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.)