Mass Effect 2 Review
This rich, action-packed space adventure is immensely entertaining on its new platform, though the transition isn't wholly smooth.
- Great characters make you feel invested in the adventure
- Outstanding art design makes good use of color and lighting
- Includes the fantastic Overlord and Shadow Broker mission packs
- Varied missions and environments keep the action fresh
- Firing off biotic and tech powers is a blast.
- Frame rate hitches can get distracting
- Some of the content is filled with technical issues
- Kasumi's presence weakens the narrative.
Some would call it a role-playing game with an emphasis on its shooting action; others would call it a third-person shooter with RPG elements. Whatever you might call it, Mass Effect 2 was one of 2010's finest games--an elegant mixture of exciting battles, sharply written characters, and stunning visual art. PlayStation 3 owners should rightfully be excited to finally see their own version of this excellent game, though series hero Shepard hasn't received the VIP treatment the character deserved. Some frame rate troubles and other technical flaws specific to this new iteration keep it from being the go-to version of a game released without such troubles a year ago. The flaws aren't what you notice most when you play this escapade across the galaxy, however; rather, what stands out is how each element of the game works together to draw you into a universe you don't want to leave. The addition of content released as downloadable add-ons for previous versions makes the newest release an excellent value. This content includes the shrugworthy Mass Effect 2: Kasumi - Stolen Memory mission pack, as well as the entirely wonderful Overlord and Lair of the Shadow Broker missions. If you haven't yet been able to play Mass Effect 2, this is your latest chance to take to the stars and discover the mysteries of the Milky Way.
On the Xbox 360 and PC, one of Mass Effect 2's most interesting features was that it allowed you to import your Mass Effect character and save file. Certain plot points in the sequel then played out according to decisions you made in the original. PlayStation 3 owners don't get to experience this delight because the original did not appear on the platform. To help fill in the necessary gaps, you can download a free interactive comic using the one-use code included in the retail packaging. It looks great, and the narration is emotive and dignified. The comic prompts you to make the same significant decisions you could make in the original Mass Effect, using the radial dialogue wheel seen in the rest of the game. It's unfortunate that some players will either miss or have to pay $15 extra for the only content unique to this version because it isn't included on the disc. Luckily, the packaged code gives you access to other free content that was also released for other platforms, such as the short Firewalker mission pack.
Mass Effect 2 begins with dire events that foreshadow the game's dark tone--an attack that leaves your ship in pieces and the fate of protagonist Shepard temporarily unclear. Never fear: Shepard returns, thanks to the efforts of the controversial pro-human organization called Cerberus and under the watchful eye of its chain-smoking overseer, The Illusive Man. Entire human colonies are disappearing without a trace, and Cerberus needs you, as Shepard, to investigate and confront the vicious forces behind the mystery. Whether you make your contempt for the organization's questionable methods clear or espouse its manipulations, you owe The Illusive Man your life. Like it or loathe it, he casts his shadow on every action you take.
A race of locustlike beings known as the Collectors cast an even larger shadow, and the threat they pose is greater than it may first appear. Cerberus wants you to assemble a formidable team to assist and provides you with two human officers of its own. First, there is the sexy and detached Miranda. Then, there is Jacob, who seems initially reticent but allows his emotional fire to burn more brightly as the journey progresses. One by one, you build up your crew of specialists, which represent a number of the fascinating alien races that inhabit the galaxy. Among them are a stoic blue-skinned Asari named Samara, whose ethical code is as unforgiving as it is inflexible, and Thane, a brooding assassin who belongs to the reptilian Drell race. These are great characters, as are other members of your team, though the Salarian scientist Mordin Solus is possibly the finest character in Mass Effect 2 and is among the most interesting in any modern RPG. His ultracaffeinated, ultralogical delivery is often hysterical and always entertaining (his romantic advice will have you in stitches), but his moral misgivings and humaneness make him more than just comic relief. First-class dialogue, outstanding facial animations, and expressive voice acting lead you to care about your crewmates. The main plot is typical science fiction, but most of these fantastic characters keep you emotionally invested in your space trek from beginning to end.
One of Mass Effect 2's finest features is how its mission structure and character development are intertwined. After their initial recruitment, each of your comrades offers a quest of his or her own to undertake, and these missions give you a lot of insight into your crew members--even those, like Jacob, who seems rather boring initially. Not all of these missions involve combat, which doesn't always work in the game's favor; one in which you follow your target from a walkway overhead is one of Mass Effect 2's weaker moments. But even the rare missions that are light on thrills are still heavy on character development. Familial relationships are a common theme in these missions, but the gameplay variety and story specifics keep this repeated subject from wearing out its welcome. One such mission is particularly haunting because a decision you make at its conclusion has a lasting effect on the composition of your crew. The weak link in this otherwise superior setup is Kasumi, the master thief added to last year's versions as part of the Stolen Memory downloadable content. While you get to know your other teammates during the course of two full acts, Kasumi joins you on the Normandy SR-2 after a too-brief introduction. As a result, she never fits in with her more fully developed cohorts.
Conversations commonly present you with a number of responses that affect the meters representing two sides of an ethical spectrum: paragon and renegade. These meters are handled separately and do not represent sides of a single gauge. This structure makes a simple but important point: Morality isn't an either/or, good/bad attribute, but it allows for shades of gray in which to maneuver. As these meters fill, new conversation options open, giving you additional ways to solve dilemmas. These choices don't lead to the complexity and flexibility you see in RPGs like Fallout: New Vegas or Dragon Age: Origins, but they result in some electric moments, particularly during the final hours. One of the interactive dialogue's most interesting aspects is that of interrupt triggers. In certain cases, you may get a prompt allowing you to interrupt the scene. This may involve pulling a gun on an unsavory mercenary (a renegade action) or interrupting an old friend to offer a word of affection (a paragon action). These instances have a nice feeling of immediacy and inspire you to pay attention to conversations as they unfold.
i played 1 and 2 on 360 but i loved the second one better on ps3 i have played like 50 plus hrs on me2 for ps3 its awesome going to buy me3 soon cant wait
- Player Reviews: 90
- Game Universe:
- Mass Effect (X360, PC, PS3),
- Mass Effect 2 (PC, X360, PS3),
- Mass Effect: Bring Down the Sky (X360, PC),
- Mass Effect: Pinnacle Station (X360, PC),
- Mass Effect 2: Normandy Crash Site (PC, X360),
- Mass Effect 2: The Price of Revenge (X360, PC),
- Mass Effect 2: Kasumi - Stolen Memory (X360, PC),
- Mass Effect 2: Firewalker (X360, PC),
- Mass Effect 3 (X360, PC, PS3, WIIU),
- Mass Effect 2: Overlord (X360, PC)