Mass Effect 2 ‘Warps’ to the Top

Bioware has once again taken the market of Xbox 360 and PC gamers by storm in developing their second installment of the “Mass Effect” trilogy. The brilliance of the series lies in its clever blending of genres, offering players a hybrid of a first person shooter and a role-playing game (RPG).

The system of classes in “Mass Effect 2” allows for more versatile gameplay that can be attuned to each gamer’s specific desires. For instance, those who favor nitty-gritty action might prefer the “soldier” mode, which favors non-stop action and intense fight sequences. You could also opt for something like the “adept.” In this class, your character is highly skilled in Biotics, Mass Effect’s version of magical powers; this extra skill allows for more strategic battle scenarios. For those who can’t make up their mind between classes, there are also several mixed classes that provide their own unique abilities and playing styles.

People who trekked through the first game get an extra bonus by picking up the sequel. Bioware has included the option of transferring your Shepard (the protagonist of “Mass Effect”) directly across to the new game. This adds an interesting twist to the storyline of “Mass Effect 2,” as major decisions made in the first game come back to either haunt or reward your character. This by no means makes the game less enjoyable for newcomers – it simply adds an extra element for those loyal to the franchise.
One of the key complaints about the original game was that it got bogged down in a lot of insignificant gameplay issues. “Mass Effect 2” has done a good job improving upon the interface to deliver a much friendlier experience. The elimination of inconsequential details really allows the player to get to the heart of the game: the story.

Within the narrative, Bioware’s knack for inserting cut scenes that grab and pull at the emotion of the player is anything but absent. One of the strongest elements of the game is how the story leaves the player at a loss for words on more than one occasion.

Fitting into the current style of RPG games, “Mass Effect 2” allows the player to take control of Commander Shepard along with a unique group of party members. Each character has his or her own personal problem that the player can choose to either help handle or plainly ignore. These optional missions give the user flexibility based on how many hours they are willing to invest into the game.

While the choices made with regards to the crew add to the re-playability, what really motivates the player to take a second run-through is the decision-making system. The game is set up so that you can not only choose your Shepard’s gender, but also where they draw their moral line.

Every action you take will either draw you closer to being the honorable Peragon or the rebellious Renegade. As you continue down a certain moral path new options become available in the truly groundbreaking dialogue system.

In conversation, Renegades have a propensity towards brutal and selfish behavior, while Peragons get what they want through charm and charisma. Since all of the crewmembers have their own specific set of morals and ethical alignments, a large amount of commentary adds a unique aspect to the richness of the dialogue.

As decisions arise regarding how the player handles their crew, every choice is made with the final game of the trilogy in mind. Throughout “Mass Effect 2,” little hints and tips are scattered throughout to inform the player that after they complete the game there will once again be an opportunity to transfer their character, next time into the final piece of the trilogy.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves though; “Mass Effect 2” is a stunning game in itself. It allows the player to get lost in the story and become encapsulated by a completely different galaxy packed with all species of alien.

Bioware has once again demonstrated their attention to detail in distributing unique dialogue to even the most insignificant of characters. This convinces the player to read every line of every conversation, making “Mass Effect 2” a substantial investment of time.

For all these reasons, “Mass Effect 2” has quickly earned consideration for the 2010 Game of the Year Award. While Bioware has once again crafted a masterpiece, it is not without its consequences.

For anybody who picks up the game, expect to be drawn in from the very opening scene until the final conclusion. Even though this game boasts at least forty hours of gameplay, every hour can be considered well-spent. Envelop yourself in the unique world that is “Mass Effect,” and prepare yourself for the forthcoming final installment.