Mass Effect 2 Review

I just finished playing Mass Effect 2 and had a great time. I was a huge fan of the first game and the sequel didn’t disappoint. There have been plenty of reviews on how they adjusted the gameplay to move towards a more action RPG. For the most part, it worked fine. I never missed the planet rover mode, although the mining mode was mediocre. I kinda wished for the mining/exploration mode of Star Control 2, as it would have at least provided a little bit of fun and motivation to upgrade the scanning modules.

I’ve said before that I’m big on story in games and that is the strongest part of Bioware RPG’s. The plot is pretty standard sci-fi fare, but the characters are really interesting. I completed all but one of the loyalty missions just to find out more about my comrades. Legion in particular interested me, although he was with my party the shortest time. I have a soft spot for robotic party members harkening back to Nordrom from Planescape Torment. Mordin was more Nordrom’s spiritual successor, and I enjoyed talking to him whenever I was onboard the Normandy. The voice acting was fantastic. My only complaint was that the facial animation still is in the uncanny valley. With such great voice acting, the lack of emotiveness of the faces just detracted from the performance. Only big-budget Hollywood effects films like Avatar are getting this right now, so it is really too high a bar to set for realtime. I’d almost rather that the cut-scenes were video rather than in-game if it would improve this flaw.

The cinematics were quite impressive and I enjoyed how my choices ended up having ramifications on who survived. When I upgraded my armor and guns for the Normandy, I never expected it to decide who lived and who died. Too bad for Legion that I never upgraded the shields.

All in all, I hope more games follow the Mass Effect 2 recipe: good characters, good story, subtle choices affecting the storyline, and less grinding.


~ by shaunkime on March 7, 2010.

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