Mass Effect 2

  • Finely crafted story, characters and dialog
  • Ramped up action with better controls
  • Continuing your story with an imported character
  • The mining minigame is a pile of ass
  • Helmet-head intrudes on key scenes
  • Armor and equipment management is too refined

Since weapon upgrades affect your entire team the only place where changing your loadout makes a difference is with Shepard's heavy weapon. Each has slightly different uses (particle beam vs missile launcher, for example) and heavy weapons are the only ones whose ammo is scarce. Access to specialty ammo has changed from the first game too; special ammo types are now available on the biotic power wheel rather than being a weapon-level modification handled in the equipment screen. Some characters can develop warp or shredder rounds, but it’s all done quickly and easily through biotics. It’s a relief after the first game’s convoluted menu screens.

There are also character specific upgrades you can develop in the lab. You can research custom biotic amps for Jack or special health tonics for Grunt, for example, or even upgrade the ship itself. It's up to you how you want to spend your hard-earned money and resources. Speaking of resources, than brings us to...

The one single thing wrong with Mass Effect 2 (OK, two things)

There's one atrocious part of Mass Effect 2 that sticks out like a sore thumb. In order to build the upgrades you find scattered throughout the universe, you'll need to gather resources. A small amount of resources are found in crates during the course of missions, but if you want to build the really rockin' stuff you'll have to play the mining minigame.

Above: That's no moon... oh, wait

The mining minigame consists of holding down the left trigger while sweeping the scanner across the surface of the planet. When you've found something, the controller vibrates and the readings on the line graph spike up. That's your cue to fire a probe and collect your resources. Conceptually, it would work if it didn't take so damn long to scan each planet. It just gets more and more irritating every time you're forced to endure it. Want to build that sweet shotgun upgrade you just found? Get ready to piss away half an hour or more sweeping the solar system for platinum. This tedious minigame is a letdown after the masterfully paced combat and story.

The other complaint we have is with Shepard's helmet

Above: Kiss me on my visor, you sexy beast

Our bittersweet reunion with our love interest from the first game was utterly ruined because we had to have that extra +5% health. Well, you never know when shooting might break out, right? On the topic of armor, upgrades and customization felt a bit sparse throughout the game, with new options coming few and far between. In contrast to the relative scarcity of new armor in the game, we couldn't help but note the diversity of armor on offer through a variety of external channels.

Above: Consumer loyalty programs: which will you succumb to?

More Info

Release date: Jan 26 2010 - Xbox 360, PC (US)
Jan 29 2010 - Xbox 360, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Role Playing
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: BioWare
Franchise: Mass Effect
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood, Drug Reference, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Violence
PEGI Rating:

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  • Twitchytwitch - February 16, 2013 2:49 p.m.

    any idea if theres going to be a 4th one?
  • dontshootthereviewer - November 29, 2010 11:05 p.m.

    I was planning on waiting till I got Mass Effect to play this one but I found it for 5 bucks at target and decided why not.
  • Oney97 - July 9, 2010 6:06 a.m.

    Amazing game, recommend it, and if you import a character it looks exactle the same as the first game.
  • FNG - May 25, 2010 11:39 p.m.

    I hate you I clicked on a link on this website for the etiquette of gaming like a man and I got this Sh*t. F*ck you.
  • aktirak - March 27, 2010 3:50 a.m.

    Mass Effect2 id the perfect game for gamers like that hate dificult items management system, also love how simple is to upgrade the wapons. the only thing that might miss the mark is the armor, it doesnot matter what type of armor or attachment the player use all of them fell somewhat the same. even using the Terminus,Cerberus,Inferno,Dragon Age or Collectors armor I personaly cant tell the diference. the real kicker is the story and how the game feels so cinematic.
  • Ricochet3438 - February 16, 2010 10:09 p.m.

    i absolutey love this game! i definately think GR overreacted about the probe minigame tho. its not tht bad i wanted 2 buy new weapons for the NOrmandy and i needed like 50000 substance zero and i got it in like 10 mins. u just need 2 kno were 2 look :)
  • volrath46656 - February 13, 2010 4:43 p.m.

    I would recommend playing Bioshock 1 and/or Mass Effect 1 first, then buy the sequel based on which game you liked better.
  • CLEIP - February 13, 2010 12:51 a.m.

    Should i buy this game our bioshock 2?
  • volrath46656 - February 11, 2010 5:07 p.m.

    Thank you, ChiefLethal, for noticing and commenting on the reviewer's mistake of saying Mass Effect is better than Fallout 3. This is not the first time a GR reviewer has made a similar grievous error (Dragon Age better than KOTOR? WTF?). I have played and finished both games (ME2 and Fallout 3), and they are on totally different ends of the videogame spectrum. While both RPGs, the two are so drastically different in terms of what they offer the player that to say one game is better than the other is a pretty narrow-minded analysis. Where Fallout succeeds Mass Effect fails, and vice versa (and this is an argument that could go on for hours). The same goes for Dragon Age comparisons. While Mass Effect might be more engaging in terms of storyline presentation and originality, the universe crafted around the Grey Wardens is a much deeper gameplay experience (again, just my opinion, but I feel like tweaking with the Combat Tactics options in DA is a game within the game). I did not use my teammates in Mass Effect 2 - the Vanguard is a ridiculously overpowered class - but in Dragon Age, I couldn't pass a single boss battle without having a well-designed team to back me up. Basically, I feel like ME2 is a step forward in interactive gaming, but a step backward for traditional RPGs. The ability to import and continue a character from the first game is awesome, as is the fact that your protagonist actually speaks; and the universe crafted around the game is awesomely deep. For every awesome feature, though, one equally terrible exists (i.e. pointless minigames, dumbed-down leveling-up, limited weapon/loot options - which sucks for both shooters and RPGs). Please, PLEASE, don't jump to rash conclusions like "Mass Effect 2 is better than Dragon Age and Fallout 3!" That decision is ultimately up to the player - each of the three games is awesome in its own way. And am I the only person who misses the Mako? Upgrade it, don't scrap it!
  • AliasAce - February 7, 2010 8:43 a.m.

    This game sucks horribly! So much reading and small words plus this game is slow! I didn't like the 1st one and the second one just sucks even more! I give it a 5 for it's graphics. I already traded mine back in and got back 20.00! What a waste of a DVD ROM and my cash!!
  • sprog - February 5, 2010 3:02 p.m.

    This game IS amazing. All I'll say is they had better make the romantic decisions you made in this one actually MATTER in ME3!! Still, this was an emotional rollercoaster. I've never been so hesitant in embarking on a final mission in my life.
  • ChrithGame - February 4, 2010 10:51 p.m.

    I want the game it looks awsome
  • Morethan3words - February 3, 2010 7:13 p.m.

    Overall I love the game, but improvements for ME3: the _systems_ customization of your character(s) are pretty good, but sorely lake in depth. I love that we could change our casual appearance, but only 4 costumes? Actually, I would say that overall variety of appearances, whether they be main characters or random NPCs, was sorely lacking. I mean, why does every stripper in the galaxy look exactly the same? I never once saw someone wearing red clothing, or yellow, or purple, or green. We go to bustling cities and the capital of the galaxy and everyone is wearing some combination of blue, black, brown and white. I actually think that they should bring back some of the free-form style of exploration that we had in ME1. I mean, I think ship travel in ME2 is a lot more fun and does a better job of conveying how remote some places are, but the on-planet side-missions don't feel remote. Driving around on the mako, while annoying because of the controls, did a much better job of showing us how this tiny little outpost was literally the only thing on that planet, which made it look and feel a lot more remote than just showing up on top of the outpost and leaving straight from it. More customization of our party members, especially in appearance. Two costumes per character? Not enough, I would like to see both casual and armor customization for all the party members. You've already got us buying fish, model ships and hampsters, would it be so crazy to give us a few clothing stores to peruse? Overall the stores were a little disappointing, in the first one I could run to each one and pick the one or two things from each store I wanted, and buy those. But in ME2 I felt like I needed to buy every single item in every single store, which made it so I didn't even look at what I was buying, I just ran to each store and hit A a lot. In general these are minor issues, but I think could be huge improvements for either DLCs and/or ME3.
  • Ashermeister - February 3, 2010 1:39 a.m.

    As much as i loved this game, i couldn't help but feel slightly disappointed. Mass effect was known for it's incredible story telling, but faltered in the gameplay elements in some places (combat and mako). Luckly in mass effect 2 the mako parts have been taken out and the combat has been massively upped in scale. But i felt the story was much much weaker than the first and felt rather cheated by the end level. Don't get me wrong, i enjoyed doing the personal missions and everything, just it didn't add a whole lot onto the story as i had hoped. Maybe i was looking foward to it to much.
  • WalrusFromHell - February 2, 2010 5:15 a.m.

    needs more guns and armor
  • Jasonp107 - January 31, 2010 6:16 p.m.

    In case anyone here DOESN'T already own Mass Effect 2, you can win a copy (for whatever system you use) from now through the next two weeks over at
  • Smeggs - January 31, 2010 5:45 a.m.

    From The Citadel to Tuchanka in order categorical. :P
  • GrandMoffBubbles - January 30, 2010 10:11 p.m.

    I deleted my 1st play thru (lvl 40) and played again up to lvl 50 and was surprised to see that both were there to import. As long as you finished the main quest line the game will remember that you played it regardless whether you think you deleted the 1st playthrough or not. Pretty smart game.
  • GrandMoffBubbles - January 30, 2010 9:40 p.m.

    The "Chuck" babe is soooooo awesome for not only lending her sweet voice to the game but her likeness as well. I've always had a weakness for the lovely ladies with Aussie accents. Now my favorite game coincides with my dream girl. Woo Hoo!
  • Samael - January 30, 2010 4:56 a.m.

    @Just96 It enhances certain side-quests, but there are no new quests made because of them. @maynardj You're talking about Mass Effect 1. While I loved it and disagree with your opinion on it, ME2 is a completely different game. You don't need to worry about micromanaging equipment and the combat is completely overhauled.