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(Suicide) Mission Accomplished


Mass Effect 2 is a fine example of how to do a sequel right. BioWare appears to have taken all of the things that people didn't like about the first game and either fixed them, or flat out removed them. The graphics are better, the gameplay is better, and the missions are better. Everything is just better. I really liked the first Mass Effect, but felt that it failed to reach it's full potential. Mass Effect 2 on the other hand, does not make that same mistake.

My biggest problem with the first game was the sense of scale, or rather the lack there of. Mass Effect 1 felt really small, even though you were supposed to have the entire galaxy at your fingertips, and driving the Mako around barren wastelands did not equal fun. But where Mass Effect 1 was unable to bring about any feeling of grandness, Mass Effect 2 has it in spades. The vast amount of solar systems, complete with technical details and histories for each planet, is staggering. I had a lot of fun with the planet scanning mini game, and coming across the occasional "anomaly detected" side mission was the icing on the cake.

But what I thought was really interesting and cool about Mass Effect 2 was the structure of the game and the missions. Basically, the majority of the game consists of you hunting down and recruiting members for your team. Sure, there are a few missions that don't involve recruitment, but looking back I feel like those were the most enjoyable and prominent missions of the game. I also really enjoyed the "loyalty" missions for each of the team members, I can't wait to go back and try them again but with different choices made. But ultimately the whole game is just you gathering up your team and preparing for the "suicide mission". But by no means is that a bad thing, on the contrary, it's a nice retreat from the normal RPG structure.

I really love how all the decisions made in the first game affect the new one. Your constantly being approached by characters that you interacted with in one way or another in the first game. It really brings a sense of connection between the games that is not found in other game series.It also made me think extra hard about every decision because I knew that it would affect the third game in some form. I actually made the last, big decision of the game based solely on the idea that it might positively affect the next game, which is something I have never done before in a video game.

There are lots of games these days that allow for a new game+, where you can start over from the beginning and still have all your guns and abilities, but it's not something I usually indulge in. When I finished Mass Effect 2 on the other hand, I immediately started a new game+ because there were so many decisions that I made throughout the course of the game that made me want to try it the other way. BioWare really went all out in Mass Effect 2 by delivering a grand adventure while still having enough time to put in little stuff like model space ships and "space hamsters". I cannot recommend this game enough, it really is that great.