Mass Effect 2 Xbox 360 cover
Game Reviews, Video Games

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.

Mass Effect 2 Xbox 360 cover

Enhanced combat

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.

7 thoughts on “First Impressions: Mass Effect 2

  1. Scanning made me borderline suicidal, what with EDI reminding me a probe is being sent every damn time, plus we have to watch each and every single one of them fly off :P. But still, I preferred it to driving the Mako around and up the side of a mountain. I love ME2 so much though; I couldn’t put it down. I haven’t loved a game so much since FFIX. Enjoy the rest of it!

    1. Sometimes I wish there really was a mute button for EDI. LOL! I can’t put the darn game down either, which is hazardous to my Xbox 360’s health. 😐

  2. Scanning is incredibly annoying. It doesn’t help that I have this little voice in the back of my head chanting “Must sex Garrus! Must sex Garrus!” but I am also a completionist so I can’t leave a single planet unscanned. Anything beats driving that aneurysm inducing Mako though.

    EDI is annoying but I love listening to her and Joker argue. I talk to Joker frequently because the two of them are always going at it!

    I had a friend tell me Thane was awesome, but I haven’t recruited him yet. Gonna do that tonight!

    Lol, my husband still doesn’t get my obsession with Garrus! He says that he knew I would think he was cool, he just doesn’t understand why I find him sexy. I told him it was okay because I found others who understand!

    1. EDI and Joker are a pretty cute couple, aren’t they? I suddenly wish EDI had a humanoid holo instead of that… sphere thing.

      Thane’s okay, but he has lots of issues. I’m not too big on guys with heavy emotional baggage, so he wasn’t that awesome for me. Well… either that or I love Garrus too much to even consider liking someone else in the Mass Effect universe. Hee.

      Aww, I guess some men just don’t get it! I’m suddenly glad that you and some of the other Garrus fangirls who have posted here decided to “come out”; at least we can empathize with one another. 😀

      1. @El: I’ve got to say that it has made me feel a lot better to know I’m not the only one out there! Every sigle time I would tell my husband or one of his friends about how badly I wanted to romance Garrus I got the same furrowed-brow-with-head-cocked-to-the-side stare followed by “Really? But he’s a Turian, he doesn’t even look remotely human.” I would then go into my ‘many reasons why he is sexy and I care very little that he’s a Turian’ speech, which would inevitably invoke the you-are-a-total-weirdo headshake.

        Whatever. The Asari may look closer to human but they also look like they are part Japanese tentacle monster. I keep waiting for the time when one of them gets so mad that their head opens up like one of those spitting dinosaurs from Jurassic Park. The mental image always makes me laugh.

  3. Sorry for commenting on these old posts, but I just found the blog. My husband uses a USB video capture dongle to get screenshots of the TV for photoshop material. According to google they cost around fifty bucks but it might be useful to have one if you post about console games a lot.

    1. Ooh, that sounds great, Carrie; thanks for letting me know about it!

      …not that I have $50 on me at the moment, but that would definitely be useful! 😀

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