Mass Effect 2 Review
Yes, I realise I’m ridiculously late playing this game, but I got it brand new for £5 a couple of months ago (less than a year after its release) so this review is for other bargain hunters who have yet to play it.
Mass Effect 2 is the sequel to the critically acclaimed Mass Effect, so how does it compare to its predecessor and other titles in the shooter/RPG hybrid genre?
As mentioned, Mass Effect 2 is a hybrid shooter/RPG crossover, or a ‘WRPG‘ (Western Role Playing Game) if you prefer, similar to the likes of Fallout 3 and Borderlands. As a shooter it features solid controls and innovative mechanics to engage you in an exciting battle atmosphere, with a ‘duck-and-cover’ system similar to the Gears of War games.
The RPG element of the game has been sadly streamlined (dumbed down might be more accurate) compared to Mass Effect 1, which is fine if you’re the type of player to blitz through an area with the biggest gun possible but you can no longer customise your inventory with a plethora of upgrades, instead being limited to a dozen or so add-ons for your armour and very little choice in the way of weapons – variants of a pistol, close combat weapon, long distance weapon and heavy artillery are your choices. Despite the lack of a serious RPG element Mass Effect 2 does the shooting part brilliantly, it’s an improvement over its predecessor in every way.
Score – 8/10
Mass Effect 2 boasts some of the most stunning graphics seen on a console to date, with incredible attention to detail on everything from Krogan skin to distant comets blazing through the sky.
One minor problem remains that was evident in the first game however, sometimes small things such as armour textures take several seconds to load, but this is easily overlooked as there are so many minor details that the Xbox 360 simply can’t process quickly enough.
With that said chances are the problem can at least be partially solved by installing both disks to the console itself, but I’ve yet to try it.
Score – 9/10
Sound and Music
In a nutshell, flawless. The score is suitably epic for this type of game, and the voice acting in particular is astonishing. There are literally hundreds of dialogue options to enjoy throughout Mass Effect 2, and every single character is captured perfectly by their respective actors. The sound effects are top notch too, from doors whooshing open to shots being fired from all directions.
Score – 10/10
I was lucky enough to pick this game up on sale for £5 a couple of months ago, almost exactly a year after it was released. For that price I obviously got exceptional value for money, and even now the Mass Effect 2 can be found for not much more than that. What you get is a brilliant game with potentially hundreds of hours of playing time to be had.
The storyline is pretty much the only aspect of the game that I personally think is weak compared to Mass Effect 1, but otherwise it’s improved in almost every way. At the time of writing this I know very little about Mass Effect 3, but to me this game seems like almost like a filler title, with Mass Effect 1 starting the story, 3 finishing it and 2 pretty much filling in the gap in between, but despite that it’s still a fantastic game and an essential purchase for any fans of the genre and the first game in particular.
Score – 9/10
+ Game mechanics are excellent making battles exciting
+ Voice acting is brilliant
+ Characters are very well developed and generally likeable
+ Most side quests are a lot of fun
+ Music and sound effects are top quality
+ Graphics are some of the best seen on any console
– The story, while good, isn’t as good as before
– Loading times are long and frequent
– RPG elements have been over-simplified
– Scanning planets for minerals is tedious