Mass Effect 2 Review

Well. It’s here; the long awaited Mass Effect 2 and let me tell you, the jump from Xbox 360 to PS3 was well worth the wait.

Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 sold millions of copies around the world on the Xbox 360 and PC. Now you lucky PS3 gamers get a chance to experience the full-on galactic saga from BioWare and EA.

After a spectacular introduction, you are treated to a 10 minute recap of the key moments from the original Mass Effect. This is done through an interactive comic that also gives you the chance to make decisions that will affect the main story of Mass Effect 2. This does what it’s supposed to do which is to introduce the PS3 gamer to the important back story as the original Mass Effect won’t be coming to the PS3 (not in the immediate future).

You resume the role of Commander Shepard. You’re up against the greatest threat known to mankind, the Reapers (a super alien breed) who want to destroy all life in the galaxy, and humans are next on the list. Colonies of humans are being harvested from all over the galaxy and it’s up to you, Commander Shepard to save the day.

 This might sound like you’ve heard the same old story before, you might be right, but it’s how this story unfold as it’s played by each individual gamer is the real story. The only other game that come close to what Mass Effect 2 offers us gamers has to be Dragon Age Origins and Dragon Age Origins Awakening and that’s also made by BioWare and EA (can you see a formidable partnership developing?).

Think about it: in the first Mass Effect on the Xbox 360 the outcomes of your decision stay with you, you couldn’t change a thing unless you started the whole game again. Now, you are able to import into Mass Effect 2 (and keep your level ups and weapons you’ve acquired) the character you created and completed the game with (in the first Mass Effect on Xbox 360). In doing so the story in Mass Effect 2 will alter based on the choices you made in the first Mass Effect. Characters you wronged or helped, entire races you saved or destroyed; you are made accountable for in Mass Effect 2 and new dialog options are be available and this in turn changed the story even more (back to the review).

This time Shepard’s working for Cerberus, a direct opposition to the Alliance run by the Illusive Man (think X- Files the Smoking Man and you won’t be too far off).

You have to go out and recruit a team of talented misfits for a suicide mission and, for the first portion of the game at least, that’s precisely what you will be doing.

Before you set off on your mission you’ll find yourself back at the helm of your beloved ship the Normandy which is a copy of the original Normandy as the original had been destroyed by the Reapers.

By plotting a course through the various solar systems you’ll be able to reach those planets you have been directed too by the Illusive Man as the planets contain potential crew member.

 Each of the crew that you recruit all have unfinished business which they ask you to help them with. It’s up to you to decide if you want to help or not. If you decide to help your new recruits you will gain their trust.

Missions will often present you with a choice (choose wisely now); what you choose will shape your relationship with both your squad members and the characters you’ll come into contact with throughout the game.

Mass Effect 2 also works well as a shooter, and other changes to the combat reinforce the improvements on the PS3 version. For example, your shields and health automatically regenerate as they commonly do in straightforward shooters, and you now pick up ammo from the battlefield. You can still pause the action to let loose the awesome biotic-powered fury, but combat remains fluid and stimulating.

You cannot sum up any one aspect of Mass Effect 2 as the game is absolute genius.

As you play through the game you are literally re-writing your very own intricate story and experience (no two players will have the exact same experience) and this is what sets Mass Effect 2 as one of the most ground breaking and important games ever made.

From the very beginning of Mass Effect 2 you can see the difference in quality compared to the Xbox 360’s version. After all, on the PS3, BioWare have boosted the graphical prowess with a new engine which takes the graphics from great to brilliant.

The attention to detail is quite astonishing. The game feels and looks as though you are playing a cut scene that last 40 to 50 hours long, really, it’s that good.

This is one of the most atmospheric and engaging game I’ve ever played and I still can’t get enough (and I’ve played through the Xbox 360 version twice) on the PS3 version and it’s fantastic, fantastic, fantastic from start to finish.

This has to be the best western RPG ever made (and I don’t say that lightly), its well-acted, the dialog flows effortlessly as you choose your response. You have to make moral choices which will affect how the story plays out.

There is intrigue at every turn, and the deep involving story will engulf you. BioWare has created something very special here.

With this release of Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 you get all the downloadable content that was available to on the Xbox 360 (Kasumi: Stolen Memories, Overlord, and Lair Of The Shadow Broker) from the start you’ll also get additional weapons, armour, vehicle missions, characters and the Cerberus network which gives you daily news of the goings on in the galaxy.

Undoubtedly Mass Effect 2 is one of the best games available on the PS3; it is more refined than the Xbox 360 version and its attempt at open-world gameplay is achieved. With a good 50 hours of gameplay available there’s more than enough planet hoping to keep you busy for some time.

This is a fine addition to the soon to be trilogy of Mass Effect universe. The only pity is that the PS3 gamer won’t be getting the original Mass Effect  game released on the PS3; unless we can get some sort of campaign going to make that possible…

Let’s hope that when Mass Effect 3 is released at the end of the year, PS3 gamers will be able to upload your character and level up from Mass Effect 2.

Donnie Tulloch

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