Having finished Mass Effect a few years back followed by Dragon Age-Origins and Mass Effect 2 a few months back, I get the feeling that Bioware’s games just keep getting better and better with time! Most of the RPGs that have been released up until now have the sword and shield style of play with an ancient, magical feel to it, while Bioware, with the release of the “Mass Effect” games, has splendidly proved that even futuristic RPGs that involve guns, spaceships and the like can be successful if done right. Bioware’s latest smash hit, Mass Effect 2 is what I’ll be reviewing today 🙂

Both Mass Effect 1 & 2 are just like any other RPG with choices, consequences and hence high replay values with multifarious endings :). But what separates ME from the other RPGs is the fact that the choices made in ME1, in addition to having consequences in the same, have consequences in ME2 as well provided you choose to import the main character from ME1 to ME2 instead of creating a new character! It was the first game to come up with something as brilliant as this.

There have been a lot of changes in ME2 since ME1. For instance, ME1 never had the ammo system. Instead, it had the heat indication system wherein the rising temperature of the weapon being fired is shown as a filling horizontal bar which when full, forces the player to take cover for a few seconds for the weapon to cool down before he can fire again. This was replaced by the conventional ammo system in ME2. While some fans complained about this switch, I felt the ammo system to be much better than the former for I noticed minor bugs in the former system. At times, the heat indication bar never went down in ME1 when it’s supposed to and as a result, I had to quit and restart the game again for the weapons to work as they should.

Also, ME1 allowed riding your own mini vehicle in selected planets and discovering valuable information and resources. This was stripped off in ME2 which in my opinion was the only flaw they made. The player isn’t even allowed to hover over a planet with his huge ship, ‘The Normandy’. Instead, collecting resources became nothing more than holding the LMB over a planet and moving the mouse inch by inch to discover the portion of the planet that holds the required resource(s)(as shown in the figure below). This particular activity requires TREMENDOUS amount of patience and even if one miraculously possesses the same, it could still getting annoyingly frustrating after a while! -_-

The even more annoying point is, if the player doesn’t spend his time gathering resources and upgrading his ship and other technology with the same, the climax could…well….get disastrous (I don’t want to include spoilers so I’m stopping here).

In ME2, you get to spend a lot of time recruiting crew members from various parts of the galaxy (which again is much larger in size than in ME1) by doing various missions. There are a lot more variety and sense of purpose in the missions in ME2 than in ME1. Your work doesn’t stop with just recruiting your NPC crew members and keeping them idle in your ship. Repeated interactions with the same will result in them revealing to you, their personal problems and hence the necessity to complete additional missions for each crew member in order that they remain loyal to you and not lose focus during the final battle. Such missions have been given the name “loyalty missions” and again ignoring the same could prove disastrous.

NPC interactions have a lot more feel to it in ME2 than in ME1. Repeated interactions, in addition to unlocking loyalty missions, also reveal some of their personal life stories and as a result, the player could feel a kind of bond growing between the NPC crew member and himself the more he chooses to interact and listen to their woes (at least that’s how I felt).

The paragon/renegade types of dialogues that were introduced in ME1 have been carried over to ME2 as well. In addition, the player can also perform paragon/renegade type of actions upon the indication of the appropriate signal provided you have enough paragon/renegade points.

The character development system has been carried over from Mass Effect 1 as well wherein squad points are awarded at each level up which should be distributed according to the player’s requirements.

The variety of races is much greater when compared to ME1. In addition to the squishy looking blue asarians, the quarians with poor immunity, etc new races have also been introduced one of which being the reptile-like humanoids called drells that have the ability to perfectly recollect each and every moment of their lives. Their powers of recollection are so strong that they often feel like they are reliving the very moment during the process of recollection of the same.

Once again, the presentation of the story was just sooooo fantabulous that ME2 had me hooked to it even weeks after finishing the game. It was like watching a one month long movie with you being the hero and controlling the flow of the story. If you haven’t played this game yet, play it NOW and experience a ride like NEVER BEFORE!!! Trust me, you won’t regret choosing to play this one of a kind game :).

I just hope Mass Effect 3 comes out soon…real soon!!! Can’t wait to get my hands on it! 🙂

**spoiler alert**

For those who’ve finished this game with the climax showing the death of commander Shepard, those saves will be useless and cannot be imported to ME3 (as mentioned clearly by bioware). Those people should either replay ME2 all over again, preventing the death of commander Shepard or should create a new character in ME3 with the default choices from ME1 and ME2 integrated into the new character.

As for those whose commander survived, keep your saves safe for they will be of immense use when ME3 comes out  😉 🙂


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