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BioWare Edmonton



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Release Dates

01/26/10 Electronic Arts
01/13/11 Microsoft
01/29/10 Electronic Arts

Community Stats

Owners: 1,219
Favorite: 118
Tracked: 22
Wishlist: 49
Now Playing: 36

Avg Community Rating:


A sadly disappointing shift in priorities...

29th May 2010 | 1,663 views 


User Score

Presentation - 7.5
Gameplay - 7.0
Value - 7.0
Mass Effect 2 is techinically a very impressive game, but I feel some of the core areas are hugely let down by an overzealous pursuit of crafting a solid third person shooter.

Mass Effect 2 is certainly deserving of the claims that it has taken many complaints from Mass Effect 1 and eliminated or improved on them. Its also equally deserving of claims that it has taken many elements from the first game, some in need of improvement, others not, and hugely watering them down, or outright removing them.

The game still sounds as superb as ME1, with the same high quality audio and voice acting. The soundtrack lost some of the 80s sci-fi vibe which was a let down. The game also in almost every respect looks better. Gone is the slightly annoying texture pop in that caused grief for so many.

From an early gameplay standpoint, those fans of shooter gameplay should be vastly impressed with ME2s improvements. The game is as precise as any shooter out their, and rewards that precision far more with a solid locational damage system so headshots are no longer ignored, and on some enemies even limbs will impressively be crippled or blown off completely. This basically sets the tone for a large portion of Mass Effect 2s improvements. In the marketing buzz before the games release, it was always the widely discussed topic. It takes a front place in the game.

This will also be an area where the game lets the player down the most, like it did myself. There hasnt been much removed in terms of ME1s RPG combat per se. There is a universal cooldown, and substantially less powers in the first game. However the entire gameworld and the pacing of the plot seems to be subservient to the shooter aspect. Much of the once vast and impressive gameworld you traversed in ME1 has been reduced to linear shooting galleries, stacked to the brim with crates and waist high walls, telegraphic combat from a mile away. Much of the game is spent moving from one spot of cover to the next. It is without question built to be a TPS experience.

This also infects some of the story elements that I will come to in a moment. Its probably worth pointing out before I do that however that the game opens on a deceptively impressive, but ultimately disappointing note. To avoid spoilers I will simply say a hugely dramatic event takes place that offers boundless opportunity to explore the protagonist and his/her reaction to it. However, its soon brushed aside, and revealed as the cheap "reset" it really is. This and other areas of the game told me that plot, one of the first games strongest elements by far, was no top of the agenda this time.

Soon after the opening events have been brushed aside, the game quickly opens out into what comprises the majority of the game. On the surface it looks to be a hugely non-linear hunt for characters offering lots of story potential. In reality, its a series of missions crammed to the brim with that same "shooting gallery" content I mentioned earlier. You travel to worlds that look to offer amazing depth and roleplaying potential, like the seedy station of Omega, that in reality turn out to be nothing more than small "crossroads" that bisect these shooter sections. The game has literally been cut to pieces to accommodate these shooter missions.

The "segmented" nature of the game is especially apparant with things like the new and awful "mission complete screen", listing off small useless notes and facts, that destroys the sense of immersion that is a connected galaxy and an uninterrupted plot. Also, gone are the "tedious" elevators and airlocks of ME1 that offered great squadmate banter, and in are the tedious loading screens that replay the same small number of "schematics" again and again, over and over. They also are hardly any quicker than the elevators were.

Speaking of banter, its now limited to small, easily missed and brief "locations", where you interact with a place one time only, and your companions will blurt out a small comment that is easily overridden by nearby chatter and missed forever. News reports are back, and litter the main hubs, perhaps in an attempt to compensate. Many are simply humour and easter eggs, with a few gems to pick from.

In terms of the characters who you will recruit and gain the loyalty of throughout the game, they are all individually well written. However, their loyalty missions are self contained outside of a singular "loyal" tag, which determines their later chances of survival. This isnt unique either, with the survival odds being a generalised situation where it could be any number of characters in the situation. Ultimately the loyalty missions not only feel self-contain, but with the exception of 2 out of a possible 10, all rely heavily on combat, with the character interaction and development sparsely sprinkled throughout.

I personally didnt both with much of the crew, and even the two characters who return from the first game became totally unlikeable. Almost their entire character relies on romancing, and without do so simply leads "busy" lines bar one or two brief dialogues. This however is possibly down to individual taste. Given what has happened to a certain other character from the first game who could die, and from comments made by Bioware about non-returning squadmates in ME2 who may appear in ME3, I cant say I felt they had much staying power. With a variance in potential deaths in the *whole* squad in ME2, Im wondering if that was intentional as well.

Smaller gameplay tweaks come in the form of removing the old Mako, or “buggy”, which was taken out of the game and turned into a DLC project to decide upon fan feedback. This, on top of the “shooting gallery” gameworld makes Mass Effect 2 feel remarkably small and linear, as it actually is.  Some nice vistas are used at certain locations, but these are simply tame “illusions” to give them impression of grand scale. Also the galaxy map has been rather needlessly turned into some “ship roving” game where it turns the first games functional and informative galaxy map into a rather pesky little “train set”. Add in fuel, and the astoundingly tedious “resource mining game” that requires probes, and it amounts to an incredibly tedious and irritating area of the game.

Inventory and upgrading has been massively scaled back as well. Gone are the tedious clutter filled armour, weapons and upgrades. Now you have a choice between a good but far too limited “modular armour” which is comprised of a small number of pieces you buy, but offer nowhere near enough, and it falls short. Also you have the ridiculous DLC and promotion armour, which completely removes armour customisation altogether, so much so that you cant even remove the helmet, which looks ridiculous when drinking or kissing. Weapons, armour and powers are now no longer upgraded by mods, but a bland and uninteresting upgrade static system. You will buy or discover these upgrades with offer steady incremental improvements to certain abilities or items. No freedom or variation involved and very boring sadly. Weapons themselves fall in line with that of any standard shooter now, with the exception of provided an added “rock, paper, scissors” element that the rest of the powers have against enemy defences.

Side missions closely follow suit to the main missions, with a vast majority being mainly centred around combat. In many of the “N7 missions” you encounter, you will no experience the bland and repetitive interiors of the first game, but with most of what you do in these shiny new interiors being killing and interacting with the odd datapad or terminal, its not as big an improvement as it could be. Other types of side missions include basic fetch quests tied into the many “shooter loyalty missions”, and a few “dialogue driven” quests which last around 5 minutes and are solved within the same map with only a small amount of walking.

All in all, Mass Effect 2s largest improvement – that of the shooter combat, takes far too much from the rest of the game, and left me feeling incredibly disappointed. The poorly written main plot with the array of shooter missions comprising the bulk were a let down. I didn’t at all take to the new characters.  I felt the gameworld had been cut to pieces in order to support the new combat to the maximum. The oft touted before release, but strangely not at or after release “carryover system” was also a tremendous letdown, amounting to very little.

I come away from ME2 finding little more than a Bioware experiment in how they feel they can make a shooter game. It certainly doesn’t leave me hopeful for ME3, where unless they stick to a similar plan, they certainly have their work cut out, and require another “drastic change in direction” of the likes of which Mass Effect 2 received to bring it where it is now.

Sales History

Total Sales
1 n/a 568,831 176,438 129,104 874,373
2 n/a 139,889 67,222 35,629 242,740
3 n/a 85,809 31,760 20,313 137,882
4 n/a 48,231 16,755 11,239 76,225
5 n/a 28,789 13,824 7,330 49,943
6 n/a 20,621 6,991 4,777 32,389
7 n/a 14,178 4,886 3,297 22,361
8 n/a 9,734 4,621 2,470 16,825
9 n/a 8,092 3,520 2,001 13,613
10 n/a 7,017 7,135 2,400 16,552

Opinion (348)

rvliscano posted 06/07/2013, 09:08
The best game of the generation and one of the better i've ever play
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curl-6 posted 08/05/2013, 09:08
Deserved to sell more; best WRPG of the generation.
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DitchPlaya posted 31/03/2012, 03:30
Sales have been picking up recently, hopefully the franchise gets the attention it deserves, PS3 port helped a lot with that at least.
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yo_john117 posted 21/01/2012, 07:03
Really osama?
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haxxiy posted 12/01/2012, 11:34
@osamanobama I bet people have similar opinions about rhe games you obviously prefer, so why bother?
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osamanobama posted 11/01/2012, 01:42
over rated game is over rated
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