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#1 Posted by TheNihilisticIdealist (44 posts) -

Ask anybody on the internet what their favorite game in the Mass Effect trilogy is, they'll most likely say the original Mass Effect. Often they'll shun Mass Effect 2 and 3 by claiming they were "dumbed down" (that's mostly true in ME3's case). I'm in the minority whom enjoyed ME2 the most out of the entire trilogy. With the exception of the main story, lack of a decent villain, and music (ME2's soundtrack is still fantastic however), I thought everything in Mass Effect 2 was better than the original. ME2 wasn't "dumbed down" to me as it was all "streamlined". I didn't think the gameplay in ME1 was very good, felt like a half-assed RPG combined with a clumsy shooter.

Did anyone else enjoyed Mass Effect 2 more than the original, or are ME2 fans filthy casuals who have shit taste in vidya gaems?

#2 Edited by Daneian (1230 posts) -

I prefer Mass Effect 2 over 1

#3 Posted by Mnemoidian (955 posts) -

Mechanically, ME2 and ME3 are far superior to ME1. It's been too long since I played ME1 to remember anything but feeling that the gameplay was a chore.

In contrast I put over 100 hours into Mass Effect 3's Multiplayer just because I enjoyed the game mechanics.

Also, yeah - ME2's story had a pretty good flow to it. Certainly the best flow in the series. But... I might have enjoyed ME3 the most, because of the epic sequences and most of the great payoffs... if it wasn't for my disappointment with the end.

#4 Posted by phrosnite (3518 posts) -

At first, yes. But I have replayed those games so many times I'd say they are equally good.

#5 Posted by Hurvilo (59 posts) -

I thought most people prefered ME2 over ME1. Sure, the main story line in the first game is way stronger, but considering that the bulk of the story in ME2 is located at the beginning and the end it really doesn't matter. In between ME2 is - by far - the most fascinating game in the trilogy just because we get to see so many fantastic locations and speak to so many great characters. The fact that ME2 cut most of the more traditional RPG elements from the first game doesn't bother me at all.

#6 Posted by devilzrule27 (1239 posts) -

I think a lot of people like Mass Effect 2 over Mass Effect 1. Granted I'm one of those people who enjoyed the first one more.

#7 Posted by cmblasko (1236 posts) -

Isn't that the general consensus? I personally prefer ME1, but the gameplay changes from 1 to 2 make a huge difference for most people.

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#8 Posted by Cameron (600 posts) -

I'm pretty sure Mass Effect 2 is generally considered to be the best in the series. I really liked the first one, but some of the design decisions (the Mako) were very questionable. I really liked the third game as well, but it felt like more of the second rather than the leap forward the second game made.

#9 Edited by TheNihilisticIdealist (44 posts) -

@mnemoidian: ME3 was arguably the worst in the series. In my opinion at least. They focused too much on the combat, even if the combat was really good. Don't get me started in the writing in that game. Despite several character interactions, Tuchanka, and to an extent Rannoch, the quality of the story ranged from average to Hepler-tier levels of bad. Even the first ten minutes of the game were as almost as bad as the ending, watching that kid die was unintentionally hilarious. The worst part was the excessive amount of auto-dialog, and even fewer dialog options.

Does that mean ME3 was bad? Naw, it's decent. It's like the Return of the Jedi of the trilogy, but with an even shittier ending.

#10 Edited by Humanity (9263 posts) -

People that like traditional RPG's liked the original more.

#11 Edited by TheNihilisticIdealist (44 posts) -

@humanity: But that's the thing, the RPG elements in ME1 weren't very good either. They're arguably worse than in ME2. It's understandable if they liked ME1 the most for its aesthetic style and story. But for gameplay? Ha.

Star Wars: KOTOR >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> ME1

#12 Edited by DanHammett (155 posts) -

I'm in the same boat, buddy.

Fuck the Mako.

#13 Posted by TheNihilisticIdealist (44 posts) -

@danhammett: The Mako didn't bother me that much. It was okay, my main gripe was with the uncharted planets. They're all nearly identical to one another, with the only difference being the color palette.

#14 Posted by Jimbo (9814 posts) -

I don't think you're in the minority. Mass Effect 2 is the much better game imo, it just completely fails as a second act. It's both the best game and most responsible for the trilogy going off the rails.

The dumbed down argument doesn't really hold up, because Mass Effect was never 'smart' to begin with. I'm all for the 'let's not turn everything into a fucking cover shooter' mindset, but it's not like Mass Effect 1 was a good something else which got cast aside. It was a shitty cover shooter with a bunch of poorly thought out, deadweight systems attached to it. ME2 could have improved those systems rather than cutting them -and given the choice I'd rather it had- but that doesn't mean those systems were good in ME1.

#15 Posted by Veektarius (4837 posts) -

@humanity: Maybe people who like the first more like traditional RPGs, but I am at least one person who likes traditional RPGs who liked the second more.

I did a huge writeup on this but basically, if you played straight through ME1 and didn't touch the side content and did no planetary exploration, you could make an argument for it being a better game than ME2 with none of the side content and no planetary exploration. Once you go outside of the core story, though, it's no contest.

#16 Posted by TheNihilisticIdealist (44 posts) -

@jimbo: No, I'm in the minority. People still tend to bitch about how ME2 "dumbed down" the series.

Even Alpha Protocol, despite the lack of polish and myriad of bugs, had superior gameplay than ME1.

#17 Posted by EvilNiGHTS (1093 posts) -

Ask anybody on the internet what their favorite game in the Mass Effect trilogy is, they'll most likely say the original Mass Effect. Often they'll shun Mass Effect 2 and 3 by claiming they were "dumbed down" (that's mostly true in ME3's case). I'm in the minority whom enjoyed ME2 the most out of the entire trilogy.

I don't think that's true at all. That's not even the editorial stance of this site.

Mass Effect 2 is one of the weirdest sequels in gaming; of course they make sure to sharpen up the stuff they're keeping in, but the approach was largely stripping out things that didn't work and not really replacing them with much. Usually it's the other way around... just look at the Assassin's Creed series.

The thing is, this means the two games end up scratching different itches: Mass Effect 1 gets more of the exploration and equipment stuff that we'd traditionally want from an RPG, but Mass Effect 2 does a better job with the story and has more compelling characters. Overall though, the audience seems to gravitate towards the second game because the stuff you spend the majority of your time doing generally seems to work better.

They're both amazing games, especially in their respective times. But I hardly ever hear anyone say they preferred the first game.

#18 Posted by budgietheii (163 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 is probably the better game if you were writing a review. I think I have a larger soft spot for Mass Effect 1 though.

#19 Edited by Legion_ (1284 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 is the Empire Strikes Back of of the ME-saga. In other words, the best one.

#20 Posted by ZeForgotten (10397 posts) -

Gameplay wise, like mechanics and stuff like that is far superior in ME2 and 3 for obvious-to-a-blind-man reasons.
I did enjoy the story of the first one more than the second one though and at the time it was fun to play through, it's still playable but "weird" going back to it.

2 wins for me, as well.

#21 Posted by falserelic (5437 posts) -

I still remember when people saw the ending of ME3. They made it seem like it was the second coming. Anyway I've never been a huge fan of the ME series, but if I had to choose it would be the original.

#22 Posted by kaos_cracker (588 posts) -

I enjoy Mass Effect 3 the most out of all because of the DLC, and I played the beginning of the first one so many times that I'm starting to not like it anymore.

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#23 Posted by Maddman60620 (132 posts) -

Mass Effect is basically Star Wars.......The Empire Strikes Back was the best in the Star Wars series and I think that's true for all sci-fi.... ME2 had a cooler gameplay & better flowing story... ME1 was rough like New Hope, great world you really wanted to know more about which help push you through the rough gameplay parts because the story/characters are great..... the original story and ending to ME3 wasn't even that bad, just not as epic as anyone hooked from ME1 could've hoped for, like the ending in Return of the Jedi it really couldn't live up to the pretty good endings to the past 2 stories cause part 3 in any story arc is more or less a "let's wrap it up, guy!" flop to a finsh....

#24 Posted by pweidman (2337 posts) -

While I love the entire Mass Effect trilogy, and found the story in the first game to be incredible, ME2 is the best game unto itself because it fixed so much that was poorly done in ME1. The streamlining of the skills and weapons, the cover system, gunplay, and order giving were all substantially improved. Many will say the vehicle controls too, but I really had no problem with the Mako.

But even more importantly for me were all the amazing new characters and locations, the awesome dialog choices, and the renegade/paragon systems and choices that were perfected imo. I played through the game sticking to paragon in one and renegade in the second and they handled perfectly without being overboard or dumb. The game was so well written, and you couldn't help but really grow attached to some or all of the characters. I spose that's the strength of all 3 games though.

My only complaint with ME2 was the somewhat generic final boss. Endings are Bioware's achilles I guess.

#25 Posted by armaan8014 (5404 posts) -

Mass effect 1 was my favorite, (and ME2 disappointed) until I finished ME3 (forget about the ending)

I dunno, I loved ME3's story and its my second favorite game of all time (first is the Witcher)

But hey, maybe im just crazy :P

#26 Posted by TheNihilisticIdealist (44 posts) -

@maddman60620: I agree with you, except ME3's ending was really that bad because it didn't make any sense whatsoever. The Extended Cut DLC was an improvement, but only marginally. The Indoctrination Theory was interesting, and plausible when you consider the numerous subliminal techniques filmmakers use. Might've redeemed the ending, but one of the members of Bioware announced it was all fan speculation. A pity, it was a neat theory while it lasted.

#27 Edited by pyromagnestir (4324 posts) -

I shall now attempt to weigh the pros and cons of each, and 3 too while I'm at it.

I like how 2 made the classes a bit more unique, each with it's own class specific special power as opposed to just being different slices of the same pie of abilities like in Mass Effect. I didn't like how each class suddenly only had 4 abilities with a pretty limited set of upgrades. 2 played a lot better but I missed having the opportunity to mix and match powers as freely as I could in the first game. ME3 actually got this part damn near right, if you ask me.

I liked how the character related side quests in 2 were more fleshed out than any side quest in Mass Effect was. I felt the main story planets of each were interesting but the original gets an edge there, ME2 traded freedom for polish. Really you could say that ME2 traded freedom for polish in a lot of ways. The first game had a lot of flaws and jank as a result of all that freedom, but it was also... I don't know, let's say special as a result of that freedom. 2 was technically improved as a result of the polish, but less special. Still amazing though. 3's main story felt poorly developed and somewhat rushed in spots. The whole "Hey there's this super race of machines coming to destroy the galaxy, how about we all choose right now to fight out our differences amongst ourselves" didn't sit well with me. Neither did the "The Reapers are here but it's okay take whatever time you need we'll be alright" aspect.

I was sad that rather than make the explore dozens of planets across the universe aspect of the first game better they junked it. Yeah, you could still explore a fair amount of planets over the course of the game but it just didn't feel as expansive, to me. Scanning for minerals sucked. It was just flat out bad. Scanning whole planets and then running from Reapers was quicker but not much better. Neither made the universe feel as vast as actually being able to explore some of those planets did.

Both the original and 2 handled interaction with your team and with other npcs on missions and stuff very well. This is one area where ME3 really dropped the ball.

Mass Effect might have had a slightly larger array of options as to how to handle situations, but I feel like 2 did a better job of presenting the consequences to your choices in game, whereas the original was mostly built on the promise of "find out next game how these choices will affect the world!" This is another area where ME3 fumbled big time. Particularly near the end.

In the end I'm still not sure which I like more. Mass Effect is my heart's choice while Mass Effect 2 is my head's.

#28 Posted by Quarters (1707 posts) -

ME3's my favorite, ME2 is after that, and I think ME1 is the weakest, though I think they're all fantastic.

#29 Posted by Humanity (9263 posts) -

@humanity:

Maybe people who like the first more like traditional RPGs, but I am at least one person who likes traditional RPGs who liked the second more.

I did a huge writeup on this but basically, if you played straight through ME1 and didn't touch the side content and did no planetary exploration, you could make an argument for it being a better game than ME2 with none of the side content and no planetary exploration. Once you go outside of the core story, though, it's no contest.

There is no arguing that Mass Effect 2 flows much better than the first game. But the RPG elements are definitely way stronger in the original and for some people that was the main draw. Combat was clunkier but it felt like it relied more on stats rather than shooter mechanics. Adepts were simply amazing and then got complete neutered in the sequel with biotic abilities getting turned into projectiles rather than actual powers. There was an actual inventory system with armor and upgrades. It all felt like an RPG and that was what I really enjoyed about it. The duplicate side quests were a bummer but since I enjoyed combat so much as an adept any excuse to fight baddies was always welcome - also one of the reasons why I played renegade, so I could get into as many fights as possible.

That said I really liked the second game. I completely disagree with @jimbo in that it was a disappointing second act. Getting your team together and taking on a galaxy wide threat in a suicide mission was a great idea. By the end of the game I really felt a connection to all my squadmates thanks to the loyalty missions and main quest scripted events. ME3, now there was a completely disappointing third act in a series where the game mechanics still held up but the plot and story simply fell flat. The first time you lost all your friends in ME2 was jarring enough, but they kind of justified the need to recruit a whole new crew with the Cerberus affiliation. ME3 just felt like a bad deja vu for the most part.

#30 Posted by DeF (4893 posts) -

@cmblasko said:

Isn't that the general consensus? I personally prefer ME1, but the gameplay changes from 1 to 2 make a huge difference for most people.

OP is clearly new to Giant Bomb ;)

#31 Posted by TheNihilisticIdealist (44 posts) -

@def: I'm only new to this forum, I've followed the website since it's early incarnation. I've. At almost every other video game related forum, the general consensus is that ME1 is the best of the three.

#32 Posted by chilibean_3 (1642 posts) -

Yeah, dude. MOST people preferred 2 over one. You know, the Game of the Year one. I like both a whole lot though.

#33 Posted by DeckardsRevolver (28 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 was my personal faovrite of the three.

#34 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

IMO, ME2 shouldn't even carry the Mass Effect name. Or at least they should have called it Mass Effect: Shooter. Both ME1 and 2 are both great games, but are so entirely different they are hard to compare. Now, I preferred the first because I was playing the game for an RPG, not a shooter. I went through 7 full playthroughs of the first, while I struggle to get through my second playthrough of ME2.

#35 Posted by Kedi2 (248 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 is one of my favorite games of all time, while Mass Effect 1 is a chore.

#36 Posted by BeachThunder (11943 posts) -

I thought ME2 was significantly worse. I haven't even bothered with 3 yet, I'll just wait patiently until it hits 5 or so dollars on Steam...

Having said that though, I still really enjoyed 2, but it was very much a shadow of the original.

#37 Posted by JadeGL (871 posts) -

Mechanically, yes. Mass Effect 2 is better. It plays better and is more fun overall with much less jank.

However, I like the first game better where the story is concerned. It just feels so epic, while the story in the second game is smaller and more focused on the characters that make up your team. I also have a soft spot for it since it was the first and it did a lot of stuff well, like building the world and mythology, it just wasn't as fun to play as the second or third installments.

Moderator
#38 Posted by believer258 (11914 posts) -

What the first one does better than the other two is world-building. Two and (occasionally) three have interesting locales, yes, but it's the first one where the Citadel is a huge place and several of the areas you visit feel pretty large and interesting as well. Mass Effect 2 and 3 noticeably pared down the Citadel and made the levels tighter and smaller. It made memorizing them easier, sure, but the Citadel in the first game feels massive and sprawling. You could spend hours dicking around in it and gawking at the things around them, and most people did. Hell, the Normandy - despite supposedly being a bigger ship in 2 - feels bigger in the first game. Bigger doesn't equal better, but when you're creating a world to explore, filling it with small corridors and a handful of rooms doesn't work so well.

But the characters and the gameplay and the systems and the graphics and virtually everything else is better in 2. I would have preferred it if 2 would have improved on the RPG stuff in 1 instead of almost scrapping it altogether, and I would have definitely preferred a wider variety of weapons, but 2 is still the best in the series.

Also, you're not part of the minority. The majority agrees that 2 is the best in the series. It's just that there's a lout minority that thinks 1 is better, and they tend to bring it up often enough.

#39 Edited by LikeaSsur (1532 posts) -

Mass Effect 3 is the best in the series, I think, but that's mostly because of all the references and appearances to the previous 2 games. Bioware made dang sure to reward series fans. Most people love 1 because they love exposition up the whazoo, and hate 3 because of the lack of exposition (because by the third game in the series, we should still be expanding upon a universe we already know about, right?)

In fact, of the three, I think Mass Effect 1 is the worst one. The gameplay was slow, and the Mako sections was the worst kind of filler.

#40 Edited by BeachThunder (11943 posts) -

@jadegl said:

However, I like the first game better where the story is concerned. It just feels so epic, while the story in the second game is smaller and more focused on the characters that make up your team.

The second one's story was one of the biggest sore points for me :( the entirety of the story was:

You are Commander Shepard. Recruit some guys to kill a bunch of aliens. Kill a bunch of aliens. The End.

#41 Posted by Irishdoom (333 posts) -

I also have to say I was bothered by the way ME2 was set up as sets of closed systems, it never felt like I was exploring a universe. Hell, it even had "level complete" screens.

#42 Edited by Turtlebird95 (2390 posts) -

Most people I know prefer Mass Effect 2 over the original, and I would have to agree. Mass Effect 1 holds up like shit and the only thing I really found enjoyable about it was the story.

#43 Posted by gkhan (440 posts) -

I just recently played through ME1 again, and people who say it's the best in the series simply haven't played it in a while and are looking back on it with rose-colored glasses. It is emphatically not better.

Some people may say that the RPG elements are deeper in 1, but the thing is that the RPG elements aren't any good. They're just tedious and doesn't affect the gameplay in an interesting way. If you're looking for an RPG, there are plenty out there, why waste your time on a bad one?

But it's not just the systems and the gameplay that suck, it's much more than that. The graphics are much better, all the character models have been improved, the voice acting is substantially better. And, frankly, the treatment of the characters is much better. Even the characters that were introduced in Mass Effect 1 that we know think of as great characters didn't really get that way until Mass Effect 2. Garrus, for instance, was not particularly interesting in that first game, but he's the motherfucking bomb in ME2.

It's also just the general feel of the games. Like, in Mass Effect 1, when you talk to someone, you just stand there. It looks like both you and your partner have had your bodies turned to stone and only your mouth can move, creepily staring into each other's eyes. Maybe once or twice your partner will move an arm in one of like four standard meaningless animations. But in Mass Effect 2 (and even more so in 3), they move around, they make gestures, they talk like normal human beings (or aliens, or whatever). Comparing any number of the the hundreds of scenes in that game would make the point, but take a look at this scene in ME1 where you first meet Garrus and then compare it to the scene in ME2 when you meet Archangel.

Even more dramatically, many people say that their favorite scenes in all of Mass Effect is the conversation you have with Sovereign on Virmire. And I agree, it's totally awesome, but it's entirely for story reasons, and nothing else. You're standing as if you were nailed on a board in a drab gray room talking to a low-poly count wire frame model. Compare that to the scene in Mass Effect 3 where you talk to a reaper. Again, for story reasons this is less interesting than the scene in ME1, but just looking at how the two scenes are directed, there ain't no comparison!

I dare anyone to play ME1 again today and tell me that it's a better game than ME2 (and even ME3 in my opinion).

#44 Posted by MetalGearSunny (6992 posts) -

Both games are awesome, but Mass Effect 2 is a better playing game. The gameplay and systems in Mass Effect were a mess.

#45 Posted by Soapy86 (2621 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 is definitely my favorite. Better gameplay than the first. Best story. Best Characters. Dat Suicide Mission.

#46 Posted by Brodehouse (9951 posts) -

Mass Effect 2 is my favorite.

#47 Edited by Jimbo (9814 posts) -

@humanity said:

@veektarius said:

@humanity:

Maybe people who like the first more like traditional RPGs, but I am at least one person who likes traditional RPGs who liked the second more.

I did a huge writeup on this but basically, if you played straight through ME1 and didn't touch the side content and did no planetary exploration, you could make an argument for it being a better game than ME2 with none of the side content and no planetary exploration. Once you go outside of the core story, though, it's no contest.

There is no arguing that Mass Effect 2 flows much better than the first game. But the RPG elements are definitely way stronger in the original and for some people that was the main draw. Combat was clunkier but it felt like it relied more on stats rather than shooter mechanics. Adepts were simply amazing and then got complete neutered in the sequel with biotic abilities getting turned into projectiles rather than actual powers. There was an actual inventory system with armor and upgrades. It all felt like an RPG and that was what I really enjoyed about it. The duplicate side quests were a bummer but since I enjoyed combat so much as an adept any excuse to fight baddies was always welcome - also one of the reasons why I played renegade, so I could get into as many fights as possible.

That said I really liked the second game. I completely disagree with @jimbo in that it was a disappointing second act. Getting your team together and taking on a galaxy wide threat in a suicide mission was a great idea. By the end of the game I really felt a connection to all my squadmates thanks to the loyalty missions and main quest scripted events. ME3, now there was a completely disappointing third act in a series where the game mechanics still held up but the plot and story simply fell flat. The first time you lost all your friends in ME2 was jarring enough, but they kind of justified the need to recruit a whole new crew with the Cerberus affiliation. ME3 just felt like a bad deja vu for the most part.

ME1 has more RPG elements than ME2, but I wouldn't say they were ever strong, which is why I didn't missed them in ME2. ME1 combat involved walking into a room, nuking it with all available powers, then mopping up whatever was left - it wasn't exactly the thinking man's RPG. The equipment system was there, but it was basically optional whether you worried about it or not. A bunch of shallow mechanics which amounted to nothing.

ME2 was a great game in its own right, but failed as a second act because it barely moved the main story arc forward one inch. ME1 ends with 'Reapers are coming, we should probably prepare for that', ME2 ends with 'Reapers are coming, we should probably prepare for that'. ME3 was simply left with too much to do to have a chance and doing it well; it had to both start and finish the inevitable galaxy-wide war which the whole trilogy was about. It had to be both Act 2 and Act 3, because ME2 was basically off doing its own thing as a series of character vignettes. It was worth it because ME2 was awesome, but after doing that, they really needed another two games to have a chance at finishing strongly (one for the galaxy to burn divided, and one for the galaxy to fight back united). But unfortunately they only had one game, and chose to throw the main story arc under the bus in order to concentrate on tying up the secondary story threads.

#48 Posted by Twinsun (477 posts) -

One of the main reasons I like the firste better than the second, is that I like shepard more in the first. In the second he/she seemed to have a chip on his/her shoulder no matter what dialogue you choose. Atleast in the beginning. It all seemed to be trying way to hard to be "edgy" to me. I loved the classic sci-fi style of the first one, and less the michael bay style of the second.

#49 Posted by ArbitraryWater (11742 posts) -

Mass Effect 1 does a lot of good things when it comes to establishing a world and a tone, but even when it came out I thought the gameplay was kind of clunky and bad. I'll take the flashier, more streamlined stylings of ME2 over the first game most days of the week.

#50 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3327 posts) -

ME2 certainly feels better, and the plot setup is far more conducive to fun gameplay but ME1 has better music, better dialogue (it's not as black & white), Wrex, Saren and the Mako. Which yeah, I actually like. Exploration isn't for everybody, I get that. But good exploration means that sometimes you find nothing. I guess people just weren't feeling it back then, but it's always been a bummer to me that planetary exploration got completely axed in ME2 and 3. Also: reapers. I hate em. Stupid idea. Game was much sweeter when it was about hunting a rogue specter.