Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 Review for Xbox 360

On: Xbox 360PS3PC

The second instalment in the sci-fi trilogy.

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10Out of 10
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The adjective "stunning" is over-used, especially when it comes to video game criticism. Everything's stunning these days; graphics, story, characters… everything. Well, in the case of Mass Effect 2, it's the only word that even comes close to describing the experience on offer.

In Mass Effect 2, everything is stunning. The sophisticated sci-fi story is stunning at every turn. The refined, third-person cover-based combat is stunning at the turn of every corner. And the cinematic dialogue system, voice acting and facial animations are stunning in every page-turning cut scene. It all comes together to form what may well be 2010's best game, and possibly the greatest role-playing game of all time.

Mass Effect 2's brilliance shows Canadian developer BioWare is in top form. Confidence breeds confidence, and Mass Effect 2 is one of the most confident, brash, even arrogant - but in the good way people admire - games ever created. It is a masterpiece from a developer that knows it's ahead of the game in almost every department that matters, from graphics to branching storylines to… well… everything.

Taken in isolation, Mass Effect 2 stands head and shoulders above its peers. But those who played the first game will find even more to admire, because it improves not only the things that didn't work, but the things that quite clearly did. We all know about the changes that have been made to the combat - every game magazine and website, including this one, has been banging on about them for months. Only now, though, having pumped over 40 hours into this dark, second act, do we know the true extent of BioWare's commitment to bettering what's gone before.

Firstly, let's go through the obvious stuff. The cumbersome inventory system has been streamlined to the point where you don't actually have an inventory at all. Instead, you have a base set of weapons - shared by all party members - that can be upgraded through scientific research in the Normandy tech lab. Then, before embarking on a mission, you're given the opportunity to set your loadout. It's simple and effortless, like yoghurt.

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User Comments

Handwipe's Avatar

Handwipe

Aww thats too bad PS3 fantards are going to miss out on the best game of 2010 and most likely this generation.
Posted 11:46 on 29 January 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

got til tmoz to complete the game again lol but roll on tmoz cant wait looks amazing in every way
Posted 09:58 on 28 January 2010
chelskiboy247's Avatar

chelskiboy247

This review just makes me even more excited about ME2 than I was before. Luckily, its my birthday on Sunday and I'm hoping for a copy coming my way.
Posted 21:11 on 26 January 2010
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister

I was just looking at all the max scores currently rolling onto Metacritic (15 max scores at the last look). Seems Bioware just can't put a foot wrong so I'm eagerly awaiting to see what new I.P. they come up with next.

Buying ME2 is a no-brainer for me, I'm glad Wes enjoyed it too!
Posted 19:51 on 26 January 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Excellent review Wes!

Easily getting this for my 360. Looking forward to continue on with Shepard and get to know more about the
Show Spoiler Reapers
Posted 19:39 on 26 January 2010
Machetazo's Avatar

Machetazo

That sounds like it makes for more satisfying play in general, and replayability, thanks.
Posted 18:11 on 26 January 2010
wyp100's Avatar

wyp100@ Machetazo

I'd say it's more about the big dialogue and narrative decisions with Mass Effect - you're able to change the story and even some other stuff I won't spoil here based on some key decisions you make. The classes play very differently as well, which is great.
Posted 18:08 on 26 January 2010
Machetazo's Avatar

Machetazo

"In any case, like the most thrilling rollercoasters, once you've finished the game the first thing you'll do is play it through again. Why? Because any single playthrough only offers a snap shot of Mass Effect 2's gargantuan innards."

Could you compare that to their previous game, Dragon Age: Origins? The first thing I did, once I'd finished that was go back and enthusiastically start an all-new character. I found that after the intro, the game only differed when I forced it to (as an example, I barged my way in to a high level area, far earlier than I'd visited it the previous run, specifically to upset things and urge the game to play out differently - to see what they meant by that - the outcome being, that it's something I intend to get back to soon, at some point. It just doesn't seem as dynamic second time around, though it remains a strong game.)

For me, the PC version of this would be the way I'd play it, but I have a campaign finished 360 save from the first game to consider. Of course, I could always just as well play something else, and come back later to ME2.
Posted 18:00 on 26 January 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

I've been looking at the youtube vids you suggested Wes,
Weirdly enough I don't if they;ve helped yet until I play ME2.
Probs have anyway, I definitely feel more knowledgeable :thumbup1:
Posted 17:47 on 26 January 2010
Woffls's Avatar

Woffls

I skipped to the end to read the summary. I don't want to read anything about this game other than a brief summary or the number 10 :D

OMGHYPEHYPE :D :laugh: \o/
Posted 17:37 on 26 January 2010
rbevanx's Avatar

rbevanx

Wow......

Well written review Wes and you answered some of my possible questions as I couldn't get into the last Mass Effect.

In the first one I found most of the planets rather empty and it took ages to get from one point to another (similar to GTA 4)
So reducing the amount of planets in the sequel is an excellent decision by Bioware and gives the developers more time to work on each planet, making them places you want to discover or explore, like with KOTOR.
I'm glad they sorted the control system for it as well, as I hated what they did with the first one and that was the last straw for me.
It’s a shame really as it seemed like a great game to me but let down by little things like that in my view.

So you have put me in an awkward situation as I really want AvP as well lol.
Posted 17:25 on 26 January 2010
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm

10, i knew it. Still, cant wait for it.
Posted 17:07 on 26 January 2010
GeNeCyDe1993's Avatar

GeNeCyDe1993

Mammoth review Wes! A joy to read, definetely getting this now, just not sure how or when :D
Posted 16:13 on 26 January 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

By the way Wes awesome love milking review.
Posted 14:45 on 26 January 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Safeee, I hope that I find this easier to get into than number one, because I started it playing it at the weekend and am finding it hard to get into.
Posted 14:34 on 26 January 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Mass Effect 2
10
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: 335 43
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