Thoughts on Mass Effect 2

By Namelessshe

Mass Effect 2 left me with mixed feelings. There were definitely things it improved upon from the first game, but at the same time, I think it took a big step back. Why?

The leveling up system was dialed back, and by dialed back I mean my options were sorely limited. Persuade and intimidate were no longer available. When I played through as a Vanguard I noticed that some of my powers from the first game were missing, and the ones that remained weren’t as useful. Shockwave was about the best power I had, and charge was useless. Playing through as an adept, I noticed they improved the biotics. I wished I’d played through as that character first.

Combat is improved from the first game. It’s much easier to target your opponents and the controls aren’t as clunky. My main complaint stems from the run/crouch mechanic. I took a lot of damage trying to get my character to crouch instead of vault over an obstacle. There were several times when the button prompt appeared and instead of crouching, my character would vault over to the other side, directly into the line of fire.

Several bugs in game made me stop playing for long stretches because I was so frustrated I had to play through a section over again. At several points, usually in the middle of a fight, my character would suddenly rise above the map. The only way out was to reload. This leads me to the second bug. Several times, after reloading, the wrong save loaded. I ended up at the very beginning of the game. Once the autosave loaded me at the first autosave of an area. This would have been fine if it hadn’t autosaved later on in the level at a point right before the combat. It was frustrating because what’s the point of an autosave if the game won’t load the current one, but rather defaults to one several autosaves back.

I hated the storyline. This is just a personal preference. I found it boring, and I don’t buy the whole ressurection at the beginning of the game. Once you cheat death like that, why not go back and ressurect every character who died? Why not Ashley/Kaiden? Why not all the people who were turned into Husks? On the flipside, I think the character quests were brilliantly done. They were a lot of fun to playthrough, and I found myself sorely disappointed after I finished the last mission.

My favorite thing about Mass Effect 2 is that developers listened to our complaints about the first Mass Effect. Remember the citadel after that initial fire fight? Players had to wander back and forth for what felt like an eternity before being granted Spectre status. There is none of that in the sequel, and as I result, I had an easier time talking myself out of playing Dragon Age and booting up MassEffect 2. I was so happy I could have kissed them.

While we’re on the subject of kissing, the romance in ME2 was bogus. I seduced Garrus, and what did I get for my trouble? A big fat nothing. I think the two rest foreheads against each other before it fades to black. Yawn. I looked up the human romances and they get a lot more screen time. What’s up with that Bioware? Turian sex a little too horrifying?

Last but not least, in ME1, my lady spectre was smoking hot. Seriously. When I loaded her in to ME2, she looked like the undead, even after I remove her scars. When I tried to make a new character, no matter what I did, she still looked like a freak of nature. I had to get my hubby (who is a master when it comes to character creation) to make her at least passable. Am I superficial? Hell yes. If I’m putting hours into a game, I want my avatar to be pretty or the helmet is staying on. Why is it so difficult to make a decent looking avatar when so many of the women in ME2 were gorgeous? You’d think it would be a piece of cake.

As usual, the characters are probably the best part of the game. Bioware my be lacking in some areas but they never fail us when it comes to fun dialogue and compelling characters. Is the game worth buying? Sure. It’s enjoyable enough if you can look past the bugs and annoying minigames. Scanning a planet for minerals is not my idea of fun, but whatever. I’d recommend it for anyone who enjoys shooters and science fiction.


One Response to “Thoughts on Mass Effect 2”

  1. In the story, they explained why Cerberus brought Shepard, and only Shepard, back from the dead.

    It took two years and considerable monetary and technological resources to resurrect just a single person. With the enemy already on the move and human colonies being attacked outright, Cerberus didn’t have a lot of time so they concentrated everything on bringing back humanity’s star hitter.

    At least with Shepard, they were working with an unmodified human corpse but Husked humans have undergone far too extensive modifications on so many levels that, currently (I say ‘currently’ because they can always change this stuff in sci-fi ;)), they can’t be returned to their original state.

    I didn’t have the levitation problem but I did experience the clipping bug on more than one occasion. It only manifested itself when I got too close to particular scenery props.

    I have the PC version of ME2 so I was able to use a modified configuration file that enabled me to toggle clipping for my character so if I got stuck, I just hit a keypad number and my character would fall back to the floor and I could resume without having to reload.

    I agree with the point about the romance choices not being fleshed out— er, so to speak. I can understand why BioWare would choose to not explore too deeply, scenes with Shepard and aliens who are too dissimilar in appearance to humans. It wouldn’t necessarily bother me personally but I think BioWare believes that intimate scenes with creatures who are too dissimilar to humans would cause too much of an uproar.

    I’m sure BioWare received flak from certain elements out there merely by making same-sex relationships an option.

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