PS3 owners will not be as attached to this franchise as 360 ownes
Man there sure is a lot of talk about the Mass Effect franchise lately. I have heard it said that Mass Effect 2 will be looked back upon as one of gaming’s best of all time. Since PlayStation 3 owners are not able to experience the story from the beginning, the first apparently being owned by Microsoft, I figured I would pick up the sequel since the price dropped. Surely with all the hype this playing experience would certainly be memorable, right? Well 50+ hours later, I have some memoires of the game to reflect upon but they are far from the best game ever.
Bioware has certainly attempted a marvelous feat with this audacious undertaking. There is a lot of depth and technicality going on. Essentially what you experience is something like a Star Trek series. You command a ship and crew each with his or her won personalities and interactions. You take your ship around the galaxy doing missions to develop the crew you have and advance an underlying story. That all sounds pretty great doesn’t it? I mean, I am a fan of the Star Trek series and if someone told me this game was like that, I would be very excited. Well it is “like” Star Trek, but it is a far cry from nailing it on the head.
Decisions are the key in this game. You will make decisions throughout the whole game that will slowly and effectively shape both the way the story goes and how your character develops. Maybe you missed the big fat Bioware on the cover. Knowing the caliber going in, it is nice to see that you are not disappointed. Bioware is one of the few dev teams that has been able to make decisions really feel like they matter. Kudos to them for that.
What I take issue with is the rest of the game. Broadly speaking, I found the game boring. It lacked the real action of an action game and the suspense of a drama. It felt very shallow to me at the end of the experience. Plus being the second in a trilogy and missing the first, this game really fails to give a satisfying self contained playing experience. You go in feeling like you missed the beginning of the story and you leave with more questions then you started. This is not a good way to win new fans.
On top of everything else the game doesn’t run very smoothly. There are a lot of technical hiccups that you will come across. You know the usual texture popping, falling through environments, audio cutting out before a sentence is finished, frame rate stutter. Just going down the list, this game has all of those annoying traits. That’s what happens when you try to cram in everything you think people want in a game, you end up with a lot of almost without any spot on. I would rather a game picks one thing and focuses on doing that perfectly then trying to get as much in as possible and do a half behind job on it all.
It wouldn’t be fare to say the game is a total wash. I am sure if I was as invested in the fiction as people who played through the first installment I would probably have a bit more to draw from and probably be more forgiving. But since I don’t I have to be more heavy-handed about it. There is a good game here, somewhere. There are a lot of neat things this game does well, not really enough to make up for the difference but there are some. It may lack whatever magic makes Star Trek so loved by many, but it does provide a proof of concept that such a game could exist and that is really more of what I would want to see.