiva
sivasiva

In the first game, the storyline was untouchable. Hopefully, so does the second one. Overall, the game should be aweome.

WarPrime
WarPrime

I found the first one really boring. I felt like I was an errand boy running around space cleaning up other peoples messes and occasionally stumbling on useful information about the main story line, until the last two hours, and then it really picked up and got interesting. Mostly I find the flavor of the universe to be very generic and bland.

nikola96
nikola96

Nice game I think I will buy it.

da2g
da2g

side missions were boring and repetitive ... hope they will improve this part of the game

Willsi100
Willsi100

As sad as it sounds I didn't like the first one. Lets hope this one will interest me more.

_Sharpshooter_
_Sharpshooter_

i LOVED the first one and theres no doubt that this one will be better. cant wait for either this nor the 3rd one they are planning. but its worth the time

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

Love the first one, to say im getting this is simply a foregone conclusion.

mystwade
mystwade

mass effect rules!!!..it´s amazing the fact that they will use the saves of the players as a context to the story continuity...preety unique

kakashi6666
kakashi6666

@Greywind88 completely agree with u mass effect 1 was easily one ov the best games iv played ever

shiny5
shiny5

i'm not going to say anything

Villi
Villi

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

01chris02
01chris02

I love Mass Effect 1 and when I heard it was a trilogy i swear i nearly pis**d myself i was that happy lol The new weapons look interesting just hope there are as many guns as there were in the first one. Customistation was sooo good in the first one... all we need now is camo lol (Ive been playing too much CoD) =D

tiggerlu
tiggerlu

Sequels are made for improvements, I'm glad Bioware has the money and will to release a sequel that looks like it will do just that. I just hope the rocket launcher isn't "quake-like"...more of a tactical weapon like all of MEs weapons! Very excited for ME2...

shadowlord123
shadowlord123

Can't wait to blast those new enemies and be imersed in the story.

Greywind88
Greywind88

Sprizmo, you seem to be contradicting yourself there a bit. First off, while every local wasn't entirely unique, the vast majority of the main quests and even the side quest worlds felt distinct and unique enough. Just gotta go back to Neverwinter Nights with the palace that looked the same as the elven hut to know how bad it could be. And Freelancer... really? I played it, and it yes it was a breath of fresh air (pun intended) from the total lack of space battle games, but the side quests were an exercise in tedium, and honestly, I wouldn't want the developers to take time away from the truly riveting storyline of Mass Effect to throw in some little mini-game space battle like in KotOR. Yes, space battles would be great, but there's only so much one can put in a game. I say, stick with what’s working, expand where you can, but don't try to fix what was definitely not broken in the first game. All in all, I am excited. Mass Effect was one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had with video games in a long time and from little has been shown, the good times are still a rollin.

Sprizmo
Sprizmo

Whats all this talk about Shepard being presumed dead? She clearly climbed out of the rubble of at the end of the first one, ready for more action. I loved Mass Effect but as others have stated it fell short of perfection mainly due to repetitive environments; if Bioware doubled the overall variety in the next one they would get straight A's for sure. And man wouldn't it be cool if they implemented a free flight through the Galaxy deal like the best game no one played on the pc, Freelancer. If you combined Freelancer mechanics with Mass Effect the game would be legendary.

Kal_Thull
Kal_Thull

sweet although ill have to wait till i can come home to play from the sands