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Review – Mass Effect 2 for PS3 | Level Up News

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Review – Mass Effect 2 for PS3


When Mass Effect 2 came out last year, one of the biggest selling points was the ability to upload old save game files to carry over key choices your Commander Shepard made in Mass Effect. But what about those people who didn’t play the first game? Well, they were stuck with whatever randomness the game saw fit to give them. In the first random game I started, Liara was on the Normandy in the opening scene, the Council had perished, and I was known as a ruthless spectre. In the second random game, Ashley was on the Normady—which lead to an instant reboot. Third random game it was Kaidan overseeing the evacuation, but he wasn’t my love interest—which lead to another instant reboot.

“Wouldn’t it have been awesome,” I had told my roommates, “if there was some sort of selection screen for newcomers to this franchise to pick and choose the main plot points in Mass Effect instead of the computer deciding? Like, I decide whether I saved the Council in the first game. I decide whether I killed Ashley or Kaidan. I decided whether Wrex died.” They had all agreed, thinking it was pretty lame that wasn’t already a feature.

When talk of Mass Effect 2 porting to PS3 surfaced, all my friends asked, “Gee, does this mean you’re going to repurchase Mass Effect 2 for PS3?” Considering I already own it (and have beaten it countless times) on the 360, I said no. I’d dealt with game-generated Shepards before; I wasn’t interested in doing it again when I could import save files on the 360 (and PC).

“But it’s built using the Mass Effect 3 engine!” So? Big deal. Being able to hand-pick my plot was more important than shiny graphics. And I didn’t see how it could work. Mass Effect was never published for the PS3, so how could Mass Effect 2 be translated to the console? The plot point roulette in the 360 and PC version would be even worse. For all those who don’t own 360s or PCs that could handle Mass Effect’s graphics, and the PS3 port would be their first introduction to the franchise. How were newcomers going to know what happened back then and how it affected what was going on now short of spending long nights reading the Mass Effect Wiki? It sounded like a formula for disaster.

BioWare must have heard me. (Hi, BioWare!!!)

While watching the loading screen for Mass Effect 2 on PS3, I took a deep breath and told my inner fangirl that I was going to play whatever plot points the game sought to give me—even if it meant Ashley survived Virmire. (Seriously, who saves the poetry-loving bitch?) During the Normandy’s destruction, I watched Liara run to Shepard’s side and aid in the evacuation of the crew, and wondered if I would have to wait until I hit Horizon to see whether this random Shepard had been dumb enough to save Ashley. I watched Shepard get spaced, and the main title appear on the screen.

But then Mass Effect Genesis popped up, and Commander Shepard began narrating a digital comic… a beautifully-drawn digital comic (a collaborative effort between BioWare and Dark Horse Comics) recapping of all the major events of Mass Effect.

Game, you have my attention.

Not only did the digital comic recap Mass Effect (apparently, though, Feros and the mutant zombies slipped Shepard’s mind), but it allowed me to choose the outcomes of the major plot points in a Choose Your Own Adventure kind of way. Shepard’s narration would lead up to decision point wherein I picked what happened next. I told the comic whether Shepard chose Liara or Kaidan, I told the comic who bit the big one on Virmire and whether Wrex survived, I told the comic whether the Council was saved and who the first human councilmember was. And the comic made me want to replay Mass Effect.

The entire digital comic lasted approximately fifteen minutes, and introduced all the major players. Garrus, Wrex, Tali, Anderson, Saren… Oddly missing was Cerberus, and all the pain and grief they caused in the first game. In the grand scheme of things that wasn’t an important plot point from Mass Effect, but seeing as Cerberus is the central player in Mass Effect 2, it would have been nice to have that foundation to build upon for new players.

After the comic ended, the Project Lazarus scenes began, and the rest of the game played out the same. Although, detail-wise, the PS3 version’s plot progresses as if none of the side quests from the first game were completed, so character dialogue is neutral. Case in point: instead of Tali super-excited to see Shepard was alive as she was if you helped her on her pilgrimage in Mass Effect, her tone was flat and matter-of-fact. It doesn’t impact the main plot in any which way, shape, or form, but did leave out some character development between Shepard and her old crew that had been a nice touch.

A friend of mine called me back in December asking if he should pre-order Mass Effect 2 for PS3. I had immediately told him to get it for 360 and play the first one. When he said he didn’t own a 360 or a PC that could handle the graphics, I told him, “In that case, you’ll enjoy Mass Effect 2, but without the back story of the first game, you’ll be lost,” and assured him I could answer any questions he may have. I had been worried about the plot point roulette and how that would affect his viewing of the Mass Effect universe, but figured if he really wanted to know, he’d get a 360 and play the first game for himself. But after seeing this digital comic and (finally) having the ability to pick and choose Shepard’s decisions… I’m so happy I talked him into getting Mass Effect 2 for PS3.

I still firmly believe that to truly appreciate the whole Mass Effect story, one must, must, must purchase and play the games for the 360 or PC. You’ll learn who the characters of the first game truly are, experience the events for yourself, and witness first-hand the frustrations of the MAKO. But for those who can’t afford a high-end graphics card or Microsoft’s gaming console and still want to experience what this whole Mass Effect-thing is, for $60 the PS3 version is a fantastic alternative. It’s also a bargain since all the available DLC comes with—Zaeed, Kasumi, Firewalker, Overload, and Lair of the Shadow Broker. (DLC weapons and armor must be purchased separately.)

The rest of Mass Effect 2 is practically identical to its 360 and PC counterparts. (Read my original review of Mass Effect 2 here.) Everything works the same, from armor upgrades to how powers are used. Even the button-mapping is the same as the 360 version—except the power/weapons wheel and aim/fire buttons are reversed. But overall? It’s identical to the other ports.

And as for the shiny graphics? I will say the game looks cleaner on the PS3 than the 360, but looks to be on-par with the PC version—provided the settings on the graphics card are cranked all the way up. (And the fonts are bigger and easier to ready!) Otherwise, nope, didn’t really notice a difference.

To experience the brilliance of Mass Effect Genesis for yourself, below are the videos in two parts, courtesy of Mahalo Video Games:

Review - Mass Effect 2 for PS3, 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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About the author

Ever since her father introduced her to arcades at age four, Jennifer has been a gamer. Known around the office as the walking Star Wars encyclopedia, her favorite games include Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, Metal Gear Solid, and Mass Effect. Follow her on Twitter! @jennifervolpe



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