Mass Effect was nothing but a small speck of dust on my gaming radar back in 2007, I attempted it...failed the first mission badly and was put off the plot at the opening points of the Citadel.
Another Two attempts later (The latest being One week before Mass Effect 2's Release for PS3), i was more than Hooked come the final moments of the First Chapter of the Epic ME Universe, i had a mission, i had a ship, i had it all.....
Then not one week later (Weeks after in Game time) i lost it all.
-The Opening Sequence (Minor Spoilers, but hey...you are reading my review here :P )
Mass Effect 2 starts of with a rambunctious bang, you are patrolling Terminus Systems due to reports of Human Colonies disappearing without a trace. Suddenly an Unknown Spacecraft with a intercept manuver decides to make your day go from good to a living nightmare....
Your Ship experiences Structural devastation and you try your damned-est to get all your Crew out alive.
(From Here your initial experiences with the game can vary from those with experience from Mass Effect 1, to complete Newbies)
You make a heroic Sacrifice to save your Pilot and are blown into the deep vacuum of space to die as your reward, the game throws you against the pike and leaves you to burn (Literally).
This is the second chapter to Mass Effect.
-Ok so i didn't play the First Game? Now what?
From here you are treated to Dark Horse's Digital Comic which covers all the important aspects of the first game. However it left out 'The Thorian' and it is my personal Recommendation that you Wiki this during the comic sequence so you get an idea of its importance to the plot. The comic lets you recreate the events of the first game with relative ease in less than say Ten Minutes and throws you right into the Character Creation.
-Mr. Shepard/ Savour-Destroyer of Worlds
The detail of the character is defined by your input (Like most RPG's), Visually the minor aspects like Lips/Eyes and Complexion stand out in the game to the point of rivaling many PS3 greats. For those who did indeed play the first game, i managed to recreate my Shepard exactly with next to no flaws (Besides one which is a plot element).
You are also given Attributes as to what Class you are as well as your Personal Background, These choices define your Origins and personality around certain events/people and factors e.g. If you Picked the 'Colonist' Origin, you will be touchy on the subject about your kidnapping and escape on your Homeworld of Mindoir, if you add on 'War Hero' as your personality afterward it then sees you as a Hero of 'The Blitz' aka The Liberation of Mindoir.
-The Nitty-gritty and 'Your Mission'
The game makes significant departures from the slow pace of the first game and throws you right into the fray, your mission becomes Clear,Dire and Crucial.
Your Enemy are known as "The Collector's", you have been re-born through The Illusive Man's funding (Xenophobic Black Ops group) by Cerberus to solve why they are taking humans and if they pose a true threat to humanity.
You are given a straight-forward list of who you will need to acquire for this mission and their significance toward becomes more and more critical as you delve deeper and deeper into the Dark and Ominous Rabbit-Hole.
The character's all have heartfelt, emotionally driven and deep back-stories that draw you to them immediately. This form of story-telling is so well woven into the DNA of the story that even if you dont like the person, you realize they maybe the one watching your back at VERY IMPORTANT times, if you don't like them you will at least need to know what makes them tick and if they will become an asset or a problem to the team.
As i stated earlier this form of story telling is well-woven, well im going on record as saying it's evolutionary in its format within a RPG. The more you play the game the more ominous and aware you become of the looming threat and that you will need every hand to try and stop it, Character's become more than just objects, they become the teams that will be your frontline, your officers/Bodyguards and infiltrators.
Will they Follow you into the eye of the storm, Will they shoot you in the back out of spite or hate? Only your actions will define the chemistry of the people and in effect your game as a whole and simply put it evolves the idea that simple objects arent going to mean squat if you have to face your threat alone.
-Visual Aesthetics, The Mass Effect 3 Engine.
Visually the game is one fo the finest the PS3 has on offer, Character details rival and in some cases triumph greatly over the likes of PS3 Titan's Metal Gear Solid/Uncharted and Even God of War 3. Character's like Zaeed Massani are near on Photo realistic and believable, Alien work on Turian Garrus, Drell Thane Krios or Tattoo-Littered 'Jack' are amazing to glare at for hours. To say Bioware poured both their bodies and souls into making believable characters is simply putting it nicely.
The worlds themselves are also visually well crafted, nothing too flash but definitely not jarring of the experience when every other aspect is rocking you to your very inner shell.
The Mass Effect 3 engine is looking mighty fine with NO Framerate issues and Textures loading crispy and smooth, Fans definitely have something great to look forward to for the future.
-Audio and Voice Over acting.
Voice Acting is spectacular, Well known actors put all their efforts into making seamless and definitive Characters, Steven Blum puts in multiple memorable performances, Mark Meer's inspirational voice work on the Male Shepard will be a defining one for this generation, Seth Green's Comical work on Joker Moreau (The Normandy's Pilot) doesn't hesitate to bring a laugh in droves.
Acting Legend Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The West Wing) provides a 10/10 performance as The Illusive Man, we may never know his intentions, why he acts the way he does...or even what his real intentions are for humanity through his Cerberus Outfit, No one has gotten close enough to know...but My experience ended with me and him having a very heating and definitive final face-off which will completely define my experiences for the Next Chapter. The Illusive Man alone is a reason to push this game to its limits.
There were however some issues with sound dubbing that may have carried over from the 360 version that i noticed were apparent on the first game as well, shots being hit in cutscenes are delayed and voice in some conversations would end very quickly to the point of cutting people off, it is a minor gripe but one easily overlooked again.
Runs like a standard 3rd person shooter with amazing RPG elements attached on, anyone can pick up this game and play it...just try to get good by the end. You have many powers, so many that its better to simply experiment for yourself as the game can be a really personal one according to your play style.
Some technical issues that popped up were getting stuck inside 'Invisible Cover' which required death to break free off, un-expected 'Climbing' on-top of objects and the dreaded Game freeze but i put the freezing down to the utter thrashing of my Slim PS3 from Friday til Monday.
-Value for money?
No question, the Main Plot will take varying amounts of time according to how prepared you wish to be, Heart-wrenching and Mind-Boggling choices will crush your spirits as you make one choice over another and with replays see 'what would happen if i did this?'. Side Missions and Loyalty Quests for your team only add to the goldmine and with the Cerberus DLC all hooked ontop of the main experience you would have to be mad NOT to give this game a solid effort.
If you enjoy Sci-Fi epics like Knights of the Old Republic, Movies like Star Wars or Blade Runner, Tv Series like Battlestar Galactica and so on you will easily get lost inside this world and probably not come out for months.
Plot- 10, Evolution of Storytelling and a definitive Sci-fi epic truly memorable for this gen to date. You no longer play, you experience and share the story inside.
Gameplay-9, No Longer clunky and 'Shoot/wait/Shoot' style of the first game, Powers and abilities add to the fun and multiple playstyles are accommodated across the board.
Audio-10, Perfect Voice Acting and Sound Effects, The Soundtrack of the game brings Heavy Hitters like 'Suicide Mission' to the Forefront and are truly defining of the experience.
Value- 10, The game will pick you up and throw you across the room harder than a Asari Bionic would, PICK THIS UP! A MUST FOR PS3 OWNERS! (all owners really!)
Personal Score- 10/10, A memorable game that i will cherish for many years to come, Bioware brought their A-Game and Satisfied me personally 100% completely.
General Score- 9.7/10, Sure to grab your attention, if you aren't into your Sci-fi then maybe give it a rental at best but it is worth trying out, otherwise...there really isn't any excuse for this not to be in any PS3 Owner's Collection.
Sigmatech Out. (To save the galaxy)