Mass Effect 2
 
Mass Effect 2 is an extremely well designed game (Bioware does it yet again). The systems and mechanics present here are fantastic, and really brought me into the gameplay. I believe it was an even better outing than the first in the series, and here is why...
 
The planetary exploration seemed far better to me. Rather than having to go down to a planet in the little vehicle to find resources, I had scanner mini-game mechanic. Although at first I thought this would be boring and tedious, I found it to be a nice break from the dialog, running, and gunning the rest of the game provides. And even better is that it wasn't necessary... just a little something extra for the player that like to get all the power-ups. The first game would see you driving around for hours on a planet only to find an item and not have the proper skills to obtain it (lock pick or whatever)
 
The squad selection seemed more fluid, and you could cater your team to fit your play style much more than the first game in my opinion. I found a combination of talents I liked and I was able to use them for a good portion of the game. I was also forced to think on my feet for the loyalty missions which would force choose one of the teammates for me. Again, not necessary, but was a great depth to story and provided a unique challenge each time.
 
Nobody does story like Bioware. And this is one of the best stories since the Baldur’s Gate series in my opinion. The characters have contrast, and a deep richness to them. Every person in the game you talk to seems to have some level of depth, and the playable characters have layers and layers of it. The story truly does change as you make decisions, and without spoiling the ending, those decisions really do have consequence.
 
The way battles play out is fantastic to me. You can use the pause time features to command your team and use careful strategy, or you can start shooting and let the AI take over. This game has such an amazing depth to the combat and team strategy. Not since the Baldur’s Gate series (I know... I’ve already used this reference) have I felt such a sense of control of the team. I was able to time my biotic attacks perfectly, and play cleanup with the very solid real time shooting mechanics. Either one of these methods could be used alone to survive, but together they were so much fun.
Monday, March 22, 2010