Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

The second instalment in the sci-fi trilogy.

Review Verdict Read Review
10Out of 10
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The simple act of shooting feels so much better. Headshots do extra damage, blown away limbs force Geth to a crawl, and the pistol is no longer the ultimate weapon of doom.
The simple act of shooting feels so much better. Headshots do extra damage, blown away limbs force Geth to a crawl, and the pistol is no longer the ultimate weapon of doom.

The simple act of shooting feels so much better. Headshots do extra damage, blown away limbs force Geth to a crawl, and the pistol is no longer the ultimate weapon of doom.

Further upgrades - biotic bonuses, damage multipliers and shield improvements - are all automatically applied once they're researched, whereas in the first game they had to be manually applied to each party member. Ammo types are now tech powers, and need only be triggered once per mission per gun. It's a philosophy that extends to all of Mass Effect's fluff - the fat has been cut away and dumped, leaving a lean and trim RPG that never frustrates. Ever.

Mass Effect's elevators - clever cover for extended loading - have been removed in favour of proper loading screens which show you the journey you're actually making, whether it's travelling from engineering to the captain's quarters in the Normandy, or taking a taxi ride from one part of Illium, the lawless Asari colony, to another. We quite liked Mass Effect's elevators, but not enough to rue their expiration. In any case, party members now banter as you explore Mass Effect 2's many wonderfully realised worlds, and you can get the news from kiosks and PAs.

Perhaps the main gripe with Mass Effect was the lack of a sense of exploration; off the beaten track quests were repetitive and recycled the same structures and environments over and over again. In Mass Effect 2, you certainly feel as if you can explore more of the galaxy, even if the number of planets you can actually land on has been reduced. Now, the wonderful Galaxy Map has been refined to allow you to manually fly the Normandy from system to system, consuming fuel along the way. When you arrive at a planet, you can scan it by moving a reticule slowly around its surface. Not only is this the main resource gathering mechanic - itself a strangely addictive and engrossing mini-game (one that held us in a trance-like state for over ten hours) - but impromptu side missions also reveal themselves here. These side missions are all different in some way, be it in the background to the mission, the building it takes place in, or the enemy you're up against. Some don't even require combat.

Another benefit to this new system is that the Mako Rover - so reviled by fans of the first game - is nowhere to be found. Day one DLC promises driving of some sort, but the truth is that the Mako is gone for good (we're not sorry to see the back of it). Should we have expected a galaxy full of planets on which you could land and explore? Of course not. But until we actually played the game for ourselves, we dared to dream. This is BioWare, after all.

There are many other improvements, more than we can list. The cutscenes are more dynamic, edited breathlessly in the MTV Generation style and brilliantly complemented by the new Interrupt system. The frame rate is locked at 30FPS. Textures hardly ever pop in, and there's no tearing. The new and improved Normandy is a bigger and busier place, spread out over four floors. The classes are now more defined, and feel remarkably different. Squad control is about as good as it's ever been in a video game - the contextual d-pad system directing party members as if they were hardwired to your brain. The cover system, which now involves a button press, is only bettered by that of Uncharted 2 and Gears of War 2. The graphics - a jaw-dropping fusion of Star Trek lens flare, early 80s sci-fi and the best god-damn vistas your eyes ever did see - are almost too good to be true. And the new hacking mini-games are even - shock horror - fun.

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Highest Rated Comment

thpcplayer's Avatar


awesome review!
edit :a thumb down! did i say antthing offensive?
Posted 11:01 on 26 January 2010

User Comments

EISPower's Avatar


Love this game. I first started it with a new character and really did not like it much.After i finished the first carier i imported my ME1 level 60 character & it was like playing a new game,everything continued from ME1 and the game become perfect, well allmost perfect i could not get Ash back but the truth kind of fell for Miranda. The game got even bigger and better than ME1 with all the DLCs.The only thing that sucked was playing the Insanity carier where i kept my weapons but lost all my upgrades and was it hard getting those upgrades back. Overall this game rules. (Mass Effect Rules)
Posted 11:03 on 10 March 2011
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx@ K3RT

Well I thought this game wasn't a 10/10 but it would help if Schumey explained why instead of ranting rubbish.
I thought the game was very repetitive as scanning for planets for upgrades was incredibly boring, could have mixed it up with more of a puzzle element.
I remember thinking to myself “This is very similar to detention in High school where I had to clean up rubbish during break on the fields”
I also found the “helping teammates” missions rather too similar with a combat system that felt very bland to me and not challenging.
Also far too much shelter from bad guys and not much requirement for thought to eliminate enemies like something with Splinter Cell or Half Life.
Don’t get me wrong they improved on the first game with controls and the environment you play in, as well as an impressive storyline and characters for a videogame (the score is still really good like the first game).
But when comparing it to other RPGs like Zelda, KOTOR, The Dig and Snatcher, it’s no where near being one of the best RPG’s ever (never mind best game ever).
I felt an 8/10 was more fair for this game.
Posted 11:44 on 06 June 2010
K3RT's Avatar

K3RT@ Schumey

So because you think the game should be an 8 or a 9 the reviewer should to? has it not occurred to you that reviews are just the opinions of one individual? besides ME2 is one of the best games of the current gen and the only thing which I would say I disliked about it was the fact it wasn't multi platform so more people could enjoy it.
Posted 07:31 on 06 June 2010
Schumey's Avatar


Mass Effect 2 is NOT a 10/10 game. But I guess you're just willing to give out any score to please the fans, huh? More like a 8 or 9, anything above that is pushing it. The overscoring of hyped games needs to end.
Posted 08:44 on 03 June 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ tome0124

Oh, is 'PC' a 'console'? I was not aware that I could just plug it into my HDTV and play, just like that...!
Posted 17:58 on 06 February 2010
VandaL's Avatar


Best game in ages!

Truley like playing an interactive sci-fi series. Only thing letting the PC version down is the crappy textures because of the 360. Other than that, flawless.
Posted 13:08 on 06 February 2010
SexyJams's Avatar


Hey Wes!
I just need some feedback man.
Is it me, or on Mass Effect do you have the same problem.
basically, I'm going for Renegade, but every time a Paragon interrupt thingy comes up I can;t help but pull it man.
My Renegade is still considerably more than my Paragon, but will it effect my chances of going full Renegade?
Cheers man, this is my favourite game for an awfully long time.
Posted 10:25 on 06 February 2010
Mark_S's Avatar


... Yogurt?
Posted 15:42 on 02 February 2010
tome0124's Avatar

tome0124@ Handwipe

Do you aware of that this game is not console exclusive...? I own Xbox360 but I still buy a PC version...
Posted 22:00 on 29 January 2010
tome0124's Avatar


I finished the game. It's amazing and I can tell they truely put lots of work in this game. But it's not that perfect... getting all 10s. I'd disagree with that. I don't want to spoil anything here. At least I was forced to load the game or sometimes die because of it's bug. Sometimes I get stuck near by boxes... (my 1st round... I got stuck like 10 times.) While I become careful doing anything and it got better lol. There are couple other the mouse issue... Just my opinion. Still a great & fun game to play. both RPG and shooting elements :)
Posted 21:54 on 29 January 2010
IndoorHeroes's Avatar


The end of the day can't come soon enough.
Posted 16:44 on 29 January 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk@ Ghost_Dog

Maybe after the initial trilogy. As I've said so often, however, consoles NEED exclusives or we the consumer will get shafted with no choices whatsoever in our hobby.

On topic though - 2 hours in... wow. Jaw-dropping story, gameplay dialogue and graphics. I was hoping so hard it wouldn't let down the original, and so far it truly hasn't. Fantastic game, and probably a solid contender, already, for GOTY.
Posted 16:39 on 29 January 2010

renegade@ Handwipe

i know right same with Xbox, cos you cant play Starcraft 2 either hahahahaha........

See how i flipped it Fantard

as for Mass Effect ill enjoy this in Super HD lol on My pc thanks
Posted 14:29 on 29 January 2010
Ghost_Dog's Avatar

Ghost_Dog@ guyderman

Funny how these idiots don't use their real names on their profile.

They are nothing more than cowards hiding behind keyboards.

There is also a good chance that Mass Effect will eventually appear on the PS3.
Posted 12:51 on 29 January 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman@ Handwipe

And another retard makes an appearance!

There should be a Doomed Vs A$$wipe thread - Clash of the Fanboys!
Posted 12:36 on 29 January 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Mass Effect 2
Out of 10
Mass Effect 2
  • Stunning story
  • Stunning combat
  • Stunning audio
  • Stunning graphics
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 29/01/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Bioware
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: RPG
No. Players: One
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 179
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