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What you choose to say greatly effects your Shepard's personality traits.

Mass Effect 2 – Xbox 360

Platform: Xbox 360

Developer: BioWare

Publisher: Electronic Arts

Release Date: January 26, 2010

Genre: Action/Adventure, Role-Playing

Nerd Rating: 9 out of 10

Mass Effect 2 has to be my favorite out of the entire Mass Effect series so far. It hits that sweet spot for me, and not just because it’s the one where you can start romancing Garrus Vakarian. I do, in fact, have other reasons.

After Shepard has achieved heroic status,; saving the Citadel from the Reaper named Sovereign and being an example of the best of humanity, the Alliance military sends Shepard and his/her crew to hunt down the remaining Geth, a race of artificial beings with their own agenda. While searching for the Geth, Shepard’s ship, the Normandy, is attacked by an unknown enemy. With the ship going down in flames, Shepard sacrifices her own life to save the pilot, Joker. The crew escapes in shuttles while the Normandy crumbles, with Shepard left to suffocate in the bleak vastness of outer space.

Sometime later, Shepard has awakened to find that she has been reconstructed by Cerberus, an elite organization with a shady past and a dark reputation. They want Shepherd’s help, whether she trusts them or not. Human colonies are disappearing without a trace and Shepard is suspicious that it may have something to do with the impending Reaper invasion.

decisions

What you choose to say great effects your Shepard’s personality traits… Choose wisely.

The Mass Effect series is indubitably one of the best science fiction series of all time. It teaches the value of character, equality, and integrity. Besides that, it’s creative and original, giving gamers new worlds and alien races to explore and get attached to, and also allowing players to fill the boots of the iconic Commander Shepard.

The biggest element of Mass Effect’s narrative is the freedom of choice. One of the biggest decisions is whether or not to be paragon (do no wrong type of hero) or renegade (badass hero that pays no attention to moral obligation). It’s important to pay attention to the conversational paragon and renegade cues to follow a clearer path. You can be male or female, and as the games go on, there are also more romance options available.

Like Garrus Vakarian for example... *swoon*

Like Garrus Vakarian for example… *swoon*

One of my favorite things about choice in these games is picking Shepard’s backstory and class. Each backstory effects a little of the interactions between Shepard and the crew. You can choose between War Hero, Ruthless, and Sole Survivor, each one having a unique military take on why Shepard is the way that they are. Even before the military backstory, Shepard could have grown up a Spacer, Colonist, or (just like us folk) an Earthborn. Each class also offers a different way that Shepard can have the advantage in combat; my personal favorite is the Soldier class (because guns are pretty), the second favorite class of mine is Adept (ripping into enemies with biotic power is tons of fun), and following that is Vanguard (biotic/combat specialist), Sentinel (tech/biotic specialist), Engineer (tech specialist), and finally Infiltrator (tech/combat specialist).

As for customizing Shepard’s physical appearance… Well… this is the best I could come up with:

IMG_1198

There’s not a whole lot to work with. At best, there’s maybe eight sets of eyes and five mouths. It takes a lot of time just to make sure your Shepard doesn’t look like some creepy doll. Hopefully the next installment of the Mass Effect series has more to offer when it comes to physical attributes. However, you can have some fun with the armor customization (pink camouflage armor, anyone?) I’ve always felt that my renegade femshep looked best in blood red armor.

Fluck yeah.

Fluck yeah. Also, please excuse my lack of talent for taking screenshots on an Xbox 360.

Dialogue choices are very essential to the narrative and the path that you put your Shepard on (and don’t start about how your choices don’t matter in Mass Effect 3, because we’re still talking about Mass Effect 2. Please sit back down). No matter what your choices are, it will progress the story in some form. However, it’s how you feel about your choices and whether or not you’re satisfied with them. For example, two of your crew members may get into a heated argument. You can choose to resolve it with militant force, good-hearted logical reasoning, or take sides. Taking sides can have dire consequences in the final battle.

I adore the combat system in Mass Effect 2. It’s so easy to use and it’s a huge improvement over the first Mass Effect. There’s no need to worry about your weapon overheating and killing you because the weapons in Mass Effect 2 operate on the classic “we don’t overheat but if you’re out of ammo then you’re SOL” type of system. There’s also different ammo powers like cryo (freeze your enemies while singing “Let It Go”), incendiary (burn your enemies like a shrimp on the Barbie), shredder ammo (which is massively effective on enemies with armor or synthetics), and concussive rounds (Mama said knock you out!) Not to mention that I really love the design of the wapons in the Mass Effect universe. They look menacing and stylish at the same time.

They are also fluffy and adorable.

They are also fluffy and adorable.

You can level up your squad members too! Team work!

You can level up your squad members too! Team work!

One giddiest things about combat is the commanding of your squad members. You can command Tali to unleash a combat drone while Miranda lays down a deadly biotic warp. Killing husks has never been more fun! My only nitpick is that the pathfinding skills on the squad members can be problematic sometimes. They are meant to follow Shepard everywhere, but someties they will stand directly in front of you, right in the line of fire. One of the best ways to resolve this is to command them to take cover, but I can’t count how many times I’ve hilariously kicked Garrus in the face vaulting over a crate or a wall.

Stealing minerals from other planets because it's only right.

Stealing minerals from other planets because it’s only right.

I’m now saying this at the risk of a bunch of fellow Mass Effect fans showing up at my doorstep with torches and pitchforks, but Mass Effect 2 was the first Mass Effect game I ever played. And even though I was confused about who Saren was, why the Krogan genophage was so significant, and being asked why I let someone die in place of another person in the previous game, I still fell in love with it. I fell in love with the charaers, the writing, Garrus, the design of the ships and weapons, the soundtrack, Garrus, and the overall tone and feel of the story. So when I went back and played the first one, it just made the overall experience even more incredible.

So, if you haven’t played through the Mass Effect series yet, you definitely should. Your console will thank you.

Written by Sarus Vakarian

Sarus is an alien princess training under the best of the MemeLords in a town that is South of Southern Canada. She hates Mass Effect, Invader Zim, Tomb Raider, South Park, and heavy metal. Sarus currently has two Hellhounds under her care. She thoroughly enjoys harassing Butch Hartman on Twitter, and occasionally sits and drinks alcohol on the Girls Got Game Twitch streams with NerdyFriend.
Feel free to add her on Steam under the name: Commander Lara, and on Xbox Live: Not Lara.
Twitter and Instagram: Sarusvakarian

 
 

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2 Comments

  1. Steroid Gamer
    Steroid Gamer says:

    Even today I’m still amazed at the complexity Bioware achieved with this game. It remains, in my opinion, one of the “defining” games of the generation.

    2000 years from now if Aliens, Krogans, Asari or whatever else happen to invade a deserted earth, only to find a time capsule containing 10 of the best video games from each generation, this game should be in there.

     

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