Mass Effect was a great game. The game-play was good but the story was excellent. Being a huge sci-fi fan I have to say it had an incredibly compelling story. So much so that it was often difficult to maintain the ‘completionist’ style game-play I usually undertake. I was even able to see how the story took root from some other great sci-fi novels and short stories. Combine that with beautiful imagery and an extensive space travel simulation, it was hard to put the controller down.
I wasn’t exactly jumping on the opportunity to play Mass Effect 2. Surprising as that my be given how satisfied I was with the first installment I just didn’t feel compelled to go out and get it. Maybe I didn’t feel like I could justify the time commitment with all of the other things going on in my life. Though after listening to so many people get excited about playing it (including my cousin who pre-ordered it for his PC) I decided buy it for my Xbox.
Advancement or Regression
So far the game has been… Ok. There is no question that BioWare has made improvements. However, there are a number of changes they have made that seem to be steps backwards not only in game-play but also from a sci-fi tech standpoint. My first example of this would be the weaponry. In Mass Effect the weapons seem to be a very sophisticated technology that do not use ammunition but a kind of energy. Firing the weapon causes it to heat up, and after firing many shots in succession the gun can overheat and requires cool down time. This eliminated the need to practice ammunition conservation and allowed you to play the game however you wanted. It also created balance with the biotic abilities which also required time to recharge. Completely shifting game-play and making the soldier class a slave to ammunition availability, they have changed this in ME2. Now the weapons still use energy based projectiles but rather than building up heat and needing to cool down they expend the capacity of their ‘heat sink’ which then needs to be replaced. So in the two years (game time) between the first and second games tech has changed in such a way that it is less efficient. You now have to collect ‘heat sinks’ which for some reason fall out of enemy gun’s when they are killed.