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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best ever X-box game?
I've been a gamer for nearly 30 years, and during that time you remember fondly games that have moved you, enthralled you, and been just plain hard to put down and go to sleep. I won't list them all of course, but of recent games I would say you are talking games like the orginal Halo, World of Warcraft, and Modern Warfare 2 have been the types of games that fit the mold...
Published on 22 Nov. 2010 by M. Paddon

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice storyline, but gameplay could be a lot better
I like the storyline of ME, but the gameplay is quite boring ( like the random missions - too simple, too little ). I will play the 3rd episode of the saga however since I really like the story line.
Published 23 months ago by Philippe Clarisse


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best ever X-box game?, 22 Nov. 2010
By 
M. Paddon (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I've been a gamer for nearly 30 years, and during that time you remember fondly games that have moved you, enthralled you, and been just plain hard to put down and go to sleep. I won't list them all of course, but of recent games I would say you are talking games like the orginal Halo, World of Warcraft, and Modern Warfare 2 have been the types of games that fit the mold. Well Mass Effect 2 is for me another to add to that list of exceptional games, and I'll try and explain the reasons why here for you.

Bioware have been making RPG's for years now, and in their own words Mass Effect 2 is the first game they have thought they really got exactly what they wished they could do with an RPG, and I can see why. Everything from the graphics, sound, lighting, story, voice acting, world depth and history are all really and truely top class.

Bioware didn't quite get it right when they did Mass Effect 1, as while it was a good game it wasn't as polished in any area compared to Mass Effect 2. Certainly the flaws with terribly boring planet exploration for minerals using the nasty to control Mako got improved with Mass Effect 2, though even the new method of launching probes to scan planets from orbit can still get a little tedious. But its the one of the few tiny niggles you might have. Also they totally overhauled equipment/ammo and character skills, meaning you don't end up carrying a million weapons you need to sell, and you have less, but enough options of how you want to spec your character.

The next thing they did was to add more characters with Mass Effect 2, and gave you a lot of conversations to have with them if you choose, including options to interupt if your paragon/renegade skill is high enough. Certainly most of the characters add to the story in Mass Effect 2 that sees you dealing with a race called the Collectors, that are causing trouble (won't tell you what kind) through human settlements around the galaxy. Your job as Commander Shepard is to find out what they are doing, and who they are working for, and stop them if you can.

As with Mass Effect 1 you need to recruit a crew to help you do this. Your old crew of the Normandy has been split up and scatter for reasons you can find out for yourself, and so you need to gain new ones to help you. You do meet up with a lot of old faces from Mass Effect 1 if you played it, and can even recruit a couple of them. Recruiting your crew and importantly gaining their complete trust will take you to many planets and a lot of missions, of which I don't recall a single boring one thanks to the great voice acting.

The fact that you have to make choices in the conversations in Mass Effect 1 and 2 is for me the main reason these games are great. The choices you make really do effect what happens from mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2, and I suspect will really be telling with Mass Effect 3 comes out next year. I know that the final mission in Mass Effect 2 and the choice you have to make at the end still has me wondering if I made the right choice a few months after I completed it.

In short this game is FANTASTIC. Buy it and you will not be sorry if you like RPG that have an indepth story and plenty of action mixed in as well. I honestly believe the world Bioware have created here could be made into films that would rival Stars Wars if they were done well. It is seriously that good.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A near perfect game, 29 Mar. 2010
By 
Owain (Dyserth, Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Having played Dragon Age earlier this year, I had heavy doubts that anything over the next year or even the next five to ten years could top it. Then comes along Mass Effect 2, the sequel to Bioware's epic Sci Fi RPG, which literally blew me away. Right from the shocking start, you know you're going in for an unforgettable ride.

The first thing that strikes you while you play Mass Effect 2 is how smooth the game plays. They've vastly improved the combat system from the first game, giving it a more flexible, action orientated experience. Another good thing Bioware's done here is scrapping the Mako completely. Remember the slightly tedious moments in the first Mass Effect where you had to explore different barren planets with a vehicle that controlled almost as bad as Bush's America? It's all gone now, giving the game a much more streamlined, straightforward experience. The conversation system's also been improved since the first game. At certain occasions, your character Shepard, will say things without your command, making his character someone you can bond with even better than the first game. And not to forget the interrupt system, which certainly makes the conversations you have a lot more interesting when the option to use it pops up on the screen. Something else worth mentioning is the slightly trimmed down RPG elements for the game. While in the first game, you had a full inventory window, numerous skills to be upgraded at your own choice and weapons and armour available to customize at your will, Mass Effect 2 rids this system completely. It may seem like a risky move at first, but the result of doing so really does make the game flow a lot faster (which is important when you consider the importance of combining the story with the gameplay). If there's one fault with any of the gameplay design for the game, it's the planet scanning system. It works fine on its own, but with such a fast paced game like Mass Effect 2, it does seem a little out of place. Apart from this though, Mass Effect 2's gameplay is the stuff of legends.

One thing that'll definitely strike your attention while playing is the improvement made to the presentation. Locations have become a lot more diverse and interesting. Almost everywhere you go in Mass Effect 2 has a unique feel that never fails to impress. One thing that needs to be complimented in terms of presentation is the astounding use of lighting included in the game. It's the lighting that generates the true sense of atmosphere in the game, giving each Location a different feel. If you're familiar with the first game, you could probably guess that the animation is also beyond incredible. I can't forget mentioning the voice acting either, it's absolutely sublime. Each character comes to life with the help of such an extraordinary cast.

Most noticeably though, the main drawing point for Mass Effect 2 is its unforgettable story. Words cannot be fitted together to describe how beautiful, how memorable and how emotional the plot in Mass Effect 2 is. Maybe I made things sound almost too incredible there, but that's the honest truth. I can't recall watching a film, playing a game or reading a book in recent memory that's even come close to the quality Mass Effect 2 glimmered with. Each character owns many levels, so many realistic touches fitted to them, it's almost impossible to accept you're just playing a game. Saying goodbye to them by the end of the game isn't an easy feat to accomplish. This is a pure sequel, if you played through the first game, the decisions you made will carry on into Mass Effect 2. This definitely helps give an additional emotional tug to your heart, making the game all the more personal and feel all the more important. Some characters you'll come across will be familiar if you played the first game too, giving you an extra sense of familiarity with the game your entering. As for the actual plot, there's so many shocking twists and turns, I'd have to be very careful not to let anything out in case I spoil anything. What I will say however is that choices you make in this game will have a colossal impact on the ending. Your decisions will determine who lives and dies and who will carry on into the tale for Mass Effect 3. So yeah, as a whole, the plot for Mass Effect 2 is the best I've seen in a very, very long time.

If you've read through my whole review, you might have realised I'm giving out the impression it might be a good game. So if you haven't bought it already, stop reading this, pop down to your local store and spend the most well spent £35-£40 you've ever used in your life.
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89 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest game ever???, 2 Feb. 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Having not played the first game I had no idea what to expect from ME2. However after just a couple of hours playing time I could only come to one conclusion, this is the best game I have ever played. From the very first mission it draws you in and won't let go.

I spent the first half an hour or so just wandering round the Normandy (the ship on which you are based for the game), exploring the four decks which house your own living quarters/office, the armoury, the tech lab, flight deck & cargo hold among other things. The first things that struck me about the Normandy were the graphics and attention to detail, things which are carried on throughout the game making this one of the most visually beautiful games to date.

The game starts with you assembling a team of various different alien races to assist in the main mission of stopping the Collectors, which takes up a number of hours gameplay in itself. Within a couple of hours the missions are building up rapidly to ensure you always have a vast selection of missions to choose from. Some of these can be completed in a matter of 10 minutes where others can take well over an hour, meaning the game should be a very long affair, which trust me is no bad thing.

The only thing I found slightly confusing initially was navigating the various universes, but once you've worked it out it becomes second nature (and presumably if you have played the first game you already have an advantage). The combat controls are surprisingly easy to come to terms with considering how many different things there are to do.

Overall this is a fantastic game for which I can't find one bad thing to say. Since purchasing the game I've struggled to put it down. It has drawn me in like no other game has for as long as I can remember.

Buy it now...
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mass Effect 2 Review - Game Of The Year, 11 Sept. 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
While the first game boasted an amazing story, beautiful visuals and a great soundtrack, it certainly had its flaws. The gameplay was fun but there were quite a few glitches to be found, like being stuck in an environment. And the Mako vehicle handled badly.

Mass Effect 2

Gameplay: 9 / 10.
Well, with Mass Effect 2 BioWare has undone all of its previous mistakes. There seems to be more emphasis on the shooting aspect of the game than in the first ME. This is a good thing since the shooting feels much more fluid and engaging than ever, almost like Gears of War 2 or Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, although with its own distinct style. The RPG elements are great and obviously, since this is a story based game, they're what makes the game so interesting. The new Paragon/Renegade options are a nice addition, too. The option to import a previous save from ME1 (provided you finished that game) is an exellent one, personalizing the story even more.

Graphics / Visuals: 9.5 / 10.
The first ME looked great and so does this one. ME2 has much improved graphics and with a bigger game we get many more stunning vistas to behold. The framerate doesn't lag nearly as much as the first one giving you a more engaging playthrough.
I really like and admire the ME franchise's visual style; with the mix of futuristic and 80's sci-fi neon look to it (if you get the game, pay a visit to Illium and Omega). And let's not forget the cinematic touch, with changing camera angles, anamorphic lens flares and blur effects.

Audio: 10 / 10.
The game's futuristic/electronica soundtrack always compliments each and every situation you find yourself in, ranging from subtle/spacey/ambient to epic/bombastic whenever required. The sound effects are absolutely perfect. But the voice acting is the greatest addition, with an expansive cast of many known actors/actresses including Martin Sheen and Yvonne Strahovski. Martin Sheen, in particular, is perfectly cast as the voice (and possibly even the look) of the mysterious Illusive Man.

Storyline: 10 / 10.
Intro: The story of Mass Effect 2 centers around the sudden abductions of human colonies across the galaxy by a mysterious alien race, known only as The Collectors. Commander Shepard is offered a second chance by a supposed pro-human splinter group known as Cerberus. Cerberus, with its less than reputable past, is led by the mysterious Illusive Man. He wants Shepard to investigate the mystery surrounding the Collectors' abductions by assembling a squad of deadly assassins and outcasts. Shepard will lead this team into some of the darkest reaches of space to unravel the disturbing secret of The Collectors and their agenda.

The story is great and this is one of the few times where the excessively overused word 'epic' actually does seem fit. While the story is amazing as it is equally dark and even disturbing at times, it's the multitude of characters that make the game stand out. They are all so different and voiced perfectly by their voice actors/actresses. How you interact with them in the suspenseful story has a huge impact on how the game will play out

Replay value: 10 / 10.
You'll likely not want to put the controller down as the game is so completely immersive and fascinating. I know I'll play it many times.

Verdict: 9.7 / 10 (let's just say it's a perfect 10, shall we? hehe)
Not much more to say except: If you've been living under a rock or just plain haven't played it, please make yourself the favor of doing so immedeately. You will not be disappointed, it's the best game I've ever had the joy of playing (understatement of the century). Oh, and if possible, make sure you play the first Mass Effect and keep the save so you can import your previous "Shepard" and keep your "choices". Time to save the galaxy one more time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best game of this generation..., 18 Feb. 2010
By 
Luke Masters "Scrub Luke" (Plymouth, uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
To start off I want to say that i have owned my xbox 360 since release and have played a great many games, both good and bad. This game is exceptionally good and is worth any shooter or RPG fans hard earned cash. Having said this I would have given this game 4 and 3/4 stars if i could instead of 5 and this is mostly because no game is perfect and for the minor reasons ive stated below.

Graphics - A greatly improved engine from the original that is easily some of the best currently on the 360. Throughout my initial 30 hour play through i had very little texture pop in and i dont recall having any frame rate issues. If you have played the original game texture pop in and frame rate were two of its biggest problems. I have read on some forums and reviews about some people have had full game crashes but i had none at all in all my 50 hours (first and second playthrough) on the game.

Gameplay - Has both the elements of a shooter and RPG in game. The shooting aspect of the game i found near faultless. The improved cover system really does work and so now does the squad commands. You don't have to stop the game play just to select a certain biotic power or to command a squadmate to use an attack anymore, now you can assign each to different bottons on the controller. New heavy weapons have been added and trust me they really can either change a battle if used properly. I actually prefered using them on half a dozen easier enemies and taking out the bigger "boss" characters of the game myself as it left me with just one person to worry about. The biotic powers have been amped up and are great to have in either yours or your squad mates arsenal.
The RPG elements seemed to me to be lacking at first but then i realised that they werent missing but being portrayed in a different way. You still have your stats that you increase each time you level up but you also can upgrade your ship and buy new prototype weapons. They have scraped the upgrading of weapons and armor screen in the menu and now you must go aboard the normandy and buy upgrades that are instantly applied. OFcourse the speech circle has returned and is pretty much exactly the same as before. The added part for conversations is a new interupt feature that to be honest is fairly rare. It basically enables you to intervene in a conversation in either paragon (good) or renegade (bad) form.

Searching new planets has been removed and with that so has the mako. Now when you travel to a random planet you instead have a scanning system that lets you search for certain types of materials on the planet below. It does get rid of all the barron planets you ended up searching in the original but also does get kind of tedious if your searching for a certain type of material and cant find any.

My only other gripe with the game is the load screens can seem to take forever, but this really doesnt effect your gaming experience.

The best part of this game is definatly the storyline. Its just as gripping as the first mass effect and does seemed to show a greater picture of the enemies of the original (trying to avoid spoilers) and also makes you feel like your decisions you make actually make a difference in how the game plays out and how your viewed in the mass effect universe.

If you have a mass effect 1 save game then your file will carry over, which takes no time at all, and so all your decisions made in the original still hold true. Likewise all your deicisions you make in this game will affect your game in mass effect 3.

hope this helps and thanks for reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mass Effect 2 - a reason to get hold of an XBOX!, 11 Feb. 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
It will be clear from the fact I've given Mass Effect 2 five stars that I love this game. So much so that, as someone who plumped for a PS3 over an XBOX (though if I could justify having both I would), I'd still rate this and the original as two of my favourite games of all time, and undoubtedly my favourite series of this console generation. The first Mass Effect I played on a housemates XBOX - the sequel I bought myself and borrowed an XBOX to play it on (many thanks to my kind friend!)

Point being, if you have an XBOX (or a PC), this is a game, nay, an experience, you should be a part of. If you have a PS3, a Wii or whatever, do whatever you can (legally!) to get hold of an XBOX pronto.

If you've played the original, you'll know what Mass Effect will offer you, though there are notable differences that others have addressed here and in game reviews. If you haven't played Mass Effect, essentially the game is part shooter, part RPG, with plenty of ways of creating 'your' story around the main linear storyline - everything from Shepard's gender, to how he/she chooses to talk to other characters (passive, aggressive, or not at all) is up to you. The game is dialogue heavy, so if you're someone who skips cut scenes to get straight to the action, you're probably best off elsewhere. However, Bioware are masters at this kind of thing and ME2 excells in almost every way over its already incredible predecessor. A nice touch in ME2s dialogue is the introduction of paragon and renegade actions - at certain points in the game, you will have the chance (via an on-screen indication) whether to choose to do a paragon action (for example, intervening if a teammate is about to shoot someone) or a renagade action (at one point I was talking to a particularly uncooperative alien who ended up being chucked out of a window courtesy of my renegade action). The joy in this is you can of course ignore the suggestion, so if you think that bad guy your teammate is about to shoot right through the head really does deserve to meet his maker, you can stand and do nothing.

A difference beween ME and ME2 is that ME2 definately leans towards a shooter rather than an RPG - levelling up and upgrading your character is much easir and automatic if you choose it to be. So while the RPG elements are perhaps a little watered down, the combat has been scaled up - cover is far easier (for example being able to sprint to cover with the same button press) and the range of tactics that can be brought to the table to defeat enemies is exhaustive. I've read some criticism of this move, notably in the PC reviews of the game, and it's one I understand, though personally I don't mind either way.

Another possible negative that I have seen discussed is that the size of the team is too large for you to feel connection to the characters. This is understandable (it is a big team), however I feel with the game structure being as it is, Bioware have taken steps to ensure that all team members get a run out with you. Without giving too much away (because I hate it when reviews do that), you have a main mission that you have to recruit a team for (I won't reveal specific mission details as again, I wish to spoil nothing). Each teammate you recruit then has a side mission for you to complete with them, thus meaning you spend time with them. One reason why this works is the strength of the characters - in most games like this, people will have their favourites, however picking your final squads is tricky in ME2, each character brings something special to the team and each character affects how the game pans out in subtle ways. Each member has their own strong back story and different reasons for you to relate to them. Another point to note with this mission structure is how it helps you mix side missions with main missions. For example, in the original ME, I did all the side missions first, then went to the main missions. In ME2 it feels like the side missions are linked to what you're doing at the time, making the experience seemless (for example, there are times where you have a primary mission to do, but a side mission will take place in the sane area, meaning that you will see to the side project also, rather than just skipping it.

Another difference introduced in ME2 is planetary exploration - now you use a scanner to go over planets in search for minerals that can be used towards research projects (like weapon and armour upgrades). It's still not perfect, but it's more interesting than in ME where you would just click on a planet and get a bit of text explaining what happens there.

I've read a couple of reviews that have said the ending is underwhelming. I'm honestly confused by this, the build up to the final mission is intense and you even get a boss fight that doesn't feel like a run-of-the-mill end-of-game tacked-on boss fight (I'm looking at you Bioshock!) The final mission is dramatic, whilst leaving it open for what may come in the third installment.

Overall, if you liked Mass Effect, you'll love ME2. The Mass Effect series is an experience that any gamer should try, it's less a game and more a sci-fi epic that you control. In my review for InFamous on PS3, I said it was the kind of game that you thought about even when you weren't playing it. ME2 goes one better, it's the kind of gaming experience that stays with you after you've completed it, and as it clocks in at over 30 hours, it's incredible how Bioware have created a game that you immediately want to go back to, to see in what other ways the game could play out. Graphically, the game is excellent, the dialogue is top notch (as is the music score), the missions are varied and always interesting and replayability is strong (because you're going to want to do it all over again and be a total renegade!). There's no two ways about it, Mass Effect 2 is an essential purchase if you have an XBOX. If you don't, do what I did and do all you can to secure one to play this masterpiece on. It's isn't a game you play, it's a game you live, breathe and experience. Roll on Mass Effect 3!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond what you could ever expect from a video game!, 7 Feb. 2010
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I completed Mass Effect 2 twice now. I'll say the Mass Effect 1 (to make it clear, I mean the first game dammit!) never drew me in. I did love it but it was (in my opinion) average. The dialogue was quite rich and animations were gorgeus despite the texturising sometimes being delayed. The gameplay offers a great deal of action and you really had to plan ahead, Guns Blazin doesn't work you have to use cover and plan your moves. Mass Effect one is a great game but it felt like something was missing like this game had more to offer but was lacking in most departments.

2 years later here we are Mass Effect 2 and oh my god they didn't miss a thing. Honestly this is simply the best RPG shooter ever made. First of the all the plot drags you in. The opening scene starts with the main characters crew being attacked and then the main hero dieing in space in what is a very cinematic cutscene. You are then brought back to life and have a multiude of options to allow you to customize the plot and play style you like best. The characters looks can be customized allowing you to create any character you prefer (makes fallout and oblivion look like a joke). Pressuming you haven't imported a character from ME1 then your character will take on a story based on the nature of the character him/herself. From that point on the plot only gets richer and more intense offering chances to do good or evil changing your looks and the story and how it developes it will also affect the outcome of the sequel. In addition the romance extras offer even more depth and complexity making you feel more involved with the story itself.

Aside from the plot the animation, the graphics and the textures even for xbox360's standards look perfect not a single flaw. Skin textures, eyes, mouths everything looks well designed. The enviroments are colourful and each offering cinematic feeling. You get to explore every inch of the galaxy doing missions and exploring new worlds. They even go as far as to allow to customize even your characters outfits and armour and your choices will look just as gorgeus as the default options. This helps the game to feel more personal and you end up having alot of fun just exploring and interacting with strange and imaginitive characters. As far as gameplay goes it is very challenging and honestly I died hundreds of time before I completed this game. You make mistakes alot when you aren't focused and you are constantly on edge planning your moves and popping out from cover to make the killing shot. If you prefer tactical gameplay go with infiltrator and if you wanna be a powerhouse go vanguard. Either way you will love the satisfaction of winning every battle desipite the insane odds. The choice of weapons and the amount of research options availible make the game even more enjoyable.

The best part about this game is the attention to detail. It shows that companys like Bioware know what they are doing. They give there fanbase the respect they deserve, They listened to every complaint and fixed every issue and as a result we have a game that delivers on every aspect. I even went as far as to comparing this (on my list of favourites) to the epic MGS series saying how it was better than the first time I played MGS1. Hell it makes fallout look like rubbish.

Honestly if you are comtemplating whether to buy this or not, SHUT UP and buy it because there is nothing to think about. My only complaint is ****SPOILER**** that tali never showed you her face when she took her mask off, I started swearing like a child when it happened and turned the game off for 3 whole minutes! But to be fair it was a smart move now I want MS3 even more.

Bottom line this game is the best so don't be a fool and miss out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Simples", 18 Mar. 2010
By 
T. Lazaro (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
I just doubt there's any way for you to be disappointed with this game. It is the greatest game ever! I did complete ME1 seven times - the eight is on the way, because I want to see the game from another perspective, different from the one I had based on the decisions I made in the first game.
When I started playing it, I got shocked, mainly because it was hard for me to believe that ME2 could be much better than ME1. IT IS!!! The playability is much smoother than the ME1 and I only had two small glitches through the game.
If you are the type that loved Modern Warfare II or similar games, and don't have the patience for RPGs, this is a great opportunity to try it. You can play through without spending much time in research and secondary missions and keep it straight to the main ones. It is worthy to give it a try and the action can be very intense. I just can't see you beating the the missions in insanity mode... prove me wrong ;-)
There are some issues for those who liked hoovering around the planets with the Mako to find minerals and secondary missions - and like myself, slept with the controller in your hands... - and, it is true: the new planet's scanning system makes much more sense, despite being a bit boring after you've done it several times. Tip: only scan rich planets and launch probes only to the large mineral deposits. Using this minerals to upgrade your equipment is a great thing as well and again, it makes all sense, but why not be able to sell what you have in excess??? That would be useful.
Finally, what are you waiting for??? Buy it now!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel..., 12 Mar. 2010
By 
David Cooke (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
...but still a sequel. The visuals are great, it has to be said, and draw you in. The storyline is good, but lacks the twists and uncertainty of the first game - the main mission becoming pretty much clear from the start. The other characters add depth and humour, and your crew's mix of nationalities is a nice touch. The Illusive Man does seem to let the side down though. He also fails to live up to his name, appearing repeatedly.

Whatever corporation was mass-producing villains' lairs for side-missions in the first Mass Effect game has obviously, and thankfully, gone out of business. There's now a lot more variation to be had in the side missions. This is a good thing. The ability to import your previous Sheppard is a nice touch, though those that spent time levelling the "Perfect Sheppard" in the first game will be disappointed.

I can only imagine the repetitive planet scanning was introduced to spite all those who complained about the handling of the Mako in ME1 (though you have to wonder what aspect of "moon buggy with big balloon tires" they hadn't understood). It's tedious, and the only redeeming feature is that if your TV has picture-in-picture you can easily do enough scanning while watching a film to fund all the development you'll ever need.

And this brings me to a common failing in futuristic games of this kind. The Normandy has an AI that could easily have handled the task of "scan the entire surface of the planet and fire probes at the mineral resources". It also has a crew that the task could be delegated to, but no - the commander of the vessel has to personally perform this task. Why? It just throws you out of the storyline. Let's be thankful that the AI can at least track which planets you've visited, so Shepard (commander of the fastest ship and the slowest elevator) doesn't have to resort to pencil and paper for this task once more.

A rather more personal gripe is the hacking mini-game. The assumption seems to be that you've 20/20 vision and a HDTV. I have neither, and am also colour-blind, making this needlessly frustrating.

Overall a good experience, and like other Bioware titles worth a couple of play-throughs. The third instalment had better be a corker though...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An immersive and ambitious sequel., 11 Mar. 2010
By 
J. J. Butler (Midlands, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
The original Mass Effect (Xbox 360) was a game that reached for the stars, and nearly got there- unfortunately, the journey there was overlong and plagued by an excess of identical items and a fractured, inaccessible combat system.

It is a credit to developers Bioware that these faults have been stamped out of the sequel. Items are kept to a minimum- single weapon upgrades affect every weapon of that type in your team, and the combat has become much simpler and more familiar. So familiar, infact, players may be forgiven for thinking that they were playing Gears of War Lite- instead of the pained attempts to combine real time and turn based RPG elements in the original game, Mass Effect 2 heads straight for shoot-em-up territory. Arguably however, these changes, whilst making the action portions of the game more accessible, reduce the feeling of scale that finding a hundred identical guns in the original game (inadvertently) accomplished.

This criticism is muted however by the consistently high standard of writing throughout- already remarkably polished in the original, ME2 takes consistent quality writing in a western RPG-based game to new heights. The majority of characters feel three dimensional and, more importantly for a team-based game, likeable. The ubiquitous threat of the 'Suicide Mission' that looms large in the central narrative (and indeed the marketing for the game pre release) creates a strong tension and immediacy throughout the playtime (20-30 hours for most players) that makes up for the lack of a central, identifiable nemesis to gun after.

There are other elements to praise in the game- graphics are generally excellent, whilst the lore of the many alien races and intergallactic history show the countless hours that must have been spent realising not just the players in game experience, but a whole world that ME2 inhabits. But ultimately, it is the characters that make this game worthy of truly great status- it is one of very few games that relies on the player developing a relationship with other characters as motivation, and does this well.

An enjoyable, intelligent treat.
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Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360) by Electronic Arts (Xbox 360)
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