Cheap games to buy: Mass Effect 2
One week ago, i made the best decision i have ever made. Well, in terms of my Xbox anyway. I was looking around GAME, to pick up a few cheap games in their sale, and i came across something that drew me in. 'Preowned, down from £10 to £4' it was labeled. And yes, it was Mass Effect 2! But, whats so special about picking up a 2 year old game for such a low price? Read on...
Well, i tend to write short reviews, so you can get all the information in a short space of time, but im not sure i can get it all in this time. Bioware truly must have put their hearts and souls into this - and the possible market is endless. The basic idea of the game is that it is an RPG set in space, allowing you to navigate galaxies, search planets, talk to aliens, and recruit squad members; all of which to put an end to 'The collectors' - a powerful race/species that are taking human colonists from right under your nose. This all fits in with a system that allows you to do evil or good things, and slightly bend the storyline around these choices - as you see in Fable 2 and 3, and several other games.
Graphics and sounds
What would a sci-fi game be without realistic aliens, stunning light effects, and shiny space stations? I'm not sure, but it wouldn't compare to this game one bit. After creating your character at the start of the game (after the first scene, which is seen in the demo for the game) to the finest detail available, this character is used for all the cut scenes and conversations throughout the game - and without losing the great visuals. Not only does this support the free roam environment of the game, but it also adds a much more personal feel - allowing you to shape every fine detail of the game in the way you want it to be.
Not only is your character to the finest detail, but the characters playing alongside you have also clearly had a lot of effort put into them. Whether you are playing alongside your human squad members, or the aliens you pick up along the way, you are sure to enjoy their presence, as they have an exceptionally well thought out design, which is both original, and generally intriguing. For example; the first squad member i picked up was an alien called 'Archangel'. During the fight in which i retrieve him, he takes a bullet wound to the neck (an uncontrollable event), which goes straight through his armor. Now, for the rest of the storyline i have played, he still has the shot wound, and he still has a crack in his armor. If that isn't attention to detail, what is?
In terms of your ship 'The Normandy', and other space stations, there is definitely some influence from Star Wars - and not just in the graphics. I swear the sounds of 'The Normandy' moving in the cut-scenes are taken directly from 'Star Wars - The Phantom menace', in the scene where you first meet R2-D2. But don't worry, im still in the 'Everything good' section, so i would like to mention that this is not a bad thing whatsoever. In fact, i would say its a good thing. Star Wars practically invented Sci Fi, or they are least brung it to the majority, so the odd reminder of the film is actually quite refreshing. Nostalgia kicks in, and you are thrown into your own little Sci Fi world once again, ready to kick some ass.
I'm not going to exaggerate the combat to fit the rest of the game, because it is fairly average. It is typical duck and cover fighting, with a weapon selection system like 'Red Dead Redemption', and a duck and cover system like 'GTA 4', any Tom Clancy game, and pretty much every other third person shooter you can think of. The only difference is that the weapon selection system is a tad slow, and the bionic powers you can use are pretty much useless compared to your weapons. Oh, and picking up ammo has no strategy to it whatsoever; my description of it is 'running around and hoping for the best'.
The variation on weapons is also a bit disappointing, with 19 weapons split up into 6 categories. It was my opinion that, given the amount of races you find in the game, they would develop a few more weapons too. A few plasma pistols maybe, or a massive pump action shotgun? But no, the brainstorming for the different weapons must of been pretty 2D, seeing as the numbers actually went down from the first game.
However, i may be slagging the combat on this game off a bit, but in honesty, who can say any game has imaginative combat recently? The most creative style of combat i have seen in the last few years is the Battlefield series, for adding a bit of a difference in the First Person Shooter genre than what Call of Duty has been feeding us for the last 5 years. Besides, Mass Effect 2 may not have the best combat ever, but the fact that is is average means it isn't too 'out there', and they kept it within the barrier of 'too far'. Look at 'Red Faction'; Guerrilla was a great game, that was incredibly fun to play. But then they made Armageddon, and added this stupid toys like the 'magnet gun', and barely included anything normal, and the game just went down from their. In my opinion, that ruined the game. So yeah, im happy to accept a fairly average weapon set on Mass Effect actually.
This is a difficult one, because with games like this - the things bad to me, and great to someone else. So, to keep it short and hard to debate on, this is my list on what i don't like:
- Probing a planet takes ages, and you end up spending hours doing something that is pretty much a useless part of the game, except to make weapons better.
- A few more cultures would be nice, all the technologies are the same (such as the doors) and although that makes it easier to navigate, it loses a bit of the beauty of most Sci Fi games.
- The AI team mates are just terrible. In the mission you have to find them, they are practically gods; killing off wave after wave of mercenaries, but then as soon as they join your squad, they stop doing anything.
- When you visit a planet, the stuff you can do is a bit 2D. It would be much better if you could go on a planet, and walk through the different environments, instead of just the facilities.
Mass Effect 3 is set to be released on the 6th of March this year, and from the screen shots i have seen on IGN's site, it looks pretty amazing. The characters all follow on from Mass Effect 2, so you wouldn't want to be behind now, would you? It would definitely help if you had the previous game, and for around £5 you can't really go wrong - so why not. Have fun!