Mass Effect 2

It’s been a little while  since my last post.  Life has been a little busy.  I was under the weather for awhile and schoolwork has been pretty hectic as of late, so I haven’t been able to do much.  The short break I did get was dedicated to the title of this post.  That’s right, folks:  Mass Effect 2.

I’ll be honest, I was skeptical at first, but after playing this for a few hours, I changed my mind.   I’ll keep this to a non-spoiler review. 

Bioware made some rather odd decisions going from ME1 to ME2.  Everything that people criticized about in ME1 were no longer present in ME2.  This isn’t because they fixed it, rather they completely removed it.  No more elevators, we have loadscreens instead.  No more Mako (which isn’t a very big deal).  No more inventory system.  And there’s a few others as well.

Most of the changes I didn’t mind too much.  I recall the annoying inventory system from ME1, but I don’t think removing it was really the way to go here.  None of the weapons have any specifications, so when you equip them, you’re pretty much going in blind with an unknown weapon.  At the very least, let us compare the weapons.

I played the campaign as an Engineer, which was an interesting playstyle, but I felt like compared to the Soldier and the Biotic, they were were the weakest.  The Engineer’s main strength is taking advantage of an exploit in BioWare’s own AI.  Oh look, a drone that gives a little jolt.  Let’s attack it!  Poor excuse to attack when everyone else is unloading their ammo into your backside. The only real asset for the Engineer was the Incinerate ability, which burns through Armor very quickly and has a tendency of killing the weaker units in 1-2 hits.  The other abilities weren’t all that useful for the most part.  AI Hacking wasn’t worth the effort; Cyro Blast has a few uses, but very limited (does pretty much 0 damage and freezes the target after 6 seconds).  The Biotic in my party, although not as potent as in ME1, I felt did most of the work.  Then there was Zaeed, the DLC Companion that I used for brute force power.  So, my opinion of the engineer wound up being this.  For a class designed to excel at destroying mechs and bots, it did a pretty lousy job at it.  The other classes are far better at it I thought.

The graphics of ME2 seemed pretty hit and miss.  Overall, the area design was pretty solid although I thought their tropical areas were an eyesore on all accounts.   Then there was the Citadel and Illium areas, which BioWare could’ve left out completely and not affected the game one bit.  They weren’t fun to run through and the amount of content in them was little.  What content was in them could’ve been moved to Omega, which was a far better place to visit visually and atmospherically.  Some of the best designed areas in the game I would probably say were the 1st Collector Ship, Omega, Normandy, Freedom’s Pass and some side mission with a ship hanging off the side of the cliffside (although it ranks the #1 buggiest area in the game).

As far as Companions though, you basically travel around the universe in search of “criminals” more or less with a few characters as an exception to this rule.  Most of them were interesting, but there two that I felt that could’ve been left out completely.  The final companion is just untimely, and why BioWare brought Garrus back is beyond me.  He never said much in ME1, and he says even less in ME2.  After you get him in your party, he’s mute until he has a quest, after you do his quest and right before the final mission.  Waste of resources I thought.  The Krogan said more than Garrus did, which is pretty sad if you ask me.  Krogans aren’t known for being chatter boxes.

Romances weren’t all that great in large part.  None of them carried over from ME1, not that I blame them or anything, but the amount of people they have to keep track of for ME3 is going to be monstrous.  I really do hope at the very least Tali’s Romance gets to carry over properly into ME3.  Call me selfish 😀 The romance scene was just a big tease to say the least.

Finally onto the bigger part of this review.  BioWare in large plot is known for their plots (NWN1 excluded) and interesting stories.  ME2 felt like some cheap intermission story.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the game and all, but when all is said and done, I reflect on what all had happened during the story line.  I learned very little.  85% of the main plot is collecting companions.  It seemed like they were saving everything in their arsenal for a big bang in ME3.

One of the most frustrating parts of the game is probably fighting the LOKI Mechs on some side quest mission.  BioWare thought it cute to blow realism right out the window and set these little bastards on infinite spawn in a very confined crate maze.  These mechs were showing up in places where you had already scouted and determned nothing was there.  These little monsters certainly pack a punch with their Heavy Pistols as well.  They annihiate my character in 2-3 hits and with infinite respawns, BioWare made a cheap attempt at raising the difficulty.  Aside from LOKI mechs and Geth Hunters, every other creature in the game was a pushover – especially the Collectors.  I really expected more from them, but they were really easy and the final battle was cool, but extremely easy.  So that’s that I guess.

Overall, I would rate the game as (out of 10):

Story: 4

Fun Factor: 9

Gameplay: 9

Atmosphere: 9

Graphics: 7

Total:  7.6/10

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