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Default Mass Effect 2 - Impressions Piece @ GearDiary

January 30th, 2010, 16:41
RPGWatch's Michael Anderson (txa1265) has done a first impressions piece for Mass Effect 2 over at GearDiary, with some quick analysis and a few screens. Here's a snip of the summary:
There is no question – Mass Effect 2 has plenty of flaws (bet that wasn’t what you were expecting!). The mini-games are tedious, especially planet scanning, but also the circuit and code hacks. Flying through space is without a doubt the worse version of a space travel mechanic I have yet to encounter. And there is also clear ‘over-design’ in the areas, where everything is either directly useful or inert art. Speaking of which, there is too much stuff that does nothing.
Yet Mass Effect 2 is also an amazing game. The story is compelling, the characters interesting, the combat fun, the skills distinct enough to make a difference, and overall it is just a really nice ride that I’m having a blast taking. When I finish up I’ll be back with a full review!
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January 30th, 2010, 16:41
You're right, the frequent achievements pop-up messages are getting on my nerve. Most of the time i liked to be able to wave them away. Plus, compared to DAO, the user interface obviously felt very much a console game's interface.
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January 30th, 2010, 17:00
I think the worst part of the game is how predictable the mission structure is. You can easily predict exactly when you will face yet another wave of filler combat encounters in between the dialogue bits. You know you'll end the mission with a dialogue with the "main mission NPC" - or you'll flip some switch to do whatever. It's really getting tiresome to not feel suprised as the game is progressing. As an example of the utter lack of original thinking, you'll find convenient cover at EVERY SINGLE combat encounter. Even when the entire place is otherwise free of it, you know when combat is about to begin when you see the crates or large iron structures. Combat, combat, and more combat. Zzzzzzz.

Also, why even introduce powers and weapon upgrades when you never EVER feel like you've grown more powerful? You remain EXACTLY as effective as you are in the beginning throughout the game. There's simply no sensation of progression. I certainly haven't felt it, anyway.

This is yet another movie with minimal gameplay appeal.
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January 30th, 2010, 17:38
The mini games are not tedious except planet scanning. The hacking mini games are very good in my view and you can skip planet scanning. The flying through space mechanic is also good in my view, much better than ME1.

Cue the usual hate-boys, though, whenever a game is popular.
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January 30th, 2010, 18:01
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Also, why even introduce powers and weapon upgrades when you never EVER feel like you've grown more powerful? You remain EXACTLY as effective as you are in the beginning throughout the game. There's simply no sensation of progression. I certainly haven't felt it, anyway.
To me it is like in most other shooter hybrids - you gain skills in a more passive manner but mostly it is your own ability and the equipment that makes you more effective.

Originally Posted by NFLed View Post
Cue the usual hate-boys, though, whenever a game is popular.
I don't think I did anything to justify THAT statement … I pointed out what I saw as tedium, and since I'm a completist, I *HAVE* to scan every planet and pick every lock and so on.

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January 30th, 2010, 18:25
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
To me it is like in most other shooter hybrids - you gain skills in a more passive manner but mostly it is your own ability and the equipment that makes you more effective.
Most shooter hybrids don't have levels and experience points, though. Unless you're talking about games like System Shock 2, Fallout 3, Bloodlines, Deus Ex, or similar. All those games provide a satisfying sensation of character progression.

Mass Effect 2 (like its predecessor) just provides you with more stuff to do, but it doesn't make you more efficient in any detectable way. They scale everything and ensure every single combat encounter feels just like the one before.

I think that's a huge detriment - but then again, I never liked shooters with endless filler combat either.

Fortunately, the game has a decent story and a handful of wonderful locations. But really, that's about all I like about it. It's just too streamlined and samey for my tastes. As I've said before, it's WAY too formulaic and "cold" in its execution. Nothing stands out as having been about passion. It's a very competent production, but it lacks soul and genuine design insight.

I don't think I did anything to justify THAT statement … I pointed out what I saw as tedium, and since I'm a completist, I *HAVE* to scan every planet and pick every lock and so on.
His remark is a sign of not being able to tolerate the opinions of others.

While I don't hate ME2 - I don't think it's particularly good. But I would never call those who love it "fanboys". To be called a hate-boy because I don't enjoy what it offers is like a declaration of ignorance.
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January 30th, 2010, 18:25
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
I think the worst part of the game is how predictable the mission structure is. You can easily predict exactly when you will face yet another wave of filler combat encounters in between the dialogue bits. You know you'll end the mission with a dialogue with the "main mission NPC" - or you'll flip some switch to do whatever. It's really getting tiresome to not feel suprised as the game is progressing. As an example of the utter lack of original thinking, you'll find convenient cover at EVERY SINGLE combat encounter. Even when the entire place is otherwise free of it, you know when combat is about to begin when you see the crates or large iron structures. Combat, combat, and more combat. Zzzzzzz.

Also, why even introduce powers and weapon upgrades when you never EVER feel like you've grown more powerful? You remain EXACTLY as effective as you are in the beginning throughout the game. There's simply no sensation of progression. I certainly haven't felt it, anyway.

This is yet another movie with minimal gameplay appeal.
I have gotten beaten up for saying something like this already, but it feels to me like a very good 3rd person cover shooter with some light rpg elements. But the more I play it, I have to agree, outside of the dialogue and good/mean interactive choices, the meat of the gameplay (combat) is not really that different from Uncharted 2 with upgradeable ability options. Move to cover, shoot, switch weapons as necessary, pick up ammo, move to next interactive sequence, move to cover …. Still a very good game, but if you are not a fan of shooters and/or heavily story driven games this is probably not a game for some rpg fans.
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January 30th, 2010, 18:37
Cue the usual hate-boys, though, whenever a game is popular.
Yes how dare anyone think ME2 is NOT the greatest game ever.

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January 30th, 2010, 19:03
Bioware's strength has always been (as I see it) story, characters and dialogue. Gameplay - not so much.

From what I've seen of critical ME2 reviews, it seems that maybe, just maybe Bioware has been afraid of making a third person shooter, perhaps because of the fear for the backlash? they thought might come?

Personally, I would like Bioware to do a full fledged shooter…

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January 30th, 2010, 19:05
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Mass Effect 2 (like its predecessor) just provides you with more stuff to do, but it doesn't make you more efficient in any detectable way. They scale everything and ensure every single combat encounter feels just like the one before.
I dunno … I find that they provide a 'spread' - low level enemies you are clearly getting more and more powerful compared to, mid-level enemies who provide a challenge, and then they add newer and higher level powerful enemies to keep the challenge the same.

Compared to some more traditional RPG's where you encounter 20 low-level skeletons later in the game that are like swatting flies, I would rather have the challenge.

But then I have always been a huge fan of shooters of all sorts and FPS is more of a long-time 'home genre' than RPG as I have said in various articles. So my perspective is different than those who were playing BaK while I was playing Marathon and Doom …

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January 30th, 2010, 19:43
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
But then I have always been a huge fan of shooters of all sorts and FPS is more of a long-time 'home genre' than RPG as I have said in various articles. So my perspective is different than those who were playing BaK while I was playing Marathon and Doom …
Nothing wrong with that, and I can't deny that ME2 is a quality title just like its predecessor. I'd even say it's a great shooter with an interesting story and superb production values.

I also like shooters, by the way, but I got tired of the "Doom" formula with, well, Doom. I never enjoyed shooting for the sake of shooting and I always required some kind of added element to enjoy a shooter. My absolute favorite aspect is exploration, and some shooters handle that aspect quite well - like Unreal 2 for instance.

ME2 is as linear as most Bioware games, and for that reason there's not much exploration that you can't predict - but they do know how to create compelling environments and I still enjoy the game as a whole - but only in a mild way.

Unless it changes significantly during the last 30-40% of the game, I expect to rate it ~7.5/10.
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January 30th, 2010, 21:59
If anyone is finding it too easy play on a harder difficulty, even with the transparent cover system you are gonna get killed a lot. Mike got the planet scanning absolutely right, it's a wierd boring design decision, but given that you can make it faster and it leads to item upgrades, makes it a necessary evil (for the harder difficulties, dunno about easy or normal).

So far so good, but I don't find myself feeling compelled to play it like I did with DAO or even Divinity 2.
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January 31st, 2010, 05:02
I think the usual 10/10 is way overhyped. 80% is a just rating IMO. Its a good game, but kinda limited in some aspect. Great fun, but it could have been more in several aspect.
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January 31st, 2010, 11:19
It may be limited in some ways compared to other games (hardcore RPGs), but i'm having more fun with it than most recent games. Okay, I'm not that fond of number crunching and building characters in the first place. I guess what some RPG fans crave is a deep game with strategy and mathmatics. No such thing in ME2 but that's fine with me.
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January 31st, 2010, 16:40
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
It may be limited in some ways compared to other games (hardcore RPGs), but i'm having more fun with it than most recent games. Okay, I'm not that fond of number crunching and building characters in the first place. I guess what some RPG fans crave is a deep game with strategy and mathmatics. No such thing in ME2 but that's fine with me.
I am enjoying it in brief bursts much like I enjoy some pure shooters, it just can't keep my attention for long. This doesn't come anywhere close to sucking me in like the Gothic/Risen games or even DA. It's interesting that at least from my perspective a game, like Risen, that has much lower production values and much more noticeable flaws and blemishes than a game like this, is so much more engrossing for and appealing to me.

And to your point, Risen really isn't much about combat strategy or number crunching as both of these are rather clunky. It's something else, probably about the atmosphere, character choice, and freedom.

I also am finding the atmosphere and environment outside of the cutscenes to be really bland or generic. There is no real sense of place or need to explore (other than go to the one side room on a level and click on the cleary higlighted item box). Just a bunch of linear corridors fill with lots of boxes and inexplicably placed low walls for cover. So even in this respect, I find Bioshock (which is supposed to be pure shooter to the extent it cant be covered here) a more engrossing game simply because of the sense of place and discovery.

This one just isn't working for me other than as shooter.
Last edited by dagoo7; January 31st, 2010 at 16:58.
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February 1st, 2010, 05:34
I bought this yesterday and I've tried to give it a chance, but it's a shooter plain and simple. If any other company had made this game I would be happy that shooters were evolving, but this is Bioware, the home of AAA RPGs. If this is where the RPG market is headed then I'm glad I like shooters as well as RPGs.

Seriously 6 skills? I'm playing an Adapt transfered from my Mass 1 save and having a hard time grasping why they screwed up my Adapt. They're borderline useless now. I have powers, but I might as well only have one because I can only use ONE!!! If I use any biotic power then all of my biotic's have to cooldown.

There is no way this is an RPG other than with the dialogue and C&C. I did like that part of the game, but I expected the voice acting to be great having just played Dragon Age.

Anyway, it's useless to say all this again because that is what most of you have already talking about. So just add a +1 from me with most of the rants I've read.

With that said, it is a good shooting game, so far. It's not perfect and no way is it a 10 like all the reviews are saying, but still not too bad even with my powers stripped from my Adapt.

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Last edited by skavenhorde; February 1st, 2010 at 10:24.
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February 1st, 2010, 12:51
After playing it more, I've actually found a good combination of powers that does make me feel more powerful.

So, I was wrong in that it's not possible.

I still don't think it's all that great, but I have to admit it's better now that I feel my choices have made a difference.
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February 1st, 2010, 14:57
Originally Posted by Thaurin View Post
It may be limited in some ways compared to other games (hardcore RPGs), but i'm having more fun with it than most recent games. Okay, I'm not that fond of number crunching and building characters in the first place. I guess what some RPG fans crave is a deep game with strategy and mathmatics. No such thing in ME2 but that's fine with me.
Exactly. Recent RPG's have been so flawed I'm finding more fun factor in games I've criticized in the past for lacking robust RPG elements. DA and (for me) the Witcher are prime example of what I was not enjoying and ME1 and now Fallout 3 I'm loving.

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