Originally Posted by DeepO
No, it wasnīt.
ME was already a streamlined iteration of KotOR, an already streamlined game. Like ME2 and ME3, combat gameplay is already "shooter with powers", except shooting sucks, powers lack variety and punch (maybe except for singularity and lift) and interesting encounter design is almost non-existent. Plus, a pretty significant chunk is spent fighting in Mako, which is effectively free of RPG influences.
Loot system is horrible, inventory is horrible and frogger minigame is omnipresent.A lot of time dialogue choices result in Shepard saying an exactly same thing. As implied above, exploration carries some atmosphere, but from the gameplay standpoint itīs a filler through and through.
All in all, ME1īs "RPG aspects" bore a lot of redundancy and were often detrimental to the experience. Streamlining them "to oblivion" was an act of mercy .
That may be true on the level design front, but when it comes to high level structuring, personally I consider ME2 to be the game that provides the most non-linearity in the trilogy.
Both games have mandatory prologue, both games have about the same amount of "planetary side quests" and in both games the meatier quests are designed to be completed in one go.
The difference is in the distribution of what I consider meaty content.
Prologues, endgames and running around hub(s) aside, both games come with the set of meatier self contained "episodes". ME1īs episodes are longer and usually more elaborate (Liara rescue being an exception) than the ones in ME2, but ME2 contains much, much more ofīem.
Also, ME1 effectively has only one hub warranting quest-related re-visits, whereas ME2 has four.
For better or worse, ME2 was simply designed as a game with a slimmer core story than ME1, but made up for it by containing a crapload more of not core plot related stuff. It can also be completed without ever visiting the Citadel, Illium or Tuchanka or engaging in quite a few of those meatier quests, whereas in ME1 pretty much all thatīs meaty is mandatory.
As a result, for me the sense of free roaming is stronger in ME2 than in ME1.