Mass Effect 2 review: The most delicious filler

Big Boss | Mythic Card Master
 
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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey

MASS EFFECT 2

Three years after the release of the first game, the gaming community impatiently waits for the sequel.

The developers at Bioware made a tremendous effort to create a video game and earn adoration and respect from players all over the world.  Now Bioware is forced to develop a follow-up to their blockbuster hit- Mass Effect- and hopefully, surpass the original. To quell the doubt, the developers have made a videogame to prove once and for all that the second entry in a trilogy is always the best. Officially, they consider the third game to be the best in the series.

But for those who know the truth, this game is clearly the best...


Mass Effect 2 is the sequel to Mass Effect. While the first game felt like a science fiction tv show that you'd watch on the Syfy channel for a few hours on a Sunday afternoon, Mass Effect 2 feels more like a big budget HBO epic that you'll binge every week, with much more polish and oomph put into it.

GAMEPLAY

It's pretty obvious from the get-go that the gameplay is much, much tighter and more refined in this game. No longer does Shepard feel like a floaty action figure that jogs around awkwardly shifting behind cover and hitting enemies with lethal nerf guns. Weapons and powers now pack way more of a punch, aiming is more precise and you won't find yourself running around wondering why your health seems to be dropping so much. There's less gun and armor variety overall when compared to Mass Effect 1, but honestly, in the first game they were basically all the same,  the only difference being the color and stat bonuses. Weapons now feel distinct enough that you can put real choice into which ones you use. It's no longer simply about which sniper rifle has higher heat absorption, now you can consider whether you want a higher rate of fire at a cost to overall damage, or a single shot rifle that packs a real meaty punch.

You will no longer have to pump points into specific gun skills this time around, allowing you more room to concentrate on your powers and abilities. One interesting change is that upon reaching the maximum level of a certain power, you are able to choose from one of two alterations to it, eg. Deciding between a higher damage output or a wider blast radius.

Some fans may delight at the fact that the Mako is gone. In fact, the planet exploration of the first game has been torn apart entirely, replaced with a series of more focused missions across a series of highly detailed environments. I think it really comes down to personal preference which is better. While I feel the mission structure in Mass Effect 2 deifnietely allows for much more rich environments with more detail and characters put into them, I admit I do find myself missing the more open-ended exploration of the first game quite often, despite many of the environments being pretty empty and cut-and-paste. I don't miss it enough to actively ruin my enjoyment of this game though, so I guess it's fine in that department.


More open areas such as Ilium and Omega regain some of the explorative atmosphere of the first game while also managing to cram in many characters and details to come across that while not all being relatively important to the overall plot, really adds to the sense of a living, breathing universe that you are able to interact with. I could spend hours running around Omega just trying to talk to everyone, having a (terrible) dance in the nightclub or browsing the seedy markets for new weapon upgrades or armor pieces.

STORY

In many ways, Mass Effect 2 feels like filler. The actual main plot of the series takes a bit of a back seat in this game, featuring primarily at the start and end of the adventure with important details being sprinkled in here and there. The bulk of the game is taken up by Shepard's quest to recruit a band of companions to help him on the so-called 'Suicide Mission', which the entire game is building up to. While it is by no means a series of meaningless missions purely to hold you over until the next big event, I do find the way the story is presented in Mass Effect 2 to be a bit odd. Each character's mission feels like its own self-contained mini-story, further lending to this game's feeling like an episodic tv show, with the big story finale happening at the end. Each mission (mostly) feels distinct enough to be enjoyable and not too repetitive, ranging from fighting your way through a plague-riddled quarantine zone, to a high-rise tower block that's still under construction. 


The characters are easily this game's strongest point. With returning favorites like Garrus and Tali, awesome new faces such as the assassin Thane and mad scientist Mordin, and uh.. Jacob. While some of them get more development than others, I love the sense of camaraderie you gain by the end, with your assembled squad that you've taken the time to get to know, you feel ready for anything.  In order for them to perform better in the final mission and learn more about them, each character has a special mission attached to them in which you need to help them in some way or another. I do admit, I would have liked more variety in these because each mission basically boils down to them having issues with somebody in their family, mostly. The missions were still fun, but still would have been nice for more variety.

The villains feel less personal this time around. Saren is gone, instead replaced by the Collectors, a bunch of bug-like aliens that are going around abducting colonies. You get no real conversations with them at all, and just spend most of your time shooting at them and watching them kidnap people. I didn't really feel any proper motivations to stop them apart from the obvious thing about them being the bad guys you need to take down.

An antagonistic group from the first game makes its return in this game: Cerberus. While in the original they weren't much more than the focus of a few optional quests, the pro-human organization makes its true debut in Mass Effect 2, providing you with everything you need in your mission. I'm not sure I like the whole idea of being forced to work with them with not much say in the matter, but I guess such a massive part of the game would have been difficult to split with moral decisions. The Illusive Man, the leader of the organization, is an enigmatic chain-smoker voiced by Martin Sheen who I enjoy talking to very much.

Shepard himself has more to do this time around. He's still a bit pissed that people still doubt him over what happened in the first game, but his charisma and just general all-around-awesomeness provides some entertaining encounters with other characters, whichever path you take him. Some of his one-liners are just brilliant. Without the rest of the squad to play off, I think he wouldn't nearly be as interesting. Everyone simply fits together in such a way that you truly feel like a squad at the end of the game, which makes it even more heartbreaking if some bad decisions lead to people being killed off for real.

IN SUMMARY
YouTube
Be sure to listen to this for maximum effect. Seriously, it gives me the chills every time.

Mass Effect 2 feels like a step above the first game in almost every way, but in doing so loses some of the charm and magic that made the first game so good. The tighter gameplay and more detailed environments are a welcome change, but gone are the vast open planets to explore and endless lists of armor manufacturers and technologies that made the world feel bigger. As the middle entry in a trilogy, I think the game can afford to spend more time developing the characters and world than actually focusing on the bigger story, but if you're somebody who prefers to just get stuck into the bigger picture of the plot then you might prefer to go straight to the end and not bother with all of the loyalty missions and sidequests. I guess if you want to do that though, why are you even playing the series in the first place?

Mass Effect 2 is like the most delicious filler. If Mass Effect 1 and 3 are two nice pieces of bread, then 2 is the chicken and bacon barbeque cheese melt in between.

The cover art is pretty terrible though.
Spoiler


Gatortag | Heroic Posting Rampage
 
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I have the same thoughts. It's my favorite of the trilogy. Did you play Andromeda? It felt like a chore beating that game. I liked the lore they set up. But compared to the others it felt like it was wandering around big areas with lazy mission design and not much story.


 
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Mass Effect 1 and 2 are incredible games. The story for the first I enjoy more but Mass Effect 2 just oozes atmosphere everywhere you go.

I played Mass Effect 2 first and once I stepped foot into The Afterlife club on Omega I knew I was in for a treat. That's still one of my favorite moments in gaming.


Big Boss | Mythic Card Master
 
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I have the same thoughts. It's my favorite of the trilogy. Did you play Andromeda? It felt like a chore beating that game. I liked the lore they set up. But compared to the others it felt like it was wandering around big areas with lazy mission design and not much story.

All the negative buzz about the game put me off a bit. Have no desire to play it


Mint | Ascended Posting Riot
 
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Are you gonna do all the Mass Defects including Andromeda?


Big Boss | Mythic Card Master
 
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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
Are you gonna do all the Mass Defects including Andromeda?

Only the ones I've played


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The ending of the Suicide Mission and that music, goddamn it was good.


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>you now remember Teh Illusive Man


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me2 best of the series

i'm glad you brought up cerberus being in me1. i replayed me1 a few months ago and i didn't realize cerberus was established before me2 til then. like you said they were just sidequests but it really was an "oh shit" moment to me


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>you now remember Teh Illusive Man
Norblog*


Big Boss | Mythic Card Master
 
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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
me2 best of the series

i'm glad you brought up cerberus being in me1. i replayed me1 a few months ago and i didn't realize cerberus was established before me2 til then. like you said they were just sidequests but it really was an "oh shit" moment to me

I can't imagine most people who played ME2 3 years after the first would remember some nonessential baddies from a sidequest. Probably noticed them more when they played ME1 retroactively though.


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
Glad people seem to be enjoying, didn't know many people here liked Mass Erect. Hopefully my review of ME3 isn't too divisive lol


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best mass effect game


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best mass effect game

Fighting Collectors in 3 is giving me nostalgia for it.


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I liked 1 more.


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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
I feel like we should discuss how bad the cover art is

Like, it's just Shepard, Miranda and Thane doing an action pose. Doesn't really instill any sense of sci fi wonder in me at all.


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>Calling ME2 "filler"



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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
>Calling ME2 "filler"



It feels like it. Not that there's anything wrong with that though, I just think it feels like a gap filler between the major shit that goes down in 1 and 3
Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 12:08:02 PM by Big Boss


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His eyebrows sparkling, his white beard hangs down to his chest. The thatched mats, spread outside his chise, spread softly, his splendid attos. He polishes, cross-legged, his makiri, with his eyes completely absorbed.

He is Ainu.

The god of Ainu Mosir, Ae-Oine Kamuy, descendant of Okiku-Rumi, He perishes, a living corpse. The summers day, the white sunlight, unabrushed, ends simply through his breath alone.
I feel like we should discuss how bad the cover art is

Like, it's just Shepard, Miranda and Thane doing an action pose. Doesn't really instill any sense of sci fi wonder in me at all.
It does reflect the change in the series itself at that point, though. ME1 was closer to Star Trek, which used the crew as a vehicle to explore different ideas, themes, and fueling the sense of discovery. ME2 is closer to the J.J. Abrams films, which focus more on the characters themselves. It's a smaller, more focused game and the cover reflects that by making the characters the primary component of it.

Spoiler
It does suck tho


Big Boss | Mythic Card Master
 
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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
I feel like we should discuss how bad the cover art is

Like, it's just Shepard, Miranda and Thane doing an action pose. Doesn't really instill any sense of sci fi wonder in me at all.
It does reflect the change in the series itself at that point, though. ME1 was closer to Star Trek, which used the crew as a vehicle to explore different ideas, themes, and fueling the sense of discovery. ME2 is closer to the J.J. Abrams films, which focus more on the characters themselves. It's a smaller, more focused game and the cover reflects that by making the characters the primary component of it.

Spoiler
It does suck tho

You'd think for a game that focuses so much on squad building, they'd put more than two on there


Me | Mythic Inconceivable!
 
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His eyebrows sparkling, his white beard hangs down to his chest. The thatched mats, spread outside his chise, spread softly, his splendid attos. He polishes, cross-legged, his makiri, with his eyes completely absorbed.

He is Ainu.

The god of Ainu Mosir, Ae-Oine Kamuy, descendant of Okiku-Rumi, He perishes, a living corpse. The summers day, the white sunlight, unabrushed, ends simply through his breath alone.
I feel like we should discuss how bad the cover art is

Like, it's just Shepard, Miranda and Thane doing an action pose. Doesn't really instill any sense of sci fi wonder in me at all.
It does reflect the change in the series itself at that point, though. ME1 was closer to Star Trek, which used the crew as a vehicle to explore different ideas, themes, and fueling the sense of discovery. ME2 is closer to the J.J. Abrams films, which focus more on the characters themselves. It's a smaller, more focused game and the cover reflects that by making the characters the primary component of it.

Spoiler
It does suck tho

You'd think for a game that focuses so much on squad building, they'd put more than two on there
You work in squads of three, and showing off a larger roster would give it an inaccurate larger-scale feeling.


Big Boss | Mythic Card Master
 
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Jacob Potila was actually a Jacob Flotilla of lies.- WarTurkey
I feel like we should discuss how bad the cover art is

Like, it's just Shepard, Miranda and Thane doing an action pose. Doesn't really instill any sense of sci fi wonder in me at all.
It does reflect the change in the series itself at that point, though. ME1 was closer to Star Trek, which used the crew as a vehicle to explore different ideas, themes, and fueling the sense of discovery. ME2 is closer to the J.J. Abrams films, which focus more on the characters themselves. It's a smaller, more focused game and the cover reflects that by making the characters the primary component of it.

Spoiler
It does suck tho

You'd think for a game that focuses so much on squad building, they'd put more than two on there
You work in squads of three, and showing off a larger roster would give it an inaccurate larger-scale feeling.

Maybe, but would have still been nice to have more of a sci-fi epic with a memorable cast feel like the first game did. From ME2 onward it began to slip into the more generic type of cover, ME3 is even worse.


 
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Isn't any 2nd movie/game in a trilogy more or less filler/adding to the original to add more substance to the ending of the 3rd?

Also, Mass Effect 2 over 3 all day. In both the music score, and the general direction the art takes. Mass Effect 3 for reasons I understand but am not a fan of, went way too gritty with just everyones looks, along with environment.

2 also had one of the best cliff hanger endings of any game I've ever seen. The way the music just queues it and cuts it off is perfect.
Last Edit: October 03, 2017, 01:28:50 PM by Luciana


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ME2 is filler on the basis that nothing has really changed between ME1's ending and ME3's beginning. Especially without DLC. The political state of the galaxy basically doesn't change between the two games and the most significant character change is that one of your crewmates may die in the collector base. In terms of the series' plot, you're basically just hitting the pause button entirely.

The game starts with Humanity taking it's first steps toward becoming a major player on the galactic stage, and ends there. At the start, the threat of the reapers invading is looming, and it's still there at the end (haven't played arrival). The game introduces a threat from nowhere and then you more or less completely deal with it and that's it - the only real major change is that Cerberus is now the space illuminati for some reason. I suppose there's also a couple character bits but 3 does a good job of rendering them kind of inert anyway.

They should have used ME2 as a chance to try and research the reapers or maybe even attempt to unify the galaxy, with the suicide mission instead being the ending of ME3. This way, at ME3's start, you maybe have some political alliances already, or have managed to advance your cause making people like/ dislike you more. ME2 has some fine character writing but the plot is really meh.
Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 03:28:16 AM by BaconShelf


 
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I always wanted to get into Mass Effect but couldn't get into the gameplay. Same with Witcher.


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Oh, hey.
Had they kept the RPG elements from ME 1, the scale from Andromeda (jesus christ do the planets feel fantastic), and the gameplay of both Andromeda but more towards ME 3 (The freedom of Andromeda was nice, but at nice it just didn't feel polished enough, it was definitely fun but was awkward at times.) Andromeda would have been brilliant.

The story has the potential to recover, they set themselves up fairly well. Was it weak at times? Absolutely. But for the most part is was pretty good.

Mass Effect has always been REALLY good at setting things up, world building, and grounding everything into pretty detailed real life things. It's such a good hardcore sci fi. Andromeda just failed to be polished enough and deliver a group of characters that were as iconic as the original trilogy. Also the ending with your sister/brother felt incredibly rushed and just put in.

I'm still sad they killed all future development on the game. They had a good thing going, and could have recovered. It scratched my itch for a game similar to ME 1, but it just didn't deliver in a lot of other ways. Honestly at this point a full remastered ME 1 would be amazing, and probably would be an incredibly good move from Bioware to recover their image.
Last Edit: October 09, 2017, 06:36:12 PM by BC


 
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I always wanted to get into Mass Effect but couldn't get into the gameplay. Same with Witcher.
including Witcher 3?
i swapped from bloodborne to witcher 3 and i had a hard time with it as well. gotta unlearn stuff.


 
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I always wanted to get into Mass Effect but couldn't get into the gameplay. Same with Witcher.
including Witcher 3?
i swapped from bloodborne to witcher 3 and i had a hard time with it as well. gotta unlearn stuff.
Including Witcher 3, yeah. I'm going to give it another chance, but still. I got like 2 hours into the game and made it through the first village, killed some people and did a side quest here and there. Retrieve a pan, find an arsonist, learn to play the card game, stuff like that. And then I just kind of lost interest. The combat feels sluggish, I'm really not a fan of the whole being able to pause and use the wheel for spells and stuff during a fight, and the whole thing with weapon potions/alchemy/decoctions/oils and buffs and all that jazz just makes me not even want to get into it. It really is such a shame because I've heard so many good things and want to play it, but this kind of stuff is so off-putting to me and just feels like it hides a subpar core combat system.


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I managed to platinum ME2. Insanity sure was a ride...