Mass Effect 2 Review - Saving the Galaxy from one Reaper at a time

From the developers that brought you amazing titles such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age, Bioware along with publishers, Electronic Arts, team up together to bring us the second installment of the Mass Effect trilogy. Here’s a quick recap just in case you haven’t played Mass Effect 1:

You are Commander Shepard, a soldier on the SSV Normandy who was sent on a mission to retrieve a Prothean beacon that was discovered on Eden Prime, a human colony. What was supposed to be a simple mission quickly turns into a fight for your life as you discover that the colony has been destroyed by the geth, a robotic race that was believed to be extinct, who are also there to retrieve the beacon. As the game continues, you learn that the real threat isn’t the geth but beings known as the Reapers who believe that all organic life needs to go through a cycle once it hits a certain growth, deciding amongst themselves to destroy it so it can start over. It quickly becomes your duty to save the lives of billions from destruction at the hands of the Reapers.

Picking back up into Mass Effect 2, you were able to slow down the Reapers plan by killing Sovereign but he was only one Reaper. About a month has passed since the killing of Sovereign when your ship is attacked by an unidentified ship. You manage to save your crew but you are thrown out of the ship from the final blast. You wake up two years later on board the Cerberus ship, a group that goes by a humans-first philosophy and who are responsible for a lot of questionable experiments. The Cerberus team was able to bring you back from the dead but now the Illusive man, the leader of Cerberus, expects you to return the favor. You reluctantly agree because there is still the threat of the Reapers and you have no other means for a ship and crew.

 The game is set up so you may import your character from Mass Effect 1 into Mass Effect 2 though it is possible to play Mass Effect 2 without ever playing Mass Effect 1. The only difference is that you will have to develop a character (certain characters may or may not be in the game based on the gender you choose for your character) and decide on a back story instead of importing your decisions from the first one. Though you will have a new crew and you will make new allies as well as enemies, you will also come across old friends and situations because of your decisions made on Mass Effect 1.

 The decisions you make on Mass Effect 2 however, have more of an impact on the ending than they did on the first game. The game controls are relatively easy to understand and haven’t changed much from Mass Effect 1 though instead of waiting for your weapon to cool down, you now have to look for ammunition. This isn’t too difficult because enemies usually drop some when you annihilate them.  The voice acting isn’t annoying like you find it to be in most video games. You may even recognize a few.

 Mass Effect 2 isn’t linear by any means. After the initial mission, the galaxy is yours to explore. You can stick to the main plot of the game, travel and do a few side missions, or simply go to a random planet and search for minerals to help upgrade your ship.

Bioware games are not only known for their character customization (where here the gamer can be as detailed as the size of Shepard’s nose to the amount of scars on their face) but for also going the extra mile when it comes to developing relationships between characters. Mass Effect 2 is no exception.

 No matter if it’s building a stronger friendship or a romantic relationship between your character and the other characters within the game, it all plays a pivotal role in the outcome. This helps build a very strong, in-depth story that will easily keep you busy for well over 50 hours and have you setting up your voicemail to say, “Can’t come to the phone right now, I’m out saving the galaxy.”

Mass Effect 2

Developer: Bioware

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Platform: Xbox 360, PS3, PC

Genre: RPG

Rating: M


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