I bought 3 copies of Mass Effect 2 when it came out for the Xbox 360, one for me, and one for each of my boys. If I only bought one for myself, I’d have been killed in my sleep. Who says video games don’t cause violence? Over the months, the copies have dwindled down and suddenly there were no copies for my 360 anymore. Then to my great joy, Mass Effect 2 came out for the PS3 and I had a chance to run through the game on a different system.
First, the game has a slightly better look on the Playstation 3. However, I have noticed a real problem with frame-rate. The game slows down noticeably in action intensive scenes, which can take away from the game play. I even noticed glitchy movements in the ending credits. I have to ask the question to Bioware, “Really, on the f******* ending credits? How difficult is it to get scrolling lines of text to work right?” There are issues with game freezes in conversations with NPC’s, characters left levitating in the air after combat, and being stuck in corners. I mention these, as I really dislike having to replay parts of the game that don’t interest me. I also noticed that these problems became more frequent on a second play-through the game with a higher level character.
Those issues with frame rate and the occasional glitchy play aside, I loved playing this game. The storyline is strong with strong characterization and motivations for the entire supporting cast. The different classes all have unique powers and abilities that employ different strategies to meet the games goals. Playing a different class for Shepard ends up providing a reason to play the game multiple times as each presents unique ways to solve problems. While my favorite class is an Adept, I found that playing as a Soldier was a whole new way to enjoy the game. My oldest son assures me that a Vanguard might meet my approval as well. We’ll have to see on that one.
Another thing that makes this series of games so great is the music. It weaves through the game, subtly grabbing you by the throat and adding to the immersive experience. At no point did I find that it didn’t fit the mood of the scene. It simply makes the story more epic.
The downloadable content does not detract from this game like it does for so many. The Shadow Broker storyline was just a hoot to play, though the Project Overlord DLC was a bit shaky in parts. They do add some serious game playing time to the clock for Mass Effect 2 and are heartily welcomed. My major complaint for Mass Effect 1 was that the game was too short. I can’t say that for this version. I’m told today that there’s more DLC coming out, can’t wait to get my hands on it.
Now there are a couple more points that I’d like to make before I close. I found a minor problem with the power mapping function on the Playstation 3 version. The Xbox 360 version is easy to map, and I found mapping powers to be a bit counterintuitive on the PS3. It could be that I’m just an Xbox 360 player that’s easily confused, or that I’m too damn old to be playing these things anyway. That being said, I didn’t like this power wheel setup.
The only other item I found objectionable, was the seemingly dumbed down biotic powers during my second run through as an Adept. I’m sorry, but a level 30 Adept should be able to spread Vorcha blood all over Omega. I should be able to pick one of those lisping hobgoblins up and squeeze them until they pop. Their screams as I sling them around with throw should be epic. Instead, my maxed out power barely affect them. Bioware, you might want to take a look at this for Mass Effect 3. Unlike one of the NPC’s, at that level, I really am a biotic god.
As for what I rate this game. Well hell, even with all the nuisance problems that I found, it’s still one of my top 10 games of all time.