I’ve been playing, some (not me) would say a little too much Mass Effect 2 lately and other things have been, well, post-poned, put off, neglect and occassionally discarded in favour of some more game time. Including writing about Mass Effect 2. Lucky for me, Rem, who introduced me to gaming outside of World of Warcraft, offered to help out. Here’s his thoughts:
BioWare has crafted another jewel from Mt. Olympus and bestowed upon me… greatness, at a cost. At the low low low price of $70 I found myself with a copy of Mass Effect 2. Eagerly I drooled and placed it into the 360. The great space epic continues!
BioWare held nothing back and followed the fan base continuously, loyally, to create a worthy sequel. From removing the ungodly vehicle of torture, also known as the Mako, to satisfying the desires of people by opening up relationships with past and current characters. Mass Effect 2 has gone above and beyond its predecessor and brought up the Western RPG scale even further. Of course, BioWare tossed around the term “emotionally engaging” nearly every time Mass Effect became the topic of discussion for reviews. With all the upgrades and “emotionally engaging” sequences, they boasted a powerful sequel. They held true to their word.
The very beginning of Mass Effect 2 has a level of suspense built. Two unknown characters are discussing Commander Shepard, your character, and how much s/he has accomplished and praise every single action; they show a great interest in Shepard. Immediately after, the Normandy S1, Commander Shepard’s ship, is attacked by an unknown enemy. The first moments are gripping. Characters from Mass Effect 1 are being killed by explosions while Shepard and, depending on who Shepard had a romance with, either Liara, Ashely, or Kaiden will be next to Shepard valiantly trying to halt the fires near the engine room. Shepard is tasking with forcing your ally to help the others evacuate and get the stubborn pilot, Joker, to abandon ship. The Normandy is bursting with flames and walls crumbling. You race towards the cockpit, running up a flight of stairs to have the doors open. The music halts.
You see space. The hull of the Normandy exposed, the roof now a chasm to space. You can only here Shepard’s breathing.
Emotionally engaging? You better believe it.
The amazingly crafted scenes are just a very small part of what Mass Effect 2 can show off. The combat is far smoother, intense. Gone is the ever lasting thermal guns. Now comes the thermal clips to make combat even more heated and cut throat. Gone are the 20 paths you can level up for your class. Now are the refined: Soldier, Vanguard, Sentinel, Adept, Infiltrator, Engineer and others that slip my mind. Each class offers an entirely different perspective on how to experience combat. Still that is not the part that grabs my attention! The very dialogue you choose, act out, truly defines the game for me.
Shepard can talk with various people. From the crew on the Normandy, to the slums of Omega, to the breathtaking Asari city of Illium, and to the rebuilding Citadel. Options for dialogue are near endless and encourage you to keep coming back to see what could happen differently. One could be the helpful paragon and talk to each clerk at a shop for a discount in exchange for an endorsement of Shepard saying, “I’m Commander Shepard and this is my favorite store.” and hearing that play in each store you enter on the Citidel is just too funny. If you rather be more manicially, you can enter the path of the renegade and extort discounts out of stores by accusing them of hating poor people. How often can you do that?! Even then, that’s just the top of the barrel. When you recruit members for your team and learn about them it feels as if you’re learning about a real person.
These people that range from loyalists, savages, convicts, mercenaries, assassins, innocents and the insane are by far an experience on their own. Seeing these people, scathing their surface, is a journey and a reward. The dialogue with each of them are gripping. They have stories that can pull at your heart strings or make you feel disgust at their enemy or even want to hold them while you hear the most devastating time of their life. For each character there is a mission of their past, completing this mission truly opens them to loyalty for Shepard, and each mission has amazing locales that can send a rotting feeling to your gut or have you amazed at how far they would go.
I have completed two Mass Effect playthrough’s and I still haven’t seen it all. Insanity mode is taken me down a level but still I play to see what else I can learn from these amazing characters. Be prepared those who feel the urge to play Mass Effect for surely you will lose many hours of your life in an amazing story that rivals, even decimates, books.