Trouble Thinking

February 26, 2010

Review: Mass Effect 2

Filed under: Game Reviews — Tags: , , , , — Chris @ 3:56 pm

Mass Effect 2 is so good, that it makes the first Mass Effect (which was great, by the way), look like an enormous piece of crap—and I mean that as the highest compliment imaginable. Bioware took everything that was annoying, or lackluster, in the first game, and either totally threw it out the window, or slimmed it down and reworked it into something superior. Gone is the completely out of place, yet frustratingly omnipresent, Mako Tank you had to struggle to drive around the surface of dozens of eerily similar planets. Instead, planetary exploration is handled by short, entertaining ground based missions. Loot and equipment, which in the first game was saddled with a clunky interface, and an overabundance of useless crap you were never, ever going to use, has been almost completely jettisoned, in favor of a series of upgrades which benefit not only Shepard (your main character), but all your party members, as well as the ability to customize the appearance and functionality Shepard’s armor as you see fit. The shooting mechanics and enemy AI have also received a massive overhaul. No longer will your enemies seemingly forget that they’re supposed to be in a cover shooter, and just run behind your cover and shoot you in the back of the head repeatedly, and the addition of location based damage, means all those carefully aimed headshots you made actually matter now.

The most astonishing thing about Mass Effect 2, however, is the quality of the writing. Very rarely am I actually impressed by the story and characters in a video game, and when I am, I suspect it has more to do with my filling in the blanks with my over-active imagination, than any skill on the part of the game’s developers. Mass Effect 2, though, is the real deal. This game’s characters are so well written and developed, that by the end of the game, when terrible, horrible things start happening to them, I was actually mad at Bioware for doing this to me. That’s quality right there

The ability to carry over your character from the first game, and the decisions you made, is executed far better than I ever imagined was possible. Altogether, this game serves to stoke my excitement for the series’ concluding chapter, which is supposedly coming out sometime next year. Bioware already had me sold on buying Mass Effect 3, before I even bought this game, just by virtue of their being Bioware, but if there were some way they could have like had me sold on it extra, they would have with Mass Effect 2. Does that make any sense? Probably not. What I’m trying to say, is this: the Mass Effect series is fucking sweet, Mass Effect 2 is the sweetest entry so far, and I can’t wait for more.

There.

That was so much easier.

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