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Have You Played… Mass Effect 2?

It's the best one!

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I know you're supposed to say the first one's best, but Mass Effect 2 is definitely my favourite in the series.

For many, ME2 is a harbinger of doom, marking the point where Bioware most dramatically shifted from making what we deemed to be RPGs to the combat'n'conversation structure that, to a greater or lesser extent, characterises the studio's output now. ME2 is far more action heavy, and setpiece-heavy too, moving even further away from stats towards pick'n'mixing destructive powers and talking-based dilemmas that were more about an on-the-spot moral choice than using guile and skillpoints to tease your way to the optimum result.

And then, in its final act, everything culminated in a glorious final stand movie whose potentially lethal consequences might have felt a little arbitrary, but were closely related to how well you'd treated your memorable gaggle of companions throughout. Few big-budget games have managed to feel truly climactic in this way. Mass Effect 2 has a fair bit of series-typical cruft, but at heart it's the Dirty Dozen in space, and I love it for that.

It also introduced an air of sinister mystique that I hadn't felt the first game quite achieved, in your new boss thee Illusive Man and his unclear intent for your team and, indeed, the galaxy.

Mass Effect 2 is the point that the Mass Effect series truly became the Mass Effect series. I would agree that it's been diminishing returns to a greater or lesser degree since, but for me that absolutely makes ME2 the high point, not the point at which it all went wrong.

About the Author

Alec Meer avatar

Alec Meer

Contributor

Ancient co-founder of RPS. Long gone. Now mostly writes for rather than about videogames.

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