9.5

One of the best games I've ever played

Mass Effect 2 is a very special game. I've spent over 150 hours playing this game, about 5 playthroughs and every one has been just as fun and epic as the last. Bioware has truly crafted a marvel among modern video games.

The story is the real highlight here. As you progress through the campaign you will visit so many interesting places and meet so many interesting people. The character progression is top notch and each character you meet has an interesting background story. After completing every mission you will want to go through your ship and talk to everyone. But a great cast of characters wouldn't mean anything if the game didn't have an awesome overarching story line. Human colonies have gone missing and you as Commander Shepard have been brought back to life by the corporation known as Cerberus. You have to investigate why this is happening. They then have you assembling a team of the best soldiers, technicians, and scientists around the galaxy to perform what essentially is a suicide mission. The more thoroughly you complete the campaign will determine how many people live or die during the final mission and yes, Commander Shepard can die. This makes gaining all the upgrades and everyone's loyalty very important.

The game has a lot of cut scenes and dialogue but the story and people are so interesting you will be intrigued by what they have to say. You can also make choices during dialogue sequences that determine how the story progresses. This is what makes the game so interesting playing through a second or third time as you can make different decisions and have a totally different experience.

The game play is extremely fun and rewarding. My first play through was on normal difficulty but every other play through after that was on insanity and that is definitely the way to go. The fights go from simple shoot 'em up scenarios to much more tactical combat. You need a well balanced group at all times in order to be able to handle what's thrown at you. The different classes all have different play styles and I found the ones I tried are fun to use.

The game looks great. It is not anything special from a technical standpoint, but it makes up for that with its artistic style. Character animations are very well done and faces move believably when they talk.

The sound effects are great but were the game really shines is its musical score. The music is of the best I've every listened to in a video game. During the opening sequence when we see Shepard floating towards the planet and a few dangling notes play, it sends a shiver down my spine every time.

The game is not perfect however and has its faults. I wish there was a more flushed out talent system instead of just putting points into your skills. The planet mining was a terrible idea and it adds a very unnecessary grind aspect to the game. However the planet mining does lead to finding anomalies which are optional side missions that reward you with money and a little something extra to do.

I highly recommend that everyone play this game. It's an experience that should not be missed if you are any kind of gamer. Then after you beat it I encourage you to play through it again. Pick a different class, make different decisions, crank up the difficulty and have another enjoyable and engaging adventure.

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