User Reviews: Mass Effect 2 PS3 User Review

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Mass Effect 2 User Review

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Graphics:

 

8.9

Gameplay:

 

9.5

Sound:

 

9.5

Control:

 

9.0

Replay Value:

 

10.0

Overall Rating:       9.8

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

RPG

With every console generation there tends to be handful of excellent franchises that standout in mind as my most valued gaming experiences. These are the experiences I treasure up long after the current generation has come and gone. Mass Effect is one of such franchises. Mass Effect 2 pulls at me in ways that gives me cause to question the process of traditional review criteria. You know? the kind of process that examines individual components such as graphics, sound, control etc. and then renders a final score? We’re all familiar with that and it’s still significant when looking at Mass Effect 2. But in my experience with this game, ME2 has something that simply adds up to so much more than the given criteria in question should allow. I don’t know if it’s bias, or enjoying the source material too much. I’ve never considered myself much of a “Treky.” And I couldn’t tell you what the current hot sci-fi television show is. So for whatever the reason, Mass Effect has me branded a fan. I won’t dwell on details and gameplay basics for too long within this review. That information is readily available on the net. But rather, I want to encapsulate the general emotional sentiments I’ve encountered while engaging in this compelling adventure.

Humanity is in peril as an ancient near-mythical race, known as the Reapers, prepare to overtake all sentient life in the universe. Few know or even believe of this threat and even less will attempt to answer the call to stand up against it. This is where you come in. You’re John Shepard, a highly trained battle hardened soldier written in history books and renowned within the galactic universe for being a hero who has helped all of humanity once before by going against all odds to stop these destructive Reapers. But your work was not yet been finished, as many more of these luminous entities lay dormant on the outlining rims of the universe. This time, though, you have bleeding edge technology made available to you from a distrusted mega corporation, Cerebus. They offer you the resources to recruit the best known talent to do the job. You’ve been placed at the helm of a cutting edge spacecraft, Normandy. Shepard’s goal is to stop this threat against humanity once and for all and revitalize the continued prosperity of sentient life and co-existence.

There you have it; the purpose behind your actions. The start of a generic Saturday morning sci-fi cartoon? No, but instead, the beginning of an inter-galactic adventure intertwined with drama, intrigue, suspense, terror, and a whole host of other emotions that places you in the shoes of a commander who feels the weight and consequence of his actions and for the lives, even friends, of others.

The majority of the experience revolves around the various missions and assignments you’ll pick up along the way. Most of which are somehow relevant to your overall goal. This is where you’ll feel and breathe in the universe that Bioware has painstakingly crafted for you. You’ll go anywhere from shopping public markets and malls to discovering and responding to a distress signal on an unknown alien planet. You’ll engage in cultural disputes of ideals and customs and will need to use logical reasoning to help bring solvency to such issues. These decisions can be made either rashly or altruistically; it’s up to you. But the result of these decisions may bring about unfavorable consequences during your journey. Some of which may not be readily apparent.

As you recruit members to your cause you’ll come to know them personally. These characters are highly proficient in a specific skill who usually have diverse backgrounds and values. All of these team members will eventually open up to you with emotional concerns of theirs. You’re given the option to listen as a friend or quell any sort of compassion and sympathy by keeping everything strictly business. But in order to gain the loyalty of a team member you’ll need to strengthen your bond by going out of your way to help them when they ask for a special request. By gaining their loyalty, their abilities will expand and ultimately make for a more powerful teammate.

While helping your teammates you may come to like them on a personal level. The game will provide you with indicators to pursue a more meaningful relationship with them. What you say and do can affect the likelihood of forming a romantic relationship. During my first play through I was unable to establish something lasting. Initially I took too getting to know Miranda, but during this process I found her to be rather distrusting and concealed. So I took my interests to Kelly Chambers, a counselor that serves on the bridge who is in tune with the morale of the team and keeps you notified of unread messages. The relationship started out well by making advances that showed my interest. These exchanges led to having a date over dinner. Which then led to trusting her to feed my pet fish in my captain’s cabin. However, this relationship eventually went south. After a rescue mission involving Tali, a female alien that has shown interest me, Kelly Chambers asked if I liked her, I said yes. Upon returning to my cabin I found my fish dead. Whether this was programmed in or coincidental, I do not know.

You and your team will have access to weaponry in the form of pistols, shotguns, rifles and heavier ballistic weapons. Along with this weaponry you have biotic powers that are functionally magical--picture Jedi force powers from Star Wars. There are also tech abilities that increase shields, enhance firepower, or manipulate synthetic devices to your advantage. As you delve deeper in the game the use and optimization of these abilities will help strengthen your resolve against opposition.

You’ll fight battles from a third person perspective in usually a squad of three members. Micro-managing these teammates is negotiable by the user and the game gives you the option to have more or less control of the tactical unfolding of play. Depending on your play preference you can choose to have your team mates initiate their own special abilities or take control and perform many of their abilities at your command.

On a technical end, ME2 has a great overall presentation. The graphics look nice with stellar art design and above average technical quality. The FMV sequences should've been of a higher bit-rate but they still look nice, regardless. The voice overs are great and the characters perform convincingly in their roles. The game controls well enough, albeit feeling reminiscent of Gears of War with a contextual button that serves the purpose of run/cover/vault. The soundtrack is fantastic. It perfectly captures the emotion of this saga and fittingly matches the events of any given scene.

Overall, Mass Effect 2 is a stunning achievement unlike any other that won’t soon be forgotten. The experience offers a wealth of elements to appreciate with plenty of lasting gameplay value. The exhilarating closing events create for a genuine level of accomplishment made by yourself and the team you’ve assembled to get you there. You feel the weight of the lives at risk under your direction and the consequence of the decisions you’ve made for your team while achieving your goal. Some may die and maybe all will live, but the risk is worth it for the sake of the universe. You’re Commander Shepard and you can be the hero of this adventure. Go experience it =)

This user review does not reflect the views of the PSX Extreme Staff.

User review by Temjin001

1/20/2011 4:03:47 PM

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Comments (5 posts)

Temjin001
Friday, January 21, 2011 @ 12:45:52 PM
Reply

As an added note. I had a difficult time deciding on the graphics score. As a 360 game, it'd be more like a 9.0-9.5 but as a PS3 game I can't think of it as such.
When I look at other graphical masterpieces on PS3 such as Uncharted 1 & 2, Killzone 2, God of War 3, MLB: The Show, Gran Turismo 5 and even Castlevania: LoS, I simply can't place ME2 in front of any of those.
If the FMV was rendered in a HD bit-rate (as it should, the capacity on the disc is there) I probably would've rated the graphics a 9.0

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Lawless SXE
Friday, January 21, 2011 @ 12:47:50 PM
Reply

Excellent review Temjin. Clearly the game is more about the connection that you form with the characters and the overarching story than the gameplau mechanics. It may be well worth taking a look at in that case.
Peace.

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Temjin001
Friday, January 21, 2011 @ 12:55:30 PM

Thanks Lawless, though, I've got to slow down and edit this stuff better. Every time I re-read user reviews of mine I always find like a half dozen things that make me think, "how did I miss that error?"

But anyhow, like you said, the game very much pulls at me in said ways. It successfully sells me on the role as a commander of a ship with a strong reputation and the added weight and responsibility I must take on in such a role. My decisions have significance that can be felt from the game world which have a profound effect on the experience. It's an exciting way for me to play and I can't wait for ME3.

I also find replay value a tough one to score. I suppose this refers to content breadth. BUt I also see it as an element that draws you back to play more and more. I haven't played a game before that caused me to go back and replay specific sequences over and over to see varying outcomes. And I can't wait to re-import my current character and play through again, but as a renegade this time.

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Highlander
Friday, January 21, 2011 @ 4:11:29 PM
Reply

Cool review. Thanks Temjin, this makes it a possible purchase for me.

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Temjin001
Friday, January 21, 2011 @ 11:25:05 PM

You're welcome, and I hope everyone can enjoy this game as much as I have.

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