Average Playtime: 23 hours

Mass Effect 2 review
Exceptional
by RobbieRLH

Mass Effect 2 marks the point where the series moved from an RPG to an action oriented third person shooter. This polarised the community; some feel the entry is Mass Effect at it's best, whilst others see it as the point at which the series started to slip. First impressions are good - the combat feels more fluid and shooting is improved, although the overheating system has been retconned and replaced with ammunition which removes some of the strategy from the gunplay. Fans of third person shooters will definitely enjoy these changes. However, the price ME2 pays is the removal of a lot of the RPG elements from the first game. The skill points system has been dumbed down, giving you a lot less build variety than the previous entry. Instead of trying to fix the loot system from ME1, it's been stripped out entirely, leading to barely any gear and weapon customization options. Other things have been removed, like planetary exploration in the Mako (not the end of the world), and the Citadel is a lot less explorable (although much of ME1's citadel was empty space).
But whilst I'm not making excuses for shortcomings in gameplay, the real reason people play Bioware games is for the writing and characters. ME2 builds on the insane world of ME1 with new characters, alien races and a new story. Unfortunately, the story is a BIT of a dud - the Collectors aren't massively interesting, and the main quest is underwhelming when compared to the epic scale of the threat in ME1. The race to the end of the game feels like a tonne of side missions, and whilst the final suicide mission is great (taking into consideration your preparedness, relationships with other characters, and weapons upgrades to give you a unique outcome), it falls a bit short of the hype that was built up throughout the game. That being said, the new characters are absolutely fantastic. Basically all of them have great back stories and interesting dialogue, with the salarian Mordin standing out as one of the best characters in the ME universe. The touted loyalty missions are all brilliant and invest you in your teammates motivations. Some of the fan favourites from the first game also return (I love you Tali) and transferring your character from ME1 will give you unique interactions with them, as well as side missions and a better feeling of involvement in the overarching narrative.
I had a shit tonne of fun with ME2, WAY WAY than I thought I would. I personally feel that much of the hate thrown towards ME2 is undeserved and better saved for ME3 and Andromeda. I'm really not sure whether I enjoy ME1 or ME2 more - ME1 has an untouchable atmosphere, with an air of mystery to the story and universe which I don't think has been matched in a game before or since. But ME2 has insane character writing, lore, and much more palatable moment to moment gameplay. Regardless, they both land in my top 10's of all time and are MUST plays.
«Blew my mind»
«Can’t stop playing»
«Beaten more than once»