Speaking of Games... Mass Effect 2

This is a discussion on Speaking of Games... Mass Effect 2 within the General Discussions forums, part of the Community Boards category; I'm considering buying it. I never bought the first one, but heard mixed reviews which generally praised it. In any ...

  1. #1
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Speaking of Games... Mass Effect 2

    I'm considering buying it. I never bought the first one, but heard mixed reviews which generally praised it. In any case Action/RPGs are a type of game I enjoy and am wondering if I'll be missing on Mass Effect 2.

    Things that concern me:

    - "Too much Plot". I prefer action when playing an action game. If I need to think, I'll play war games.

    - "Combat too repetitive". That is, all combat looks like the same, not that there's too much combat. Is the AI smart enough to adopt new tactics in mid-fight? Are there a large number of combat scenarios in which I'm presented with different challenges?

    - "Infantile". Is the plot adult-like or does it appeal more to teenagers?

    - "RPG Shallowness". Is the game just a slugfest of buildup points, class leveling, uberbuilds and other nonsense, or is there really good opportunities here for levelling strategies?

    - "It is only over when I say it is over!". Is there a closed ending? Are DLCs the only way to extend gameplay or the game actually allows you to carry on past the end game?

    - "Random". Are things randomly generated? Maps, planets, areas, equipment?
    Last edited by Mario F.; 02-10-2010 at 01:19 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    One was great. I do not have two but reviews are generally favorable. I will be buying it. Be warned though that the RPG elements have all but been removed. The general take is if you really enjoyed the first one you may come away from the second one a bit disappointed. Since you did not play the first one you will probably really enjoy the second.

  3. #3
    Registered User jeffcobb's Avatar
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    Mario: if you get it, could you drop a 5-minute review on it here? These days with money being tight, game-buying for us means making every effort not to buy something that stinks/we will never play.

    Tks
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Direct2Drive, Steam, and Impulse are sure to have some deals on it soon.

  5. #5
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffcobb View Post
    Mario: if you get it, could you drop a 5-minute review on it here? These days with money being tight, game-buying for us means making every effort not to buy something that stinks/we will never play.
    I plan to buy it this weekend of a shelf.

    Direct2Drive, Steam, and Impulse are sure to have some deals on it soon.
    I'm still not a game online buyer. Deal or no deal
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

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    Having played ME1 before I was a bit disappointed by ME2.
    Not that ME2 isn't a good game, it is. It's just not as good as the first one in my opinion.

    - "Too much Plot". I prefer action when playing an action game. If I need to think, I'll play war games.
    "Too much" is a relative term And you can sort of choose the amount of "plot" you want. For every npc that gives you a mission you can talk to them about various things about the missions, or you can just choose the "yeah yeah just give me the mission" dialogue option.
    You can have have (quite) long conversations with your team npcs, but you don't have to to complete the main quest. Although you might be missing out a bit on why and how the plot plays out as it does.

    - "Combat too repetitive". That is, all combat looks like the same, not that there's too much combat. Is the AI smart enough to adopt new tactics in mid-fight? Are there a large number of combat scenarios in which I'm presented with different challenges?
    I have only played it on normal difficulty level so far, but generally the enemy AI seems a bit lacking. You can hide behind cover and most enemys just stand there shooting at whatever rock you are hiding behind, hoping that you are stupid enough to pop your head up in to the crossfire A few enemies will try to flank you, but most don't.
    The AI might get better on a higher difficulty so I can't say if it's always this bad though. There are 2 or 3 levels more above normal. The in-game description does say that enemies will use more biotic and tech powers against you on the higher levels.
    The AI for your team mates is horrible. They always seem to die at the start of a fight against anything bigger than the common enemies. You can semi-control their positioning and skill usage, but then it becomes to much micro management for an action-focused game.

    - "Infantile". Is the plot adult-like or does it appeal more to teenagers?
    It might be because of my lack of English skills (I'm not a native English speaker) but I'm not quite sure what you mean by "adult-like"?

    - "RPG Shallowness". Is the game just a slugfest of buildup points, class leveling, uberbuilds and other nonsense, or is there really good opportunities here for levelling strategies?
    The RPG element has (in my opinion, other's might disagree) been toned down from ME1. The game focuses on being a 3rd person shooter with some dialogue between missions. Class builds doesn't matter much because most enemies die so fast anyway. There is no sense of accomplishment from killing bosses (aside from the plot progressing) because the only thing any enemy can drop is ammo. People have been joking about making t-shirts with "I killed this huge Mass Effect 2 boss and all I got was this lousy ammo clip"
    You don't get experience points from kills like in ME1 (and most other RPGs), you get a fixed amount of exp at the end of the level. Doesn't matter if you killed everything in sight or just rushed through the level killing as little as possible. (Although in most areas you have to kill all enemies for the doors to unlock)

    - "It is only over when I say it is over!". Is there a closed ending? Are DLCs the only way to extend gameplay or the game actually allows you to carry on past the end game?
    Depends on in which order you do the main and side quests.
    You can choose to continue playing after you've finished the main plot, but if you've already done all the side quests by then the only thing you can do is travel around the universe, mine for minerals, and talk to your team npcs.
    There's also an achievement system, and you get an experience and starting credits bonus for your second play-through. And you can always choose to play a new class, so there's some incentive for replayability at least. You will most likely get most of the achievements in a single play-through though.

    - "Random". Are things randomly generated? Maps, planets, areas, equipment?
    I'm not 100% sure about this, but from my experience I don't think anything is random. Maybe the amount of cash you get from hacking and minerals you get from mining, but that's about it.

    As for ME1 vs ME2 I think Bioware has taken complaints poeple had about ME1 to much to the extremes.

    -Inventory management
    In ME1 people complained about the inventory system being horrible. In ME2 they didn't design a better system, they completely removed the inventory.

    -Experience from kills
    In ME1 people complained that it gave an unfair advantage for always choosing renegade options over paragon options because you got to kill more people as renegade and therefore got more experience points. In ME2, instead of for example giving an experience bonus for choosing paragon options to compensate they completely removed all experience gains from kills. This reduces the sense of accomplishment in my opinion but some people think this is a better way.

    -Class imbalance
    In ME1 the adept class was a bit overpowered compared to other classes. In ME2 it is almost useless on any difficulty level above normal because almost all enemies will have shields then, and biotic powers have a highly reduced effect against shielded targets.

    All in all Mass Effect 2 is still a good game, mostly because I like the story.
    It's a decent mix of a shooter and an RPG, but if you're expecting a pure shooter or a pure rpg you're going to be disappointed.

    Edit:
    There have also been a few reports on mouse movement being weird or laggy on the pc version but there are unofficial fixes for this and I expect an official patch will be released soon to fix this. Personally I did not experience this bug.
    Last edited by _Mike; 02-10-2010 at 03:58 PM. Reason: accidentaly used a code instead of quote tag, messed up formatting :(

  7. #7
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Just bought the collector's edition. Tons of manuals, books, and the old fashioned goodies we used to get in every box. I'll post my comments on the game a bit later.

    I figure since BioWare has been in the habit of making great games I'll go ahead and fork out a bit more to support their studio. I don't mind supporting a good studio. And since I have DAO I think I can download the special armor in ME2 for free.

    I do have one question though. How did BioWare put out DAO, ME2, and BioShock 2 so close together?

    There have also been a few reports on mouse movement being weird or laggy on the pc version but there are unofficial fixes for this and I expect an official patch will be released soon to fix this. Personally I did not experience this bug.
    Almost every BioWare game has experienced this glitch in one form or another.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-13-2010 at 08:09 PM.

  8. #8
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    I figure since BioWare has been in the habit of making great games I'll go ahead and fork out a bit more to support their studio.
    Indeed they are. Of the Collectors Editions, I'm planning to only buy the Bioshock one. Not Mass Effect's (although I'll buy the game of course).

    Tomorrow is shopping day.

    I do have one question though. How did BioWare put out DAO, ME2, and BioShock 2 so close together?
    ermm... Bioshock 2 is not Bioware's. It is 2k Marin and Irrational Games.
    As for DAO and Mass Effect 2, they did manage to launch both very close. And are both from the same Edmonton studio. Should be pretty big that studio. Especially considering DAO has a whole new engine and ME2, according to you guys, is a big departure from 1.

    @Mike, thanks for the quick review. I couldn't digest a part of it because I didn't play the first game. But despite the general tone, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot. Not really usual of me as I'm even not in the habit of buying games when they ship. I usually only buy them many months later, sometimes when they are already shipping with more complete special editions and at lower prices. But dunno why, this time I felt like being part of the gang. Cheers.
    Last edited by Mario F.; 02-13-2010 at 08:45 PM.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    ermm... Bioshock 2 is not Bioware's. It is 2k Marin and Irrational Games.
    Indeed it is. My mistake. I could have sworn the first BioShock was BioWare but alas I look at the box and it is not. Guess the Bio in the title threw me.

    So far ME2 is great. While they did take the inventory system out they really took out the worst part of ME1. The inventory was quite annoying in ME1 and I enjoy the fact that I don't have to worry about it now. The game feels much more streamlined and to the point and centers around what is done right instead of centering around a clunky inventory system. It also has some of the best 3rd person shooter action in any game. It 'feels' perfect to me. The conversations can get lengthy but you can skip them with the spacebar if you so wish. However the beauty of BioWare games is the depth of dialog and backstory put into each character. As you listen to each character you realize how finely crafted the writing and story is behind each one and how their tales are woven into the larger picture to make a great game. I really like the dialogue system so much better than DAO. ME2's dialogue system is clear, concise, and you can tell which path you are taking when you choose each one. They also put more effort into having your character say something related to the choice you pick. In DAO your character is essentially a mute and it gets really annoying and disconnects you from the game IMO. To say the RPG elements have been removed isn't quite a fair assessment of what BioWare has done here. It has not been completely removed as you can still level up in certain areas and so forth. I really don't understand the reviews that say it has been removed b/c it has been fine tuned rather than removed. Overall it has been great thus far. I sort of approach BioWare's games a bit different than others. I don't go running through it just to get to the end but rather try to take time to smell every flower along the way. If the team is going to put in the time to create such a thriving universe and backstory then I will take the time to enjoy it. Overall it's a great game and on par with ME1. I really can't say which is better since they both are very good.

    - "Too much Plot". I prefer action when playing an action game. If I need to think, I'll play war games.
    There is a lot of plot but as I said before it's not a bad thing if you are willing to throw yourself into the story that BioWare has lovingly crafted.

    - "Combat too repetitive". That is, all combat looks like the same, not that there's too much combat. Is the AI smart enough to adopt new tactics in mid-fight? Are there a large number of combat scenarios in which I'm presented with different challenges?
    I did not find it overly repetitive. Attacks come from different areas and angles and from different objects and enemies so it's not the same encounter every time. It also does not suffer from DAO's walk a little bit...trip a trigger...and fight. Even though it probably uses a similar system the levels are laid out in such a manner as to hide this aspect very well.

    - "Infantile". Is the plot adult-like or does it appeal more to teenagers?
    It is not a teen-age plot. It is very well done and is mature IMO. But then again I felt ME1 was too.

    - "RPG Shallowness". Is the game just a slugfest of buildup points, class leveling, uberbuilds and other nonsense, or is there really good opportunities here for levelling strategies?
    You probably won't find the type and mix of leveling strategy found in DAO. However by leveling certain characters and specific areas of your own you can create various strategies.

    - "It is only over when I say it is over!". Is there a closed ending? Are DLCs the only way to extend gameplay or the game actually allows you to carry on past the end game?
    I cannot say one way or the other since I have not been through it yet.

    - "Random". Are things randomly generated? Maps, planets, areas, equipment?
    I believe this does happen for various lockers and pieces of equipment you pick up. This also happened in ME1 so I seriously doubt they changed it. In ME1 on your second play through the items and weapons available were on par with the skills of your character. In other words if you were a noob they wouldn't give you uber weapons and if you were uber your second time through they would scatter uber weapons and items around instead of noob ones. Forgive the juvenile terms but that really about sums the system up the best.
    Last edited by VirtualAce; 02-14-2010 at 10:43 AM.

  10. #10
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Well, it's here with me already
    Will be installing it later today when my wife stops remembering me today's Valentine day.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    Will be installing it later today when my wife stops remembering me today's Valentine day.
    Hehe. There is that. Definitely not a gaming weekend.

  12. #12
    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    the beauty of BioWare games is the depth of dialog and backstory put into each character. As you listen to each character you realize how finely crafted the writing and story is behind each one and how their tales are woven into the larger picture to make a great game. [..] I sort of approach BioWare's games a bit different than others. I don't go running through it just to get to the end but rather try to take time to smell every flower along the way. If the team is going to put in the time to create such a thriving universe and backstory then I will take the time to enjoy it.
    I'm enjoying it a lot.

    This has been a great season for BioWare. DAO was for me already the pinnacle of RPGs. I have to say, I haven't been enjoying one so much since Baldur's Gate. Even though Neverwinter Nights was the most impressive RPG engine ever put on code (and still is), the official games themselves while enjoyable didn't carry with them that extra x-factor. But DAO has it, and I've been playing this game too much for my own good.

    But as for ME, what a great game. I'm really happy I bought it. I've only skimmed through it. Did a quick runner up for a couple of hours. The combat system alone sells it. I suspect the story and dialogs are indeed very good too and so far I didn't find it too intrusive, neither I had one of those moments "I wish he would shut up so we can get to the fighting part", being this an action game and all. (And cutting dialogs is not something I do).

    However... I really didn't like at all the models acting. I think the voice acting is good. But the gestures... ugh! I strongly dislike too much model movement during the dialog bits. It's horrible and for me it completely ruins suspension of disbelief since the characters obviously don't act normally. It's all the more curious because that's exactly one of the things DAO has brought in to the point of perfection, you would expect the studio to trade these experiences. During dialogs, body motions are limited just like in real life. Characters point when giving directions, turn their heads when somebody else is speaking, occasionally use body language but all very well performed. DAO does this to perfection. But ME2 acting is really annoying at points (Mordin is perhaps the worst of the bunch). I wish they had brought the quality of their in-fight acting to the dialog scenes.

    In any case, thanks guys. This game got me hooked. It was a great buy and this is why BioWare remains as the one company that got me buying more special editions, limited editions, and copies of the same game, than any other company in my gaming history.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator VirtualAce's Avatar
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    I've notice the ME2 models suffer from weird skinny sections on the arms and the waist areas. Watch the arms - particularly the wrist area and where the elbow is. They can look pretty funky at times.
    Check out Jacob's waist area compared to the rest of his upper body. Something is way out of proportion there.

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