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Mass Effect 2 - Updated impressions

Morality. It’s a tricky thing in games. When you’re called on to make some kind of ethical decision in a virtual world, the choices are usually black and white. Kill or arrest. Gift or steal. Rescue or abandon. In the original Mass Effect, the choices were rarely so easy, partly because of the ambiguity of the characters, and also because you weren’t sure what the consequences might be.

In Mass Effect 2, the choices are only going to get tougher. This time you’re fighting for your own species, and the survival of Commander Shepard and his or her crew. “Mass Effect 2 is about a suicide mission that Shepard faces,” explains project director Casey Hudson. “It’s not so much about making it really hard for people to keep their character alive – I think most people will be clear on what they need to do to survive. It’s more about having a real sense of consequence, so that players who ignore the whole point of the game (building a tough and loyal team) will experience a spectacular final mission; a bloodbath from beginning to end and one that results in their character not making it out alive.”

This is something Bioware has been hinting at since they released the very first teaser trailer for ME2. "Is Shepard really dead?" was the question lighting up fan forums and community sites. At E3, Hudson and the team finally revealed what the teaser was getting at – that Shepard could die if the 'wrong’ choices are made.

But what if you’re new to the series, and you don’t have the history of an entire game’s worth of explosive choices and charged dialogue behind you? What if you have no Commander Shepard on your Hard Drive? “Mass Effect 2 is designed to bring in new players, so for them the story will stand alone from the first game, but they will also get a good idea of what happened before,” explains Hudson. “For them, there will be a certain ‘canon’ of events that happened previously, as though this is the first game in the series.”

So, a generic storyline with the decisions already made for them. It’s great to see Bioware isn’t just catering for the die-hard fans. However, the best advice for potential newbies is: go and play the first game. Sure, ME2 will fill you in on what is happening, but it will have to gloss over subtleties, and you don’t want to miss them.

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41 comments

  • AHolyMonk - September 2, 2009 3:31 p.m.

    If this game can improve on teh original as much as it seems to be aiming for, this could be one of the greatest games of next year.
  • yazooka - August 16, 2009 12:40 a.m.

    This game looks amazing
  • Doctalen - August 15, 2009 8:14 a.m.

    I am getting this. ME1 was good but got boring after a few run throughs. Epecially since you could not change the difficutly everytime the game is beat. Whats the point of being level 60 if your playing on easy?
  • sadisticgrizzz - August 15, 2009 4:56 a.m.

    hey tuna see the liara scene nothing better than a big blue alien booty lol
  • sadisticgrizzz - August 15, 2009 4:54 a.m.

    oh hell yeah this sounds great!! im just clearing mass effect on insanity level. but damn i hope the AI is better u got 2 do it all urself on one i hope 2 deliver some solid AI help PS i hope they replace that damn moon patrol reject mako 4 planet expoling
  • bron1417 - August 14, 2009 4:23 p.m.

    man i cant wait for this game. i really enjoyed the first ME so i kno i'll be expecting bigger and better things this time around.
  • adadadad - August 14, 2009 4:09 p.m.

    FIRST! MAY LIK MASS EFFECT. PS-CRAP FAIL AGAIN! QUIET COMPLICATE FOR MAY, THO. SAD FACE :( . AX
  • Evernight - August 14, 2009 3:29 p.m.

    I am glad they are addressing many of the gameplay issues that plagued the first game. But one that I have heard nothing about is the level structure. Save for a few areas, the game really felt a bit "corridorish" but with pretty walls. Why give me a massive city and only 4 places to go? Why give me a planet to explore with nothing on it and with the same base I just explored on the last planet? Lets also hope they make the combat a bit more battle like and less skirmishy - I felt like I could only use 1 or two powers before I had killed everyone off - never having to manage my power usage and cooldowns.
  • lovinmyps3 - August 14, 2009 12:52 a.m.

    Oh my god!! This game is going to be so AWESOME!!!
  • farsided - August 13, 2009 11:27 p.m.

    ...but what if we got it on with Wrex? that's right, I grabbed a single vial of the cure for the genophage just for him before I blew the entire place to kingdom come. god, i hope he makes a return cuz he was the #1 badass of Mass Effect.
  • gmcb2011 - August 13, 2009 10:52 p.m.

    Sorry, got to be a nerd real quick. If Shepard and Liara did have a baby, it would be completely Asari. It would just have the experiences of humans and all that mind stuff. Just thought I'd point that out....
  • TeragRunner - August 13, 2009 10:08 p.m.

    Supposedly they got rid of the elevator loading scenes all together.
  • Hinro - August 13, 2009 9:53 p.m.

    I'm definatly looking forward to this game. I just really hope that, if they still have elevator scenes that they make them shorter. There was nothing worse than after a fierce battle then to turn around the next corner and see an elevator which would take a few minutes to go up to the next floor and you can't even move.
  • TeragRunner - August 13, 2009 9:43 p.m.

    Mass Effect two was maybe my second favorite game of all time. I just hope they made combat better, that was the only thing I didn't like.
  • jar-head - August 13, 2009 9:42 p.m.

    bioware kicks ass, they Listen to their forums, and they go Beyond, Think. Think different.
  • bioshocker - August 13, 2009 9:19 p.m.

    ohhh yes I've been craving some new ME2 info. Thanks soo much for this :D
  • lewis42025 - August 13, 2009 7:27 p.m.

    jus gotta say that the first mass effect was the first game to truly make me believe that games could rival movies in terms of story telling and emotional responses. such a freaking masterpiece
  • lewis42025 - August 13, 2009 7:25 p.m.

    oh man, i wonder if its coincidence or providence that i'm one of the first people to comment on this, considering it's like my most anticipated game ever. and now i'm even more hyped for it!!!
  • solsunforge - August 21, 2009 5:56 a.m.

    And you talk like a moron who was kicked in the face with a spiked cleet and then smaked in the teeth with a bowling pin.
  • adadadad - August 17, 2009 10:33 p.m.

    MAY LIK THE MASS EFFECT. EXAMBLE WHY GREET AND SPECIEL XBOX IS MADE OF /WIN. (PS-CRAP IS MADE OF /FAIL AND TEARS). AX

Showing 1-20 of 41 comments

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