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A Game I Played in 2010: Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 wasn’t just a game I played in 2010, or a game I liked in 2010. I loved  Mass Effect 2. It was my favourite game of the year, by a healthy distance. In fact, it recently became the latest in the odd collection of games of which I own two copies, thanks to a Steam sale and my desire to have access to this game wherever I am in the world, ever. Seriously.

Let’s go over some of the reasons I love  Mass Effect 2.


The  Mass Effect games do space really well. Space should be all about cool space ships, groovy space helmets, mildly techno rock music or mildly rocking techno music, and the freedom to fly to that star system, over there, right now. There’s a newsagents being pressured by local ruffians and we need to fly there and shoot them in the face with lasers.

The first  Mass Effect was a really great game. It had characters, story, a fantastic ending, and all of the spaceness that I just described.  Mass Effect 2 does an even better job in almost every case, particularly in regard to the use of lasers to shoot aliens in the face. Which brings me to…

  • Badassery

Mass Effect 2 is flat out more badass than the first game. That’s all there is to it. More than one character returns from the first game with considerably more impressive presence in conversation and an edge to their personality that makes the character feel new and refreshing, while still familiar to people who enjoyed interacting with the non-player characters in the first game.

The game feels like a shooter in its own right, rather than an Role-Playing Game with shooting mechanics. The action doesn’t let up, but doesn’t interfere with the central RPG core of the game. I know there are people out there who prefer the first game but I love the fact that the game keeps you moving, keeps you going on from one plot point to the next…

  • Momentum

I have always liked RPGs but I have had a serious problem related to playing RPGs for just as long: I give up on them. I play about twenty to thirty hours of the game and I just get drawn to something else. I’m still impressed with myself for finishing  Fallout 3(although it the ending itself was an unpleasant experience).  Mass Effect 2 eradicates that problem for me. All I want to do is get back into it, shoot more lasers and listen to more awesome space music. There’s a feeling of momentum, this feeling that the character is always progressing, the story is moving, something has to be done, right now. I feel all of that, even when flying through space recruiting various miscreants and heroes for the team rather than deal with the main story.

Mass Effect 2 is not perfect. The ending in particular was a downer, especially after the amazing ending to the first game. It is, however, my favourite game this year.