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More Mass Effect 2 Hands-On: Here's Samara!

Another tough lady joins Shepard's squad as BioWare continues to reveal new party members in its next sequel.

After I got to play a good chunk of Mass Effect 2 about a month ago, I was only permitted by the space cops at BioWare to tell you about the first half of the demo I played. Now the curtain has been lifted on the other half, a mission that involved Commander Shepard's recruitment of yet another fresh party member who's new to the series, Samara.

Samara's an Asari, one of the blue, sort of mystical, ladylike beings from the first game. But her demeanor is about 180 degrees from the steady, contemplative cool of your previous Asari squadmate, Liara. Samara is a justicar, a hot-blooded vigilante bent on exacting justice upon the galaxy's lawless scum. She operates within her own questionable but nonetheless specific moral code, which makes her a good fit for the rogues' gallery Shepard appears to be constructing in this sequel. She's also an intensely powerful biotic character, so--while I didn't get to play her, myself--you can probably expect to fling a lot of enemies to and fro with her abilities.

This trailer ought to show you pretty much exactly what Samara is about.

 

  

The brief mission I played had me running after Samara on the Asari homeworld of Illium, where she was herself on the trail of a group of mercenaries whom she was hellbent on bringing to justice. I don't want to give away too much of what was a pretty cool narrative interlude (albeit one that may or may not have much bearing on Mass Effect 2's core storyline), so I'll only say that the investigation into the mercs' operations went deeper than expected into a series of tangled events, and everything was not as it seemed, even with the minor characters involved. There were some tense exchanges of dialogue, a few quick decisions to make... and Samara threw someone out a window. Pretty good stuff.

Afterward I jumped ahead to a pure combat section that had me blasting my way through the mercenary base. Not a lot new to report about the shooting that I didn't cover in my previous story, though I will reiterate that Mass Effect 2 certainly feels more like a third-person shooter than its predecessor did. One new feature I ran into in this merc base was a weapons locker, which BioWare hasn't finalized the design on but which seems like it will act as a sort of weapons vending machine, where you can trade out different types of weaponry mid-mission, rather than rolling around with huge amounts of guns in your bottomless inventory.

As if to drive home the more shooter-focused nature of this sequel, the demo ended in a boss fight with no less than a gunship that was doing strafing runs, firing considerable ordnance on my poorly defended position. A few shots from my trusty grenade launcher--one of the new class of heavy weapons being introduced in Mass Effect 2--was enough to take the craft down, but before I got too cocky, I was informed that the demo had been set to the easiest difficulty setting. So it would seem the designers are focusing on creating some intense, action-oriented boss encounters--which is probably no surprise for anyone who remembers the Benezia fight from the first game.

I think I'm about 50/50 on all these new party members. Certainly some of the new faces--mainly Samara and Thane--are looking cool, and I sincerely hope that Geth character from the enemies trailer becomes a party member at some point. But I would also really like to get some playable time in with old friends like Garrus and Wrex at some point, too. To be fair, BioWare still has five more characters to reveal before the game's January 26 release, so who knows who might pop up between now and then?

How are you feeling about what you've seen of the game so far? I'm cautiously getting optimistic that this is going to turn out to be a better game overall than the last one, though part of me also fears all this change.     

 




Brad Shoemaker on Google+
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Posted by Brad

After I got to play a good chunk of Mass Effect 2 about a month ago, I was only permitted by the space cops at BioWare to tell you about the first half of the demo I played. Now the curtain has been lifted on the other half, a mission that involved Commander Shepard's recruitment of yet another fresh party member who's new to the series, Samara.

Samara's an Asari, one of the blue, sort of mystical, ladylike beings from the first game. But her demeanor is about 180 degrees from the steady, contemplative cool of your previous Asari squadmate, Liara. Samara is a justicar, a hot-blooded vigilante bent on exacting justice upon the galaxy's lawless scum. She operates within her own questionable but nonetheless specific moral code, which makes her a good fit for the rogues' gallery Shepard appears to be constructing in this sequel. She's also an intensely powerful biotic character, so--while I didn't get to play her, myself--you can probably expect to fling a lot of enemies to and fro with her abilities.

This trailer ought to show you pretty much exactly what Samara is about.

 

  

The brief mission I played had me running after Samara on the Asari homeworld of Illium, where she was herself on the trail of a group of mercenaries whom she was hellbent on bringing to justice. I don't want to give away too much of what was a pretty cool narrative interlude (albeit one that may or may not have much bearing on Mass Effect 2's core storyline), so I'll only say that the investigation into the mercs' operations went deeper than expected into a series of tangled events, and everything was not as it seemed, even with the minor characters involved. There were some tense exchanges of dialogue, a few quick decisions to make... and Samara threw someone out a window. Pretty good stuff.

Afterward I jumped ahead to a pure combat section that had me blasting my way through the mercenary base. Not a lot new to report about the shooting that I didn't cover in my previous story, though I will reiterate that Mass Effect 2 certainly feels more like a third-person shooter than its predecessor did. One new feature I ran into in this merc base was a weapons locker, which BioWare hasn't finalized the design on but which seems like it will act as a sort of weapons vending machine, where you can trade out different types of weaponry mid-mission, rather than rolling around with huge amounts of guns in your bottomless inventory.

As if to drive home the more shooter-focused nature of this sequel, the demo ended in a boss fight with no less than a gunship that was doing strafing runs, firing considerable ordnance on my poorly defended position. A few shots from my trusty grenade launcher--one of the new class of heavy weapons being introduced in Mass Effect 2--was enough to take the craft down, but before I got too cocky, I was informed that the demo had been set to the easiest difficulty setting. So it would seem the designers are focusing on creating some intense, action-oriented boss encounters--which is probably no surprise for anyone who remembers the Benezia fight from the first game.

I think I'm about 50/50 on all these new party members. Certainly some of the new faces--mainly Samara and Thane--are looking cool, and I sincerely hope that Geth character from the enemies trailer becomes a party member at some point. But I would also really like to get some playable time in with old friends like Garrus and Wrex at some point, too. To be fair, BioWare still has five more characters to reveal before the game's January 26 release, so who knows who might pop up between now and then?

How are you feeling about what you've seen of the game so far? I'm cautiously getting optimistic that this is going to turn out to be a better game overall than the last one, though part of me also fears all this change.     

 




Staff
Posted by CaptainApollo13

SO EXCITED!

Posted by Afroman269

I want this NOW!!!!!!

Posted by Kohe321

Great hands-on, this looks AWESOME!

Posted by Brackynews

More games need a "Throw fool out the window" button. I applaud Mass Effect 2 for being a leader in this area.

Edited by OmegaPirate

Whoa, those guya look so much better this time round!! i certainly loved the rpg styling of the original (being a huge rpg fanboy) but if you're gonna put action style combat in your game then you may as well do it right! A little cautious about some of the changes mentioned but chalk me up optimistic!!

Posted by eroticfishcake

Looking good so far. I might just replay the first one again and see how things pan out when this comes out.

Edited by Hitchenson

Oh man, it's so close now. Can't wait! 
 
Also, has a Salarian squad member been shown yet? Hell will rise if yet again I can't get a Salarian in my squad. 

Posted by PenguinDust

Sweet, another opportunity for hot alien sex...oh, and the game appears to be pretty good, too.

Posted by ToxicFruit

the game still looks good, but I still like the old characters better 

Posted by bpwwhirl

*phone rings* 

Hello??
 
".......Seven Days......."

Posted by Linkyshinks

Looks hefty awesome.

Posted by PhatSeeJay

Want! By asari standards she's quite the bulky warrior! I love it.

Posted by MachoFantastico

She seems rather interesting, more impressive and unique then some of the other new characters shown. Love that bionic powers fight in the video. ME2 looks fantastic can't wait. 

Posted by ex_machina

pre ordering the n7 collectors edition now!

Posted by RobotHamster

Man I want this game, but will i have time to play it is the question.  Nice cleavage.

Posted by yoshimitz707

January is way too far.

Posted by MeatSim

I haven't even started playing Dragon Age and this coming out soon. Where am I gonna find the time?

Posted by Yummylee

Looks to be alot more psycho's for Sheperd to choose from. Still, I'm already preferin her over Liara.
Online
Posted by Andheez

Really looking forward to this game.  The gameplay wasn't great in the last game, but I thought the fiction and storytelling were amazing.  It was an extremely ambitious title, and if they can smooth out some of the rough edges while expanding on the fiction of the universe, there is no way this won't be a great, great game.

Posted by Irish87

I have the special gift of finding a fault in everything. Yet, when I watch this I can only drool and bounce up and down like a mentally challenged ape, all the while clapping... of course. What I'm trying to say is that I hate Bioware for being so perfect and making such a great game. Damn them.

Posted by D_W

Man I really wish this was a TV show instead of a game.
Edited by sdnewman

I'm getting this! Look at that enormous blue rack!

Posted by Bennyishere

Can't wait to get the collector's edition. Really never had a thing for the Asaris, though...

Posted by Irishjohn

I'm getting the game for sure, and Dragon Age's broad roster of characters hadn't dampened my enjoyment of that game.  However, I must confess I'm less than 50/50 on the new characters.  Isn't half the fun of the sequel in hanging out with old characters? I would have liked to see more effort put into developing those characters further. 
 
Of course, maybe they have...

Posted by Evilsbane

Looks and sounds badass can't wait.

Posted by Jimbo

Is there actually any meaningful connection between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 anymore?  I don't think they really appreciated how much work would be involved in creating a true trilogy, working off of your previous saves each time.
 
If every choice is only going to be an illusion - because they will always go out of their way to minimize the consequences  - I would rather they just chose a solid canon version at the end of each game and based the sequel on that.  This pseudo-trilogy continuation thing they're attempting seems to be detrimental to the overarching storyline, because they have to put as much distance between each 'act' as possible.  Having to swap out practically my entire original team for clones, just so that you can start from scratch, is a fucking lame solution.

Posted by Hector

Wow. Now I gotta re-think my squad again.

Posted by Katakalypto

Epic cleavage.

Posted by Cerza

Ugh another new character that does absolutely nothing for me. I really wish they had just stuck with the original cast and kept improving on them. Also, I don't know why, but this character reminds me of Wynne from Dragon Age Origins.

Edited by Tennmuerti

Two thumbs waaaay down on this trailer. This pretty much seals the deal that Liara will not be an available squad mate as I do not believe they will put in 2 full asari biotics.
@Jimbo : I agree it seems that with each trailer that your "choices" from the first game are more and more trivialised. Disappointing after all the hype they created with the carryover saves.
At this point I am pessimistic enough to assume that the only difference when you meet Garus will be one or two sentences depending on how you treated him.
 
Yet I am still enough of a whore to get this no matter what. :(

Posted by Lilja

WIN WIN WIN

Posted by TheClap

Everyone aside from Garus seems so unlikeable to me... We'll see!

Posted by Crash_Happy

The original was such a massive disappointment that I can't see the sequel being any good. I'm keeping an eye but frankly, meh.

Posted by jonny_eh

Maybe Bioware should stop revealing characters? I'd like to be surprised!

Posted by Geno

Is this from the 360 version? The graphics look terrible. 

Posted by essaregee
@Afroman269 said:
" I want this NOW!!!!!! "
It's only a matter of time 'till someone violates it.
Posted by essaregee
@essaregee said:
" @Afroman269 said:
" I want this NOW!!!!!! "
It's only a matter of time 'till someone violates it. "
Wait no! it wasnt supposed to sound like that :|
What I wanted to say was "Violates street date like the original"
 
lol
Posted by Pinkshley1

Im so pumped for this game.

Posted by 2Yewtz

Looks really neat, thanks Brad.

Posted by JAC0BISH

As long as most of the combat has been greatly improved this will be really good. Hopefully there will be more planets to visit with more open space like the Citadel was in the first game.

Posted by lhaymehr

 @ Brad Shoemaker  said:

"How are you feeling about what you've seen of the game so far? I'm cautiously getting optimistic that this is going to turn out to be a better game overall than the last one, though part of me also fears all this change."


Are you kidding? Anything would be an improvement over ME1. ME1 was a cool concept successful at burning a good number of hours but it was fairly poor in design; The combat, the inventory, the items, and the very few main original worlds made it look really poor as far as I am concerned. It was a fun and interesting game, but not really special in design.
 
I'm confident they'll nail the story and dialogue in ME2 just as they did in ME1 so I know this will be a game worth getting, but if they also nail the other stuff this time around, this might be EPIC!
Posted by Milkman

She looks pretty alright. Still remaining fully stoked!

Online
Posted by Alphazero

Find peace in the embrace of... Shepard.

Posted by TheIronYuppie

Can't freakin wait.  A little disappointed about their change to weapons to make it more shooter-y, With having ta counter with a set number of shots before you have to "insert a cooling rod" read: reload, kinda breaks the fiction they'd established in the first one.

Posted by Rowr

that bitch aint fucking around.

Posted by Afroman269
@essaregee said:
" @essaregee said:
" @Afroman269 said:
" I want this NOW!!!!!! "
It's only a matter of time 'till someone violates it. "
Wait no! it wasnt supposed to sound like that :| What I wanted to say was "Violates street date like the original"  lol "
Don't worry I understood what you were saying.
Edited by DavidSnakes

Ehh, I'm left feeling more embarrassed than anything by that trailer.  The sexualized alien look just seems too nerd fetish-y.  Bioware in general has serious storytelling problems to overcome, and their games have such a predictable structure to everything.  Not to shit on them too much, but everyone else just seems so bowled over by them

Posted by Shuborno

I'm not sure about all these extreme/angry new party members.
 
I think I'll stick to the calmer, collected ones like Tali.

Posted by Turambar

I think the problem ME2 is running into is that none of the new characters appear likable.  Everyone is too busy acting like giant dicks for me to want anything to do with them. 

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