Let us begin with the graphics in Mass Effect 2. They are nearly flawless, with a few low textured shadows that do not take away from the cinematic awe of the game. Cinematic scenes, environments and even graphics during the core game play are breath taking. They are far superior to the original Mass Effect. There are plenty of games that have good graphics but Bioware has put a lot of work into the detail of faces, eyes and the many facial expressions on all the characters in the world of Mass Effect. You could play with the sound off with no subtitles and still be able to describe some of the wide variety of characters in Mass Effect 2 (which is not recommended by any means, just simply an example). You will get to know your squad and you will learn to either love or hate them, but in the end they all speak emotions through the amazing graphics seen in the game, as well as the extensive dialogue.
The gameplay of Mass Effect 2 is very similar to the original Mass Effect game only with certain things tweaked to only make it flow even better. Bioware uses its unique style to let you decide whether you want to play through the game like it is a shooter, RPG or a mix of both, which I find the later to be the best method. Using cover is very helpful in any third person game and Mass Effect 2 is no exception. You can play as a number of different classes with the Soldier Class being gun ready and the Vanguard Class utilizing mostly biotic powers, which there are many of in the game. Other classes mix the Soldier and Vanguard classes to your liking having certain advantages from each class. Your team will be a range of all the classes, while some will give you unique powers as you gain their loyalty. Some RPG elements have been taken out from the first game like weapon stats and importing bonuses into weapons, but it does not take away from the game. Like Mass Effect 1 you can choose to make decisions that will give you Paragon(Good) or Renegade(Bad). Some of these choices will effect the games story and having Paragon/Renegade high enough will give you extra dialogue options that will effect the story as well.
Probably the most innovative thing about Mass Effect 2 is the option to import a Mass Effect 1 saved character in to the game. This will take all the choices you have made, the people you have saved/killed, love interests from Mass Effect 1 and bring it to the story of Mass Effect 2. This gives the game and endless amount of cut scenes, dialogue and characters that some people may never get the opportunity to see. The concept is truly unique and really makes this game extremely personal, especially when you get to know these characters and their backgrounds. You will still enjoy Mass Effect 2 if you have not imported a Mass Effect 1 saved character but keep in mind that their will be a Mass Effect 3, where you will be able to import your character into the game from Mass Effect 2.
The story of Mass Effect 2 is amazing as the saga continues from the first and will continue into the third. More importantly, aside from the main mission your are given from the beginning of the game, the story is yours. What I mean by that is that you have the option of taking on each subplot and once doing so, making that subplot your own and deciding how the outcome will be. Bioware has not constricted you to a formula.. anyone can die, including Sheppard the main character. These choices are moral and strategic, and will shape the story of the game to make every ones experience different. Mass Effect 2’s story leads up gradually to an absolutely breathtaking climax through music, gameplay and plot, which would be a crime for someone not to experience.
Mass Effect 2 will bring you on a journey and give you an experience that can not be achieved by playing any other game. Everything about the game seems polished perfectly and over the top. Bioware have really done an astonishing job with this game and have said that their best is yet to come. There are good games and good movies and then there is Mass Effect 2 which uses its self shaping story along with comfortable gameplay to bring you an experience that you will not forget. The replay value of the game is nearly infinite if your are trying to venture into ever option in the game. Now stop reading and go play Mass Effect 2, you will not regret it!
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
Amazing self shaping story and ability to import characters from original game.
Some RPG elements have been taken out that were in the original game.