We don’t always write impressions of games that we’re currently playing, but I figured since 15 people on my friends list last night were playing Mass Effect 2, I’d start a little thread about it.
As you all know, I’m a pretty big Bioware fan. I don’t know what it is, but something about their games just grab me in a way other games don’t. With most games, I have to take a break every couple of hours or so. With Mass Effect 2, I played it for 7 hours straight without a break once I got home from work…
So I guess that means I like the game. A lot. I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface, story wise. Perhaps that’s because I spent over an hour scanning planets for raw materials and looking for sidequests, maybe. I hesitate to gush over the game too much, because admittedly, for the first hour or two I was terribly confused. Gone were many of the RPG elements I loved from the first game. But with them, the awful item management system, confusing menus and cumbersome weapon/armor load-outs. The game is an extremely simplified version of the first, and my worry when I loaded it up and got into the action was that it was much too simple.
Where were my items? Why didn’t I have 10 different skills to choose from? How come I couldn’t manage my party’s armor/equipment? I don’t get experience for the enemies I kill?
These things all confused me. But then the story started moving. And I found myself to feel lots of freedom. I didn’t have to open menus all the time while clearing out enemies. I could customize my armor and weapons like crazy. Instead of changing my character slowly by managing dozens of skills, gameplay changes instantly every time you level up. There are certainly lots of changes to get used to, but I’m really warming up to them. Basically, all there is to worry about now is watching the kick-ass story, hanging out in the awesome universe and blazing through as many bad guys as possible. That’s it.
And the shooting is much improved, as well. The game feels like a real shooter now, with lots of RPG flourishes by way of the biotic abilities. It feels more like a Bioshock or Gears of War than an RPG, and I have to say it’s really enjoyable to clear out a room of enemies, where in the first game it could be a chore.
I think my favorite thing about the game so far though is the game’s universe. What I thought was so underrated about the first game is that it created this really unique setting that was fleshed out with a great backstory and history. The Mass Effect universe felt alive, and I loved being in it. It’s great to return to the same setting, go back and visit old places, see old faces. Everything has changed since the first game, but in so many ways these locales are still familiar. And I care about them. Weird, I know.
Anyway, for all of you that have played the game so far… what do you think? Go!