I tried Mass Effect 2 a while back but stopped playing as it was almost impenetrable for someone who hadn't played Mass Effect. When I later ran out of games to play I gave it a second chance, pushing through the complete lack of context. That is the major flaw of the entire game. For one so dependant on its predecessor there should be at least a token attempt to explain what happened previously but this is not the case. Time and time again the game references your past activities without providing the slightest guidance.
As you progress though the knowledge gained in this version does fill in a number of gaps and you are at least able to follow what is going on. There's nothing wrong with the plot but the game play and its structure does have a couple of flaws. It has the annoying problem of being very linear while trying to look as though there is choice. Perhaps I'm too used to playing Fallout games but all the missions seem to be going towards a foregone conclusion with only a limited ability to change the outcome. This was most noticeable to me in Miranda's loyalty quest where I didn't want to help her yet that's what I was forced to do.
The characters were well-done and most, with the exceptions of Tali and Miranda, were likeable. The upgrades and powers were generally pretty decent, although in some cases seemed a bit pointless. I played as an infiltrator which gave me the ability to go invisible temporarily. Normally that would be great, but when the entire game is cover-based shooting in corridors and you don't get much more than one shot while cloaked it becomes pretty much pointless. It was useful once or twice for escaping and did allow me to reprogramme some engines when I would've normally been shot but most of the time I ignored it.
The cover-based shooting also led to another problem. The game was a bit repetitive. All the fights were essentially the same with no real variety. On the plus side the combat was fun enough that I didn't mind but I would've liked more in the way of variety. I also would've like characters that could actually jump and a different command for ducking and vaulting. There were a number of times that instead of ducking for cover I accidentally vaulted into enemy fire.
In short once you get past the lack of explanation it's a decent game. It would've been better if there was real choice available, more variety and the ability to skip the huge introduction scene.
7 years, 7 months ago
09 Jul 2011 13:03 CEST