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PostPosted: Tue Feb 2, '10, 1:29 pm 
Ok so I recently picked up Mass Effect 2 and so far I'm enjoying the mess out of it! I believe I'm one of the few 360 owners on this site so I apologize if this seems like blatant fanboyism because it isn't. Just sharing my overall opinion with as little spoilers as possible.

Ok so the first Mass Effect game took the idea of a shooter + RPG and attempted to blend the best of the two together and it was overall successful with a few hiccups that happens with any new venture [there's always something there, even if it's small :D]. Mass Effect 2 took this idea and decided to streamline things a lot and so far it has lived up to it's job...once you realize that's what it's doing. It was certainly a shock playing this, especially after beating the 1st one the day before this 2nd one came out so of course the original was still fresh in my mind. Once I realized that the 2nd one is less RP and more G [ha ha c whut I did thar?? (that last one was just for you Atlin :D )] I began to enjoy what it really had to offer. Now before I continue I need to point out for those who haven't played a Bioware game's main strength which is story, story, story. This one picks up 2 years after the end of the original with a surprise twist in the beginning of the game [with a few extra's for those who imported their character from the first]. However these may seem a bit obvious or outlandish to the newcomer but they really pulled it off well. Another nod to those who import their character from the original Mass Effect are treated to lot's of different characters that they met in the first game and see how they are doing/living 2 years after you met them. Now does this mean you need to play the first Mass Effect? Absolutely not! Of course you won't get some of the previously mentioned nod's.

The combat is also very easy to pick up and the cover system is very reminiscent of Gears of War. The closest thing your main character will do that's similar to the Gears of War cover is when you run towards cover and instead of shoulder tackling it, you'll baseball slide to safety. Another thing they did with combat is add thermal packs to the weapons [as opposed to the first game's weapons overheating and you wait for it the cool down]. These thermal packs are the "ammo" of the game where you run out of a "clip" and then you eject it and slap in a fresh one. You can pick up ammo from some enemies to replace yours so you do not always have to run around without any ammo. Of course that leads to switching between 5 other weapons while in combat. So if you run out of "ammo" on your favorite weapon you still have a backup. Of course your teammates can help you out with different powers and talents that they have [each class has different abilities that you can access depending on what class you go with in the beginning] so if you're blasting away with that assault rifle, your team might use biotics [Force Powers] to lift and throw the enemy to the side.

The dialog system is almost identical to the last game [and many of Bioware's other games such as KOTOR, Dragon Age, Baldur's Gate, etc.] where you have the basic Good, Neutral, and Evil replies to whatever NPC you're talking to [which awards you with Paragon and Renegade points]. Now they added certain situations where you'd press a corresponding button for Paragon or Renegade points and this will interrupt the NPC with your action (one Renegade action I did wasPush a Merc out of a glass window while he was telling me off and he fell over 20 or 30 stories).

The graphics are improved from the first with minor tweaks [biggest being the graphical pop ups that happened with the first game] and they went to great lengths to keep things realistic. Sound is just as you expected from a Sci-Fi game and doesn't disappoint. The other characters in your part vary from the Biotic who was tortured and has nearly unlimited Biotic power to the Troubled ex Military who wants to do good but has lost his faith in people. Each character has their own back story and as previously mentioned, have plenty to get you involved with them and pursue their own sidequest. Of course with each character you can pursue a romance with one or multiple one's just for "flavor". This last part is, of course, optional and not needed for the story.

Overall I am quite pleased with this game and glad to know Bioware listened to it's fans in making improvements. Of course I left out a lot of things to go over, but this is only a semi review and I'd rather someone experience for themselves instead of me telling them about it. All in all I say check it out. It's great stand alone but if you compare to Phantasy Star, well they're two different games so I leave it to your own opinion.

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