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Mass Effect 2 review




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Mass Effect 2
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  • Mass Effect 2
  • Mass Effect 2 (Xbox 360)


Our Score:


Enjoyed Mass Effect? Played it to the end? Well, chances are that you’ve bought Mass Effect 2 already. By now you’re fully aware that the sequel is an exceptional effort, improving on the original and staking a claim as one of the finest games on the 360. Don’t let us keep you, get back to it right now. Already completed it? Why not start another character and have another go? Go on, you know you want to.

Still here? Well, either you never played Mass Effect or you were one of those people who didn’t want to stick it out until the end. You probably need a little more convincing. Here we go. Mass Effect 2 takes everything that was good about the original, fixes nearly everything that was bad, and delivers a compulsive sci-fi adventure that will a) make you wish you’d finished Mass Effect and b) leave you longing for a third episode. Some of these changes are almost calculated to annoy the RPG hardcore, but the overall result is to make a Mass Effect with even greater mass appeal.

You see, if Mass Effect had Bioware experimenting with the action/RPG hybrid, then Mass Effect 2 is the next logical step down that road. While there are still traditional Bioware RPG mechanics in place – character progression, psionic powers, a party to manage, the ability to pause combat to trigger abilities, etc. – there’s no need to feel bogged down in them. Thanks to a range of player aids and automated systems, it’s perfectly possible to start Mass Effect 2 as a Soldier class character and enjoy it as a fairly straight third-person shooter with interactive cut-scenes. That’s right. If you’d rather play Gears of War than Fallout 3, you’ll still have a whale of a time.

The combat is just more satisfying this time around. The old health system has been replaced by a more conventional recharging shields and health affair, and there are now more concerns over quantities of ammo than about that ammo overheating. Commander Shepherd seems to be a decent shot from the off, and things like weapon selection, equipment and levelling have been streamlined to the point where you almost don’t need to worry about them if you don’t want to. Even the cover system now works brilliantly, with Shepherd running and ducking into cover then firing out with a grace and precision that wouldn’t disgrace a Marcus Fenix or Nathan Drake. Great stuff.

To be brutally honest, fighting in Mass Effect was frequently bland and unexciting. Not any more. All the bits that make a decent action game are now in place. Enemy AI is much improved, with your foes putting up a decent fight, even if there’s still a lot of shoot-cower-shoot stuff going on. Allied AI is every bit as good, and while you’ll still need to trot out the Unity heal ability on a regular basis, there’s very little need to micro-manage your comrades.

Lord Comben III

February 6, 2010, 5:47 am

I must agree with you. Whilst at first i was a bit dissapointed with the stripping away of some of the rpg-ish elements it has created a far more playable game. The story does feel a little bit middle of a trilogy though without the mystery and a nemesis of the first game. Not that i have finished it yet (stupid work getting in my way)


February 6, 2010, 5:49 am

For comparison how would you have rated the plotline in the first game? I found it somewhat weak with an unbelievable ending (and Dragon Age wasn't great either) so I'm wondering whether I'll find the narration 'Strong, Edgy and Fiendish' or whether I should wait for this one to come out in a compilation edition with it's DLC.


February 6, 2010, 5:41 pm

Does no one at TR have a screen grabber? I think using promo shots in a review is pretty misleading.


February 6, 2010, 7:39 pm


Correct me if I am wrong, but you can fully customise the look of your character as long as the surname is Shephard. So that would be more confusing I think.


February 7, 2010, 2:58 am

@marko-it's hard for TR to get screen gabs when they are reviewing them in the local currys.

btb is it just me that finds all bioware games dull,all get rave reviews yet everyone is a chore to play.the action and rpg parts are done far better else where so in the end all your left with is some nice voice works(albeit with a mediocre script).


February 7, 2010, 8:35 am

@Marko, good review but cmon guys, using only promo shots through out, is like describing cheerios using the only the box it came with.


February 7, 2010, 3:13 pm

Personally I think its possibly gone a bit too far in the streamlining. As you said you don't feel like there's much outside the set missions. The 1st did better at having a working universe of people, and its great that you meet soo many of them in me2, with their lives visibly altered by what you did in me1.

I don't like that the Alliance and Council have been so sidelined, just doesn't 'fit'. I cannot believe a council responsible for trillions of lives would be so blind and stupid, nor that the Alliance would just let its best officer work for a 'terrorist group' without any repercussions.

Combat's not bad...though the single 2d plane of the cover is damn annoying, and Gears of War still has the best system for moving around cover too.

Personally I liked the unique feeling of me1, no ammo but overheating...it seemed more scifi. Now its just got ammo like all other games and the in-game reason isn't logical enough:)

However I played it till 1am last night and most of the day till 3am the night before...so its doing something right:D


February 7, 2010, 7:04 pm

@marko et al: No, we don't have a screen grabber.

@betelgeus: Care to explain?

Lord Comben III

February 7, 2010, 7:46 pm

I dont see how scrreen shots really matter there are plenty on the rest of the internet. Im here to read the review and the opinions there in


February 8, 2010, 1:31 am

ed it was only partly sarcasm,every review has stock photos,so when say you review a telly supplied by say superfi i wonder if you had a review unit or where just invited in for half an hours viewing.

so by the unproffesionalism of the review you could have just played the games on a demo machine in currys then come home and posted your thoughts


February 8, 2010, 3:33 am


Curry's is so eighties, and shopping at Superfi will put undue strain on the wallet. I don't think either of your scenarios have happened here.

Geoff Richards

February 8, 2010, 12:55 pm

The overwhelming majority of our review samples are borrowed directly from the manufacturer. When we list "Supplier" at the top of the review, it is to indicate the reseller used for the Price As Reviewed benchmark price when there is no realtime TrustedReviews Shopping price available (or the former is cheaper).


February 8, 2010, 3:00 pm

Game of the Year. The Mass Effect series are amazing. These games engage with you on both a visceral and emotional level, which is unlike any other game I've played.

Gaming gold IMHO


February 8, 2010, 7:40 pm

Awesome game. It should come with a warning on the box:

'May dangerously inhibit ability to maintain sleep schedule'.


February 9, 2010, 4:34 pm

Fantastic game overall with 9/10 spot on.

Like many i thought stripping out some of the RPG elements would make the game suffer but having played through it 3 times now it just hasnt done that. What it has done is got rid of the clutter, the daft inventory system from the original and allowed you to customise you're appearance rather than everyone wear the same looking armour. Whilst i would of loved more weapons/armour options, i dont really miss loot, and this is coming from someone who just spent 6 months on Pandora (Borderlands Pandora, now Camerons Avatar).

The first of 2 issues i had with the game was that the alliance and counsel were sidelined and blind to our actions (didnt care?). It just didnt feel right that you come back from the dead, working with a sworn enemy of the alliance and counsel and they only have a few concerns then give you your spectre badge back. I would of much rather liked seeing them keep in contact with you throughout, helping you work against the illusive man, or allowing you to use Cerberus to work against them. It would of added another fine layer of story if you had a double agent thing going on at the same time as being forced to do what is necessary vs what is right. Its just a shame that something so simple as having the counsel and alliance care about what you were doing would of made your struggles and decisions feel so much bigger and important. BioWare missed the ball on this one.

My second issue was with the scene 'transitions' as mentioned in the review. Sometimes they are so abrupt you wonder what just happened and feel like you have just been yanked from the gameworld. There could of been a number of different ways to do this and i hope BioWare fixes it for the next game.

Some of my favourite points of the game are:

- Characters are phenominal this time around (Thane, Mordin, Miranda, Grunt and Garrus my particular highlights).

- Combat is vastly improved, even coming from someone who didnt mind the first game's combat. Biotic/Tech abilities feel more balanced and polished.

- The story is definitely the middle child but still fantastic with some great revelations.

- Comedy gold littered throughout

- Everything in the background fits. Bystander comments, to news broadcasts to emails sent from old friends are just brilliant and bring the world to life.

- Romantic interest scenes are a bit weak to be honest but still great to have in there (and the variety this time around).

- Visuals & Audio are again award worthy. The score, the voice acting, the character models, the planets and vehicles all suit the world of Mass Effect. BioWare ahead of the field in this department.

One final thing:

Thane, Legion, Mordin and Miranda MUST be in the sequel as party members if they dont die at the end! Looking forward to bringing the Geth and the Rachni to the party in Mass Effect 3!


February 11, 2010, 4:02 am

@ cjb110 Cerberus seams more like what Companies like BLACKWATER may evolve into o am I mixing up my bluesuns and Cerburuses

I've enjoyed both ME1 and ME2 very exceptional games

And the soundtracks are just awesome


February 13, 2010, 10:18 am

My review ..

I finished ME1 just an hour before installing ME2 so everything I had encountered and liked was still fresh in my mind. I was really excited and watched almost every single official video of the game but then once I started playing ME2, I was hugely disappointed.

Now, I will point out the stuff that I actually liked in ME2>>

1- I loved the new combat system, it became much more fast paced than the original game.

2- I loved the new ammo system, the heating system in ME1 was really annoying. I never ran out of clips except with the shotgun and the heavy weapon.

3- I loved the new upgrading system, much simpler and efficient.

4- I loved how the AI of my squad mates is much better than in ME1, in ME1 they didn't have Artificial Intelligence, they had Artificial Idiocy.

5- I loved the fact that you can put the other squad mate skills on your hot bar, made combat much better.

6- I loved how we are able to command each squad member separately instead of both like it was in ME1.

7- I kinda liked scanning for resources instead of going into the planet itself and drive in the Mako to look for them. I did like the Mako in ME1 but I just hated those stupid rocky terrains which made driving the Mako very annoying.

8- I completely loved that any class could hack without wasting skill points on tech abilities.

9- The cut scenes were amazing.

10- Graphics were great just like ME1.

11- Great voice acting of course.

12- I liked the idea of heavy weapons instead of specific skills for each weapon, the mini-nuke and mini-blackhole were awesome, sadly the mini-blackhole wasn't any useful against bosses.

13- The intro (The Normandy getting destroyed scene) was 1 of the best intros I have ever seen in my life. Watching Shepard struggling while he was running out of air then getting pulled into the nearby planet's atmosphere was an amazing scene. It literally took my breath away.

Now the things that I hated in ME2>>

1- I hated that they removed the minimap!!, it made much difference to me in ME1.

2- I hated that in order to get a discount at a shop in the Citadel I had to advertise for them!! I was a respectable hero in ME1 for god sake, I was getting really pissed everytime I walk into a shop and hear my Shepard saying "I'm commander Shepard and this is my favorite store on the Citadel". I almost removed the game cause of this.

3- I hated that the armor choices were almost close to zero, by the time I had all the upgrades and armor pieces, I only had like 4-5 armor choices and that was it!! in ME1 there were like a ton of armors to choose from!! same goes for weapons, I can't even count how many weapons were in ME1 but in ME2, I had to choose between 2 submachine guns, 3 shotguns, 2 heavy pistols, what a joke!!.

4- I completely hated the new skills system, as a Vanguard in ME1, I had a LOT of skills to fight with, like Throw, Lift, Warp and most importantly Barrier but in ME2, the only skill that was useful was Pull (aka Lift), Charge was pointless since it did very little damage and cannot be casted to runaway unless I was targeting an enemy, so what's the point!!, Shockwave wasn't as useless as Charge but I rarely used it except when fighting husks. So my vangaurd in ME2 was a complete crap, I know I could have used an adept instead in ME2 but they can't use shotguns, which is essential against closeup enemies, minibosses, and bosses. I would have never been able to beat the game without my lovely shotgun, that's why I had to stick with the new crappy ME2 vangaurd.

5- I hated the side quests, they were very very brief, some of them didn't even take more than a couple of minutes, the longer ones took like 5 minutes max, it's true that they weren't as repetitive as they were in ME1 but at least in ME1 they actually took some time to finish.

6- The main story was much shorter than ME1, wasn't as powerful or as mindblowing as ME1, at 1st I thought that after I cross the Omega 4 relay I'm gonna have a dozen new quests to do but all I found was just the final mission!!. So those powerful collectors only had 1 single base ship and that was it? not even 1 planet on the side?

7- The final boss was crappy as hell, he didn't give me any challenge whatsoever unlike Saren, at least Saren had me running all the time to avoid his beams and rapid missiles but the final boss in ME2 was a joke, all I had to do was duck behind cover whenever he is preparing his beam then strike back at his eyes with my collectors beam till he is dead. Actually, some of the mini bosses that I've encountered were much harder than the final reaper boss. I can now guess how the final boss in ME3 would be like, just a huge monster that once I kill, all reapers are gonna die/disappear or something as idiotic as that

8- The ending was really unsatisfying, I didn't feel like I just saved humanity and all the galaxy from a certain danger!, unlike in ME1 ending which was epic.

9- Why the hell have they removed the grenades? Most of the enemies now hide behind cover, how the hell am I supposed to get them out of it if I don't have the only thing that could do that (aka grenades), it's true that I could use a skill such as Pull to get enemies from behind cover but it's not like every single class has it!!.

They kept advertising ME2 as "much" darker than ME1, but during my play through, I haven't felt any of kind of darkness, actually ME1 was the 1 that was much darker not the other way around.

I consider ME1 to be the greatest game I've ever played, it's currently my number 1 game (COD series is now my number 2), but ME2 is seriously a huge disappointment, it didn't live up to the greatness of ME1, they could have made an amazing game but they destroyed it by removing some of the features that made ME1 great.

ME2 doesn't deserve more than 7/10 IMO, actually it deserves less but then I would just get thumbs down from every ME fan boy in the world without even reading the review, I made a lot of good points in this review, hopefully some people who think with their brains might agree on them.

Hopefully they will go back to ME1 greatness in ME3, but I'm pretty sure they won't since they got so much praise (for some odd reason) for the (crappy) changes they made in ME2.

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