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Gobalopper

Mass Effect 2

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Absolutely loved the first instalment.  Bought the Collector's Edition, and I've pre-ordered Mass Effect 2 CE for the 360.  It actually appears to have sold out here in the UK (for the 360, at least), where it's not out until the 29th.  GAME seem to have despatched my order already, though, so I'm expecting it maybe a day early. :)

Have to be careful about playing it too soon, though - Microsoft have been known to be a bit trigger happy with banning people who seem to have games a little earlier than they should have.  Modern Warfare 2 was the latest example, but I don't think the day before "official" release should be a problem. :)

Wanted to play the original again before I got the sequel, but I didn't have the time.  My first character was pretty solid, I'm sure he'll be fine to carry on with in whatever fashion ME2 allows for.  Here's hoping for another excellent BioWare release.

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You should all go buy it. :)

What a corporate shill, Gobalopper is :P.

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It arrived this morning!  And I'm quite pleased that it comes on more than one disc - nice throwback to the days of multi-disc RPGs.  The packaging is bloody awesome, too.

However, I'm now struck with the overwhelming desire to play the entire first game again, before I even pop ME2 into my 360.  It's a combination of not completely remembering the plot / character development, not having played through any of the Downloadable Content and not being totally satisfied with my final character.

Time was that I wouldn't be able to resist a new RPG, but I've got something in the order of 10 un-opened or un-played RPGs, and a load more that I've only barely played.  I'm hoping that with ME2 to look forward to, I'll be more motivated to play consistently and to the fullest extent.  Until then, it'll sit at the top of my "to play" pile.

... I need more shelves.

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I borrowed and tried the first part on the 360 when I still had one and while the game was great the gameplay was a pain in the ass on the 360 due to the lack of available buttons. I then played it on a friend's PC and it was a whole different experience. I guess he will also buy part 2 so I can play it at his place then. I'm not too much into the whole RPG stuff though. I just like it when I have a simple gun and can shoot stuff without the necessity for special abilities and stuff like that. Game looks good though...

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I must admit, I never really had much use for most Biotic abilities or any of the more technical uses of the Omni-Tool.  I was very much a shield / shoot / self-heal player.  I found that my companions more often got in the way - they were most useful as distractions. :P

As for the whole console vs. PC thing, I have to agree that BioWare games tend to be better implemented on the PC.  This was certainly the case for the original Mass Effect, which was much more refined than the 360 version.  Dragon Age: Origins was another good example, where the lack of a decent quick-slot system (6 slots for the 360, compared to double or more for the PC) was a real let down.  I'm sure there will be similar issues with the console implementation of ME2, but I still prefer to use the 360, even at extra cost.

I've got the original on the 360, so carrying over saves becomes a contributing factor.  As do achievements; as hollow as they are, they're still a nice little perk.  Not having to worry about silly copy protection or compatibility issues is a big plus, though this can obviously be all-but-negated with only moderate effort to ensure that your system is up to spec and/or following the BioWare forums.  But a nice, widescreen HDTV and my own personal preference of a controller over a keyboard and mouse, all add up to tip the balance in the console's favour.

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If you are switching over to the PC and want to import your ME1 from your Xbox this site might be handy:

http://www.masseffectsaves.com/

It has a bunch of saves that you can use, there should be one that comes close to your Xbox save.

And Mass Effect is actually more of an Xbox game, it was a partnership with Microsoft. Dragon Age was a PC game that was ported to the console though.

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its a good game though ive never played it I have played the developers other games(Dragon Age: Origions) and from what i experianced in that game, Masseffect2 is awesome!

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I finished Mass Effect 2 last night, having gone through the first one again beforehand in order to cement every possible aspect of my character. I actually managed to use the character creator to make a Shepard who didn't look like a droopy mutant, which was gratifying. I did everything in ME1 this time. Even compiled Matriarch Dilinaga's billion-page epic: An ode to each grain of sand on a beach a mile long.

And honestly, I'm glad I took the time. I was very pleased with the way the game didn't have just one or two reminders of past glory, but actually made playing ME1 a rewarding aspect of ME2. Granted Mme Dilinaga did not show up to collect her Booker prize, but I can live with that. The rest of the post will be hidden because dear sweet Wednesday Addams there will be spoilers.

[hide]Well, I say I finished ME2, but I'm well aware that it's going to take more than one playthrough to fully appreciate everything. I have a bad habit, when games are particularly good, of rushing through everything the first time; devouring their content as a starving man might a feast, wishing and hoping that the glut of material will never end but always aware that his impatience will bring a hated end all the sooner. When Dragon Age came out I barely ate or slept for a solid week, eventually emerging from this hedonistic trance to find that my feet had turned purple. First playthroughs, for me, are immensely enjoyable but forever tainted by my inability to pace myself. Which is why I should point out that my current opinion of ME2 is based only on a single playthrough that I feel was less than complete. I had not, for example, finished talking to all of the group members. I will rectify this cardinal sin, in time.

The most obvious departure from ME1 was, I think, in response to some complaints I've seen regarding the first game's longwindedness. Not that it was curtailed at all, I just mean that the inventory management was gone, the item upgrades and switchings removed, and there was much less wandering in the middle of nowhere to stumble across a handily surfaced mummified salarian. And the like.

That isn't a criticism one way or the other. I was brought up on games like Monkey Island: huge inventories of miscellaneous debris are my bread and butter, and I get a fierce itching in my head if even the smallest area in a new location is unexplored. So while some people found tramping around the galaxy discovering gold to be tedious, I just found it satisfyingly complete. I joke about Dilinaga, but her prolificity was not a problem.

It was just a bit strange to not have surplus inventory. Or a pressing need to check every cranny in a room, lest some item of value lurk within. It was different. Perhaps a little uncomfortable at times; I did often get a nagging feeling that I should check ammo stocks or sell old weapons. But that's hardly the game's fault. Indeed, I expect most people will appreciate the simplicity. Heck, I did, I just have OCD hangups.

Another change from the first installment which I greatly enjoyed was the difference in the game's... mood, for want of a better term. It explored the grey areas of the genophage, was dusty on Tuchanka and dirty on Omega. Where ME1 had plazas and offices, ME2 had nightclubs and warehouses. Not that it was entirely different, but the expansion of the universe (and inherent recognition that there are parts of it that are, by nature, not very salubrious) was a welcome development. The swearing too, that was a nice touch.

I mentioned that I like the way ME2 led on from ME1. This is very true. To skip straight to the top, one of the most rewarding moments of the game (for me) was when the asari on Ilium informed me of how my "friend from Novaria" was doing. After running into some of her progeny later in ME1, I was concerned that she might have been less than honest, or would disappear completely. To find that she is alive and well, and not only that but connected enough to the outside world to be able to locate and communicate with Shepard, was extremely gratifying. Further, she offered her aid against the reapers. It was only a small interaction, but it was the little things like that which made the game.

Well, that and the characters. Perhaps it's because I invest heavily in characters, but I do love the depth that they're given these days. Tali and Garrus especially, though they have the unfair advantage of prior history. Oh, and Mordin. Mordin Mordin Mordin. He's so brilliant, so very brilliant. It's almost a shame I played tech/combat really (can't let go of those sniper rifles), or I'd have brought him everywhere. Next time. If I'm lucky he'll sing some more.

The only negativity I could admit would be that the game seemed brief in comparison, but I know that this absolutely lacks credibility. I played it fast and I wasn't as thorough as I should have been. It's a toothless thought that I will be rid of soon enough. I also hope to dispel the constant feeling that the Illusive Man was actually Josiah Bartlet in disguise. I do wonder why some things seem to have taken a step backwards (the council is all fuzzy now, where did the high-def 3d displays go?), but that's a question for another time.[/hide]

For fear of following in Mme Dilinaga's footsteps, I'll just stop there. I'll probably continue later with something a bit more in-depth (I don't like this post much. It's very much a personal thumbs up, but I can't help but feel I should be more critical about it, lest I come across as a mindless fanboy trying to impress Gob & friends), but that will be sometime after the second or third playthrough, so some months from now.

For the record, I bought it on the PC. Because the PC is just better, and the sooner you grubby unwashed console players realise that the better. :P Also I don't own a 360. Big surprise there.

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[hide]It was alright. Omega was by far the best explorable area. I was disappointed that we didn't really get to see any of the places from ME1.

Mordin was brilliantly done. Subject Zero, not so much.

I'm into stats and inventories, not customisable armour. Buggy too.[/hide]

Enjoyable, but not as good as the original. Instead of modifying the areas which needed attention, Bioware removed them completely. I suppose that's what you get when you buy a PC game that's been 'dummed-down' for console.

Oddly enough, ME1, even though its original release was on 360, did not suffer from this. Looks to me like Bioware is going downhill.

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Bioware's been going downhill since Nov. 3 2009, IMHO.

When are they gonna make some wii games?  I don't have an xbox/ps3/gaming pc.

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So I noticed somewhere that there is like 10 DLC available for this game.

Is this what the industry does now? Release a game, then put out lots of DLC that people usually have to pay for, and I presume expansion packs are a thing of the past (I presume expansion packs never really existed for consoles)?

I thought the game was released this past week, and yet DLC is everywhere?

Ok, I read masseffect2 wiki now and it seems this is industry standard.

(pay for game, pay for online play, pay for addons).

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Sega is taking the entirely downloadable route with Sonic the Hedgehog 4 AND it is being released in episodes.  So, you have to pay for the first few zones.  Then pay and download the next few zones.  Then pay again for the next few zones....

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I just beat it tonight, used my old char from ME 1. The...nice guy I think that didn't look like the kid from the mask.

I really enjoyed it

[hide]

Managed to hook up with Jack, and get me some Tali at the end. I hope she's not sick. Hopefully Shepard didn't catch anything from Jack.

went the normal Paragon nice guy route(almost had it maxed out) managed some bad ass routes though. Tossing people out window's and the like.

Next time I play it through, everyone is going to be evil and I'm banging Miranda or maybe the Salarian.

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Bioware's been going downhill since Nov. 3 2009, IMHO.

When are they gonna make some wii games?  I don't have an xbox/ps3/gaming pc.

Probably they won't. They are famous for their awesome RPGs and awesomeness and Wii are two things that don't get along too good. Wii has a different target group. It's mainly intended for kids, party evenings, casual gamer... not for more serious (or even hardcore) gamers. The hardware isn't strong enough for big titles with so much going on at the same time and such nice visuals like Mass Effect. Bioware said they were interested in developing in the Wii but they don't know if they'll actually do it. If they do the'd have to take a different approach due to the lack of strong hardware power. So I guess while the game might be good in terms of story and dialogue it will still be a disappointment because it looks crappy.

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Been playing it for a couple of days now.  Being somewhat of a completionist when it comes to Mass Effect, I'm taking my time.  Some initial impressions, though:

[hide]Opening cinematic and prologue - very good.  Excellent, in fact.  Star Trek has proven time and again that the destruction of a ship you've grown attached to is a very compelling moment, and BioWare pulled off the Normandy asploding perfectly.  Equal amounts of OMG and WTF, if you will.  As a small aside, I spent a good few hours downloading all of the currently available Cerberus DLC (Xbox LIVE was slow) so I've been to the Normandy SR-1 wreckage - another excellently designed and scripted segment.  All I could think of was "she deserved better", especially with all the flashbacks.  Seeing the Mako stuck like that was particularly difficult; no more defying gravity diagonally up mountains.

Back to the main game, though.  I imported my recently prepared Shepard for my playthrough of ME2.  I stuck with the default name and appearance, and made him a complete Paragon.  I didn't level him to 60, because I wasn't going to playthrough the vast majority of the game again just for a few extra minerals from the get-go.  I was, however, stupidly rich (9,999,999 credits) so that was handy.  I made the decision from the outset that I was going to be faithful to Ashley, so no Paramour achievement in ME2 first time around for me.  Maybe next time, I'll go Renegade and bring Carth - sorry, Kaidan - along.  Wrex is alive, though.

With all of this said, I'm very against Cerberus.  I anticipate that this was intentional on BioWare's part - to make the player feel uneasy about working for an agency that was responsible for a good deal of wrongdoing in ME1.  I still can't wrap my head around why Jacob and even Joker would join up with them.  Miranda might be designed to be "perfect", but all she does is piss me off.  Smug and very much on the side of The Illusive Man, who also pisses me off.  I've decided to make a point of thwarting all Cerberus activities as much as I can throughout the game - MY Shepard is still a Spectre, still an Alliance man.  Hopefully, I'll be given the opportunity to make some sweeping changes, maybe get Jacob to see sense.

The overall tone of ME2 is something that makes me feel 'dirty'.  Nightclubs everywhere, slums full of disease and fighting; even poverty on the Citadel.  Mercenaries - Zaeed can go to hell if he thinks he's ever going to be in my party for ANYTHING other than his loyalty mission.  Even Garrus was part of this lifestyle.  This, above all, pisses me off, but I feel that it was designed to be like this.  To give the player a better sense of what needs to be "cleaned up".

All in all, ME2 has been a mixed bag so far.  The arrogance and self-serving attitude of Cerberus have only made me dislike the setting, and all Shepard seems to do is go with the flow.  But there are subtle opportunities to thwart the status quo, and hidden potential hinted to; for example, my Shepard is wearing the SR-2 jacket for casual wear and not anything with the Cerberus logo on it.  And I feel that I'm going to have to deal with this EDI piece of crap sooner or later... a block, eh?  I'll give you a block...

Also, is it just me, or does scanning and probing planets for minerals feel like galactic Pin the Tail on the Donkey?  Though I did like EDI's comments when I fired a couple of probes at Uranus.[/hide]

More comments to come as I progress further through the game. :)

EDIT: Just a little addendum to note some of the game's more annoying bugs that I've come across.  I'm currently on Korlus (the scrapheap planet) and my entire squad seems intent on ascending to dizzying heights whenever they take cover.  Literally floating on air, or standing atop pillars almost thirty feet high.  This happened to me once, when I got stuck on top of a bit of cover.  Almost died several times before the game decided to let me down.

Also, there appears to be a glitch when running in combat mode where Shepard will not be facing forwards anymore, but will still move in the direction you tell him.  So you have Shepard facing the player, running backwards into combat, which (while hilarious) is less than helpful.  I hope there'll be a patch over Xbox LIVE to deal with this sometime soon.

EDIT 2: On closer examination, it appears to be mostly Jacob who is intent on defying gravity.  He seems to have only fleeting contact with the ground, apparently ignoring it when he sees fit.

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So I noticed somewhere that there is like 10 DLC available for this game.

Is this what the industry does now? Release a game, then put out lots of DLC that people usually have to pay for, and I presume expansion packs are a thing of the past (I presume expansion packs never really existed for consoles)?

I thought the game was released this past week, and yet DLC is everywhere?

Ok, I read masseffect2 wiki now and it seems this is industry standard.

(pay for game, pay for online play, pay for addons).

Paying to play online is rather rare apart from MMOs but DLC does seem to be the future of gaming, especially with platforms such as steam and th Xbox Live system. I think rhythm games are really what started it as it was such an easy way for the developers to make money by just releasing packs of songs. I guess they've split up paying ~

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I had a particular nasty bug on a side mission. One where I had to find the wreckage of a ship, run around it and make it to the other end. Lots of going up and down ramps, shooting things to make them fall ect. Slippery Shepard(My female char) managed to just...walk into space instead of going down. This happened three times in a row before I managed to find a way around the spot.

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Yeah, I'm not sure what BioWare did to annoy their testing team, but the retail release of ME2 is pretty damned buggy. :P  There's a ton of bugs, some even messing with the imported data from ME1.

For example,

[hide]Conrad Verner will always say that you held a gun to his face back on the Citadel in ME1, even if you were completely Paragon towards him.[/hide]

There's a side mission I've just played that, if you stand on a bridge when you "Press B to end mission", you instantly die.

A whole host of other bugs can be found listed on the BioWare social forums.  Knowing BioWare, they're working on getting a patch out to address the worst of these already. :)

Incidentally, I see a certain Jesse.Reid listed as a moderator there - would this be our own Gobalopper?

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I only had one serious bug, where Shepard climbed on top of a table and was too scared to get down again. In what I can only assume was an attempt to make him feel better, his companions hopped on as well and they all stood on the table together.

Thankfully the autosave wasn't far behind.

I did also experience that running bug, but it seemed to sort itself out and didn't reappear. And as for Conrad, if he wants to remember me sticking a firearm in his face then all the better for him.

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That would be me although I work on the website/marketing side of things so I don't have anything to do with fixing bugs in the games.

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Doesn't your job involve denying any bug exists in the first place?

Haven't found any troublesome "bugs" so far. If you ask me I would blame the Xbox 360 console. It's always safe to blame that one.

I like the game, it's engaging and the action has improved over Mass Effect 1. The thing I missed most, I think, are the strange planets you could visit. Not that I didn't feel sorry you didn't have to visit the same hideout layouts over and over again, but there is something very cool about driving around under a red giant.

The new upgrade system worked for me. I never mind large inventories with lots of stuff to choose from, but in ME1 it started to become a bit generic after a while. After some time you would figure out which brands to stick with (as they were definitely superior over the lesser brands) and the usual loot you would pick up felt just like junk you needed to sell at some point. In ME2 almost every upgrade is worth something to you, and you have just enough credits in the end to buy them all. This means that you would want to spend time looking around at every mission for every small sum of credits too.

As for the spoiler bits:

[hide]Loved the suicide mission. This time the entire team is involved, setting the mission up in multiple sections allowed you to play around with different team members. In ME1 you picked your team at Ilos, with no way of knowing you would use them all the way to the end.

I came to like all the characters I recruited, though Jacob and Jack held the least interest to me. I was impressed by the character development of Garrus and Tali. They both felt like the same characters, but you could definitely see they had advanced two years. The fact that Tali could be romanced was actually a surprise to me, so my next playthrough would hold something new and interesting for me. My first imported Shepard did stay loyal to Ash though (yay!)

I think the only bit I was disappointed with was the role of the Council. I understand this game was not about galactic politics (like the first game), but the Council should have nagged my Shepard a bit more. Saving them (in my case) was the big endgame decision of ME1, and I was looking forward to some more arguments with them.

For those who might be worried the Reapers are going to be here soon (final shot of the game), rest assured that you need to be quite far away away from the Milky Way to have a total overview of it, the Reapers aren't close by yet![/hide]

Did anyone catch the space physics gag from one of the conversations with a store clerk? It reminded me very much of Arthur Clarke's Imperial Earth.

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