While I work away at the biblically long post regarding all of ME2’s squadmates, I figured I’d throw a little bone out there to cover the long gap that has presented itself since my first post. I’m still chipping away at ME2 slowly but surely, trying not to let other things get in my way too much. But life is life and ME2 isn’t my only love, so that’s just the way she goes ya know?
Anyhow, I’ve played enough to have a few comments regarding the little details about the game, for better or for worse. So I thought I’d tackle them bullet point style.
- I’ve realized how restricting the Paragon/Renegade can be to a playstyle. Once you begin down that road, even a little, you get suckered into staying there or facing the consequence. For example, I somehow accumulated more Renegade points than Paragon, and very early on, in the Grunt recruitment mission, I was involved with an encounter with an enemy soldier who I was interrogating, his comrades called on the radio and I was given five options to respond with, three generic ones on the right hand of the dialogue wheel, and two options on the left, one paragon (which I did not have access too), and a renegade (which I did have access too). Again this was fairly early on and was not my first encounter with the problem, and I was faced with either furthering my renegade/paragon gap or failing to stop him calling his friends. I tried a generic response and was met with more soldiers. Perhaps I’m being a little nit-picky, but at least with ME1 you could put skill points into Charm or Intimidate to play both fields, but with ME2 you do not have that luxury. In a game that is all about your choices, it’s hard to make the best one for you if you need to build your character to be a complete jerk or a naive loser the whole time. This has secured my belief that the new system in Andromeda is probably a good direction.
- With ME2 scaling back certain RPG elements from the first game, I’ve remembered how little RPG elements there are in this game or at least elements that matter to me. This isn’t really a bad thing as if I don’t feel like utilizing the elements that exist, it doesn’t penalize me, but those that wish to use them, they can! I feel very little use in purchasing weapons or armor with credits, as I find it to be mostly cosmetic. As such, credits do feel a little useless to me, as all weapon and character upgrades can be done using the resources you gain from scanning planets.
- The Horizon mission was a great introduction to the Collectors as an actual formidable force. I enjoyed the “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” feel it had, and it really brings out the horrors of Space and hostile Alien races. This was my first time playing a run where Kaidan was the survivor at Horizon, and while it was awful because his hostility is way out of place, it is a little more justified than Ashley’s outrage. Kaidan has some reasons for hating Cerberus, Ashley, however, would fit right into the racist organization and probably be the member of the month for four months straight.
- I really enjoy the messages you get to your terminal. They do add a good amount of tidbits and callbacks that make them worth reading. Helps to establish the universe better and connect you to your choices. My one complaint is that Shepard’s e-mail address is seemingly open for all the galaxy to find, but I digress.
- The Normandy’s biggest downfall are the loading screens. It really is a huge disincentive to visiting your crew just because of how long it takes to get to each one.
- The hub worlds (Omega, The Citadel, and Illium) are a great insight into the galactic community and offer lots of small opportunities to get a glance into the world you are trying to save. That being said, I feel like the aesthetic is a little, rough around the edges. Particularly in the contrast between the Citadel from ME1 to ME2. I do miss the ability to walk from one point of the Citadel to another (granted the elevators are basically loading screens), but it doesn’t impact things too much. The hub worlds also give lots of opportunities for small things, like Blasto or “I’m Commander Shepard and this is my…”. It’s stuff that isn’t central to the game but just adds a little meat on the bones.
- One thing I have to give to Mass Effect is its ability to let you ignore characters and have a complete experience none-the-less. For example, in ME1 you could choose not to recruit Wrex or Garrus if you didn’t want to. Which is nuts because why would you not? But I appreciate it as still being an option. Likewise, in this game, you can choose whether to activate Grunt or Legion, which I think is a nice touch. There isn’t any benefit to doing so, other than perhaps a “safer” suicide mission with fewer variables, but it is an option regardless.
That’s all the goodies that can come to mind right about now. I’ve no doubt more will spring up as I continue along, but we can cross that bridge when we get to it.
One quick note for those who have been following these posts, I’ve made a decision to exclude the DLC from my playthrough, with the exception of Kasumi and Zaeed, in order for this review to stand on fair footing with Andromeda at launch. I’ll likely return to do Shadow Broker and Arrival in separate posts (if I can ever find the time).