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Mass Effect 2

aka: ME2
Moby ID: 44900
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Saren and the Sovereign have been defeated and the Citadel has been saved. Depending on the player's choices made in the first Mass Effect, humanity may be all that's left of the Citadel Council. Of course, that doesn't keep them from ignoring the former war-hero Shepard who knows that the threat from the Reapers is still real. Instead, they send him or her on a boring mission to find some Geth in the Terminus system. The inevitable happens: a new enemy enters the scene, destroys Shepard's ship, the Normandy, and kills the hero of the galaxy. End of game?

No, not really. Cerberus, a known human-centric network, believes the threat from the Reapers to be real and only sees one chance of saving the human race: Shepard. So they invest millions upon millions of credits into the Lazarus Project, and two years after Shepard died floating in space, he/she reawakens on-board the Cerberus Station. The main mission is given by Cerberus: find out more about the mysterious race of Collectors who abduct millions of human colonists for an unknown purpose, and figure out their possible connection to the Reapers.

Mass Effect 2 is a hybrid of third-person-shooter and role-playing game. After the prologue, where the player witnesses the destruction of the original Normandy, he has to create a new character and choose from one of six classes each with its own powers. The decision also influences which weapons the player can use during playthrough as only the soldier can wield every weapon in the game. During the course of the game, the player and his squad-mates earn experience points by killing enemies, fulfilling missions, and hacking safes in order to get a level up. For each level up between 1-20, two talent points are awarded, from 21 to the maximum level of 30 only one, with which the character's powers can be upgraded in four stages. Once the last upgrade has been purchased, a specialization has to be chosen making the talent even more powerful in one aspect. All this goes also for the player squadmates. The player starts with two companions at his side but can collect up to ten during the course of the game. While he is only allowed to bring two with him into a mission, the collected experience points will be equally shared with those that are left behind.

Fighting is done in a Gears of War-like fashion, with the characters being able to storm into cover and look out to get in a few shots. In addition, health and shield energy are regenerated automatically if the protagonist or his squadmates avoid being hit for a few seconds. To fight the various kinds of enemies, each class has access to different types of weapons like the sniper rifle and heavy pistol for the infiltrator as well as five different kinds of heavy weapons. The weapons now require ammunition which is either dropped by killed enemies or scattered around the level, but there are only two types: one for the heavy weapons and one for all others. Heavy weapons like the grenade launcher come with a very limited supply of ammunition but are very powerful even against full-blown mechs.

Inventory management has been removed entirely. The player is only able to change the weapons load-out of his team from the small set he will collect during the course of the game. His squadmates don't have different armor anymore, only the protagonist's appearance can be changed by researching new armor parts and putting them together to a full suit in his cabin aboard the Normandy. Through research, the player also gets access to upgrades to the Normandy, his squadmates, and their tools. To do research the player not only needs to find or buy the plans for the upgrade but also needs enough minerals. The four types of minerals in the game are either found in chests during a mission or collected through a scanning mini-game on the galaxy map. In the mini-game, the player uses a cursor to move around the face of the planet and send in probes if he finds a mineral source. Side quests can also be found this way and are shown as anomalies on a planet.

Besides the combat, the second most important part of the game are the multiple-choice dialogues. The decisions the player makes here heavily influence the player's path deciding if he will become a bad or a good person. To that end not only the dialogue choices are sorted by good, neutral and bad but special dialogue options are available for each path if the player has enough points in it that can end a dialogue prematurely in the hero's favor. Quick-time events have been introduced, where the player can perform an alignment action independent from his current path, such as hitting an obnoxious reporter in the face to shut her up.

As opposed to the first game, the PC- and the Xbox-360-versions are nearly identical. The only difference is the interface which, on the Xbox 360, features a radial menu with the ability to put four powers on hot-keys as opposed to the PC-version which features a mouse-controlled drag-&-drop interface and a quick-slot ribbon for up to eight powers to be activated by using the number keys. On both platforms, the player can directly use the powers his squadmates possess.

One of the most important features of Mass Effect 2 is the ability to import a character from the first game. While the character itself including class and appearance can still be changed at the beginning of the game, he will get a huge bonus both in credits, experience points, and minerals at the start of the game depending on the character level he had at the end. In addition, hundreds of decisions the player made in the first game will have an impact on more or less important parts of Mass Effect 2. This includes the state of the universe at the beginning of the game, which romances the player pursued and which of his squadmates died or survived the end as well as minor decisions like the survival of the Rachni queen. If Shepard survives the end of Mass Effect 2, the player will be able to carry him over to Mass Effect 3, too.

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Credits (Windows version)

544 People (530 developers, 14 thanks) · View all

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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 92% (based on 75 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.3 out of 5 (based on 185 ratings with 4 reviews)

A close-to-perfect middle part of the trilogy

The Good
First of all the fine presentation from part 1 has been improved even more. The cinematic presentation knows how to impress throughout the entire game. While the presentation was already impressive in Mass Effect 1, BioWare kind of struggled to master the powerful Unreal 3 engine when starting this epic trilogy in 2007. I was happy to see that BioWare finally knows how to deal with the engine, the graphics are impressive throughout, especially the character design and animation. Mass Effect is not the type of game you just play for a couple of minutes. That is why it took me some time to actually start my 360 and load the game: it is really time consuming as you don't want to stop playing once you take control of Commander Shepard's journey to save humanity.

Overall it is a great and epic game with a fantastic presentation and very good graphics. It will keep you busy for at least 30 hours and the moral systems makes it worth to return to the game and try different approaches.

The Bad
- The import function of ME1 save games didn't work for me
- RPG elements have been reduced, it feels more like a shooter than a pure RPG

The Bottom Line
- An epic tale in space
- basic RPG elements with a lot of FPS action in between
- stunning cutscenes and overall presentation
- keeps you busy for at least 30 hours
- further download content may keep it interesting even after several playthroughs

Xbox 360 · by Hammerlore (703) · 2010

A great RPG that is only slightly weaker than the first one

The Good
Most of the good things about the first Mass Effect still apply, so I'll just focus on the changes made from the predecessor. The first noticeable thing is that the shooting is much better, and the biotic/tech powers also feel more precise. Even though I absolutely loathe Gears of War and most of its imitators, Mass Effect's combat is improved by the fact that you at least keep moving, weapons feel powerful enough and your teammates are much more useful than in most games.

Also, the loyalty missions are great. I disliked the idea at first, but dedicating the bulk of the game to them actually works, because it makes us love these characters even more.

Of course, some of the glitches from the first game and the awkward pauses in conversations have been eliminated.

And hey, just about everything said by Garrus, Mordin, Legion or Kasumi apply. The dialogue is still great and there's much more humor in ME2, most of it funny.

Like the first time, the graphics are great, the music is memorable and the game has a lot of replay value: two playthroughs can be completely different from each other, thanks to the multitude of dialogue options and morality choices.

The Bad
After being bought by EA, it seems that BioWare has been forced to pander to the shooter crowd that plays mostly Gears of War (yuck!) or Call of Duty (eugh!). Though the inventory in the first ME was bad, BioWare's idea of fixing it is apparently to remove it completely. Now you can't customize weapons anymore, but what's even worse is that you can't customize armor, either. So I will be forced to look at the horrible uniforms given to Jack, Miranda and Samara. At least I can make Jack wear a shirt.

And what's with the barrage of fanservice, anyway? There's nothing wrong with sex appeal, but Mass Effect 2 goes through the tasteless, "pander to the teenage boys" route instead of the mature route. Just look at Miranda's uniform.

The advertising campaign talked about how much "darker" and "more mature" this game is, but that was just marketing-talk. If anything, the game feels more immature, with characters like Jack, Miranda and Grunt being shoved to our faces.

And what's with the RPG elements being whittled down? I know it sounds like I'm making a big deal out of this, but now the characters besides Shepard only have three active powers each, which feels like an artificial limitation.

Eliminating the Mako seems like a mistake in hindsight. Now there's very little variety in the game: most of it is just shooting and dialogue, especially shooting. Even on Casual, you're blasting your way through hundreds of nameless enemies, which gets boring after a while. I would have preferred seeing more missions like Thane's and Samara's loyalty missions. Though the side quests have better environments this time around, they mostly consist of shooting your way through a hundred mercenaries. That's what they call evolution?

Finally, the main story: Cerberus and the Collectors. Well, I don't want to spoil anything, but the ending and the final "boss" seem awkward and rushed, despite the epic music and action. The main story just doesn't seem as good as the first time around, and the Collectors are boring enemies. The game could have benefited from a clear-cut antagonist like Saren.

But, while I complain, the game is definitely one of the best ever, just not as good as the first one.

The Bottom Line
An amazing action-RPG. Some of the depth and the atmosphere of the first one has been replaced by fanservice, explosions and brown-ness. But it's still incredibly enjoyable, with some of the more glaring flaws of the first one removed. Just make sure you play the first one before this.

Xbox 360 · by Zokolov (49) · 2012

The ultimate interactive movie

The Good
First off I have to confess I haven't played the first Mass Effect, and after I finished this awesome game, I feel guilty of it, but I am going to fix it. But about this game I would say it is a modern classic. When I first inserted and installed this game in to my PC I got so hooked that I played this game through in five days, so it really took almost all free time I had. This game is the best one I have ever played in my life, and you might want to know which made me think like that. First off there is the story. When some one mentions the term "interactive movie", you probably start thinking those shitty FMV games (like Sewer Shark e.t.c.), but you should forget those and take this an example of good interactive movie. The game focuses more on the Shepard's personal relationships with his crew mates, and everyone have some sort of problems with their past, which you must to sort out to get their trust and, eventually, survive from the suicide mission. These side guests make the characters more deeper, and they feel far more humane than the common characters in the video games, so in fact that I felt sorry in my first play through because three of them died on a suicide mission. The combat is your common third person shooter, but it is very well done, all though the duck and cover style game play is so common these days it's actually became a modern cliché, but you forgive it when you watch your enemies falling to death from the cliff by your usage of biotics. And due the games many classes and choices you can play the game over and over again.

The Bad
But there is nothing so good it doesn't something bad with it. First of the game has an particularly nasty and annoying bug: your character gets stuck to different places you shouldn't be even able to reach, usually something above the surrounding area. This wouldn't be a such a problem if your character could fall but due the coding you just stick in some car's roof and you only change to get down there is run on the borders of the area and hope that the bug just reverse it self or reload the game and lose all that you have done so far. And the another thing that bugs me is the quality of the Cerberus network DLCs, or should I say lag of it. Sure it is always nice when you game is supported after the release, but I would have expected something more. The new armour and weapon are pretty pointless, the Hammerhead is pretty neat, but it serves pretty much no purpose, but the biggest disappointment is Zaeed Messani. He is a new addition to the crew and has his own side story like any other crew member in the game. The mission it self is the pretty basic, but that just about it. You can't have any discussions with Zaeed, and only thing he does is just tells the stories about himself, but without any ability to comment these he is more distant than the rest of the crew. And what I have read the DLCs you have to pay for are not any better. Overall Zaeed (and probably Kasumi) leaves me with the feeling he's originally was going to be in the main game, but the team didn't had the time to finish him up so they rushed him and released him as an crappy DLC. The mining mini game is boring as hell, but if you want to survive the suicide mission and play every single side guest and get every upgrade there is you have to do it, and it takes god damn long (although there is an upgrade that fastens it up).

The Bottom Line
If this game won't be at least the role playing game of the year, the awarded game got to be made by the God himself. The issues there is are just nick picking. This is the game I can proudly call an art. Why do you still read this review when you could save the galaxy!

Windows · by VVP (143) · 2010

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
So, these DLCs... Slug Camargo (583) Nov 11, 2011
Oh Bioware... The Fabulous King (1332) Jun 5, 2011
Impressed, thus far. Indra was here (20752) Mar 2, 2010

Trivia

1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die

Mass Effect 2 is mentioned in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by Tony Mott

Quarrians

It seems likely that the frequent religious invocation spoken among the Quarrian people, "Keelah se'lai," for which no translation is provided, is inspired by hybridized sounds similar to Arabic "Qul huwallahu ... " قُلْ هُوَ اللَّهُ أَحَدٌ which means "The Lord thy God is ... " or "Say of/about Allah that He is ..." from out of the phrase "Qul huwallahu ahad," or approximately "The Lord Thy God is one and indivisible, combined with the Hebrew selah, seylah, סֶלָה‎, the meaning of which is debated by specialists, sometimes interpreted as "forever," and sometimes as "now pause and consider the prayer or words just spoken."

This vaguely suggests that what the Quarrians may mean by their invocation is to say that "God is forever," or "God is eternal."

Quarrians also use the word "Keelah!" by itself as an interjection of awe and surprise similar to "My God!" Sometimes they say such things as "Oh Keelah," or "Keelah, I hope not."

Quarrian women's environmental suits make it look as though they are wearing very beautiful hijab (the veils worn by devout Muslim women). Yeoman Kelly Chambers, for example, remarks on how beautiful the Quarrian environmental suits for both sexes are. Also, Quarrians and Muslims both go on pilgrimage, although Quarrians do not mean the same thing by this that Muslims mean.

Finally, so far there has never been anything suggesting that Quarrians believe in more than one god, any more than Muslims, Christians, or Jews believe in more than one God. For comparison, the Drell characters Thane and Kolyat say they believe in polytheism, the Turians are animists who believe that almost every conceivable thing has a spirit, the Krogen say they worship their ancestors, and Dr. Mordin Solus says that many Salarians believe in reincarnation. It may be that Bioware decided not to provide details about the Quarrian religion because doing so might have offended Jews, Muslims, or Christians.

References

The small space hamster, which you can purchase from Citadel Souvenirs, is seemingly a reference to Baldur's Gate and Minsc’s animal companion, Boo, "the only miniature giant space hamster in the Realm!" Perhaps this explains its "knowing smile". Also, when Tali deploys a combat drone in a battle situation, she tells it to go for the optics, like Minsc tells Boo to go for the eyes.

References to the Game

Mass Effect 2 was parodied in an episode of "Die Redaktion" (The Editorial Team), a monthly comedy video produced by the German gaming magazine GameStar. It was published on the DVD of issue 05/2010.

Salutes

Even though Lawson is Shepard's executive officer on the new Normandy SR2, Lawson is never shown saluting except at the end of her conversation about setting out for the Omega 4 Relay, after apologizing for how she had once worried that Shepard was not suitable for their assignment. When Lawson does salute, she forms her hand correctly but she doesn't hold it long enough. Strictly speaking, a superior officer should prescribe a punishment in accordance with regulations if such a thing happens, and a very kind officer might just tell the subordinate to practice saluting more often, if only to protect them from getting in trouble with other superior officers.

Although Cerberus is a private organization, its personnel are uniformed, they follow strict rules as mentioned in the Project Overlord downloadable content, they receive rigorous training, and it is unlikely they would be operating a fleet of warships without using traditional military courtesy. In Mass Effect, when Shepard was still a member of the (Human) Systems Alliance Navy, Williams and Alenko saluted Rear Admiral Mikhailovich the moment he came to inspect the first Normandy. If Shepard chose not to salute, then the Admiral was quite understandably very displeased. By comparison, Jacob Taylor, the Armory Officer on the new Normandy, is a former member of the Systems Alliance Navy who decided to quit the Alliance and join Cerberus, rather than being with Cerberus from the beginning like Lawson. On the ship, Taylor comes to attention and salutes perfectly every time he is dismissed by Shepard, but neither he nor any other squad members salute in the field. The practice of not saluting in the field is a widespread practice today. Many countries, including the United States. have regulations that forbid soldiers from saluting officers in the field. After all, at any moment there may be an enemy sniper ready to kill whomever is seen being saluted.

Soundtrack

The song played on the upper level of the Afterlife Club is a new version of the song Callista by Saki Kaskas. This track was originally used for the car showroom in Need for Speed: High Stakes.

Awards

  • Cheat Code Central
    • 2010 - Best Xbox 360 Game
    • 2010 - Best RPG
    • 2010 - Best Female Character (Jane Shepard)
  • G4 XPlay
    • 2010 - Game of the Year
    • 2010 - Best Role-Playing Game
    • 2010 - Best Writing
  • GamePro (Germany)
    • 2011 - Best Console RPG in 2010 (Readers' Voting)
  • GameSpot
    • 2009 - Early 2010 Most Anticipated Game (Readers' Choice)
    • 2010 - Best RPG (Editors' Choice)
  • GameSpy
    • 2010 - Best Xbox 360 Game
    • 2010 - Best Role-Playing Game
  • GameStar (Germany)
    • 2011 - Best PC Game in 2010 (Readers' Voting)
    • 2011 - Best PC RPG in 2010 (Readers' Voting)
  • Spike TV
    • 2010 - Best Xbox 360 Game
    • 2010 - Best RPG
  • Xbox 360 Achievements
    • 2010 - Game of the Year
    • 2010 - Best Graphics of the Year
    • 2010 - Second place for Original Score of the Year
    • 2010 - Second place for Innovative Gameplay Feature of the Year
    • 2010 - Third place for Best Story of the Year

Information also contributed by 6⅞ of Nine, 88 49 and Yearman

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Related Sites +

  • Mass Effect
    Official Mass Effect series site.
  • Mass Effect 2 Hints from UHS
    solution and strategy guide gives you as much detail as any walkthrough to help you finish, but unlike ordinary walkthroughs or cheats, these show you just the hints you need, so your game is never spoiled.
  • X360A achievement guide
    X360A's achievement guide for Mass Effect 2.

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 44900
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sicarius.

Xbox One added by Kennyannydenny.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Yearman, Big John WV, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Plok, Hello X).

Game added February 2, 2010. Last modified March 15, 2024.