E3 09: Dying in Mass Effect 2 isn’t game over, its trilogy over

Life or death decisions. Forsaking the fate of the Galaxy for greed and power. Shooting cherished allies in the face. Mass Effect was a pretty dark game. It’s got nothing on its sequel, though, which combines the same tough RPG decision-making moments with grittier, more morally ambiguous action. It’s also a game where death matters like never before. And this time, if you die as protagonist, Commander Shepard, you might not be getting back up for Mass Effect 3.

Developers, BioWare, aren’t satisfied with merely making a moodier game. They want to create a title where decisions are more than superfluous window dressing cynically designed to prolong a game’s length. If you’ve still got your save file from the original, the choices you made carry over to the second chapter of this sci-fi saga.

Missed out on some sexy time with Mass Effect’s love interest, Ashley Williams, because you let her die in that bomb explosion? Well, don’t expect to kiss and make up when the game ships, because she’ll still be pushing up daises.

Above: Let either of these characters meet the guy on the right in the first game? Then you can kiss them goodbye for Mass Effect 2

Likewise, if you shot dinosaur-esque dude, Wrex, in his monstrous mug last time, he won’t be making an appearance this time around. Don’t worry if you’ve never played the original, though, as you can still play the game without an existing save file (the main plot of the game will likely be much the same). But, for those who have finished its predecessor, the chance to see your previous choices manifested in the new story is a cool reward for all the time previously invested in the game's universe.

Decisions have an even bigger impact throughout the course of the new game, too. And the choices we’ll be making, as Shepard heads a mission described as ‘suicidal’ in the trailer, will hold even more power than in the first Mass Effect.

More than simple good or bad, life or death dilemmas affecting how the game ends, what you decide during key moments will determine how Mass Effect 3 concludes. Make an error in judgment at a critical moment, which costs Shepard his life, and we might be controlling a new lead in the final part of the trilogy.

Above: Die in Mass Effect 2 and you might control someone else in the sequel, though it probably won't be this guy

It’s not just choices that carry more power now; the game’s shooting system has also been given an overhaul. Limb-specific damage is at the heart of the changes. And now, when you’re blasting robots in their metal unmentionables or sending the Geth (the series main baddies) to the grave, their bodies will react to where they’ve been shot.

Combine this with more cinematic presentation during cutscenes (with more dramatic shots during conversations) and we’re counting the days until we get back into Shepard's skin-tight spacesuit. If the original was Star Wars, then Mass Effect 2 is all set to be The Empire Strikes Back. Darker, bolder and almost certainly better.

What do you think of Mass Effect 2 so far? Do you care if Shepard bites the bucket? Are there any features you’d like to see in the game that haven’t been announced yet? Give us a shout in the comments section below.

June 05, 2009


  • Birday - July 10, 2009 10:59 a.m. can you not kill off Kaiden? He was by far the most bland character in there. I pretty much carried conversations with the entire cast of the game save him. That is probably one of the only weak points in ME.
  • Odogx44x - June 12, 2009 3:33 p.m.

    I cannot wait for this one! The first one was great. The storyline was always changing, and playing it the second time was even better, as renegade, so as the comment above mine said, I hope I do not have to play it again either.
  • SenorChunky - June 9, 2009 7:46 a.m.

    The idea of Mass Effect 2 is a great one, but very ambitious, what if it goes to hell? and why would you play as Shepard if you made your own character in the first Mass Effect game, so if you keep your originally designed character, and he bites the dust in Mass Effect 2, will you be playing as Shepard in Mass Effect 3?
  • WonsAuto - June 8, 2009 6:54 p.m.

    After E3 this is already shaping up to me my GOTY. Can't fuggin' wait.
  • jizzgernade - June 8, 2009 5:28 p.m.

    ok first off never put master chiefs head on shepard ever again, your insulting shepard to the highest degree by puting that noob, over rated, disgrace of a vidiogame character in any league with shepard, but back to the game, im totaly sykt about it and i dont think that they would put every little spec of detail and make it that narrow minded of a game and WHY THE HELL IS EVERYONE SOOOOOOOO shocked about if a character dies in 1 they wont be in 2, its common scence people, you beat 1 with a char and bring him to the 2nd, its that simple, new abilities, new equipment, new story, im as sykt bout it as much as the next person but lets stop stating the obvious and fro all the people that got rid of ash becoase you were a soldier, i just wana know if you guys played thru with any other class? so insted of anybody starting rumors, not saying anyone did but you know sumone will, and trying to find out the most about it so it ruins the suprise, im just going to continue to build that perfect shepard to bring over. and just for the record HALO AND MASTER CHIEF SUK!!!...
  • totalsniper - June 8, 2009 3:54 a.m.

    looks like all those hours getting to lvl 60 wont be wasted after all...what i cant wait for is to see how the relationships you've devolved in the first game change the second..did shepard have a kid? will they star in ME3? does shepard get married? does kaydens(or ash's) family have a grudge for killing there kids? im just so giddy for this game!
  • Zeldrin - June 7, 2009 5:14 p.m.

    I have a theory that the Normandy gets destroyed early in the game, with Shepard as the only or one of few survivors. That could be why why Nassana Dantius says "Shepard? But you're dead!" in the trailer.
  • Gsanity92 - June 6, 2009 8:29 p.m.

    the first game was one of my favourites of all time and the sequel is shaping up to be even better. bioware know how to make great games.
  • snowycrazyking - June 6, 2009 3:45 p.m.

    I wish that there was a way to see the decisions you made in the first game before you choose what save to load because I have no idea which save is paragon and which save is renegade.
  • DaNtHeManIsHeRe - June 6, 2009 12:55 p.m.

    mman, i did the same. its definitely gonna suck if they choose to use the most recent one, as im part of the good first evil second camp. recaptcha: punster ap)
  • FlyinMX - June 5, 2009 11:08 p.m.

    I'm a little confused. In the scene where Ashley dies, you choose between her and Kaiden, don't you? So wouldn't he be mentioned here too? I sacrificed Ashley because she had the same skillset as me so I needed Kaidens skills.
  • The_Lurcher - June 5, 2009 9:13 p.m.

    So i think we've established nobody likes or liked Ashley? she's completely expendable.
  • TheLightFantastic - June 5, 2009 8:07 p.m.

    @jammin: seconded, i hated Ashley
  • jamminontha1n2 - June 5, 2009 7:28 p.m.

    @jar-head: i would let ashley die for any possible reasond. she was a alien hater and annoying.
  • jar-head - June 5, 2009 7:14 p.m.

    Sheparad is the most important person. I would let worlds burn for him to live, i would kill ashley for a mission to succeed, i would murder wrex if he went merc again, i would assasinate the council(who i let live0 for them to obey me, power with knowledge is more power then lust itself, it's divine.
  • GamerTagsSuck - August 1, 2009 9:13 p.m.

    I'm gonna play through again. I want to make sure that my guy is good. I'll probably play through a bunch without using the load an old game feature. And if younever played the first game... How do they determine who dies? Its probably always Ash cause she's a bitch.
  • RelentlessX - July 26, 2009 2:59 a.m.

    I completely agree with the above poster. I had Kaiden in my party for a grand total of ten minutes and wanted to kill him MYSELF. Atleast Ashley had a personality. She didn't have the tradition sentimentalist bull**** that every other romance character in the history of the universe had. And I like that she was racist, because quite frankly so is practically every real person I know. Also, did you even try the other romance? It was so color by numbers it was unbearable.
  • LePsycho - June 9, 2009 2:30 p.m.

    I may have to buy the first game again to play over summer after seeing the E3 footage... didn't like how the game ended when I played!
  • norid - June 8, 2009 5:10 p.m.

    @ onesweetdreem amen brother amen
  • Defguru7777 - June 8, 2009 1:06 a.m.

    I really don't like the whole "Shepard dies once then you're up crap creek without a paddle" thing. I do stupid things in games. I die. I don't want my idiocy to be responsible for the galaxy going to shit. Maybe I'm too emotional. Other than that, I can't wait for this game. I just finished Mass Effect 1, and it kicked every alien species collective asses! Sorry. Still too emotional.

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