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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Mass Effect 2 - Review Flood #1

Default Mass Effect 2 - Review Flood #1

January 26th, 2010, 11:50
Not surprisingly for such a high profile game, there are a massive number of release-day reviews. Over half of the scores are straight 10/10s, though some bugs and graphical issues are noted in a few. These are almost all X360 articles, though NowGamer is for PC. 1Up is the most critical, feeling the RPG aspect has been too streamlined.
I'm going to line list them, because there are just so many.
<ul> OMX UK - 10/10, "gaming's best told story" and "superb acting and script".
Videogamer.com - 10/10, "everything is stunning".
TeamXbox - 10/10, "A game that ranks at the top of the medium", but they note "strange, though infrequent bugs".
Games Radar - 10/10 - "BioWare's most fully realised work to date". They have a section at the end that compares to Borderlands, Dragon Age and Fallout 3, saying the game is better than all of them. On Dragon Age, they say "Mass Effect 2 has a better combat system, better voice acting, better dialog, better animation, better graphics.."
Eurogamer - 10/10 - "BioWare's greatest success in Mass Effect 2 has been taking a complex RPG and making it effortless to understand, play and enjoy on a constant basis, because it has done this in a manner that should prove utterly essential to veterans and newcomers alike, and more than enough to suggest Mass Effect 3 will be the most important game in BioWare's history."
PlanetXbox360 - 10/10 - "My journey with Commander Shepherd opened up a new view of what this form of entertainment can do, and allowed me to emotionally connect (and care) with the virtual characters on my television screen."
Destructoid - 10/10 - "Flawless victory", "So, combat is improved and much faster than before. Part of that reason is because weapons now use clips, meaning there's no more waiting behind a wall for precious seconds as weapon heat dissipates. Guns also now have unique identities and different battlefield applications. The right gun is just as valuable as the right type of ammunition (and there are plenty of ammo options to choose from, all of which exploit some core weakness). The other part is that Shepard now has more effective powers that can be tied to the face buttons. On the AI side, however, a radial pause menu construct is still needed to queue single actions. Perhaps most importantly, there are no apparent dice rolls. Guns are accurate, and damage is based on, in large part, where you shoot. Headshots are vital to the space cop."
GameSpy - 5/5 - "With Mass Effect 2 BioWare takes the videogame sequel and shows us how it's done. The combat's better, the space exploration's more satisfying, the writing's as clever as any the studio has put forth, and the artistic vision behind this sci-fi galaxy — down to the Hollywood-talent voice work — is top-notch. But it's the way that Mass Effect 2 expands upon the narrative established in the first game that marks a true breakthrough for interactive storytelling."
Gamer Limit - 9.5/10.
CVG - 9.3/10 - "Unlike the original, Mass Effect 2 kicks off with a bang and is generally well-paced throughout. Much of the sequel revolves around Sheppard combing the galaxy to recruit an elite team to tackle the Reapers, which naturally leads to you solving each individual's problem before they hop onto your ship.

These missions are, for the most part, unique, interesting and, most of all, fantastically written. Though cinematic wonder Heavy Rain looms near on the horizon, Mass Effect 2 is arguably the closest to an interactive movie we've ever come." IGN AU - 9.3/10 - "The determination of Shepard's disposition the Paragon / Renegade process has been further …More information.
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January 26th, 2010, 11:50
A friend of mine once gave me a piece of advice which I consider pretty sound: Reviews which give 10/10 and have no criticism are inherently flawed, since every product has flaws. Not being able to see those flaws is a warning to others about this bias.
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January 26th, 2010, 12:18
What the above post says.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have any problems with giving out high scores. I can totally understand why people like the MEs. I also think, from what little I've seen, that ME2 has improved quite a lot upon ME1 (which I wasn't crazy about).

But I mean, geez. Whenever I read a review, it's the review that is actually critical that will get me excited for a game if it is a positive review overall. It shows that I can at least trust the reviewer with being able to think and analyze the game he has played and point out good and bad things.
The extremely repetetive encounter design and lengthy combat areas in ME2, the still mindnumbing planet exploration (now complete with a minigame that features no challenge at all, just a timesink), the occasionally really predictable plot "twists" that you are forced to walk into… All these are points heavily against ME2 and it would've made me a bit more trusting against a review that actually points these things out as bad things, even while it may be a very positive review overall.

An example would be Vault Dwellers recent Dragon Age review on the Codex. If I hadn't gotten DA before reading that, that review would've definitely made me get it because it presents a good picture of what can be expected of the game. If it had just been mindlessly going on about how everything is amazing (or how everything is awful), I would've dismissed it because I know it doesn't provide a good review of the game and what it is.
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January 26th, 2010, 12:30
Without endorsing these reviews, a 10/10 rarely represents a flawless experience, so your friend's advice is meaningless in that context. It may well be (probably is) that many sites give the score away too easily but that's really a different issue.

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January 26th, 2010, 13:21
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Without endorsing these reviews, a 10/10 rarely represents a flawless experience, so your friend's advice is meaningless in that context. It may well be (probably is) that many sites give the score away too easily but that's really a different issue.
That is true, but too often these 'get it out at 1 min past embargo' reviews tend to be ultra-shallow, and then tend to populate so quickly that they form a critical mass of opinion, which is based on a quick run-through parts of the game with loads of hype along the way.

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January 26th, 2010, 13:57
No doubt these 10/10 reviews overstate the case somewhat, but on the upside, it's nice to see all of these positive reviews. Sounds like Bioware did a good job. I'm sure some hardcore RPG nuts will be disappointed, but you can't please everyone.
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January 26th, 2010, 14:28
Sheesh…11 reviews and the lowest score is a 9.3/10? It can only go downhill from here….
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January 26th, 2010, 14:56
I wouldn't go on the reviews that put a 10/10 score and "great rpg experience" together, for this game.
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January 26th, 2010, 15:58
I think most reviewers from these sites don't know what an RPG is. I liked Mass Effect 1 and will buy 2 today, but it's definitely not what I would call a 'great rpg', not even a great game. It's a good game with high production values, similar in the game world to what a summer action movie blockbuster is.
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January 26th, 2010, 16:08
Originally Posted by k1000 View Post
It's a good game with high production values, similar in the game world to what a summer action movie blockbuster is.
I agree, unfortunately it seems that titles like this are usually the only games that get these kind of review scores.
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January 26th, 2010, 16:37
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
I agree, unfortunately it seems that titles like this are usually the only games that get these kind of review scores.
You are right and it is sad when you already know before hand that any game from Bioware or Bethesda (to name just them) will have review scores between 9-10. Again not that they are bad games (I buy most of them usually and do like these developers), but they do not deserve the kind of praise they get.
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January 26th, 2010, 16:44
Well from the review over at ArsTech I can cross Bioware off my list.

They're not making RPGs anymore, they're making interactive movies for console gamers that can't be bothered with "stats" or "inventories". That's fine, more money, I get it. So much for passion and art and dancing with the who got you there.

Sadly I have ME2 pre-ordered, well, at least it's supposed to be a good interactive movie.

I was concerned with how shallow DA:O was, sounds like ME2 is just another action game. I don't know if it's the way the market is going and it was inevitable or if the soulless suits at EA have their hands in this but I think this is the result we all feared when Bioware was assimilated by EA.
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January 26th, 2010, 16:52
It doesn't bother me that Bioware does games like Mass Effect, what bothers me is that all their games are like that. Same thing with Bethesda. Dragon Age is a step in the right direction. But why does every game need to be streamlined? Why can't they do once in a while a hardcore RPG?
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January 26th, 2010, 16:52
" Mass Effect 2 is arguably the closest to an interactive movie we've ever come."

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January 26th, 2010, 16:53
I think this is more about Bioware than EA, actually.

They're not what they used to be and that's why they went with EA.

Not that I blame them, and I still think they produce quality titles. They're just not about the enthusiast market - they're dedicated to the AAA stuff.

The worst thing about their modern games isn't so much the casual overlay, but the supremely tired structure they started using in KOTOR - when it was fresh.

It's about time they changed more than a few bits around, if you ask me.
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January 26th, 2010, 17:11
Originally Posted by k1000 View Post
It doesn't bother me that Bioware does games like Mass Effect, what bothers me is that all their games are like that. Same thing with Bethesda. Dragon Age is a step in the right direction. But why does every game need to be streamlined? Why can't they do once in a while a hardcore RPG?
Right, I don't begrudge any company to diversify with their portfolio a little it's just everything coming out of Bioware has been dumbed down (way down) since NWN , which was released in 2002. Looking back KotOR, which wasn't that bad, was the beginning of the end, Bioware had just crested the hill but hadn't picked up speed yet.

I remember when DA was first announced it was labeled as a hardcore RPG and PC exclusive. Yeah, not so much.
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January 26th, 2010, 18:22
Originally Posted by LuckyCarbon View Post
Well from the review over at ArsTech I can cross Bioware off my list.

They're not making RPGs anymore, they're making interactive movies for console gamers that can't be bothered with "stats" or "inventories". That's fine, more money, I get it. So much for passion and art and dancing with the who got you there.

Sadly I have ME2 pre-ordered, well, at least it's supposed to be a good interactive movie.
I remember when that tool Chris Taylor was talking this "players just want interactive movie" crap when he was building that huge pos Space Siege. I laughed it off at the time and felt justified by the horrible and unsuccessful mess that turned out to be.

However, recently rented Uncharted 2 on a lark to see what the fuss was about and discovered that this was exactly what he was talking about just with AAA production values. Moreover, I actually enjoyed playing it somewhat although I knew all I was doing was doing not much more than turning pages in a book. From there I turned to the AAA "rpg" games I have played in recent year including ME and the relationship is obvious and one can chart a definitive trend.

So this turns into a situation were only the games that have the highest production values are worth any time, but you miss out on any truly thoughtful interactivity and visceral and intellectual gameplay. Looks like all we are gonna have left their are the low-production value indies.
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January 26th, 2010, 18:28
Now these are some ridiculous scores..
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January 26th, 2010, 18:47
Originally Posted by dagoo7 View Post
Moreover, I actually enjoyed playing it somewhat although I knew all I was doing was doing not much more than turning pages in a book.
That's not really something that one should be ashamed of. Several of the most interesting RPGs I've played were based on books or had walls of text that would equate them to books. Betrayal at Krondor, The Siege of Avalon, Planescape: Torment, are all great examples. Those kinds of games bring a great story.
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January 26th, 2010, 19:19
Am I crazy to expect 11/10 in the near future?
Looks as if all those sites are fighting among themselves who'll give a highest score to ME2.
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