Mass Effect 2 Review
By now you have read the reviews and watched the Gamespot videos of Mass Effect 2 (ME2) and have all but come to a complete decision on whether or not you are going to buy Gamespot's Most Anticipated Game of the Year. This has lead you to this review and the only question you have now is if its wroth the hype? Perhaps you never played the first game or you just don't want to risk wasting that valuable money you put aside for your gaming collection, either way you're here looking for the answer.
The Mass Effect trilogy is here to stay and has fully met expectations with their newest addition ME2. Gamespot has placed it as their editors choice for not one, but several great reasons. Those who have played the first game will be ecstatic in the new improvements in the sequel and those who haven't will find themselves knee deep in a lush incredible universe that they'll love so much, they might even go back and buy the original.
For all you poor Mass Effect newbies, the new ME2, as a stand alone game, may take you a few minutes to get a grasp on but by the end of the prolog quest (Freedoms Progress) you will find yourself equally addicted to the game as the rest of us. I'm not going to lie, some of the choices you would have made in the original game will be made for you (saving certain people) and it will have a impact on your game, but the truth is that unless you actually played the original game and know what those choices were you probably wont care. Picking up from the second game in the trilogy wont hinder you, except maybe for the previous romance options form ME1 which can be carried out in the third game (note: you will get other romance options in this game as well). The biggest problem for a Mass Effect newbie is that you wont already be familiar with the universe around your character. This might be frustrating at first, but the game provides plenty of opportunity for you to catch up in the dialogs and the codex, which you will want to take advantage of as there is a lot of rich culture and racial tension below the surface of the Mass Effect universe that can help guide your character into some pretty interesting moments.
For all of you, like me, who are returning to the familiar Mass Effect universe that we grew to love in the original game, there is a lot to be said for what Bioware has done with its sequel. You decisions in the first game truly do matter for your ME2 character. It actually wasn't just a deceptive incentive for you to buy the original game. If you finished Tali's side quest in ME1, you will have different dialog options when you first meet her and she will be more willing to trust you now that you work for the pro-human Cerberus group. If you let the rachni live in the original game, helped out Parasini, did not kill Shiala at Zhu's Hope, and other decisions you made in the first game will come up again in ME2. Even more so, some of these decisions look like they will reappear in the eventual ME3.
Bioware also made a lot of improvements to the game itself. The graphics are better, you no longer have to worry about overloading your innovatory, those hateful elevators are gone, and the Mako has been replaced with a shuttle that will take you straight to your needed destination. However this means you will have more, but shorter, loading screens and to get resources you have to scan other worlds, which anyone can tell you is quiet a pain to do. Those resources are used to upgrade your weapons, armor, powers, and (the critical one) your ship. This makes it so you wont be concerned with finding new weapons and armors (as few as there are) but in upgrading them. You also will no longer have unlimited ammo, but the only place this will really bother you is with your heavy weapons (grenade launcher, etc...).
There has been a lot of concern about the story for the sequel on the boards, specifically that the characters aren't as deep as the ones in the original. It's true that you could learn a lot more about the characters in the original ME and that at first glance these characters may come out as something less. However there are a lot more characters to learn about in ME2, and though you may not have as many opportunities to open up new dialogs with each one individually, they are anything but shallow and their combined dialogs are probably just as large as the ones from ME1. Probably the biggest mistake in this respect, is that their default statement doesn't truly change after you beat the game and have this kind of "open world" universe to explore. Nor do you get any new planets or opportunities that open up in the universe after you beat the game.
The loved Jack Walls is back in ME2 with new songs (better songs) which Shepard can listen to in his officers cabin while customizing the look and stats of his armor or while watching his space hamster or giant fish tank on the new SR2 Normandy before heading to his next missions. You will be able to meet all the characters that didn't die in the first ME and some of them might even surprise you. The game is darker, deeper, and more action oriented then the original (but you RPG fans will still love it don't worry). As far as game sequels go, Bioware has really out done themselves as this is probably one of the best sequels to an original game they have ever made.
The bottom line is, if you don't have it, you should get it. It is well worth the hype and I guaranty you will want to play it over and over again.
The original review can be seen here: