Mass Effect 2 Review [@ GameSpot]

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Mass Effect 2 Review [@ GameSpot]

Postby Blín D'ñero » 27 Jan 2010, 13:48

By Kevin VanOrd, Posted Jan 26, 2010 12:01 am PT

It’s hard to miss Mass Effect 2’s focus on action, not just because you can reasonably play it as a third-person shooter, but also because certain features associated with RPGs have been restructured and streamlined. At first, you might see Mass Effect 2 as somewhat stripped; you don’t have a traditional inventory management screen, for example, where you would choose a weapon to equip or convert an item into omni-gel. Instead, you select the weapons you want when you embark on a mission or from a weapons locker. You purchase or find universal weapon and armor upgrades, which are then transferred to the Normandy’s science station, where you can apply them, provided you have enough mineral resources. If you want to change armor, you go to your personal quarters, where you can don the armor items you’ve obtained and personalize them with different colors and textures. Even character development feels lighter. You have fewer skills to develop for each team member (though you have a much larger team to choose from), and you could complete a thorough, 40-hour play-through without reaching level 30.

Yet in most cases, the role-playing elements haven’t been pared down as much as they’ve been cleaned up, forcing you to spend less time staring at menus and more time gunning down Geth and earning the loyalty of your comrades.


If you played the original Mass Effect, you may remember the jarring texture pop-in and frequent frame rate stutters as much as you remember the excellent character design and atmospheric planetside vistas. You’ll notice few if any instances of those drawbacks in this installment, which means there’s less to distract you from the impressive visuals. Just as an interior designer works from a collection of complementary and contrasting colors and textures, so too does Mass Effect 2 draw from a consistent set of hues and architectural touches. Deep reds and glowing indigos saturate certain scenes, making them richer and more sinister; eerie fog limits your vision in one side mission, while rain pours down upon you in another. Subtle, moody lighting gives certain interactions great impact, such as one scene in which your troubled, tattooed teammate appears as a black silhouette. The visuals are a superb melding of art and technology, with only a few animation hitches that stand out because most aspects are consistently excellent. The fantastic musical score and sound effects do more than their share to enhance the production, working the deeper end of the sonic spectrum and communicating tension and weight without getting heavy handed or manipulative.

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