Mass Effect 2 Is Not A Better Iteration- It Is Simply A Different Game

By jsslifelike | Feb. 4th, 2010

My playthrough of Mass Effect 2 clocks in at roughly 15 hours at the moment, and may not include all that the title has to offer… yet. However, what remains in the forefront of my mind is that if so much has changed, is the game actually a sequel or just a re-imagining of the franchise with a number attached to the end?

The only component that remains from Mass Effect is the Normandy(now the SR2). Even though it is visually and aesthetically different from its prior counterpart, it remains as the player’s “hub” world. Used as a primary anchor, the starship adequately serves its purpose while mostly everything outside has been refashioned.

Make no mistake- Mass Effect 2 is a third-person shooter first and foremost, unlike it’s predecessor. The first time a player fires his or her Heavy Pistol in the sequel, it just feels right. The addition of ammunition management as well further supports this claim. Weapons overheating may have indeed been annoying, that mechanic is more akin to role-playing than worrying about ammo reserves.

The armor and weapons have also been reworked from a “rune” based system to a more streamlined “augmentation” one- an obvious step away from RPGs. Each armor piece now has a unique inherent attribute instead of player customization whilst elemental damage has been reduced to a mere technique.

All of this being said, the title is indeed tremendous. BioWare should be applauded on creating a landmark product but we should not overlook just what that product truly is. For better or worse, the Mass Effect franchise has indeed shifted its focus from 20-sided die to western Attention-Deficit Disorder.

2 comments on “Mass Effect 2 Is Not A Better Iteration- It Is Simply A Different Game

  1. This is an interesting piece. We both agree that the game is amazing. You are absolutely right that they streamlined the character customization and armor/weapon inventory. But, having finished it on normal and started working on insanity, I think they really ramped up the “elemental” damage. In ME1, no matter what kind of ammo you had, you could just mow down the enemies with your assault rifle (this is how I got through insanity on that one). In ME2, especially on the insanity difficulty, you have to use your powers to get through the enemies shields/barriers/armor. Failing that, you at least need to use the right kind of ammo to break it down. If you try to just hammer you way through, you are going to run out of ammo, and quickly. If anything, I think making you manage your ammo pushes it more towards an RPG because you have to rely more on your squads powers.

    • Thank you for the comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It would appear that, if Insanity difficulty is truly what has mentioned, then and only then would this feel more like a paper-rock-scissors RPG.

      It’s funny- to replace all of the awkwardly missing RPG-ness, I have invented some on my own. Once I scan a planet for a landing zone, I read about and check the climate. If it is and ice-based environment, then I change my armor to a white-ish Stormtrooper look with the full mask. If the world is hot, I would make it reddish or orange with an open face. A steamy jungle gaia would call for camouflage and targeting eyepiece. I just feel that I shouldn’t have to go to these lengths to get my RPG fix. I wonder if the rebuilt Shepard in the beginning of the game was intended to draw a paralell- looks familiar on the surface, but nothing is the same underneath. It is indeed a great game, just not the one I was expecting.

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