From this point on I’m going to assume Bioware’s original intentions when creating the Mass Effect universe was to completely overhaul video-games and RPG’s alike. The amount of time and effort procured for it is absolutely astonishing. Every corresponding part of the Mass Effect universe holds a substantial amount of importance that will have a significant impact on the way we will conclude this epic trilogy. The first game created the lore’s visual counterparts and built an elaborate story around them; the second, refines the core gameplay and cuts out the useless material. Each mechanic in Mass Effect 2 has been refined into a more focused game. Nevertheless, Bioware crafted the perfect sequel and one of my most exciting experiences of all time.
Walking into Mass Effect 2, I had extremely little time spent with the first installment. Realizing this was a hefty loss, I decided to drop into the game after quickly equipping myself with a fair amount of knowledge of Shepard’s previous adventures via the internet. I won’t say I don’t regret trudging through the first Mass Effect before I delved into the sequel, but the game does try to accept newcomers to the best of its abilities. Importing your battle-hardened Shepard from the first game lets you continue your custom story with the weight of past events still present. If you decide to start clean, the past events are chosen for you.
As if the stress from earlier events wasn’t enough, literally minutes in you witness the tragic demise of the Normandy, and Commander Shepard violently struggling for oxygen whilst descending deeper into space. These opening moments set the universal tone of the mission you are about to embark on. Thanks to the mysterious Illusive Man and those at Cerberus, Shepard is supplied with the Normandy 2.0 and a full crew to accompany it. This is when your diverse team of the galaxy’s greatest begins fabrication. The Collector’s defeat requires only the best of the best and it’s your job to seek them out.
Each squad member that you recruit has a unique reason for their commitment, along with a problem that your asked to resolve. You may choose not to help them out, but earning their loyalty will severely affect your chances of coming out alive in the final suicide mission. It is important that your priority is to acquire everyone’s trust before you hand them your life on a platter and tell them to protect it. unfortunately not everyone will be satisfied with your choices while assisting them with their dilemma. although they may not completely hold up their end of the bargain, you will need learn your team’s strengths to survive your mission.
A large amount of the game has you popping in and out of cover during intense firefights. The controls and overall feeling of these events are top notch. The guns that are at your disposal may not be as varied as your would like them to be, but it covers the main archetypes while introducing some new flavors to your arsenal. Each battle set-piece felt expertly constructed and if I played my cards right I ended up having the advantage in most situations. Each bullet that erupted from my gun felt like it had weight leaving me hungry for more extra-terrestrial scum to be exterminated from existence (see what I did there?). Blending the heart-pounding action of a shooter and the massive story arch of a RPG is no small feat to be achieved.
With this in mind, the RPG feel of Mass Effect 2 have been adjusted accordingly. Looting enemies is gone and a new “loot system” has been put in its place. Every mission has a set amount of experience, money, and resources that can be allotted. This choice of a more streamlined character progression truncates most of the wasted time you spend staring at miscellaneous items left on a corpse. Balancing specific stats has also been extracted: points are given for purely upgrading specific abilities you tend to use on the battlefield. Shepard’s armor may look great but odds are you will be staring at it even after you save the galaxy from imminent doom. The armor is made to fit your play style and nothing else. Suprisingly enough, Modern Warfare 2’s multiplayer contains more generic RPG customization than Mass Effect 2, and I have no problem with that.
It strictly isn’t possible to leave this game without wondering what would of happened if you had decided differently. During the final events of the game I could not work up the strength to take my eyes away from the screen. The fact that everyone around you is not guaranteed to make it out with alive depending solely on your decisions, can be heart-breaking. 3 members of my team were lost on the Collector planet and as it happened I was completely shocked and saddened simultaneously. I have never in my life, played a game where I had such a great impact on those around me. Mass Effect 2 reaches deep into your heart and mind to create a personal story that will be stitched into your consciousness for years to come.