Story & Consequences – The events of Mass Effect 2 take place a few years after the conclusion to Mass Effect, 200 years on from our own timeline. The main plot is that human colonies on the outskirts of space have begun to disappear and the main character Commander Yukiko Shepard joins up with the Cerberus organisation to investigate into suspicions that the Reapers are somehow involved. One thing I personally like is that if you have kept your save game from the original Mass Effect then all the choices you made from it are taken into account for the sequel. Did you execute a criminal or let them live in the original? Will you rescue someone at cost to yourself or let them perish? These choices do have consequences and the conversation system in the new game is as impressive as it was in the original Mass Effect. These ponderous questions flesh out the campaign and can have you having to make some hard choices as well as leave you thinking for a bit before making your decisions. Conversations are not the only choice making method; your actions develop the story, pushing someone out of harms way, or scaring an innocent will have effects on your personality and how you are perceived. Mass Effect 2 Special Edition is generally well-paced with much of the game revolving around you recruiting a team to tackle the threat of the Reapers. Of course each new recruit will need you to solve their individual problem before they join up with you. In the first game you automatically had your elite squad at the start. These missions are very well made and each one is unique so you do not feel as though you are grinding out missions and you feel a sense of accomplishment and involvement in the story, this is in part thanks to the wonderful cinematics on display.
Action & RPG Effect – The skills and special abilities are another aspect of the game to have been refined by BioWare. The amount of weaponry and armour has been reduced. This reduction is good, less items with which to fumble about with and less time spent choosing. One great addition to the sequel is the inclusion of ammunition for your guns; in the first your weapons didn’t require ammunition. The ammo is dropped on the ground next to a downed opponent in a style that will be familiar to anyone to have played a first person shooter in the past 20 years. Another FPS style addition is that your health gauge regenerates over time while you are behind cover and are not being hit. In Mass Effect most players would commit themselves to a single weapon and put gained experience towards it. This is resolved with the new ammunition system and the removal of weapon specialisation and skill; you can now freely use different weapons in changing circumstances with no loss of skill. You own personal skill defines your combat skills. This makes gun fights a lot more enjoyable and less repetitive. You can now scan unexplored planets for resources; these are then used to upgrade your weapons and armour. Your ship, the SSV Normandy SR-2, can also make use of these resources in its on-board research system.
The worlds of Mass Effect 2 Multiplatform are all fully living and breathing, each one varied, unique and filled with original creatures and characters; all with an in-depth back story and purpose. The elite squad you command also has a wealth of back story. The populations of each world converse with each other and carry out day to day tasks. Decisions that you make are regularly discussed among your squad as they talk about you and each other. Everything feels alive and this helps immerse you into this highly interactive universe.[I:http://www.cqwen.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/AgnesLamont10.jpg]
BioWare have been creating RPG’s since the 1990’s and have produced some of the industries finest games in this genre. This wealth of experience is on show in Mass Effect 2 as they have refined and improved every facet of the original, from top to bottom. The fat has been cut and we are left with the knowledge that Mass Effect 2 Special Edition is a wonderfully crafted game and a must have for your collection.