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

  • spicypooptastic

    is there a way I can skip through the dialog and just get to the shooting, b/c personally I don't care what people have to say I play video games to shoot stuff. I mean thats why I thought fallout 3 sucked, I mean why do I need to talk to these boring losers and READ their boring stories. I just wanna shoot stuff.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 11:32 AM
  • kookie_munster

    patrick i want youre job!!

    Posted: December 17, 2009 10:14 AM
  • ravenhermit

    This only makes me THAT much happier that I pre-ordered my Collector's Edition on the first day. Absolutely can't wait - I daresay I'm anticipating this more than I anticipated Assassin's Creed II.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 9:56 AM
  • scantron1

    I am really looking forward to this game. Hopefully I won't have to play it 3 times just to get the achievements because that is where this game lost me. I also felt like the difficulty was wildly skewed between each level to the point that I couldn't even think of doing it on even the 2nd highest level.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 9:22 AM
  • vanphelan

    Looks like I wasn't first at all lol. Im such a noob ~.~

    Posted: December 17, 2009 9:17 AM
  • MayorAdamWest

    thanks so much u guys fotr showing this hands on preview for the game i am definetely getting this since i reserved it and played the first one. I want my decisions to have a effect on me when i play the second game again i appreciated. ( um just to put it out there can anyone please email to me when the heavy rain game exactly comes out and when is its demo comin out ? thanks my email is daiquan.thomas@yahoo.com

    Posted: December 17, 2009 9:14 AM
  • vanphelan

    FIRST! I feel like this game is NEVER going to get here. I have been excited about this game before I even finished the first one hoping a sequel was going to be made. I have to say Mass Effect renewed my love for RPG's after getting so tired of the cookie cutter JRPG's that were around for a few years. Obvlivion was great too but a little overwhelming. I have always been a big Star Trek and Star Wars fan so Mass Effect appealed to me as the next great sci fi story. Hopefully the changes don't make it more shooter than RPG but I have faith that Bioware did this game justice.

    Posted: December 17, 2009 9:12 AM
  • X3steelersX3

    OH my gosh this game is gonna be soooo epic! i cant wait to get my hands on this new effecient title gonna be amazing :-)

    Posted: December 17, 2009 9:09 AM