Previously on Mass Effect, you and your crew piled into the S.S. Normandy in pursuit of a rogue Spectre named Saren. Spectres are agents for the Citadel Council, the main governing body in the galaxy. You learn Saren is being controlled by the Reapers, an alien race that harvests other races. Saren and an army of synthetic aliens called Geth attack the Citadel. Fortunately, you and the Human Systems Alliance save the day. The Council is so grateful that they let the Human race join the Council. However, despite your concerns, the Council disregards the Reaper threat, but you know better. Welcome to the world of Mass Effect.
Mass Effect 2 starts off a few weeks after the end of the first game. You play Commander Shepard once again, on a search and destroy mission for any remaining Geth in the sector. Then out of nowhere, you get attacked by an unknown ship. Your crew evacuates, but just as you are about to board an escape pod, the hull gets ripped to shreds by another attack. You go down with the ship, and succumb to your injuries, left for dead in the cold vacuum of space, and that’s all she wrote. Or is it?
You wake up in a strange lab two years later to the sounds of gunfire. You find out that your body was recovered by a pro-human extremist organisation and rebuilt from the ground up like the Six Million Dollar Man. If that wasn’t bad enough, you are now indebted to the shady billionaire that funded your resurrection, and guess what? He wants a favour. You are bound to bump into people from your past as you roam around the galaxy working for people with questionable moral fibre, but at the end of the day, the choices you make are still yours to make. Will you be a paragon of justice or a ruthless renegade as you deal with a mysterious new threat against humanity?
Besides the standard array of armaments, you also have a series of biotic powers at your disposal, depending on your character class. The shooting and cover system in conjunction with a minimal heads up display creates a more streamlined and fast paced combat experience similar to a modern shooter rather than a role playing game. You can also pause the action, and plan out your assault by issuing squad commands for a more tactical experience. You will travel the galaxy doing missions, recruiting new members, and mining planets for resources to upgrade your equipment and ship.
The Mass Effect art design is classic sci-fi. Worlds range from green and lush to dark and deserted. You get to explore distant colonies to major metropolitan cities bustling with life. The characters move and sound great. The voice acting can sound static and lifeless in spots due to shoddy delivered, but main cast performances from the likes of Martin Sheen and Carrie-Anne Moss are fine. The soundtrack is a mix of electronica influenced orchestral pieces that really add to the whole futuristic vibe the world is going for.
Mass Effect 2 improves a lot from the original. For a space soap opera there is tons of action. If you want a deep story, and excellent combat, in an expansive world, then Mass Effect 2 is the game for you.
Mass Effects 2 is available now on the Xbox 360 and PC.