Posts Tagged ‘video games’

 Mass Effect 2<< Adam, February 22nd, 2010 >>

Having finally completed Mass Effect 2, I must say, it impressed the hell out of me.  I’m going to stay out of spoiler territory until after the click through link.  I don’t consider game mechanics spoiler territory, so we’ll go into all of that first.

Every review of Mass Effect 2 has noted the removal of a lot of RPG elements from the first game.  Whether you consider this “streamlining” or not depends a lot on your perspective.  Personally, I was happy with it.  The fun part of RPG games to me has never been in collecting massive amounts of crap to carry back to a vendor and sell.  It has never been min/maxing sets of weapons and armor.  It has always been about playing through an engrossing story.  Mass Effect 2 has basically decided that it just wants to be a shooter, but have a really fantastic story, and for that, I appreciate it.  There’s no more, “Hey, is this gun better than this one? ” nonsense.  You’re told flat out which guns are improvements to which guns.  To me, this is streamlining; in Mass Effect 1, it was simply a distraction.  Mainly, I think this works because the game is a shooter, and does in fact rely on the player to be “good” at the game.  This is in contrast to “traditional” RPGs where there are more number mechanics in play for miss chances, resistances, etc.

I had also forgotten how awesome the dialog system is in Mass Effect.  Mass Effect 2 leaves this system exactly intact – no tweaks or changes necessary here.  It was interesting to play Mass Effect 2 immediately after Dragon Age: Origins to compare the difference between having a main character that talks to one who doesn’t.  I actually feel like I know Commander Shepard, where my character in Dragon Age, for all her in-game world renown still felt completely anonymous to me.

As for how your decisions in Mass Effect affect Mass Effect 2?  Well, yes and no.  Your decisions come up.  Do they ever drastically change the nature of the game you’re playing?  No, not really.  In the end, these decisions end up being flavor more than anything.  I imagine that the same will hold true for the decisions you make in Mass Effect 2; your decisions will color the world, but they will not end up changing the overall course of events.  This actually comes out in the dialogue every once in awhile.  For example, in one character’s Loyalty mission, it is made fairly clear that no matter what action you take, there is no 100% guarantee that you could eliminate the threat you’re dealing with.  The writers are very crafty in giving themselves an “out” to make your decision be important, but strangely not have any permanence.

Inside, lets talk about the completely bad ass final mission.

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