Mass Effect 2 Updated Hands-On

We got another chance to play this engrossing sci-fi game and checked out some new weapons and enemies in the process.

At EA's Winter Showcase in London, BioWare CEO Ray Muzyka gave us another look at the team's upcoming sci-fi role-playing game. First off, we were treated to a brand new trailer that shows off some of the new enemies, including the insectlike Collectors. We then got the chance to play an updated demo of the game that featured an old friend, new weapons, and some satisfying and intense combat. We also got a chance to talk to the game's producer to try to glean some more information.

Our demo started off in an outside area on Omega, which is a mining colony that makes its debut in Mass Effect 2. Omega contrasts the clean look of Citadel, and the sky is filled with pollution, which gives the atmosphere a dark, reddish haze. The installation looks similar to Blade Runner and features fires burning from what looked like refineries, as well as brightly coloured neon billboards. Fans of the series will be pleased to know that Mass Effect 2 is looking great, and we're told the development team's aim is to have the game running at a constant 35 frames per second. In addition to the stunning new Omega colony, Shepard is looking impressive. We're not sure what's with the electronic pattern on the side of his face, but we know BioWare will reveal all when the time is right.

Shepard wasn't the only character we saw in the demo; there were plenty of unsavoury-looking aliens walking around that really added to the general sense of unease on Omega. We're told that you won't be able to interact directly with all of them, but simply seeing them go about their shady business is enough to add some tension to the air.

After a brief look around outside, we entered a nearby nightclub called Afterlife. This venue was also full of suspicious citizens wheeling and dealing within the club's cavernous passageways. Afterlife features a futuristic visual design accented by soft lighting that gives it an interesting vibe. Fires burn in long columns and pole-dancing girls gyrate to an electronic beat. After looking around for a bit, we made our way to the bar and asked the bartender for a drink. Unfortunately, instead of rustling up a soothing beverage, he gave us a nasty cocktail that made Commander Shepard collapse and pass out.

The demo then jumped to a later section of this area where we got a chance to met up with Garrus Vakarian, the Turian Citadel guard from the original Mass Effect. Shepard also had two companions in tow: Grunt the Krogan and fellow human Jacob Taylor. Apparently, Garrus thought Shepard was dead, following the events in Mass Effect. After a brief chat, he told us that he needed our help to get through eclipse troopers, which are a new enemy in Mass Effect 2. This gave us a chance to try out Mass Effect 2's new control scheme, which BioWare has changed in an effort to improve the combat. During the cutscene, Shepard was given a sniper rifle by Garrus and used it to zoom in to get a better look at the troopers. This triggered a quick-time event, and we were prompted to tap the left trigger. Doing so resulted in an instant headshot, which abruptly brought us back into the level and brought attention to our party.

Mass Effect 2's new cover system works well and is similar to Gears of War and Ghost Recon. We made use of the added protection to pop out and take a few quick shots at the troopers, which also highlighted the game's new damage system. You can target arms, legs, and heads with more accuracy than before, and firing a bullet straight into an enemy's skull results in a satisfying instant kill. From our experience, we're pleased to report that the rifle looks like a great way to dish out some powerful damage from afar. We also tried out the shotgun, which, as expected, was extremely effective at short range. The area that we advanced through had a mixture of confined and open areas, which meant switching among the sniper rifle, shotgun, and assault rifle was the best solution. Thankfully, the weapon selection reticle meant we could do this quickly with a minimum of fuss. After clearing the room of troopers, we came face to face with our first boss: the YMIR mech. This powerful foe gave us a chance to try out the new grenade launcher, and after a few direct hits, the mech was reduced to a few fried circuit boards.

The YMIR mech might look menacing, but it has met its match in Shepard's new grenade launcher.

The short demo we experienced left us satisfied yet wanting more at the same time. The game looks like it's shaping up nicely, with improved visuals, tighter controls, and interesting new weapons, enemies, and locations. Mass Effect 2 is shipping out in late January on the Xbox 360 and PC, but until then, be sure to check out all of our previous coverage.

Written By

Former staff writer for GameSpot.co.uk, now marketing guy for a certain major online retailer....

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Discussion

69 comments
key1001
key1001

this seems forever I CANT WAIT ANYMORE AAAAAAAAAAH

shooters125
shooters125

Man I wish in ME 2 when you fight Legion (which you probably will) in the end you can spare him and he'll join your squad in the next game. Geth squadmember ftw.

fixdeluxe1
fixdeluxe1

Looks godamm awesome. I can't wait.Had such a futuristic feel to it,with awesome visuals and free-roam.

BigStik
BigStik

the main game of the first one was a bit short hope this one's longer though

inunison
inunison

First one was a great game and this one promises to be even better. I am looking forward to play this.

thenephariouson
thenephariouson

I am so getting this, I love the idea of merging components of ME1 across into ME2, brilliant idea, more devs should do this.

Pooter18
Pooter18

This is a little more than I would have liked to know about the game, but I'm sure it will still have numerous shockers

man-o-rama
man-o-rama

i just cannot friking wait come on

gamer-clemm
gamer-clemm

I can't wait for this to come out! It looks awesome!!

Roach3686
Roach3686

I want this game so bad... So bad...

TimmyBravo
TimmyBravo

I'm starting to get really excited about this game.. Plot seems to be well made, can't wait to see how it unfolds!! Looks like I'll have to have a playthrough of MassEffect 1 to have a good start in January :p

TimmyBravo
TimmyBravo

I'm starting to get really excited about this game.. Plot seems to be well made, can't wait to see how it unfolds!! Looks like I'll have to have a playthrough of MassEffect 1 to have a good start in January :p

rpgnutt
rpgnutt

if u killed wrex in the frist game u cant play with him in this one.

rpgnutt
rpgnutt

ME2 and BS2 are what im waiting for ill wait for MW2 and AC2 to get cheaper because im not a huge fan of the 2.ill just play boaderlands and ballad of gay tony until then.ill get dragon age too.

a_sh0pping_cart
a_sh0pping_cart

Great memories playing ME during Winter '07, greater memories playing ME2 in 2 months!

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

i hope the shooting has a better feeling ME 2

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

January isn't too far off. Can't wait!

LYTEK
LYTEK

Looks awesome can't wait. AC2 in the meantime...loving all of these singleplayer games w/ good plots!!

ddt88
ddt88

Sweet graphics

Pnevma
Pnevma

Looks to be a very promising plot. Can't wait!!!

NeilCardiff
NeilCardiff

Bioware are really setting standards at the moment, hope they keep it up for a long time.

solomn6rundy
solomn6rundy

Beat the first one nine times and plan on beating it at least two more times. Plan on beating this one at least that many. Keep up the good work Bioware.

holidaysins
holidaysins

finally a video that tell you about the storyline it looks great ps i think im going to pass on assasins creed or just rent it

bennae66
bennae66

mass effect has warfare more modern than any soliders call of duty..

ajgoesunlucky
ajgoesunlucky

@NeonNinja Dude I highly recommend against that If you buy Dragon Age you get a BA armor kit and a few other things for ME2 So it'd be a illogical decision to buy it afterward just in case you didn't know about that...

holyknight234
holyknight234

I always loved Geth and its design, and seeing how there's a special Geth makes me so happy :D the other enemies look somewhat... not sure, meh-like. Fighting Geth was awesome in Mass Effect 1, hopefully these new enemies will be equally fun. I've always wanted Geth to be on Sheperd's side, but I guess that's impossible :P would love to fight alongside with the geth army against these new enemies.

Reiken37
Reiken37

Nam Nam games to get: Battle Field BC2 Mass Effect 2 Super Mario Bros Wii L4D2 Spirit Tracks

SWIFFT
SWIFFT

I need to finish the first one. It's collecting dust atm.

pidow
pidow

I must have this game.

Spartan-127
Spartan-127

Ahh Sweet! Can't wait can't wait...I hope there's more space travel! Wooo :D

Rizer
Rizer

A Geth Stalker...huh.

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

I really, REALLY want Mass Effect 2. This is easily my most anticipated game of 2010 and the good news is that it comes out in January 2010! :D I'm passing on Dragon Age right now because of Mass Effect 2 (that and I'm playing another RPG right now so I can't commit to it), but after ME2 I'll get Dragon Age. For me though it was never a matter of what game to get, it was going to be, do I really want to get another game after Mass Effect 2? I am literally THAT excited for this game!

Templar_Bladema
Templar_Bladema

I just have been buying and playing BioWare RPG after RPG. First Baldur's Gate 2, then Mass Effect, then finally got back into KotOR, then Dragon Age, and now I really want Mass Effect 2. Sign me up for Shephard's crew.

greywarden326
greywarden326

o man i hope im done with dragon age by January 26 lol :P

Blargsman
Blargsman

Come January 26th, I will surely be missing for close to three months. Don't wait up for me!

RascZak0
RascZak0

I dont play alot of rpg games but Mass Effect was worth the money and time I spent on it! I liked the awesome story of it and the gameplay! I hope Mass Effect 2 is gonna be just as good or even better... ...cant wait...

kaliban
kaliban

my money's on Legion being the coolest character in ME2. It'd be sick if he (it) cold join the team hah

Lone_Warrior_66
Lone_Warrior_66

Awesome, really looking forward to this one. Hope my pc can still run it to its full potential with the improved graphics.

Wings_008
Wings_008

i might buy the collectors edition :D