I’ve beat Mass Effect 2 this past weekend and my tour of duty is finally over.

Does Mass Effect 2 live up to its name and deliver a solid Sci-fi Experience?  Does Commander Shepard still kickass in ME2?  More importantly does the game have “sex scenes?”  Keep reading and find out!

What happened to all the guns?
One thing I didn’t like about Mass Effect 2 was that BioWare over simplified the weapons system.  Although the original game had an overwhelming amount of weapons and attachments, once you got the hang of things it was great to customize and tinker with your equipment.  I feel like Mass Effect 2 drops the ball in this area of the game.  At the end of the game everyone will be using the same weapons.  The weapons are pretty linear and there are no unique weapons or customization per play style or character build.

Mass Effect 2 only gives you a handful of weapon options.

The original Mass Effect offer a wide range of weapons and mods that you could customize and compare.

Damn, what an Epic Story
The story to Mass Effect 2 is simple and straight to the point.  “Save the Galaxy from evil robots!”   The story’s simplistic nature really pulls you into the game and allows gamers to really get involved with each character.  For example, when you squad mate Jacob has a personal matter, you really want to help him out (or at least I did).

Doesn’t Jacob look like 50 cent? Yes.

Ok, maybe I oversimplified but that’s the beauty of the game.  If you really want to know more about each character and alien race, the game has a “codex” that has detailed information on pretty much everything.

The Codex has answers on EVERYTHING.  I tip my hat to the writers!

Story was great, characters were memorable, and the ending was decent.  This is a BioWare game at its best.   Mass Effect 2 delivers with flying colors with its story-telling.

What’s the Big Deal?
Yes, Mass Effect 2 has sex scenes.  I never understood why this was such a BIG deal with everyone.  The scene is like a minute long, show nothing and yet everyone goes crazy about it.  I’m sure even as you are reading this you are wondering if I’m going to post a video… SEE I KNEW IT!  I’m posting a video of a Female Shepard doing the nasty with Garrus, only because I find it to be hilarious.

What happened to all the skills?
Another issue I had with ME2 was the skill tree, or lack thereof.  The original Mass Effect had a wide variety of skills that you could choose from.  Would you MAX out “Assault Rifles” or put another point into “Singularity”?  Mass Effect 2 doesn’t really give you a lot of options.  Your only option for of customization is “training” (copying) one skill from your squad mates, if you have gained their loyalty.  This does add some complexity to your character but doesn’t really change the game.  My guess is that Mass Effect 3 will have a much better “import” system which adds on to your already Powers Build.

Mass Effect has a complex Skill tree that made it fun to customize your character.

Compared to the orignal ME2’s skill tree doesnt look as impressive.
Voice Acting Great
With an all-star cast the voice acting for ME2 is out of this world.  Even the mundane conversations are believable and entertaining.  Sigh, Yvonne Strahovski  <33

Is this an RPG or a Shooter?

In terms of combat gameplay ME2 never skips a beat.  Combat is very polished and the frame rate never skips or slows down.  It’s fast, frantic and fun. The controls feel great and very easy to get used to. When you mix in biotic powers and some tactical plans of  your own, this is one of the best “shooters” in 2010.  Wait did I say shooter?  Yes I did.  Mass Effect 2 plays much better than some “shooters” I’ve played in the past.   Ah, “Dark Sector” go to the corner now.

In conclusion Mass Effect 2 delivers a grade “A” epic sci-fi adventure. Although the game seems to focus more on the shooter aspect this time around RPG lovers will still find everything they are looking for.  The production values are exorbitantly high and this can be seen by the sheer volume and polish that the game shows.  I highly recommend Mass Effect 2 and give it 9.5 out of 10.  Now, the agonizing wait for Mass Effect 3 begins.

This review is based the retail copy of the game purchased @ VideoGamesNewYork. Played through Xbox 360 version on INSANITY difficulty, choosing soldier class for Shepard. Completed game at level 26, then started a new game for achievements.