Mass Effect 2 Likes and Dislikes
Since buying Mass Effect 2, it’s been the one game to solely consume my Xbox disc tray, which is why there’s been a distinct lack of chatter around here to do with anything other than Mass Effect 2. Hardly surprising, though, given it’s the much awaited sequel to one of my favourite 360 games to date.
Even with its lengthy story (I’m currently 40 hours in and still have quite a few missions left/planets undiscovered), there’s rarely a moment my interest wanes and it doesn’t grasp 100% of my attention.
Since it’s been available for a couple of months now, you’ve probably made your mind up as to whether you’re going to play it or not (and if you haven’t, the answer is yes, you do want to play it). Because of that, I’ll summarise my likes and dislikes as opposed to a full blown review.
Commander Shepard. Bioware did good by enabling those of us who had played the original to port our character over, but they stepped it up a notch by having all choices made in the original Mass Effect stored, thus certain aspects of Mass Effect 2 changing dependent on those. Not only that, but they reward those who have ported their character over with a little boost to stats. Bringing over a Level 54 Adept set me up at Level 3.
The original cast. It was nice to see familiar faces crop up in Mass Effect 2, even if recruiting most of them isn’t an option.
Romance plots. While the romance plots seem a little shallow, the option to forge relationships with members of your crew does appear to be there (although I’ve yet to have any raunchy sex scenes). I’ve been pursuing Miranda, and the attraction seems to be reciprocated. I also got drunk with the ship’s Doctor, but that didn’t seem to get me anywhere…
Loyalty missions. These are a nice addition to the game, giving characters an added level of depth and richening their backstory. Doing loyalty missions for your crew not only gains their ‘loyalty’, but also unlocks the ability to use their, umm, abilities. These missions aren’t mandatory, but as a completion whore I won’t miss any out.
The intro. The opening sequence to the original Mass Effect, where the camera pans out as Shepard overlooks Earth while the Alliance discuss their need to entrust a critical mission in Shepard’s hands, is one of the best intros I’ve seen. Mass Effect 2 is no different. I recorded the opening sequence if you fancy having a look.
Side quests? Is it just me or does Mass Effect 2 seem thin on the side quest front? Certainly in comparison to the original, it feels there’s less to do out-with the main plot. I expected more.
Probing mini-games. Why are these in the game?! WHY?! I doubt there’s one person who actually enjoyed scanning planets and probing for minerals. Booring. The hacking mini-games are just as tedious, although they were at least reasonably fun to begin with.
Limited ammo. Limited ammo is usually a concern in most games, but in the original Mass Effect, ammo was completely unlimited. Things have changed, however, and all ammo is limited. Being an adept and using biotics a lot, I haven’t found the ammo to be terribly scarce and have therefore not had this to be an issue, but I’m not sure how it will affect those playing as Soldiers.
The cover system. I had a few niggles with this, mainly characters popping out of cover and exposing themselves to heavy fire when you were simply turning your body to aim at a different angle. Games should definitely be looking at Gears of War as an example of a successful cover system, in that you have to actively press a button to take you in and out of cover. Shame on you, Mass Effect.
AI. Didn’t you watch my video?