It’s nearing that time of year again, where the nights are drawing in, we begin to reflect on another year of opportunity’s taken and missed, and our pockets start to deteriorate thanks to the gift given season. But for me this time of year is the perfect occasion to bestow upon you unfortunate readers, my own patented brand of Christmas joy, by doing what I do best, a good old traditional, British moan. Admittedly anytime of year is suitable for me, whether it’s the extortionate price of Monster Munch, the constant brutality of the unforgiving winter months, or the Coca-Cola and Toys “R” Us advertisements that have been shamefully altered beyond my own childhood, recognition, I’ll successfully seek out something that suitably disgruntled’s me. But today I turn my irritable gaze to the increasingly popular (and in my opinion) underwhelming space exploration series, Mas Effect 2.
But before you get your hand stitched, Miranda Lawson panties in a knot, let me first stress that I don’t hate Mass Effect 2, not really. Mass Effect 2 has one of the most deeply immersive narratives, as well as engaging dialogue that is worthy of any David Fincher picture, and giving many of its characters an instant likeability rarely seen in many high-profile games. But my major quarrel lies with the frankly uninspired combat, which is as compelling as a Justin Bieber autobiography, and equally entertaining. It all feels rather cumbersome, almost as though control is in someone else’s hands, conquering even the most dire of situations feels unsatisfying. Enemies, as well as battles are derivative and require little awareness to overcome even the trickiest of situations, just point, shoot repeat, and all this uninspired combat is confined to some of the most generic, often grey, linear corridors of derelict space crafts, debilitated cities or un-explorable planets. Where’s the free-flowing universe I was promised?
Well, perhaps I wasn’t promised this specifically, but it’s certainly something you would expect from a game of the year title. Harvesting planets is a necessary requirement if your to have any chance of surviving the “Suicide Mission” at the games conclusion, but does it really have to be so boring and time-consuming. The interactive comic at the beginning was more bewildering than enlightening, and just emphasises the point that playing Mass Effect 2 without first playing the original, is like watching The Empire Strikes Back without first watching A New Hope, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. The character development is one of the pivotal points of Mass Effects story, but with no real understanding of how Shepard’s former campaign transpired, shaped his personality and how it’s led to current events, Shepard’s battles appear rather redundant.
Trust me, I could go on and on like an intoxicated, elderly man discussing their irritable, bowel movements, but my critical views would not be fair to what is fundamentally an addictive, if not flawed title, that with some technical alterations and visual advancements, could realise its full potential. In my opinion, Mass Effect 2 isn’t game of the year, (sorry), but perhaps Mass Effect 3 could convert me. Will see.
Have I completely missed the point of Mass Effect? Let me know your thoughts, cheers.