GamesRadar Editor's Choice

Mass Effect 2 review

Delve into the darkest corners of the galaxy with our faster-than-light review

How important the new content might be to Mass Effect 3 is anyone's guess, but we're looking forward to spending more time with Shepard and adding to the crew. We logged around 45 hours on our review playthrough, which included all the personal quests and the final mission. And honestly? We're chomping at the bit to jump in and start a new playthrough with a new character. Mass Effect 2 is the first must-have game of 2010, and we're sure we'll be playing it well into 2011.

Is it better than...?

Borderlands? Yes, with a caveat for shooter purists. While Mass Effect 2’s combat is certainly no slouch, Borderlands feels more like a red-blooded shooter experience without all those meddlesome emotions and wacky biotics getting in the way. Borderlands also does a better job of scratching the loot itch. So if you just want to hook up with some friends online and blast monsters in the face, Borderlands is your jam. Mass Effect 2 trounces Borderlands in the role-playing department, though. Mass Effect 2's story, characters and locations are much richer than those found on Pandora. We prefer the depth and variety of Mass Effect 2.

Dragon Age: Origins? Yes. Everything about Mass Effect 2 feels more polished, and not just because of the lasers and shiny spaceships. Mass Effect 2 has a better combat system, better voice acting, better dialog, better animation, better graphics... After playing Mass Effect 2, it's disconcerting to have your character remain silent during conversations. Dragon Age: Origin's multi-layered command wheel is overly complicated, and the characters seem stiff and wooden by comparison. BioWare, you've outdone yourself again.

Fallout 3? Yes. Both are outstanding RPG/shooter hybrids with brilliantly realized worlds and memorable characters. Both test your moral fiber and do a great job of incorporating your decisions into the story. What gives Mass Effect 2 the edge is the feeling of camaraderie you develop with your squad over the course of the game. The personal quests and romantic possibilities add a layer of depth that’s missing from Fallout 3. Little touches like dynamic camera angles also make Mass Effect 2's dialog come more alive than Fallout 3's. And while Fallout 3’s apocalyptic Washington DC was an amazing setting, Mass Effect 2 offers more variety and scope in its locations. Mass Effect 2 is simply a bigger, more colorful place.

Just for you, Metacritic!

Mass Effect 2 strikes a perfect balance between intense shooter action and gut-wrenching drama, set in a richly textured world on the brink of destruction. It's a must-own for science fiction fans, who will love exploring the depths of the galaxy and fighting to save humanity.

Jan 26, 2010

More Info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionBioWare's space-based RPG series continues as Shepard assembles a squad to lead a suicide mission against the Reapers.
Franchise nameMass Effect
UK franchise nameMass Effect
PlatformXbox 360, PS3, PC
US censor ratingMature
UK censor rating16+
Release date26 January 2010 (US), 29 January 2010 (UK)