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"Mass Effect 2"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Mass Effect 2'.
Wed 10/02/10 at 00:22
Regular
Posts: 2,781
BioWare is one of my favourite development houses (having been the driving force behind the brilliant Baldurís Gate games), and after ploughing through the reinvigorating tonic that was the first Mass Effect, I was rearing to go when a second game was announced. Itís safe to say that the unimaginatively titled Mass Effect 2 is every bit better than the first, delivering an action-packed blockbuster of a sequel thatís still as intelligent and as dialogue-dense as the first game.

Again, the galaxy is in trouble due to the evil Reapers, and Commander Shephard must once again take the reins of the Normandy to put them in their place. Rooted firmly in the tradition of sci-fi classics like Blade Runner, the game presents you with some of the more seedy aspects of space life youíre ever likely to see; youíll travel around a dilapidated space station early on, and then venture to a sleazy alien strip club, which would be amusing if it werenít so disturbing. Thereís an overarching sense of dread pervading throughout, making this a more emotionally charged game than the first.

Thereís a lot at stake here, and the gameís main premise hinges on Shepherd recruiting various creatures from around the galaxy to help him in a deal-breaking final battle against the Reapers, which is tantamount to assisted suicide. When the doo-doo hits the fan Ė and believe me, it will Ė itís a genuinely affecting late-game set-piece, and one thatís going to be fondly remembered for years, no doubt. Itís a testament to the quality of the characterisation that it gets under the skin with such success.

If thereís anything to complain about here, though, itís that the game is quite repetitive, in as far as it consists almost exclusively of recruiting other creatures by visiting them and helping them resolve some unfinished business (usually by way of an awesome shootout, mind). Still, the characterisation is so strong that you probably wonít care, and itís aided entirely by the brilliant multi-choice dialogue wheel from the previous game, as well as some great voice performances, chiefly from The West Wing and The Departed star Martin Sheen as the shady Illusive Man.

Thereís enough innovation here to compensate for the lean premise; one excellent feature is the ability to import your save from the first game, and have the choices you made carry over, affecting your gameplay herein. It is a tad disappointing that the consequences arenít that great, though, and the idea hasnít been implemented with enough fervour. However, in virtually every other regard, the game has really been ramped up, particularly with regard to the melding of RPG and action elements.

Once again, youíll get a lot of choice with how to take down the bad guys, being able to choose from six classes. Everything, from the incredibly powerful biotics (which do make the game exceedingly easy), to the cover system, has been honed and retouched to great avail, while squad mechanics have also been given a much-needed retuning, making it far easier to direct the action. This isnít to say that the RPG elements are diminished too much, though, because while there is a sure move to more action-orientated play here, itís still an incredibly intelligent and strategic game. Running and gunning will be punished harshly, and the tide of a battle relies on co-ordinating your team well and making strategic use of your biotics (which have a cool down period of a few seconds). Also, RPG nuts will probably get a real kick out of the ability to control your ship and collect minerals from other planets, which can then be used for researching weapon upgrades.

Visually, the game is, for fear of clichť, a real joy to behold; the texture detail is incredibly good, and the 360 version compares well to the PC counterpart. The lighting effects are incredible, using the same sort of ambiance and flare that we saw used on last summerís epic sci-fi film Star Trek. Character models are fantastic and noticeably more ďhumanĒ than the first game, while the lush vistas of the distance are truly breathtaking. Aurally, the game is similarly well-crafted, with the soundtrack borrowing proudly from the electronic-infused tunes that Vangelis crafted for Blade Runner. The fast beats add to the tension during a brutal firefight, and the droning synths bring an ethereal quality to the gameís more meditative and reflective moments.

Even with a limited premise and a greater focus on action, this is one Hell of a game. Virtually flawless on an action front, and with a dialogue-heavy story thatís engrossing right up to the intense final act, this game perfects the great mechanics of the first outing and delivers a unique experience. Though the loading times are irritating, theyíre worth the wait, for Mass Effect 2 is sure to be one of the best games of 2010.

9/10

Thanks for reading,
Reefer
There have been no replies to this thread yet.
Wed 10/02/10 at 00:22
Regular
Posts: 2,781
BioWare is one of my favourite development houses (having been the driving force behind the brilliant Baldurís Gate games), and after ploughing through the reinvigorating tonic that was the first Mass Effect, I was rearing to go when a second game was announced. Itís safe to say that the unimaginatively titled Mass Effect 2 is every bit better than the first, delivering an action-packed blockbuster of a sequel thatís still as intelligent and as dialogue-dense as the first game.

Again, the galaxy is in trouble due to the evil Reapers, and Commander Shephard must once again take the reins of the Normandy to put them in their place. Rooted firmly in the tradition of sci-fi classics like Blade Runner, the game presents you with some of the more seedy aspects of space life youíre ever likely to see; youíll travel around a dilapidated space station early on, and then venture to a sleazy alien strip club, which would be amusing if it werenít so disturbing. Thereís an overarching sense of dread pervading throughout, making this a more emotionally charged game than the first.

Thereís a lot at stake here, and the gameís main premise hinges on Shepherd recruiting various creatures from around the galaxy to help him in a deal-breaking final battle against the Reapers, which is tantamount to assisted suicide. When the doo-doo hits the fan Ė and believe me, it will Ė itís a genuinely affecting late-game set-piece, and one thatís going to be fondly remembered for years, no doubt. Itís a testament to the quality of the characterisation that it gets under the skin with such success.

If thereís anything to complain about here, though, itís that the game is quite repetitive, in as far as it consists almost exclusively of recruiting other creatures by visiting them and helping them resolve some unfinished business (usually by way of an awesome shootout, mind). Still, the characterisation is so strong that you probably wonít care, and itís aided entirely by the brilliant multi-choice dialogue wheel from the previous game, as well as some great voice performances, chiefly from The West Wing and The Departed star Martin Sheen as the shady Illusive Man.

Thereís enough innovation here to compensate for the lean premise; one excellent feature is the ability to import your save from the first game, and have the choices you made carry over, affecting your gameplay herein. It is a tad disappointing that the consequences arenít that great, though, and the idea hasnít been implemented with enough fervour. However, in virtually every other regard, the game has really been ramped up, particularly with regard to the melding of RPG and action elements.

Once again, youíll get a lot of choice with how to take down the bad guys, being able to choose from six classes. Everything, from the incredibly powerful biotics (which do make the game exceedingly easy), to the cover system, has been honed and retouched to great avail, while squad mechanics have also been given a much-needed retuning, making it far easier to direct the action. This isnít to say that the RPG elements are diminished too much, though, because while there is a sure move to more action-orientated play here, itís still an incredibly intelligent and strategic game. Running and gunning will be punished harshly, and the tide of a battle relies on co-ordinating your team well and making strategic use of your biotics (which have a cool down period of a few seconds). Also, RPG nuts will probably get a real kick out of the ability to control your ship and collect minerals from other planets, which can then be used for researching weapon upgrades.

Visually, the game is, for fear of clichť, a real joy to behold; the texture detail is incredibly good, and the 360 version compares well to the PC counterpart. The lighting effects are incredible, using the same sort of ambiance and flare that we saw used on last summerís epic sci-fi film Star Trek. Character models are fantastic and noticeably more ďhumanĒ than the first game, while the lush vistas of the distance are truly breathtaking. Aurally, the game is similarly well-crafted, with the soundtrack borrowing proudly from the electronic-infused tunes that Vangelis crafted for Blade Runner. The fast beats add to the tension during a brutal firefight, and the droning synths bring an ethereal quality to the gameís more meditative and reflective moments.

Even with a limited premise and a greater focus on action, this is one Hell of a game. Virtually flawless on an action front, and with a dialogue-heavy story thatís engrossing right up to the intense final act, this game perfects the great mechanics of the first outing and delivers a unique experience. Though the loading times are irritating, theyíre worth the wait, for Mass Effect 2 is sure to be one of the best games of 2010.

9/10

Thanks for reading,
Reefer

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