Eurogamer Expo: Mass Effect 2


se·quel

n.
1. Something that follows; a continuation.
2. A literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative continues that of a preexisting work.
3. A result or consequence.

Let’s take point three and examine what I mean.

Saren returns

 

With dismay, I recently revisited the first Mass Effect to find that – from a technical perspective – it has started to creak slightly with the passing of time.  It is to BioWare’s credit, then, that its impending sequel seamlessly transitions from one game to the next without needing to preen and strut self-consciously.  There are no flashy “look at me” histrionics, no radical overhauls or deviations from the core gameplay.

The changes are subtle – so subtle that, if you haven’t played the first recently, you probably won’t even notice them.  The much-vaunted combat improvements brought me right back into Mass Effect universe while instinctively feeling smoother than the first.  For those of you who may not know, you can now target specific body parts on enemies for distinct effects.  Headshots will see a spray of blood, and targeting a leg will allow you to stall enemy advances – this is critical for avoiding the flanking issues that smudged the first.  Combat also sees the introduction of the “health regeneration” feature of most modern shooters – no rooting around for medi-packs now.

The dialogue wheel remains perfectly preserved, while the graphics themselves are beautiful.  If you thought the first was joyously pretty, some of the sweeping vistas and facial animations seen in the demo were just breathtaking.

Look!  New characters

Of course, it’s always tough to work out exactly how such an RPG will develop and engage – particularly when it’s driven by an arc as strong as that in Mass Effect.  There are already tantalising glimpses shown here, though, and in every way this is a game spawned by its progenitor, as the dictionary above might suggest.  BioWare seems to have set about delivering careful, considered tweaks, having learnt from the few mistakes of the original.

The level of polish already on display was fantastic to see, and I would casually suggest that the release date of January 29th looks a certainty.  I’ll be first in line.

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  1. November 1st, 2009

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