Jul 25, 2010
Matthew Sakey noted here…
Every gamer has similar stories, of games that weren’t worth their money and games worth hugely more. We are just as thrilled with surprises as we are disappointed by games we had high expectations for.
Q1 2010 had maybe the largest gluttony of A+ releases of all time. Sadly my wallet is ever thinning and I wasn’t able to purchase all the games I wanted time of release so decisions had to made. Mass Effect 2 was one of the games that got pushed back in favor of Bioshock 2 and God of War 3. Final Fantasy 13 waits for the $20 price point.
For both Bioshock 2 and God of War 3 I got deals I was happy with at the time but nowhere as good as the $10 dollars I got a new copy of Mass Effect 2.
Mass Effect 2 is the best Role Playing Experience I’ve ever been apart of. Note not “Role Playing Game”. Bioware has taken the pleasure of streamlining the entire experience of a ‘RPG’ but ultimately not really sacrificing anything. JJA does a better job of writing about the differences between the first and the second game and really I agree with most of what he says. I only want to talk about two most important aspects of the game and that’s the morality systems and the loyalty systems.
If given the choice in a game I will always play as the bad/evil/rancid human being. In trying to understand this phenomenon I believe it stems from in 95% of media you have no choice in being or following ‘The Saviour’. Mass Effect allows you to play either ‘Renegade’ where points are gained for apathetic and ruthless actions and ‘Paragon’ where points are gained for compassionate and heroic actions. Most of the time the outcome will be the same just approached a different way but in Mass Effect 2 the added layers make the choices much harder to make.
For the first 80% of the game I was taking the path of the Renegade but in turn shitting all over everybody including teammates. Really all this means is I was an asshole to everybody like I was in ME1. Compassion was thrown out the window and I didn’t give a crap about how anybody felt about me. I went as far as to have a very brief implied sexual encounter with an emotional teammate I hardly knew and sabotaged any growth in that relationship.
Late in the game I was becoming aware the end was near. I would have to take this team to the heart of ‘The Collectors‘ and I knew it was going to be a team effort. I started to become aware this team might not be as “Loyal” as I need them to be. I found Shepard becoming more compassionate and when asked to ask “Are You OK?” to a teammate I found myself asking that more then I ever did before. I also started making choices that didn’t go along with my run and gun fuck everybody Shepard I carried over from the first game. Mass Effect 2 without even knowing changed Shepard to a more complex character then I ever thought possible.
The Loyalty system in Mass Effect 2 is maybe the largest stroke of genius in RP games of all time. In most RPG’s you either use characters becuase you have to or you use them because you like them. Mass Effect 1 I used Garrus the entire game becuase he was my favorite character. In turn I missed out using many characters becuase there was no reason to. The game even promoted that reasoning with the achievements for playing the game primarily using one teammate for a length of time.
For Mass Effect 2 for the best outcome you HAVE to use every character, at least for awhile, and work to earn their loyalty to the cause. In turn that makes you WANT to use every character for them to be ready for the final battle. Seriously I cannot believe nobody hasn’t come up with this before. Your team works for you but you have to work for them to work better for you. Every boss should be as involved in their employee’s lives as Shepard is.
The Loyalty missions vary in quality (as do all the missions it’s a long story and I’m not going to talk about it) but every character in the game I was able to spend enough time with and suffer no consequences for leveling mostly is a community task in Mass Effect 2. By the end I had a high awareness of what teammate would serve the tasks at hand and by the final battle you can choose what people you want to tackle the final boss with.
Despite every fault:
- Not enough mini games
- Long loads after death
- Cerberus Network/$DLC model
- Over simplified leveling, equipment choices, armor choices
- Not a single elevator (seriously the easiest inside joke they could have made of all time including one mandatory elevator ride)
- Thermo Clips (I liked the idea of heat weapons of ME1. I think Bioware wanted to include the strategy of reloading and stronger cover mechanics in the sequel for some reason)
Mass Effect 2 really is one of the best gaming experiences I’ve ever had. The final mission is seriously genius and even if one is having a hard time getting though the first game the second is a must play in my book. It’s fantastic. There is so much to discuss….
Statistics: Vanlandw Shepard Level 27 Vanguard. Traveled to 100% of the non $DLC planets. No active Missions or Assignments. 875g 45 of 54 achievements. Played on ‘Hardcore’ difficulty throughout the entire game. My final romance was with Tali. Implied sex with two female teammates.
Suicide Mission requires important player choices these were mine. Vents: Tali Squad Leader One: Garrus Shields: Samara Squad Leader Two: Garrus Escort: None (stupid mistake I was caught up in the moment oh well) Final Team Miranda/Grunt (thinking balance Miranda Maxed out Warp skill Grunt powerful weapons really I don’t think it mattered who I choose you don’t need a single skill other then incinerate).
Time Played 48h.57m. I blew all my credits on upgrades before going though Omega-4 relay so I only had 19811 left over.
I went though a phase where I was going to mine and deplete every planet in the solar system out of spite for the Milky Way but abandoned that idea. Ended up with 861940 Palladium, 1003447 Irdium, 827969 Platinum, 147037 Element Zero left over at end game. Suggestion: Don’t play the mining game too much I would suggest to just mine the planets with “Rich” content but make sure to travel to all planets to get bonus missions and experience.
Update: In a move I don’t understand at all after the great usage of licensed music for the end of Mass Effect 1 the credits roll over a nondescript instrumental. Guess they ran out of budget money this time around.
One of these days I’m planning a Paragon female bi-sexual run.
Nobody seemed very happy about my final choice so before Mass Effect 3 comes out I might replay the final 10% of the game and change a few decisions I disliked and screwed up on.
I also forgot to mention why this post is titled what is is. Shepard is seriously hysterical. There were multiple times I was laughing hysterically at him. There is a part where he can dance with a woman on a loyalty mission that is so funny. Also don’t forget Shepard slugging the reporter.
“I’ve had enough of your disingenuous assertions” BLAM!´Seriously that is so funny.