Mass Effect 2 - Xbox 360

Game Description: BioWare returns to its planned epic, sci-fi trilogy with Mass Effect 2. Following the events of the first game, the title will read the gamer's save file from the first title, changing their gameplay experience in the sequel. With updated graphics and an improved combat system, Mass Effect 2 is sure to be a hit when it is finally released.
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Mass Effect 2 Hands-On Preview

Mass Effect 2 Hands-On Preview

By Patrick Klepek - Posted Dec 17, 2009

Mass Effect 2

I was given a chance to play the first hour or so of Mass Effect 2 in San Francisco earlier this week. There was no one looking over my shoulder, no developer pointing out what new gameplay features I should be checking out. This was my first real look at Mass Effect 2, a chance to make note of lessons BioWare learned from the original and applied to the follow-up.

If you've been worried that BioWare has secretly removed the RPG elements from Mass Effect 2, don't. It's a little like Nintendo's approach to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, a game Nintendo promoted as multiplayer-friendly, while secretly building in an excellent single-player experience. BioWare has clearly made a concentrated effort to make Mass Effect 2 a much better shooter, no doubt an attempt to help expand the game's audience. There were two additions that made a meaningful impact on Mass Effect 2's gameplay. One, when running around the environment, Shepard will now automatically lock into cover. It doesn't require an additional button press. Two, ally abilities can now be mapped to left and right on the d-pad. It lets players map their favorite powers to the d-pad, allowing immediate access that won't slow down the flow of combat. If you want to stop a battle in its tracks (not to mention gain access to all the available powers), that option is still there. It's useful for both kinds of play styles.

(SPOILER ALERT: If you don't want to know what happens during the opening moments of Mass Effect 2, skip the new few paragraphs.)




Mass Effect 2 E3 2009 Trailer



But BioWare lied to us, gamers. Okay, technically, it's better described as some clever smoke and mirrors, but the point still stands. Remember when BioWare showed the E3 trailer for Mass Effect 2 (seen above), depicting the death of Commander Shepard, and gamers wondered why the story-heavy company would spoil such an important part of the sequel? As it turns out, that sequence wasn't lifted from halfway through Mass Effect 2 -- it's the opening sequence of the game.

Mass Effect 2 opens with a bang. Commander Shepard and the rest of the crew from the original Normandy ship are attacked by an unknown entity, which hurtles Shephard from the Normandy into space, en route towards an icy death on a nearby planet. Cue the title, Mass Effect 2. BioWare doesn't seem to be lying about Mass Effect 2 being the dark chapter (think The Empire Strikes Back) in the proposed Mass Effect trilogy. Unsurprsingly, it turns out Shepard isn't really dead. I'll leave his resurrection story for you to discover on your own.

Coming back from the dead, however, gives BioWare a convenient opportunity to force players to reconsider what kind of character they want to be in Mass Effect 2. The classes have been retooled, with BioWare promising a better balance between the class choices. In my time, however, it was impossible to know how successful BioWare was at executing that. I stuck to a by-the-numbers soldier class to ensure I'd have no problems blowing up the bad guys.




(Ok, the SPOILERS are done.)

Mass Effect 2

BioWare promised the final version of Mass Effect 2 would be locked at 30 frames-per second. The build in San Francisco wasn't quite there, with some frequent slowdown cropping up. These changes are traditionally implemented in the final weeks of development and BioWare has until the end of January to make those tweaks. Even now, Mass Effect 2 looks substantially better than the original, if only because BioWare eliminated the much-maligned texture issues.

You have the option to start Mass Effect 2 by importing a save file from Mass Effect, bringing your previous decisions into this new adventure. You aren't forced to do so and can start from scratch. Through a combination of responses to in-game conversations and decisions simply made by BioWare, the game will determine what would have happened in the original. BioWare showed one example of a decision from Mass Effect impacting Mass Effect 2 -- the fate of Wrex. If you choose to let Wrex die, when you visit the Krogan homeworld, Shepard and his crew are met with immediate hostility from everyone. If he lives, it's the opposite -- Shepard is greeted with a cheer and open arms. As for the fate of Wrex... well, you'll find out eventually.

Mass Effect 2

There's much more to discover and discuss about the second act in BioWare's sci-fi opus. An hour was not enough to really comprehend what's changed -- the good, the bad, the same -- in Mass Effect 2. The alterations to combat are enough that I would encourage gamers who didn't care for combat in the original to keep an eye on Mass Effect 2. For now, the wait continues.

Comments are Closed

  • Aristofiles

    ME is despite its obvious flaws one of my favorite games of all times. The fact that it had so many big and obvious flaws makes me almost happy. That means that thay dont have a choise but to fix them all for part 2 and make it even better. Ive alredy preordered the collectors edition and applied for a few days off work around the end of jan.

    Posted: January 11, 2010 8:52 AM
  • tsiper29

    This is gonna be the biggest game of 2010 man I so can't wait for this one! I have played thru Mass Effect 8 times waiting for ME2!

    Posted: January 11, 2010 1:17 AM
  • Dwarves

    Was the first Mass Effect also published by EA?

    Posted: December 19, 2009 5:37 PM
  • assassinsODST

    Please answer this question- do your guns and stats from ME1 come back, or do you start out with the crap guns and just your class?

    Posted: December 18, 2009 6:24 PM
  • TheJundt

    When Cerberus picks him up then they help him since he's hurt and make him part cyborg?

    I also think the geth with the N7 armor is Nihlus Kryik, and maybe Saren in placed some fourm of DAN in Nihlus as a back up if something happens?

    Also I played Mf 6 times trying to explore different routes, and my favorite is when I have Tali, and I tried anyway I can to get here to be my #1 women. So it makes me think, MF2 or MF3 do we find a cure for there weak immune system, then Tali doesn't have to ware that protective suit anymore? Just some thoughts I had about the story for the Characters.

    Posted: December 18, 2009 6:18 PM
  • TheJundt

    So If Shepard goes into space to his Icy death, Then some of his body is Machine, like Master Chief is. So Shepard is part Cyborg now?

    Posted: December 18, 2009 5:45 PM
  • TheJundt

    I hope If a person is a high lv like 45-60 that the game is much harder, then if you were at 20-30, and If you are at a high lv then maybe you unlock some difficulty settings?

    Posted: December 18, 2009 5:18 PM
  • TheJundt

    That picture above does not look like Wrex at all. Wrex has more red on top, Do we lose Wrex and,then cane a friend of his or a cousin?

    Posted: December 18, 2009 5:14 PM
  • AtomicJ

    Seth Green's voice acting does NOT sound good in this game.

    Seth Green's voice acting + any stress whatsoever = Chris Griffin.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 8:38 PM
  • ManWhoWasNotThere

    when you bring your save over to mass effect 2, you dont keep your gear or your level, you just keep your choices, so no it wont make it easy

    Posted: December 17, 2009 6:30 PM
  • cwhas2godhands

    i'm getting ready for ME2 by finally finishing my second play-through of ME. the first time i was a paragon soldier, now i'm a renegade adept. i've been shocked at some of the results from the choices i've made in my second play-through.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 5:23 PM
  • samiam0605

    Ok by the end of January I must cut all ties with friends and family, because this game will take up all my free time.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 4:03 PM
  • jham513

    I hope bringing in your old character from the first game doesnt make it to easy. I cant see how starting with a level 50 character makes the game challenging.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 3:47 PM
  • ExclusiveBigLC

    There was one thing I thought to be a little weird in this preview. It is said that Shepard will automatically lock into cover (which I found occasionally annoying in the first game, but I digress). He did this in the first one, and Patrick makes it sound like you had to press a button in the first game to get Shepard into cover. Maybe he was just stating a game mechanic, but the way he said it made it sound like this was a new feature. IMO.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 2:04 PM
  • madsanitizer


    Did some Shepard's die at the end of part 1? Mine crawled out of some wreckage...

    Posted: December 17, 2009 1:57 PM
  • Vesuvian Ast3r1x

    4 letters, 1 meaning, EPIC. Now i've got to go replay the original so that i can have a whole lot of save files with as many differing outcomes as i can, just to see how the intro will be affected.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 12:59 PM
  • Peatore

    I hope Wrex is still a party member after I saved him from dying, that would suck if I spent that extra time on his side Quest only for him to go "Well thanks Shepard , we've had some good times but im going to go bugger off on my own little thing for a bit, good luck with saving the universe."

    Posted: December 17, 2009 12:50 PM
  • Phategod

    This is my most anticipated game in years.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 12:28 PM
  • SavageHunter

    I love that developers are actually listening to gamer feedback. Its so useful in making a better game. Hopefully more and more company's will follow the trend of listening to the public.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 11:54 AM
  • Cheapy

    Well, time to replay the first one again.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 11:47 AM