Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Initial Review of Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2 is a RPG from Bioware and Electronic Arts. It follows the continueing adventure of Commander Shepard. In Mass Effect 1, your character is tasked with saving the universe from total annihilation. Mass Effect 2 seems to follow this mold. The human race is threatened by some outside threat, colonies that were full of people are now empty with no sign of what happened to the colonists. After meeting your demise 2 years earlier a secret organization has through the miracles of medicine and science, revived you to yet again save humanity!

After about 4 hours of game play, here is my initial review.

While some fans of Mass Effect 1 will be disappointed in the changes to the game mechanics in Mass Effect 2, many will find the story and gameplay to more than make up for the differences from the original game.

The biggest thing that returning players will miss is the inventory screen. In Mass Effect 1, you had an inventory screen that allowed you to equip various weapons and armor. This does not exist in Mass Effect 2. Instead, you have a weapons locker that you assign weapons and armor. I'll admit I'm not overly fond of this new method as it makes it more difficult to equip your character.

In Mass Effect 1 you had 12-20 different skills that you could train in each level. These have been compressed into 5-6 skills. With this compression, the skills seem to have a increase with each subsequent level. Skills range from level 1 to 6 and include weapon, biotic and general stats increases.

Combat is much like it was in Mass Effect 1, though the hud has changes a bit and how you interact with your team is different also. Mass Effect 1 seemed a lot closer to your typical FPS than Mass Effect 2 does. It's tough to say whether the changes are good at this point. Both system are fun to play.

Like Mass Effect 1, Mass Effect 2 really makes player choices mean something. Comments on the web and from the developers have indicated that your choices can mean the difference between living and dying in the final scenes. It seems to revolve around whether or not your team is loyal to you.

Again Bioware produces a stunningly beautify game. The graphics are awe inspiring, especially in the very opening scene where you move through the Normandy 1 on your way to evacuate Joker. The expressions of the NPC's really do an excellent job at conveying emotion.

Not only do the graphics help draw you into the story, but the dialog and voice actors are the best I've heard in a while. Martin Sheen as the Illusive Man, does an excellent job.

Well I'll post a total review after finishing, so look for a post late next week or the next.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Better late than never

Well I've been a bit tied up with real life to be blogging as much as I'd like. What has the addict been up to, some might wonder.

Well first off after months of barely getting online with EQ2 and finances being a bit tight, I have cancelled my EQ2 subscription. While I will miss many of the players I have met while playing, some I still have contact with and talk to from time to time. I suspect I won't be returning but never is an awful long time so no guarentees.

Prior to christmas a few friends and I picked up Left 4 Dead 2 and one gave the gift of Borderlands to each of us. L4D2 is a blast! Very fun and extremely easy to get into a game. It was so fun that when Steam offered L4D1 at a discounted price of $7.49, I couldn't pass it up. Though after a while the maps do get a bit old, still a good stress reliever after a long day at work.

Borderlands seems to be a decent game. I've only played the single player version, and I've played each character for 6-13 levels. So far I think I like the sniper the best. My friends haven't gotten to play much yet so I suspect we will give it a try over the next few months.

I picked up the Deluxe Digital Download of Mass Effect 2. It goes live tomorrow and I expect to be very busy playing it over the next couple weeks. I was very impressed with Mass Effect 1 and I look forward to ME2.

I have through the good graces of a friend, been involved in the open beta of Star Trek Online. While I haven't had much of a chance to play, here's my brief review. Space combat B/B+; the controls of the ship seemed a little clumbsy at first but as you get use to them the clumbsiness lessens. But the fleet actions make up for this. The planet side adventures seemed to be missing something, having come from EQ2 the graphics seemed to be outdated, something I wouldn't have expected from a release of this scope. Planet side gets a C-/D+. I'm sure as the game ages some and enhancements are done, it will improve.

Well until next time. Keep safe and watch your six.