It has been a while since I played Mass Effect on the Xbox 360, I remember buying it like it was yesterday. Without ever playing it before, I was very interested and excited to start the experience, however… After putting in a few hours of play time, I found myself to be very bored with it. Perhaps I was too young at that time, or had no interested in RPG games. When I heard Mass Effect 2 was being released, I felt nothing at all. Zero intentions were had to go purchase this game, let alone rent it. However, my brother did rent it and told me about how good it was in comparison to the first of the planned trilogy. Still, zero interest was had… Until it was released on the PS3.
After everything that has happened in the original Mass Effect game, Commander Shepard was murdered in an ambush by a species that was a mystery to many people. This species being called, Collectors. Two years after the ambush that ended the Commander’s life, he wakes up and has been revived by a pro-human organization, Cerberus who revived him via the Lazarus Project. During his awakening, the ship he is aboard is under attack by an unknown enemy. He reaches two members of Cerberus on the ship with him, and is soon introduced to The Illusive Man. The Illusive Man informs Commander Shepard that they had brought him back from the dead using the Lazarus Project, as well as ‘upgraded’ him. He explains that they have done this because there is a new threat to humanity, that he must investigate, and eventually try destroying. This new threat has been making entire colonies of humans vanish completely. How will all of the fascinating, and incredible missions and encounters throughout Mass Effect change your game experience, and ending? That’s up to you to find out… As many choices will change your game drastically.
Finally we have found a game where we can actually give some good details on each character you come across! I’ve been waiting for this. Mass Effect 2 has such incredible detail in every aspect of it, that each character seemed as though they were a real person, with their own realistic personalities, and attitudes. Hell, you might even be able to get a little ‘physical’ with a few of them! Commander Shepard: The main character of the game, he is killed during the opening cutscene of Mass Effect 2. During more cutscenes, he is woken up and had been brought back from the dead from the organization known as Cerberus. Cerberus had brought back Commander Shepard for one thing, and that was to hunt down the species that had been abducting entire human colonies. The beautiful part of this, is Commander Shepard is really whoever you want him to be. Unlike any video game character I’ve seen lately, you really are Shepard. Garrus Vakarian: After the Normandy was destroyed, Garrus went on his own to indulge in a life of vigilantism. He got to the Omega space station, where many crime syndicates are located. After sabotaging many criminal organizations, he earns the alias of Archangel. Being holed up in his base as three crime syndicates are attacking him by sending groups of mercenaries they hired to put an end to his life, Shepard and the current members of his squad arrive to recruit him to the Normandy. Grunt: A Krogan super-soldier, who is actually a prototype, and brainchild of a very well known Krogan, Warlord Okeer. Grunt was programmed with the memories of many powerful Krogan’s, as well as their skills. With all of this genetic engineering done to Grunt, he is looked at the perfect example of the Krogan species. Unlike others from his species though, he has no clan, and inadequate knowledge of his species, all he has is his instincts to fight, and kill. Illusive Man: The very mysterious leader of the organization Cerberus, he is the one behind the Lazarus Project which eventually resurrected Shepard. Very little, to nothing at all is known about the Illusive Man, all that’s known is his rumoured wealth, and the alliance he has formed with Commander Shepard to give him guidance as he investigates the colonies disappearances.
Jack/Subject Zero: Being the product of an experiment performed by Cerberus to attempt enhancement of human ability, she holds with her a very violent personality, due to the amounts of torture and captivity she had been through while imprisoned at a Cerberus outpost as a young kid. After escaping the outpost, she became involved with crime, drugs, murder, and religious cults, all so that she could attempt to gain some sort of identity. Later, she was captured and held at a prison station known as Purgatory, where she escaped with the help of Shepard. Jacob Taylor: A former soldier of Alliance, he had joined Cerberus after viewing the administration of Alliance, and realizing it is not for him, as they were restricting the ability of humankind to survive. Due to the shared background of being in the military, Jacob shows he is very respectful of Commander Shepard. Kasumi Goto: Being one of the best thieves in the galaxy, Kasumi joins the Normandy team to return the favour of Commander Shepard helping her in stealing a “graybox” which was a sort of hard drive encrypted through the use of a person’s memories. This graybox belonged to her former partner in crime, and lover. Not much can be done with Kasumi in the game, unless you have downloaded her as a party member from the Playstation Store. Legion: During a mission aboard a Reaper, Shepard comes across a lone and damaged Geth, being Legion. Before being injured, Legion helped Shepard during the mission without Shepard really knowing, by terminating many enemies, and making it easier for Shepard to access the core of the ship he was aboard. Commander Shepard bring this mysterious Geth aboard the Normandy, and depending on your choices, he can join your squad. If the right choice is made, Legion shares with us that he is the only pure Geth that Shepard had encountered, and the rest were simply ‘heretics’ supporting the Reapers. He refers to himself only as Geth, until the ship’s artificial intelligence decides to give him the name, Legion. Miranda Lawson: This lady is the top agent of Cerberus aboard the Normandy ship, and is also Commander Shepard’s second in command and was genetically modified to so called ‘perfection’ by her father, She comes across as a character you can trust from the very start, as she was the one who physically brought Shepard back. Ms Lawson may be a character you can truly learn to love. Mordin Solus: One of the most well known Salarian scientists, Mordin is also a competent soldier after being a member of the Salarian Special Tasks Group earlier on in his life. He is found on Omega, and has a very eccentric personality, as well as being very hyperactive. After getting him to join your squad, you get a tech lab where you can upgrade your equipment, and other things! Samara: Samara is an Asari Justicar, who is very talented in her use of biotics. She has dedicated everything she has in the fight for absolute justice. One interesting thing about Samara, is she the mission she’s on, to track down her daughter who has been killing innocent people for hundreds of years. She does this, by destroying their nervous systems through sexual intercourse with the victim. Tali’Zorah: After a scientific study that goes terribly wrong, and most of her partners are murdered by the geth, she joins Commander Shepard and the Normandy once he rescues her from the attacking geth army. Thane Krios: Thane is one of the best assassin’s in the galaxy, and is dying of a lung disease only the Drell can get. He decides to join the team in order to try providing a purpose in his life and make up for his past choices and actions. While being an expert in assassination, Thane also has very powerful close-combat biotics. He comes off as quite a strange character, as his dark past is still haunting him.
It has been many years since I found a game like this, one where I can do just about anything in the world that I want to, and all of the choices made determine the overall outcome of the gaming experience. There are quite a few like that now, but none seem to measure up to Mass Effect 2. Mass Effect 2 delivered some of the best game play I’ve ever had, running very smoothly, and having some unique, yet simple controls for everything. The only issues I encountered was a bit of freezing up when the game was loading parts, besides that it was truly a flawless game. The story was remarkable, while carrying on from the original Mass Effect game, you are introduced to some completely new characters, as well as some great friends you may remember from the first game. The primary mission is very exhilarating, leaving you wondering, what will happen next? Because of the endless things you can do to give your character, Commander Shepard the attitude you want him to have, the game can really suck you in, and soon enough you will feel as though you are in his shoes, and humanity’s existence is in your hands. As I already said earlier in the review, each and every major character in the game is so unique, that it almost feels they are real people. They all have such different personalities, attitudes, and things on their mind that will change your game experience. However, you can really change a person’s attitude toward things, if you say the right things at the right time. All of this, really makes the feeling of being there, so much more intense. One thing that really got me about Mass Effect 2, was the voice acting. At some points during game play, it seemed as though the voice used for small lines like, “Enemies ahead” or, “We’ve been compromised” were very strange, sometimes a character not sounding how a character really sounds. Besides that, during the cutscenes the voice acting is done brilliantly, which should not be a surprise given some of the big names working as voice actors. Besides the one issue I had that I stated, the voices in Mass Effect 2 were excellent. One thing I can’t do much justice in is comparing the graphics on the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2, to that on the Xbox 360. However, I have been told it is much prettier on the PS3, and I believe that. Throughout the gaming experience, I found myself losing a lot of my thoughts at the time, just staring into space during major cutscenes, where the environment and scenery around you is very well detailed, Mass Effect 2 is game that is very easy on the eyes, and because of that, a game that will be hard not to enjoy. I struggle right now thinking of negative things to say about this game, because honestly the only thing that bothered me was the voices at a few parts, next to that… There was no reason I wanted to put this game down and return it to the rental store early. Within five days of having it, I achieved over thirty hours of play time, and more than eighty percent of the trophies. If there was any game I would get up and buy instantly when I had some money to do so, Mass Effect 2 would definitely be sitting on top of my stack of video games. The one thing I disagree with about the game, is the price. Why is it only $59.99?! I asked myself this the entire time playing through, because I honestly feel that it could be $99.99, and still worth every penny.