Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mass Effect 2 : First Impressions

After finishing the first Mass Effect I wasn't that impressed. While I enjoyed the game it was marred by technical difficulties, mediocre combat and a storyline that was a little too generic. That said, after playing the first few hours of the second game it looks like BioWare took the criticism to heart. Mass Effect 2 is superior to the original in almost every way. The combat is intense and engaging, the inventory system has been streamlined (almost to a fault), and the side missions have been improved. The game play overall is just fantastic. What isn't fantastic is the storyline, not so much in concept but in execution.

Warning minor spoilers

It starts out with Shepard (the main protagonist) dieing and being resurrected by a secret pro-human organization with a checkered past called Cerberus. An organization you actually fought against in the first game. An interesting concept in itself but it's down played way too much. As soon as you wake up it's back to business as usual, you're thrust into the middle of a fire fight no worse for ware. The fact that you've been missing, presumed dead for 2 years, the fact that they implanted robotics into your body to revive you, or the fact that your working with an extremist organization is taken way too casually. Everyone you meet seems to already know who you are and what you're doing, and it's never an issue cause you got aliens to kill. Or when it is an issue it's completely out of place.

Take for example when you first meet up with Ashley Williams, a former squad member from the first game. At the time you just rescued the colony she was sent to protect from an alien attack and saved her life. Do you think she'd be concerned about the colonists that didn't make it, or grateful that came in the nick of time, or how about just happy to see you're alive. No. Hell, she's not even surprised to see you. She's just pissed cause you're working with Cerberus. It's understandable that she'd feel this way but it's completely out of place to bring it up at this time. The whole conversation comes off as awkward and forced. I will give them credit though, at least they waited till after the battle to have this out, unlike most of the conversations in the game.

Another problem I have is the whole Paragon/Renegade system. If you're not familiar, during the dialogue sequences the game gives you options on how to respond. Paragon being good and Renegade being bad, well sorta bad. And based on those responses you earn paragon/renegade points that unlock more dialogue options in the future. The problem is the options aren't always what you'd expect. I'm playing as a renegade with a heart of gold. Basically my intentions are good but I'll do whatever is necessary to get the job done. Usually that works out but sometimes the renegade options are just plane evil. I'm not a heartless bastard, I still want justice, I just don't mind killing a few people to make sure that happens. Either way I just wish the choices were more consistent.

Overall I am having a blast with this game. I think part of the problem might be the fact that the gameplay has improved so much it ends up highlighting the flaws in the story all the more. But it is a step in the right direction and how can you be upset with that.

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention that it's only 20 bucks now at walmart!!