My Mass Effect 2 review went online overnight, which is good. Now I can go back to life as normal after freebasing the game over the weekend. I’m much too old for beating a huge RPG in a couple of marathon sessions, even if it’s something I really enjoy. Which is definitely the case with ME2; the review I wrote is fairly critical, but I loved the game and can’t wait to play it again (this time with a Renegade character). It has some flaws, but the atmosphere and game worlds are really top-notch. And even if the mechanical underpinnings are flat compared to the first game’s RPG-driven structure, the combat tends to be pretty involving. I started up a New Game Plus run just to top off some quick achievements at a higher difficulty level, and the action really shines when the pressure is increased (although I would hazard a guess that playing on the maximum difficulty setting is a task for people who don’t believe that videogames are meant to be fun, per se).

Anyway, I highly recommend the game, even to people who hated the original. Especially to people who hated the original, come to think of it. BioWare’s overhaul of the game was clearly an attempt to cast a wide net and pull in all the people who would rather play a third-person shooter than an RPG, so it’s really only RPG fans who are likely to find something to complain about in ME2.

Minor character spoilers in the coda behind the jump.

And I have to give the game credit: It made me regret rolling a female Shepard for the first time. Shepard’s still much better-acted as a female, but the male Shepard has the option to romance Tali, who was hands-down my favorite character in the original game. Accursed BioWare! Actually, I was kind of surprised that there are no same-sex romance options at all in ME2. I guess Prop 8 passed on the Citadel, too. Or, more likely, the developer was burned by Fox News’ idiotic, uninformed shenanigans about OMG LESBIAN ALIEN SEX and took a more conservative approach with the in-game relationships to avoid more unwarranted blowback. (I hope that wasn’t the case.)

17 thoughts on “Aftermass

  1. Ah, but can you romance multiple partners? It’s going to be hard to pass up Crazy Tattooed Biotic Chick.

  2. I would’ve preordered it had I not missed out on the chance to do it from Gamestop for that gravity gun. As it is, I’ll hold off since I already have plenty of other stuff on my plate, Dragon Age included. (Thanks Bioware!)

  3. So it’s _more_ shooter than it was? thanks, bioware. i didn’t want to play your game anyway.


  4. There is word that Kelly Chambers is actually a romance option for female Shepard, but that’s from the Mass Effect Wiki, and being a Wiki, who knows if that’s correct.

  5. Well, not really. In the first game you had to get the reticle over a thing to shoot it. Same thing here. Powers home in to a degree. The main difference is that there’s location-based damage now.

    Honestly, I felt like the first game uncomfortably straddled the line between third-person shooter and RPG. Committing more fully to shooting for the combat benefits these portions. I don’t miss juggling armor, omnitools, biotic implants, and four kinds of weapons and their upgrades for all these characters one bit.

  6. I actually really liked the clumsy vehicular exploration bits of the first game, which probably puts me in a minority. They just had such a huge Starflight vibe going on.

  7. That’s still a little disappointing. I’m a much bigger RPG fan than shooter fan and I wasn’t keen on the first Mass Effect. Oh well, I suppose I’ll try it at a friend’s house the next time I get a chance. Bioware is getting a lot of credit these days. But I am continually underwhelmed by their products. Maybe I’m just losing touch or something….

  8. So it’s _more_ shooter than it was? thanks, bioware. that was my only complaint with the first game.

    /jumps for joy

  9. Shivam, if you feel like you can’t play the game because it’s too shooter-y, it does still have a lot of RPG components. Any time you bring up the menu interface, the game pauses. If you play as the Infiltrator class like I did, you can developer a “sniper-time” skill that will briefly make the action run at half-speed when you peer through your scope. The game feels more like a shooter, but it’s not a pure shooter.

  10. [Googleshng], I enjoyed driving the Mako around all those random planets too. Even though most of them were exactly the same and there was rarely anything of real interest, and the thing was pretty terrible to drive. I really loved that sense of exploration.

  11. I’ve been playing for a few hours, and I’m a little disappointed. I don’t mind making combat more Shooter-like, but so far they’ve put too much of it in there. I’m pretty exhausted from the wave after wave of enemies thrown at me so far, and so far there hasn’t even been a single decent in-depth conversation, not really even with the crew I’ve assembled so far.

    Heck, one of the first missions, where you have to find the Krogan? I don’t even understand what that was about. It was just one long battle after another for some unknown reason, also Worf.

  12. I already was convinced of getting ME2 – that little spoiler just was the cherry at the top. However, all these plans for paid DLC just make we want to wait for the GotY Edition. Is not as if I don’t have a significant backlog, after all.

  13. Yes. And, in fact, if you choose that option, Garrus even says, “I didn’t know you had a thing for guys with scars.”

  14. “There is word that Kelly Chambers is actually a romance option for female Shepard, but that’s from the Mass Effect Wiki, and being a Wiki, who knows if that’s correct.”
    Even just from the first conversation, I seriously suspect this.

    On the other hand, I accidentally hit on Jacob in the conversation I got after rescuing Jack, so maybe everyone’s just a little more sultry this time?

  15. I saw that segment on Fox News, and to be honest, even the moderator said that she couldn’t find the scene in question. Probably means they shouldn’t have run it so quickly, but they had both sides of the debate going, and Geoff Keighley did an excellent job of defending the game. Besides, it’s not like Fox News is the only news network that runs this kind of stuff.

    Anyway, that’s old news, hashed over to death back when the segment first aired. I get to play Mass Effect 2 when my brother finishes. :)

    One bit of curiosity I’ve always had is that in these Bioware games, the culmination of the “quest” is always having sex with said character. Really? No option to propose for marriage? Do we always have to adhere to the Hollywood vision for relationships?

    Dang it, I really need to get off my soapbox. I’m going to enjoy the games, regardless. The first game was great, Dragon Age was fun, and I suspect this will be awesome as well (as soon as I can get my grubby mitts on it!).

  16. Actually, I have more to say about the relationships in ME2 once people have played more of it, but they’re much better constructed this time. Yeah, the “payoff” is still a night time visit before the final mission, but depending on who you choose to romance there’s a lot more emotional substance to the encounters. Female Shepard, for instance, can choose from someone with whom she has a strong history, a fellow human soldier who doesn’t quite trust their employer, or a deeply wounded soul who hasn’t truly socialized in a decade. Each one feels sincere, and in at least one case there’s really no physical intimacy shown… it’s much more about the emotional connection. It’s a welcome advancement.

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