Mass Effect 2 (PS3) Review


Alright, so after investing all of my spare time into Mass Effect 2 over the past week and a half, I have finally finished it. On Veteran difficulty, it took me around 47 hours to complete, and that is exploring every planet in the game and doing every mission and assignment. By the end of the game, I made it to level 29. Here is what I though.

What was done well, and what did I like? Story, Characters, Combat and Controls, Graphics, Exploration (Resources and Research), Inventory system (or lack there of)

The story continues on after the first game’s story ends. Shepard and the crew are out investigating disappearing ships, and are attacked by an unknown cruiser. Shepard dies, and it all looks grim. Until he is brought back to life in a lab, and then the story continues on. You’re working for the Illusive Man and his group known as Cerberus. You’re tasked with finding out why all of these human colonies have gone missing and the Reapers are suspected, and I won’t take it any further than that. As the story develops, things fall in to place and before you know it, it’s all over. I spent 47 hours playing this game, and it felt like a lot less than that. With all the choices you make along the way, the story unfolds the way you want it to, and remember that all of the choices you make here will effect the story in Mass Effect 3.

The characters in this game are all great. You get quite a wide variety, and one is especially surprising to me. There are characters here for everyone, from bad ass mercs and biotics, to the scienctists and techs, to the military types. Gaining each group member’s trust is also a good way to develop each character and give you something more than just a piece of cannon fodder. It was all done very well. Also, talking to some of the crew while they are on the Normandy is entertaining as well. Near the end of the game, make sure you talk to Mordin and ask him about his ability to sing.

Combat and controls in Mass Effect 2 is pretty well the exact same as the first game and there isn’t much of a learning curve involved. I enjoy the combat, and it’s very easy to get a handle on. Controlling team mates is simply using the directional pad. Up for team mates to attack the high lighted target, either right or left to tell a character to go to the area in your cross hairs, and down to regroup. Everything else is standard shooter style layout.

The Playstation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 uses the same engine that Mass Effect 3 will. It looks pretty nice, but I haven’t had a chance to really compare the graphics in this version to the Xbox 360’s. They look really good, anyway. Sometimes they seem a bit grainy, but nothing that bothered me.

Exploration is a huge thing in this game. By searching different galaxies and planets, you probe for resources and find hidden missions. You scan planets for resources, and the send a probe down to obtain them. You use resources for research on new upgrades for armour, weapons, powers and your ship. A lot of it is just bonus stuff, but it can help uncover more about certain things in the game, give you more experience to level up, and find more weapon and armour upgrades. I searched and probed every planet in the game, and it rarely felt like a chore. Just when I think I am about to quit doing it, I find a random mission to do.

Inventory is non-existent in this game. They have pretty much taken it out of the game. Now you select what weapon you want to take with you on a mission, and medi-gels are the only items you find. Otherwise, you’ll find weapon upgrades, armour upgrades, power upgrades, and random extras that are there solely for collecting purposes, but they do not go in your inventory. The items you pick up are transported to your ship immediately. There is no inventory to sort through or anything. I kind of like it this way. It’s very simple and easy. One less thing to worry about. Upgrades are found, purchased or researched and apply instantly.

What could have been done better? Occasional glitches in gameplay and graphics,

I know I said I liked the graphics, but there are a few spots where there are glitches that can annoy me. Sometimes random objects that I am interacting with will disappear and re-appear. Some jerky animations on occasion, and there was also a bug where sometimes my character would clip into a wall, or start to hover, and I would get stuck. It only happened twice, but that is a concern. Especially if you were to have it happen during an autosave. The thought makes me cringe.

Overall

If you own a Playstation 3 and haven’t played Mass Effect, do yourself a favour and buy it. It’s worth it if you are into sci-fi and enjoy RPGs. If you didn’t play the first one, don’t worry. There is a small bit of DLC that comes with the retail copy for free that has an interactive comic inside that explains the first game’s story. It’s a great way to prepare for Mass Effect 3. I am ready now, but I guess we’ll all have to wait until November 1st for that.

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