Mass Effect 2 Review

-Marcus Lawrence 

What if you were recruited for a suicide mission that only had about a 20% success rate? How would you prepare for the task at hand? And what’s to say that you would even make it back alive? With Mass Effect 2, all those questions are decided by your actions. ME2 was not only one of the top 50 games of 2010, but was also voted as best role-playing game for 2010. By no means does this game disappoint at all; it didn’t make those lists for nothing.

Plot: Mass Effect 2 takes place 2 years after the events of the first one. From the very beginning, we find our character John Shepard and his crew having a bit of trouble. After a mind-blowing opening sequence and a shocking revelation, Shepard must once again form a ragtag team of specialists, assassins and many others if he even hopes to get the job done.

Gameplay: All of the core elements of ME are passed down to ME2 and for good reason to considering that it was such a success. Like that old saying goes “If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it”. The developers at Bioware made a smart decision by not changing much. Controlling your version of Shepard, you roam the galaxy looking for the individuals that will make up your team. The team will always be comprised of three, Shepard included. Along the way, there will be plenty of shootouts. Depending on the class you choose for your Shepard, it can greatly affect how you play. There are a total of 6 classes and they all have a unique way of being used properly. Some focus on certain weapons and skills, while others make use of Biotics. Each time I played through ME2, I chose the Solider class because of how easy it is to hone on enemies with the accuracy that only that class has. You can also give orders to your squadmates, like where to take point at or what enemy to target. It’s very handy for when you’re fighting multiple enemies at once. For every enemy killed, experience is gained and given in the form of what is called Squad Points. These are used to upgrade the powers and Biotics you and your squad uses. You can gain experience points by doing main missions, side missions and other various miscellaneous objectives. One of my favorite things about ME 2 is the conversations you can have with the people. These cinematic- choice based conversations help build your character and the story. Take a harsh tone to someone or perform an aggressive action will cause you to go down the path of the Renegade. Gentle and selfless acts will have you follow the Paragon path.

The choice is solely up to how you feel like playing. There’s just so much that can be done in this game. Never will the game play out quite the same.

Oh, and if you haven’t played Mass Effect before and might be thinking of trying it out, start with the first one. Cause first of all, you would be lost if you tried playing the second one before the first, story-wise anyway. And second because all the choices made in ME affects how the story in ME2 will unfold. This allows for the trilogy to be connected, even with all the different choices that can be made.

Graphics/Audio: I can honestly say that ME2 has some of the best graphics on the Xbox 360 to date. Everything from the cinematic cutscenes to the real-time gameplay makes this game an experience to play. The details of the character models are also quite impressive; you can see the wrinkles of an old person or even the facial cybernetic components that many of the characters have. This game is very easy on the eyes and a wonder to look at. The voice acting is outstanding; not one horrible voice actor among them. This is actually quite important considering much of Mass Effect 2 revolves around the story and conversation. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t sit and pay attention if the voice actors were terrible and sounded like Joe Pesci. And the sounds that greet your ears just help to draw you into the game. When you go to the rave bar, Sci-fi Techno music just makes you want to dance with the crowd. When guns are blazing, you can be sure that the music will give you something to kill enemies to. Plain and simple, the audio in this game is just amazing and shouldn’t be thought of as anything else.

All-in-all, Mass Effect 2 has to be one of the most memorable gaming experiences I’ve come across in a long time. How it builds from the original to create such a fine piece of work is just amazing. I can’t even tell you how much I want Mass Effect 3 already, which comes out March of this year. The game has only one fault that I noticed but shouldn’t really hinder you much. The enemy AI isn’t really challenging enough; they just pop up and allow themselves to be shot. Even on the insane difficulty, I didn’t have much of a problem. Either way, if you like shooters with an RPG element or have never tried one, it’s not too late. Pickup Mass Effect 2 for yourself and see why it was voted one of the top 50 games of 2010.

Verdict:95%

Mass Effect 2 Launch Trailer

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