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Subject: This game ROCKS! Best SciFi RPG out there. rss

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Bob Blaser
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Mass Effect 1 was a truly fantastic game and so I eagerly looked forward to the next installment in the series.

The talented folks at BioWare did not disappoint. ME2 has a great compelling story complete with rich characters and the right amount of action.

I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, but as P.T, Barnum/Walt Disney once said, “Always leave them wanting more.”

And I want more.

Is it wrong of me to want more? Has BioWare spoiled me so much that when they offer me a grand feast I find fault with the tablecloth? Shame on me, I know, but I make these observations out of love – like a doting parent over their gifted child. “That was GREAT BioWare, but deep down, I know you can do better!”

The graphics are stunning and beautifully done. I marveled at just how immersive they were.

It was very cool that you could (relatively) easily import your original Commander Shepherd from ME1 into ME2 along with all the choices that you made in ME1. The fact that those choices MATTERED and came back to impact ME2 – that was very satisfying.

The game was rock solid. Not once did it crash on my computer.
I did experience two small bugs during the main game. At one point I was unable to back-out of scanning a planet for valuable resources and had to drop out of the game to restart. Later in the game, my Commander Shepherd character sat down INSIDE a desk and looked up, over his shoulder at the other character speaking.

Later during the Firewalker expansion, the game froze for approximately ten seconds, but then resumed. Also my re-mapping of the controls had an adverse impact on controlling the hovertank – drilling for research. I had to set them back to default in order to continue the mission.

All in all, these were very minor complaints. The backdrops were gorgeous and many times I had to stop and look around just to take it in.

The combat was good, with the right mix of intelligence and furious firing. The Heavy Weapons are a welcome addition. I thought the AI was very well done. The enemy took cover and tied to get behind your cover to fire at you. Also your companions intelligently sought and used cover very well. As a whole, I thought the use and ease of cover was excellent! Very seamless and extremely useful!

There were a few puzzle-solving missions where you never fired a shot – I enjoyed the variety. It felt good to mix things up.

The “heat sinks” for the weapons were a step backwards in my humble opinion. I felt like we went from a truly futuristic idea of not needing a ton of ammunition to reload the weapons, to having to constantly look and find these generic heat-sinks. Why not just say we needed regular ole ammo again?
I also missed being able to customize my weapons with different types of ammo and weapon mods. Yes, it was neat that there were seven steps to progressively upgrade the weapons, but it did not quite come across the same to me. In ME1, you could have customized weapons and ammo load-out for different members of your squad. Now, you had to rely on a class skill upgrade giving you access to a type of ammo. It didn’t make much sense and it didn’t feel as customizable. I will admit that the upside was the ease in which could direct characters to change specialized ammos in ME2.

However, I loved the ability to modify your armor and customize the colors – that was a nice touch!

I thought that the game could have benefited from more variety in the lock-picking/hacking mini-games. Why couldn’t we bring back some of the old classics from ME1? I did appreciate being able to buy mods which allowed me more time to solve them – that was nice!

I thought that being able to upgrade the Normandy was a great new concept. Having those additional enhancements ultimately helped you to succeed and emerge victorious in the final conflict. However, I was hoping for more ability to add things that would be a bit more useful during the early and mid-game. Perhaps like a firing range, where you could improve your team’s combat skills over time or perhaps allow them to be able to learn different weapons throughout the game. Maybe you had the alternate choice of adding a biotics lab. Maybe a running track or fitness room which allowed characters to train and gain more hit points. How about an arcade or bowling alley to improve crew morale. Shepherd himself comments about adding a bar in the observation lounge – a nice nod to Star Trek TNG. I kept wanting to do more to keep the crew happy and efficient. One trip to the provisioner in the Citadel wasn’t enough for the good Commander Shepherd in my mind. The little devils at BioWare might make these things expensive for us, or add quests for materials or missions for those who would make the modifications all the while forcing you to make tough choices because there wouldn’t be enough room on the Normandy for all the things that you want.

The ability to find/buy things to customize your captain’s cabin was great! I just wanted more and more! Perhaps a robot that would feed my fish for me.

The story and the dialog were excellent! I wish there had been a little more dialogue and interaction between the other characters, which is what BioWare is so famous for. I thought there was too little of that.

It also seemed to me that the designers listened to the player feedback about the pacing of ME1 and made modifications. In ME1, I felt pressured to rush through the main story line to save the galaxy. In ME2, the pacing has been modified so that I could explore, gain the loyalty of my crew and undertake the side missions without feeling that I was failing the main story.

I appreciate a company that doesn’t shrink from making a game for adults. The content, the decisions, the relationships, the colorful language – it all helps to build a terrific and immersive world that you don’t want to leave. Maybe I can’t travel the stars and save humanity, but BioWare allows me believe that I can – and that’s just as good.

The final battle was a tad disappointing in my humble opinion.

[SPOILER ALERT]

A giant terminator robot – really? That’s the best boss-creature we could come up with? I was a little confused – I didn’t think the thing had legs yet, and yet it was able to stand up 80 feet on its metal spine, fight me and my squad on a floating platform and duck and weave like a professional boxer?

[/SPOILER ALERT]

Ah well, I still loved the game. I put in between 40 and 50 hours playing it the first time and I haven’t finished the Firewalker missions yet.

I really missed the ability to quickly and easily take in-game screenshots like Dragon Age had. It seemed to me like the designers started down that road, but for some reason didn’t finish.

I don’t know whom to credit the recent trend of unlocking “achievements” in a game, but I like it! It’s like an addicting hobby collecting pins. I am motivated to unlock things and earn “badges” of honor. It inspires me to go back and try and get the ones that I did not complete on my first go through.

In conclusion, I thought that ME2 was a terrific game; A worthy successor to the excellent galaxy-building work done by BioWare. I can’t wait for Mass Effect 3, and 4 and beyond! It is a terrific franchise and I hope that it continues to improve!
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Joe Wasserman
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I don't think he would like that.
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"A single action or event is interesting, not because it is explainable, but because it is true." - Goethe
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Shield spoilers with spoiler tags! [ o ] [ / o ] (without the spaces)

I've heard that the story in Mass Effect 2 pales in comparison to Mass Effect the original, which makes me hesitant to play it. What are your thoughts on that?
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Markus
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So this is my new overtext ? Hmmm...
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Mass Effect 2 is a very good game, and it removes many issues of the predecessor. It's more streamlined, but sadly this also includes an even simpler character system. It's a story game, a playable movie, but i'm not so sure about the RPG part anymore. It's a borderline case but again, it doesn't really matter, doesn't it ?

Greatest Sci-fi "RPG" of all time ? Most definitely not. This title belongs to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, i think.

Edit:

The story, eh ? It's not exactly better or worse, just different. It definitely has its moments and its letdowns. Much like the first part of the series. But worthwile, nonetheless.
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A Derk appears from the mists...
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I rather liked ME1, but ME2 was definitely lacking... ME1's environments were clean but beautiful, whereas ME2's environments were sterile. The mining minigame was horrific, the 'streamlined' item system was too streamlined. I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn't. I celebrated by playing Fallout 3 again... ninja
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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I do think ME2 was a good game, even better than ME1, to be honest. But the reason WHY it was better was, in my opinion, simply that they finally decided whether they wanted to do an RPG or a shooter (They ended up, unfortunately, doing a shooter. But well, that's better than the confused mix-design ME1 became at times).

So, great game? Sure, best sci-fi RPG out there? Na, because it's way to light on RPG elements.

Sure, it's closer to a real RPG than every J"RPG" ever made, since BW still tries to give you the illusion of choice and impact, but that alone doesn't make it an RPG.
 
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Nick W
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Ploedminka wrote:


Greatest Sci-fi "RPG" of all time ? Most definitely not. This title belongs to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, i think.



Hear hear! And therein lies the problem...

I actually hated Mass Effect the first because after expecting so much of it, it was riddled with annoyances. The Mako (and often accompanying pointless side missions), horrific inventory management, so-so combat, texture pop-in, lift loading-times...

The story was pretty good, yes, but I've been avoiding ME2 because I just don't imagine that enough has changed from the first game to make it OK for me...

 
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Sithrak - The god who hates you unconditionally
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brickrock121 wrote:
Ploedminka wrote:


Greatest Sci-fi "RPG" of all time ? Most definitely not. This title belongs to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, i think.



Hear hear! And therein lies the problem...

I actually hated Mass Effect the first because after expecting so much of it, it was riddled with annoyances. The Mako (and often accompanying pointless side missions), horrific inventory management, so-so combat, texture pop-in, lift loading-times...

The story was pretty good, yes, but I've been avoiding ME2 because I just don't imagine that enough has changed from the first game to make it OK for me...


You shouldn't, just about all of the problems you mention (Apart, possibly, from the texture pop-in, I think they reduced it, but it still happened on occasion if I remember correctly) were solved.
Of course, BWs approach to solving these problems was to simply rip out the offending parts (No more Mako, basically no inventory) instead of trying to improve them. The combat, however, was vastly improved in my opinion. Although, admittedly, it makes no sense that in the intervening few years, weapons technology throughout the galaxy seems to have taken major steps BACKWARDS.

ME2 is much more arcadey, but it offers much better gameplay.
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