First Impressions: Mass Effect 2
After getting over my initial “I CAN HAS GARRUS ROMANCE NAO” phase upon buying it yesterday, it’s time for me to post about my first impressions of the game based on the first few hours of gameplay.
The new combat system in Mass Effect 2 is designed to make things easier compared to the original Mass Effect. You can now assign “shortcuts” for your Shepard’s favorite skills as well as your party member’s skills. You can now instruct your party members to move to a specified location individually, which is great for flanking your opponents. The downside is that the new combat system takes some getting used to, especially if you’re too used to the original ME‘s combat controls like I am.
The new biotics skills are pretty awesome too; so far my Vanguard was having fun slamming her opponents with Charge or just blasting them with Shockwave. I probably won’t ever play as an Adept (full-fledged biotics character), but I’m still interested in seeing what else the biotics in ME2 can do.
Oh, and let’s not forget the ammo. The new ammo powers in the game are wicked. My current favorite is Cryo ammo, which freezes your opponents and leaves them open to being shattered by physical or biotic attacks. Nice for dealing with stubborn, hostile krogan who just refuse to die.
More customization options
I seriously think I have a femme crush on my Fem!Shepard now. I only wish I could take a screenshot of her to show off, but I can’t. She looked pretty enough in ME, but she looks even prettier in ME2. I didn’t even have to tweak her in any way; she was fine as-is. The new textures actually made her look kind of bad. Maybe I can still make a nice-looking Fem!Shep from scratch in ME2, but right now I’m fine with my imported, unaltered Fem!Shep.
I like that Shepard’s armor and civilian attire are customizable. I remember how much I disliked some of the armor designs in ME and wished I could at least find a set in a different color, so I’m happy that they decided to include this feature. My Fem!Shep is wearing a visor similar to Garrus’ now, and I’m wondering if I should make her wear the same shade of blue too… but nah, I think she looks better in deep red.
The supporting cast
With regard to characters… well, I’ve only gotten Jacob, Miranda, Garrus, Mordin, and Subject Zero into my squad so far, and I’ve only spoken to a few other important NPCs. To keep it short, let me just say that Jacob is bland, Miranda is a bit of a bitch (though I’m warming up to her a bit after talking to her about her life), Garrus is still too sexy for his visor awesome, Mordin is “like a hamster on coffee” (as quoted from Kelly), Kelly is cute and has a lot of interesting things to say (plus she reminds me of Leliana from Dragon Age: Origins), and Subject Zero is insane. I have yet to really bond with the squad members though, so my opinions on them may change over time.
Just a few downsides
I only have one real complaint about the game so far: the new system for upgrading your team’s gear and the new Normandy is… boring. I’m not saying that I want to have the Mako back; I hated driving that blasted thing. The new system involves you scanning planets and launching probes when you detect resource/ore deposits. It’s kind of a slow process. You can move your scanner around and make the planet rotate a little faster while scanning, but it’s still slow even when you speed it up. You also have a limited amount of probes, so you’ll have to purchase some more at fuel stations every so often. My boyfriend was telling me that this was done on purpose to prevent players from making a squad/a Shepard that’s too powerful, but if you’re a bit of a completionist like I am, it’s kind of annoying.
Despite that minor complaint, ME2 is looking to be an interesting gaming experience so far. The new features added mostly enhance the game and make it more immersive, so I’m definitely looking forward to playing through the entire thing.
El Santos is a marketing & advertising professional by day and gamer/bookworm/tarot reader by night. She’s prone to sudden fits of fangirling over her varied interests: video games, fiction, art, folkore, anime, and tarot. She currently lives with her husband and 2 rescue cats.