by Christopher Park
previewed on X360
Mass Effect had a bundle of problems. Technical shortcomings (something the PC version mostly ironed out), repetitive exploration and hit-and-miss combat were among the many issues constantly brought up. Despite all the various faults, the game was still well-received, accumulating more than its fair share of accolades.
So, it comes to reason to expect the sequel to take all these problems and completely squash them, and that is what Mass Effect 2 looks like it is going to do. Everything that has been revealed, shown and displayed of Mass Effect 2 looks like marked improvements over the original game. BioWare seems to have taken every popular criticism to heart; there is good reason to be excited for its 2010 release.
First problem up to bat are the choices and consequences, one of the major selling points of most WRPGs. Mass Effect had choices, but its consequences rarely extended beyond a slap on the wrist or small paragon/renegade shifts on your moral compass. There were few decisions in the game that seemed far-reaching and it is those few that will carry onto Mass Effect 2. Did you either kill or not kill a certain party member in Mass Effect? What action you took then will carry over to Mass Effect 2. Did you or did you not assist the council during the game’s climactic conclusion? Their fate and the reverberations of your decision during that key moment will have effects on Mass Effect 2’s narrative. Besides decisions that carry over from the original, BioWare promises to have choices that have major consequences. The biggest of which is the possibility of Shepard dying by the end of the game. Reactivity looks prominent in Mass Effect 2, let’s hope BioWare follows through.
A second and perhaps just as a disappointing problem was the original’s exploration aspect. There is not much to say about Mass Effect’s planet-hopping other than that it sucked. Very little of it was truly ever rewarding and the game used a small pool of skins for every planet you could walk and rove around on. It always felt half-baked and it always sounded too good to be true from the get-go and unfortunately, it really, really was.