Will Preston

Behold the Milky Way in all its minimal glory

by on Apr.06, 2011, under Review, Video Games

Despite trying to make it seem like I’m a sociable kinda guy on my Facebook profile, I never usually court popularity. It just isn’t my style. When a popular game/film/whatever comes to attention, I will scrutinise it as much as I can based on the fact it’s popular. That’s how untrustworthy I am of general human judgement. The first Mass Effect was a game I felt in two ways about. I really enjoyed the moral choices (You know, the ones that are now obligatory with every role playing game out there) and the ability to shape my man’s face into the redundant mess that resembles yours truly. But the main problems with the game got in the way too often. The combat AI for your teammate’s always favoured the charge-in-all-at-once-in-a-compact-rabble option which scuppered any indoor combat, the frame rate dropped to that of a PowerPoint in most levels and there was way too much item management.

Skimpy costumes are still intact

This put me off even talking about playing the next game in the series until its price had dropped to a point where I could write it off in my budget as a small trip to the pub that never happened. Even with the promise about all things that make me cry about the first game being shooed away for the second one didn’t convince me until it dropped to a tenner. So here I am going against my refusal to play Mass Effect 2 and having to gorge on my words. The game starts off with Commander Sheppard (unisex space adventurer) dying heroically (or cowardly. You make the choices in this game) and being brought back to life Fifth Element style, except without the white latex body tape and flat breasts. A unique feature to this game at the start is you can import your likeness from the first game. Which I did before making several changes that turned my character to resemble a cross between myself and a particularly wide-mouthed Seth Green. Still it’s nice to look at myself running around in a game even if I do have to squint to make him look more convincing. Oh, and I used this moment to rid myself of a ginger beard, since there seemed to be a future law banning the use of razors onboard space ships. Never before have I been so committed about facial hair.

Get used to hiding around corners a lot

After the rebuilding process, I run head forward into my first combat, and it has improved. Well it’s still sub-Gears of War, but what isn’t these days. You have full command over your squad, but since the team mate AI from the first one has been repaired, this just seems a bit patronising considering they handle themselves far better than I could. Made me wonder why I was at Commander Rank in the first place. The vehicle sections are gone, which is a shame, but not surprising; it seemed like I was the only one in the Solar system to enjoy them. Instead you mine planets using some kind of space ultrasound before launching of probes. In a Freudian way there’s something very spermy about the whole affair, but less interesting. It’s simply a case of rubbing the planet to find things. One thing that didn’t need improving was the quality of voice acting, but BioWare decided that people should move and make gestures whilst talking. This made conversations seem less dull and made me smile on occasion, even if the subject was about interplanetary agriculture with an alien with a monotonous voice.

Rubbing planets for money

The story itself involves yet another threat to the galaxy, with Shepherd’s loyalty to his new boss being questioned every now and again. Mass Effect 2 is a very well executed game, but despite coming on two discs (far cry from the 4 disc days of the Amiga 500), it’s not that big a game. Sure, there are a large amount of choices in the game, but there are barely any locations to visit. You can travel across the many arms of the Milky Way, but most of the planets are unavailable to land on (and therefore only useful for “resource rubbing”). So it’s a small game that lets you travel the whole galaxy.

There’s no doubting that Mass Effect 2 is a big improvement over the first, but nothing has been done to make the combat more compelling. The levels are too samey and most of the weapons fell the same. But it has a great depth to it that can really pull you in, should you find yourself in the mood. If you’re in the mood for “resource rubbing”, that’s fine too, you pervert.

:, ,

1 Comment for this entry

  • Saucy

    hahaha, once again Mr. Preston, you make me smile with glee and everything you say is always hitting nails on their heads. well done good sir, i shall have to buy you a pint.

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!