In an age where there are so many more options for the gaming enthusiast than Super Mario and Tekken, the Mass Effect series has cemented its place as one of the more exciting games to pick from the store shelves.
The prologue itself takes place approximately one month after the conclusion of the first game (released in 2007 and set in the year 2183). However the gameplay itself takes place two years later as you step back into the boots of Commander Shepard brought back from the dead after being obliterated by an unknown adversary. Much like the first of the series, you must assemble an elite group of intergalactic soldiers, assassins and biotics, to take on the powerful and mysterious forces of the Reapers.
The in-depth and diverse universe of the Mass Effect series gives you backgrounds that delve into sciences and how things function right through to the alien species within the game and how they interact together as a political structure.
Holding true to the RPG genre it has a fascinating story behind it and characters that develop as you continue the game. All crew members have fantastic detail to their characters from Joker’s cynical sense of humour (voiced by Family Guy’s Seth Green), Jack’s emotional insecurity and Mordin’s sense of duty to do what is required, despite the moral implications.
The game looks much sleeker then the original with a fantastic upgrade in the graphics department. It feels much more smoother the Mass Effect 1 however anybody with a graphics card more than three years old will want to tone down those graphics settings (Alas GT8600, you served me well).
A lot of work has been done on the environments. They really make you feel that there is so much more beyond what you can see in the linear game play environment – much less so than its predecessor.
The game play itself is fairly similar to the first. You command a squad and you need to complete your objectives using technology, advanced weapons and biotics (think telekinetic powers) to overpower waves of various enemies. Damaging enemies primarily consists of shooting them.
An indication of how intense the game play can be is one particular scene where you must charge at 15-foot robot, with multiple smaller robots at its defense, while also trying to stay in shadows because the local sun emits so much heat and radiation your defenses are practically useless. It’s an awesome challenge and great fun.
I for one eagerly await the third installment which is due out in late 2011.