Customer Review

83 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Series of this Console Generation, 21 Jan. 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Mass Effect 2 (PS3) (Video Game)
Mass Effect on PS3...I never thought we'd see the day, but here we are. While I still dream that the first ME game would cross over to Sony's platform, the arrival of ME2 and the news ME3 will be on PS3 too makes up for it (as does a PS3 exclusive interactive short comic that helps you not only get to speed on the back story of the first game, but lets you make decisions to help shape your ME2 experience). You see, the beauty of ME is that your game plays out uniquely to you - if a character dies it ME1 he or she won't be there in ME2 and so forth (so for the uninitiated, keep your ME2 game saves!). It's not the same as playing the original (and if you get a chance to I fully recommend it), but it the interactive comic (created by Dark Horse no less) is the next best thing.

If you've played the original on the 360, you'll know what Mass Effect will offer you. 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, how he/she looks (the character create is amazing) to how he/she chooses to talk to other characters (passive, aggressive, or not at all) is up to you. You can also choose your powers (you can be a soldier who relies on shooting to get them through, or vanguards or engineers, which enables you to have special biotic powers for example. 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 (to a max of level 30) and upgrading your character is much easier 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 simplified (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 (including instructing what powers your team mates should use in battle on the fly). You also select what members of your team will be best at a particular mission, for example if you know that a certain type of enemy (let's say an enemy who have strong armour) will be involved in one mission you can choose a team member with the 'incinerate' skill to burn through armour quickly. So, if you have played ME on XBOX, it does move into more action territory, but that's not to say there's not a depth to the combat or the RPG elements of ME2.

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.

As for PS3 to XBOX differences, you have the interactive comic as I've mentioned, and you also get a whole bundle of DLC thrown in (perhaps to ease the pain of not having had ME on Playstation before!) The DLC has had mixed reviews when released on XBOX (especially the Kasumi DLC). However, as PS3 owners get it from the off, it doesn't seem out of place or that it's an expensive add on. The Lair of the Shadow Broker is especially good. Looks wise I think the PS3 shades it, but whichever console you're on, ME2 is a good looking game, notably the characters themselves.

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 (on a side note, if you try and do every single mission and scan every planet to find every secret mission, you're looking at a good 42 hours or so!) 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 whether you've played the original (or, as I have, ME2 on XBOX as well). Now it's arrived on PS3, the best series of this console generation is available on two excellent gaming platforms and that can only be a good thing.

***QUICK EDIT - there's been a lot of talk of the save game bug affecting some Mass Effect 2 players (for more details google Mass Effect 2 ps3 bug). I played through the game with no problems whatsoever and am currently playing through again, also a friend of mine has completed it with no trouble whatsoever. That's not to say it doesn't exist though, as there have been many reports of consoles freezing and corrupting the save data. A patch is apparently in the works to fix this problem - as I said though, my playthrough was absolutely fine (and the word from Bioware is that if you reset your console after every mission it helps any save issues).
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Jan 2011 22:33:19 GMT
Paul Swift 3 says:
While i do agree that the Mass Effect Series is EASILY up there as one of this generations defining epics, i have to disagree that it is THE best. In my humble opinion it has to be the Uncharted games. I too played through this on 360 but I love it that much i think ill buy it again for the PS3 coz ive turned into a bit of a Trophy Whore LOL. But i think the reason I prefer Uncharted is Im not a HUGE RPG fan so the conversation arcs get a bit tiresome to me as i just want to carry on playing. Plus the characters in Uncharted are full of banter and humour and real personality that is just not seen in anything ive played before. It makes me care about the characters more than other games. But like i said, its only my humble opinion and I know people will agree and disagree but thats the beauty of us having so many amazing titles to sink our teeth into eh?

Nice review by the way.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Jan 2011 08:26:18 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Jan 2011 12:21:43 GMT
Adam McGee says:
Thanks Paul :)

I think it's a case of either/or really, both series' are amazing and in my top 2 for this generation for sure (and by the time Drake's Deception comes out my opinion will probably have swapped, I think so highly of Naughty Dogs work). I agree that Uncharted's characters are top notch and the banter between them is fantastic, even by film and tv standards, let alone in a game. I think for me the reason I love ME and ME2 that tiny bit more than UC is purely because they're the first RPGs that I've not only enjoyed, but fallen hook, line and sinker for. That's not to say UC isn't as good though, especially if you're more into the action and less into the dialogue, but I love games like UC anyway whereas I'd never really played a game like ME before. Either way, we're pretty lucky to have such incredible games to play!

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jan 2011 20:10:30 GMT
And both series have sequels that blow their predecessor out of the water (though I really get frustrated with UC:DF to not want to replay it again.) Oh adding to that I hope the third entries in each series bring back vehicles, because I miss the Mako and Jeep/boating sections equally.

Posted on 20 Feb 2011 15:49:07 GMT
A. Kalra says:
A very detailed and honest review, which you hardly see on gaming websites these days. I look upto Amazon's customer's view and decide my purchase(s). I am very glad that I read your review first and bought the game. Keep up the good work:)

Posted on 25 Feb 2011 18:57:01 GMT
The Old Git says:
Eat your Hearts out Oblivion and Fallout 3 Players..This is how a RPG/Shooter should look and play..Take note.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Mar 2011 20:59:19 GMT
Adam McGee says:
Thanks A. Kalra! I appreciate the feedback - hope you're enjoying the game! :)

Posted on 23 Mar 2011 23:58:12 GMT
tallpete33 says:
Epic review Adam, am seriously tempted to get this one once I've finished Borderlands (which is very good too IMO)

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Mar 2011 08:17:47 GMT
The Old Git says:
ME2 is completely different from Borderlands,you are in for a great gaming experience if you do buy it.

Posted on 19 Jun 2011 14:12:59 BDT
Annika says:
I can't wait 'till my copy arrives, I purchased it a few days ago and I'm completely excited with it. Your review describes it in great and interesting details, which only causes me more excitement than before!
This is by far one of the best and most in-depth reviews I've read on an Amazon product. As I'm still new to Mass Effect and only has a few hours of gameplay behind me, I feel I'm being taken deeper into the universe just by reading a few lines of your review, wish people were as detailed, as you are, when reviewing a game!

In reply to an earlier post on 4 Oct 2011 11:03:10 BDT
Phil says:
I really enjoyed some of the hammerhead sections in the ME2 DLC. Anything with a flying tank is going to be better than the horribly controlled Mako. Lets hope that sets the groundwork for ME3.

Also, to those of you worried about missing the story of the first Mass Effect, the PC version is currently only £8 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Electronic-Arts-Mass-Effect-DVD/dp/B0015M0PYI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1317722385&sr=8-2) and should run on most people's laptops (2Gb+ RAM, Vista/Win 7 etc) as the game is 3 years old now.
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