Wonder Club world wonders pyramid logo WonderClub Facebook WonderClub Tweet   WonderClub RSS feed Join WonderClub's Twitter Page Join WonderClub's Facebook Page
World Wonders
Video Games

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 is an action role-playing video game developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. It was released for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360 on January 26, 2010, and for PlayStation 3 on January 18, 2011. Mass Effect 2 is the second installment of the Mass Effect series and a sequel to the original Mass Effect. The game takes place within the Milky Way galaxy during the 22nd century, where humanity is threatened by an insectoid species known as the Collectors. The player assumes the role of Commander Shepard, an elite human soldier who must construct and gain the loyalty of a diverse team in order to defeat the enemy in a suicide mission. With the use of a completed saved game of its predecessor, the player can impact the story of the game in numerous ways.

For the game, BioWare changed several gameplay elements and put further emphasis on third-person shooter aspects, including limited ammunition and regenerable health. In contrast to the exclusive focus on the main story of the original Mass Effect, the developers opted to create a plot where optional missions had as much intensity as the main mission. Mass Effect composer Jack Wall returned to compose Mass Effect 2's music, aiming for a darker and more mature sound to match the mood of the game. Mass Effect 2 also supports a variety of downloadable content packs that were released from January 2010 to May 2011. The downloadable content ranges from single in-game character outfits to entirely new plot-related missions. Notable packs include Overlord, Lair of the Shadow Broker, and Arrival.

Mass Effect 2 was a commercial success and received considerable acclaim from video game publications. At the review aggregate websites GameRankings and Metacritic, the Xbox 360 version holds an average review score of 95.69% and 96 out of 100 respectively. Critics praised multiple aspects of the game, including its interactive storytelling, characterization, and combat. In contrast, some reviewers expressed concerns about the game's simplified gameplay compared to the previous game in the series. The game received numerous year-end awards, including Game of the Year at the 14th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards, and Best Game at the 2011 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards. A sequel, Mass Effect 3, was released in 2012.

Mass Effect 2 Plot

Mass Effect 2 begins weeks after the events of the original game. While patrolling for geth resistance, the SSV Normandy is attacked by an unknown starship, forcing the crew to abandon ship. During the evacuation, Shepard tosses Joker into the Normandy's final escape pod before being blasted into space. After a suit breach, Shepard dies of asphyxiation as his/her body is pulled into the orbit of a nearby planet. Shepard's body is recovered shortly after death by Cerberus, who creates the Lazarus Project with the sole purpose of bringing Shepard back to life. After two years, Shepard awakens on an operating table to ringing alarm bells in a research station under attack by its own security mechs. Shepard teams up with Jacob Taylor and medical officer Wilson to reach the escape shuttle. However, Miranda Lawson, who was already waiting at the shuttle bay, shoots Wilson, citing him as the station's betrayer. Shepard is brought to meet with the Illusive Man, who reveals that entire populations of human colonies are disappearing all over the galaxy.

Now working for Cerberus, Shepard is sent to investigate a recently-attacked colony where he/she finds clues about the validity that the Reapers are working by proxy through an insectoid species called the Collectors. The Illusive Man explains that Shepard must construct a team in order to stop the Collectors who reside beyond the Omega-4 Relay, a place from which no ship has ever returned. Shepard is also given command of a new starship, the Normandy SR-2, piloted again by Joker and equipped with an onboard AI named EDI. Shepard recruits four new squad membersóMordin Solus, Garrus Vakarian, Jack, and (optionally) Gruntóbefore receiving intel from the Illusive Man that another human colony is under attack. With the help of Mordin's studies on Collector biology, Shepard successfully stops the attack, but a large portion of the colony's population was captured. Shepard continues to recruit squad members, adding Tali'Zorah, Thane Krios, and Samara, until the Illusive Man contacts Shepard about a supposedly disabled Collector ship. As Shepard and the squad board the ship, they encounter no Collector resistance and learn that the Collectors were originally Protheans turned into slaves of the Reapers. With EDI's help, Shepard finds out how to bypass the Omega-4 Relay before being ambushed by the Collectors. Although Shepard and the squad manage to escape the Collector ship, relations between Shepard and the Illusive Man are strained due to the Illusive Man's knowledge of the Collector trap.

After optionally earning the loyalty of the squad, Shepard visits a derelict Reaper and acquires an IFF transponder necessary for safe travel through the Omega-4 Relay. Shepard may acquire a disabled geth that, if activated, voluntarily joins the squad and is given the name of Legion. The Normandy integrates the IFF into her systems while Shepard and the squad leave the ship in a shuttle. During their absence, the Normandy is attacked and boarded by the Collectors. Only Joker avoids capture and, with EDI's help, is able to get the Normandy away from the ambush. After Shepard's squad returns to the Normandy, the team uses the Omega-4 Relay to get to the Collector base. In the Collectors base, the team rescues any surviving members of the Normandy and fight their way to the central chamber. Squad members may survive or perish depending on their loyalty to Shepard, the upgrades made to the Normandy, and the tasks assigned for specific members to perform in the battle.

In the central chamber, Shepard discovers that the Collectors have been constructing a new Reaper made from the genetic material of the abducted humans, but EDI is unsure of its true purpose. Shepard destroys the machine powering the human Reaper and prepares to destroy the Collector base. However, before doing so, the Illusive Man contacts Shepard and gives the order to sterilize the base with a radiation pulse so that its information can be used against the Reapers. After choosing to destroy or sterilize the base, Shepard destroys the awakened human-reaper larva and, if enough squad members survived, escapes the base before the bomb detonates. If no squad members survive, Shepard will be unable to escape the Collector Base and will die. Back on the Normandy, Shepard speaks with the Illusive Man, who either praises or condemns Shepard's decision. As Shepard meets in the Normandy's cargo bay with the survivors of the mission, Joker gives the Commander schematics of a Reaper. Humanity now has the full attention of the Reapers, who awaken in dark space and descend upon the galaxy, setting the stage for Mass Effect 3.

Mass Effect 2 Gameplay

Mass Effect 2 is a single-player action role-playing game where the player takes the role of Commander Shepard through a third-person perspective. Shepard's gender, appearance, military background, combat-training and first name are determined by the player before the game begins. The player may choose to import a character from a completed saved game of the original Mass Effect or start the game with a new hero. Importing an old character allows several decisions the player made in the original game to impact the story of Mass Effect 2 and grants the player a set of starting bonuses. The game features six different character classes for the player to choose from. Each class is proficient in a different set of powers and weapon types. For example, the Vanguard class is specialized in close-range combat and shotguns, while the Infiltrator class relies on stealth combat and the use of sniper rifles.

The world of Mass Effect 2 is a galaxy map that the player can explore to find and complete quests. Most quests consist of combat missions, but some involve the player interacting with local characters during visits to settlements. As the player progresses throughout the game, different locations and new squad members become available. Experience points are gained by completing quests. Each time a sufficient amount of experience is obtained, the player "levels up" and is awarded Squad Points that can be used to develop powers for both Shepard and the members of the squad. Powers provide enhanced combat capabilities, with each power having four ranks that can be unlocked. Each rank costs the same number of Squad Points as its rank. For example, unlocking the first rank of a power requires one point, but unlocking all four ranks of a single power requires a total of ten points. Upon raising a power to its fourth rank, the player must evolve the power into one of two given forms.

The player's primary mode of transportation is a starship which serves as Shepard's base of operations. Aboard the ship, the player can interact with the squad members, customize the player's armor, travel to numerous planetary systems, and scan planets for mineral resources. These resources allow the player to research numerous in-game upgrades that are found in the missions, providing benefits such as increasing weapon damage, fortifying the player's health, or extending the ship's fuel capacity, among others. Scanning requires the player to move a reticle over a planet and launch a probe when an oscilloscope warns of near resources. Additional upgrades, equipment, and nonessential items such as magazines and decorations for the ship can be purchased from merchants in settlements.

Upon release, Mass Effect 2 received considerable acclaim from video game publications. At the review aggregate websites GameRankings and Metacritic, the Xbox 360 version of the game holds an average review score of 95.69% and 96 out of 100 respectively. Substantial praise was given to the game's diverse characters, interactive storytelling, voice acting and art design. IGN reviewer Erik Brudvig called Mass Effect 2 a very personal game, with a lot of emotion involved. He praised the option of importing a character, stating that the overall experience changes as different saved games from the previous game are used. Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer highlighted positively the weight of social interaction on the outcome of events and that players feel actual pressure for their decisions. Further praise was given to the game's characters. Edge credited them for their complex personalities and great characterization, while Game Revolution pointed out that the loyalty missions "reach deep enough into their characters to make you empathize with all of them."

The game's visuals and atmosphere received similar praise. GameSpot reviewer Kevin VanOrd remarked that Mass Effect 2 is more detailed and darker than its predecessor. He wrote that "deep reds and glowing indigos saturate certain scenes, making them richer and more sinister; eerie fog limits your vision in one side mission, while rain pours down upon you in another. Subtle, moody lighting gives certain interactions great impact." Reviewer Adriaan den Ouden of RPGamer credited the conversations and cutscenes for being better shot than the first game, stating that "it's hard to imagine them becoming much better in Mass Effect 3." Critics also gave high marks to the game's extensive cast of voices, in particular Martin Sheen's performance of the Illusive Man, which was singled out for "steal the show." Andrew Reiner, writing for Game Informer, opined that the music "flows beautifully" in both the story and action sequences. The IGN reviewer felt that the game's presentation and direction are "miles ahead of the competition."

Numerous publications declared the gameplay was an improvement over the original. John Davison of GamePro wrote "BioWare has done a spectacular job moving the role playing genre forward, and blending disparate gameplay styles into genuinely exciting sci-fi epic." VanOrd praised Mass Effect 2 for possessing an identity, which was something that its predecessor lacked. He noted that the shooting is "more immediate and satisfying, which keeps the pace moving and intensifies the violence of each encounter." Similarly, GameSpy's Gerald Villoria observed that, while the original Mass Effect "walked the line between RPG and shooter Mass Effect 2 has become a much more focused shooter experience." Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com credited the combat for being more balanced, stating that the game encourages players to use different weapon classes and squad abilities when the situation requires it. Despite the praise, some publications such as GameCritics and RPGamer expressed concerns about the game's simplified gameplay compared to the previous game in the series, calling it "stripped-down" and with a "dumbed-down feeling." Some reviewers also criticized the slow planet scanning. Game Revolution felt it was a "chore, mandatory if you want upgrades and boring because there is no tension or challenge", but ultimately concluded that the game as a whole "does more than enough to live up to its predecessor."

Reception for the PlayStation 3 version was similar. Colin Moriarty of IGN described it as "the best, most complete version of the game available" due to the upgraded game engine and the extra downloadable content packs. In contrast, VanOrd criticized the inclusion of the character Kasumi Goto from the Kasumi - Stolen Memory pack, stating that "she never fits in with her more fully developed cohorts." He also remarked that the PlayStation 3 version suffers from technical issues such as frame rate inconsistencies, graphic glitches, and other minor bugs, which are mostly present in the downloadable content sections of the game. Game Informer reviewer Joe Juba reacted negatively to the lack of save importation from the original Mass Effect, which was originally not released on PlayStation 3, and pointed out that the decisions made in the Mass Effect: Genesis interactive comic book "have practically no context." Despite the criticism, he stated that the game itself is equally as good on PlayStation 3 as it is on Xbox 360.

Complaints | Coins | Blog | Kites | Digital Media | Magazines | Soul | Obituary | Outdoor Living | Golf | Homeopathy | Contact Us | Books | Makeup | Chat | FAQ