Currently Playing: Mass Effect 2 (X360)


When I first got my own Xbox360, one of the first games I wanted to play was Mass Effect. I had good moments playing Knights of the Old Republic then, which is why I wanted to play Mass Effect. Finished it in a few days, it was one of the best games I’ve ever played on the 360. And as I get into the new one, I was so excited to play the sequel I bought Dragon Age: Origins just for the armor alone. With all the high expectations of the game, will this game disappoint me or not?

The trailers alone already gave a lot of indication that this will be an epic storyline, but there were a lot of discussions if the commercials tell what the game really is. I think there is some truth to that issue. None of the commercials showed what the game really is, it did show many characters, big epic story, but not about the game. But the story really does depend on the previous game, it can’t stand on it’s own. If you’re planning to get this game, it’s going to be a little confusing because it does presume that you know what happened before. Since the game will take advantage of a previous save game of Mass Effect 1, it affects some of your conversations and what happened to its universe. The story is big, no doubt about that. It is linear like most story based games are, but what’s interesting here are the choices that you make can make a big difference on the survival of the character. A lot of the conversations will give you some hard choices and at times you won’t be given an option to save before you make the decision, but then again you can save during the mission before it happens.

The graphics alone is a big step up from Dragon Age. The graphics is smooth, full of detail for a science fiction. The Unreal Engine is working well with this game and it shows, especially in locations with a lot of plans. Some places are large in scale, but very small areas to walk around. Some are large, but the details can get a little muted down. But quality is top of the line here, visually it won’t disappoint. The film grain also helps with the quality too, makes it a little more realistic than removing it totally. Although I was kind of expecting more since it is the Unreal Engine, and we’ve seen the engine do wonders with Unreal Tournament and Gears of War. Regardless, if you’re expecting a step up from the previous Mass Effect, this is very good indeed. My only quirk with the graphics is the special armors, you can’t remove the helmet and it can get weird looking when characters drink from a glass without even removing the helmet, makes me want to use the traditional armor instead of the special ones.

The controls are played like a third person shooter but not as refined as Gears of War, but regardless it’s works fine. It takes a little from Dragon Age where you assign controls to each power if you like, you can pause the game to assign a power or just leave it as is. Using your powers is more natural here than it is in the first Mass Effect. Although you’ll miss a lot of RPG elements in the gameplay itself. The game is really more of a shooter than it is an RPG. There are still RPG elements since you still level up your character and some powers or characters upgrades will happen, but not as significant as it was before. Getting into cover isn’t too hard, but there are some instances that it won’t cover in certain spots. It can get irritating, but it only happens in a few locations, nothing drastically significant if you try to find another place to get cover.

The music is the same level of quality of the first, although I may have a few quirks here and there. A lot of the music is based on the original game, some a slightly re-modified for the updated version, some gives you the feeling that it comes from Aliens, Blade Runner or some other science fiction reference. It’s just that some of them are too obvious, but when you’re playing the game, you won’t notice it too much. The voice acting was amazingly done too. The quality is also a lot better and consistent in Mass Effects than it is in Dragon Age. I didn’t even encounter any random errors which I was a bit expecting because of the long conversations. And here the main character is talking, Dragon Age had a silent protagonist.

I don’t see why your team mates can only bring two weapon and your character can bring more than they do. Feels like your character as an advantage than anybody else. The AI is effective enough at times, but there are times that they put themselves in a terrible position that they die easily. Relying on you to use up some health to revive them. You’ll have to talk to them regularly in between missions, while you’re in the ship. But once you exhausted all the conversation, they won’t tell you anything new or refreshing. But these conversations are essential that it can change the way they think about you and can access some individual missions for each character. Some of them will talk too based on who you bring to a mission, it will give you some insight of their past.

There are 2 ways to hack within the game, both are just matching symbols, but displayed in a different manner. One way is to compare the sample shown and match the image you see while you move around using the directional pad. Another way is like matching cards which is relatively simple, actually both mini games are very simple in nature, but it slightly rushes you because of the time limit. I find this a tad too easy, or maybe it needs to get little more challenging when you get farther. Because the consistent almost non existent difficulty doesn’t seem like it does anything except delay the game.

What irritated me in the game is that I had to farm for resources. Getting resources really required you a lot of time, and even with some ship upgrades, it only makes the process faster, but boring nonetheless. What we do here is we visit a planet, scan and send in missiles to get the resource. It’s pretty simple actually, but that’s the thing I suppose, the process is redundant and not even remotely interesting. Personally, I just want it done because I needed upgrades, but I hated going through it. I only get excited when I see a new mission come up when the scanner detects something, but most of the time, it’s boring. I actually miss going to the planet and look for stuff manually.

I’ve heard that there are a few bugs in the game. I’ve never experienced any bugs from the whole time I was playing it, I suppose I was playing for about 50 hours on the Xbox360. It has been flawless for me throughout the game.

Overall, the game was amazing, the production values are done well that the flaws are negligible. There are some parts that makes the game a little slower or way too slow, but it won’t bother your entire gameplay. From the refined gameplay, amazing graphics, wonderful sound of music and voices and many more things to praise. This is a highly recommended game. The only flaw I see is that you’d have to play the first game to really get into the story, so if you’re planning to play this game, be prepared for the long run. Get the original game and play from 1-2. It’s worth it and worth your time.

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  1. Updating the site with my old stuff « Pinoy Video Gamer

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