So here it is, after a lot of whittling down we have finally reached UWGs number one game, Mass Effect 2, it’s a giant of a game and one that really made me fall in love with the whole Mass Effect series. When the original Mass Effect was launched it was a game that I liked a lot, but by no means would I have put it in my top ten, but when the second instalment came out in 2010 I was absolutely blown away. I remember always liking the concept a lot from the original, the idea of what is pretty much a free roam RPG set in space always had fantastic potential but in Mass Effect 2 they turned that potential into a masterpiece and really pushed the series forward a lot.
The main core of the game in Mass Effect 2 sees you building up an army to take on the Reapers and stop them from taking over Earth. To do this you have to travel all through outer space finding soldiers to fight for you, each soldier has a specialist in their own field, whether it be Grunt with his incredible strength, Garrus, an expert marksman with his sniper rifle, or my personal favourite, Mordin Solus, a medic who never fails to make me laugh with his quirky mannerisms. Like yourself, each character can be levelled up and learn new skills that can help you along your journey. Each time you dock at a new planet for a mission you are able to choose two of your new found soldiers to accompany you, my personal favourite combination was Mordin and Garrus, man I loved those guys! But it is important that you level up every soldier, not just a couple, this makes you mix up your squad a lot more and adds a bit of variety to the experience. The more you talk to your new crew the more they will trust in your leadership, it’s also really important to make sure that all of the crew trust you, any members of the team that aren’t fully behind you can hinder you at a huge point later in the game, I won’t say why for those who haven’t played this game yet, but it’s fair to say that keeping your crew members happy can reap huge benefits and make your life a lot easier later on.
Mass Effect 2 Trailer-Video from Youtube User: Rod Oracheski
I always love a game that gives you options that can affect the storyline, and Mass Effect 2 is a great example of a game that does this fantastically, right from the off you can choose your own back story, whether you are a lone wolf that sees the loss of soldiers in war as inevitable, or a leader of men that believes in a ‘No man left behind’ philosophy. What I also thought was very cool is that if you had played the original Mass Effect you could load up your character from that game, bringing your back story from that with you, meaning any decisions you made from the first game carried over. All the decisions you make in the game affect the story, so think carefully when you give you responses!
Another area where Mass Effect 2 excels is customisation. I think any game that allows you to customise the living daylights out of your character is always pretty cool, and Mass Effect 2 picked up where the original left off on that front. Once you have created your own character choosing everything from their homeland to his or her combat style, you can then pimp out their armour, something that is such a small thing to add in but makes the whole game feel so much more personal, more like your own game, whether you want some fat chunky pink armour and a Master Chief-esque helmet, or just a sleek, black armour set, you can have anything, you can even choose your outfit for when you are on board the Normandy, like I say these are only small touches in the game and have no bearing on the story, but it just makes you feel that bit more attached to the character and really makes them your own.
Mass Effect 2 also has a fantastic combat system which reminds me a little of Brothers In Arms: Hells Highway (A very underrated game, in my opinion) It’s similar in the fact that you are with a small squad at most times and you can tell them where to go and what to do, add in the well rounded gunplay and the huge variety of powers you have at your disposal and it really is very fun, and because of the way you are constantly levelling up, unlocking new abilities, it never gets too stale. You can choose from a number of abilities, depending on what class you picked at the start of the game some may suit you style more than others, but there is such huge variety, you can have an invisibility cloak, fire powers, ice powers, stronger shields, telekinesis powers, AI hacking, and that’s just to mention a few! The number of possibilities is endless, once you have played the game for a while you can really start throwing some cool combos in, these can be deadly, particularly against the harder enemies, and the beauty is that the combat system is so simple it allows you to really get creative without making the game over complicated.
All of this variation does also mean that Mass Effect 2 has fantastic replayability, I think I’ve completed the game about four or five times, each time combining different powers and choosing different paths, and every time I’ve always loved the experience.
Another side to Mass Effect 2 that adds even more to its depth is the huge variation in landscapes and levels, not only can you be going from a desert setting to a snowy wintery one, the detail in them all is fantastic, and they are all filled with people seemingly just living their lives. Omega is a fantastic example of this, the city is filled with people going about their day to day business, there’s even a club that you can go to! Its places like Omega that really allowed Bioware to showcase just how beautiful this game is. I can’t not mention the Normandy either, the ship is almost like a level in itself! When you first start the game it can feel like a bit of a maze, it has several floors, and like everything else in Mass Effect 2 the details are fantastic and it looks great, the ship can also be levelled up and made stronger through various upgrades that you can find hidden in the game or just unlocked through doing research.
When you put all of this together you end up with a truly magnificent game, it showcases the best of gaming on so many levels, the graphics, the gameplay, and the story are all superb. Anyone out there who hasn’t tried any of the Mass Effect games I’d highly recommend any of the trilogy, and oddly enough as I write this it’s strongly rumoured that the trilogy may be ported onto Xbox One and PS4, so now you have no excuses not to play it! There is also a Mass Effect 4 in the works which really excites me, I just hope they can make it as much of a masterpiece as they did with Mass Effect 2, it truly is a phenomenal game, and it fully deserves to be UWG’s number one!