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Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2

Video Game Cat Review

Date of Review: January 29, 2012
Format:   Xbox 360
Language / Country of Origin:   English / USA
Online Capability:  None.
Prequels: Mass Effect.
Sequels:
Mass Effect 3.
Equipment Needed: None required.
Maintenance Required: 
None required.     

Review:

Plot: 
Mass Effect 2 starts where the last game in the series left off.  While on a standard patrol mission, the Normandy is attacked by an unknown vessel, killing most of the crew and forcing survivors to evacuate.  Shepard, the main character of the original Mass Effect, is killed during this transgression.  His/Her body is recovered by a secretive corporation called Cerberus, lead by a mysterious individual called the “illusive man”.  This man then resurrects Shepard in order to place him/her in charge of a brand new Normandy to further the corporation’s agenda of intergalactic exploration and ensure human supremacy across the known universe.  Shepard’s first missions are concerned with exploring despondent human colonies.  He/She learns that the colonies are being attacked and the colonists are being farmed for unknown reasons.  It is up to Shepard to decide what to do about these tumultuous events and whether or not the Cerberus Corporation and the “illusive man” can be trusted in determining the fate of humanity.

Cultural / Historical Value: 
This game is a continuation of the highly-lauded Mass Effect series.  This title is often cited as the benchmark for other RPGs in terms of story, character development, graphics, and sound.

Teaching / Learning Characteristics: 
Mass Effect 2 uses a unique storytelling method, which allows players to make decisions that have consequences on how the plot unfolds.  Your choices affect whether characters live or die and impact the conclusion of the game.  These decisions will also impact the next installation of the series.  Game designers can look to the title to explore this type of storytelling.

The overall plot concerns the evolution of the human species, based on interstellar migration and the choices that we make.  Although it is not necessarily teaching morality, it allows players to explore different philosophies and test their own moral standing.

Replay Value:  
As with most RPGs, this is not a title that you would want to play over and over again.  However, knowing that your choices affect the outcome of the game may entice players to backtrack or play the game again to see alternate conclusions.  There is also downloadable content (DLC) available that can add to the main storyline and game.

Likely Audiences:
Consistent with its Mature rating, this title is violent and not appropriate for young children.  Both fans of RPGs and Shooters will appreciate this game as will sci-fi aficionados.  Obviously, those who liked the first game in the series will find much to enjoy in Mass Effect 2.  However, one does not need to be familiar with the series or an experienced gamer to play this title as there are different difficulty settings.

Overall Score:
85/100

Other Reviews:
1up.com
Gamerankings
Gamespot
Metacritic
MobyGames

 

About the Author:
Ben Bigalke is an avid traveler, bicycle enthusiast, lover of animals and video gamer extraordinaire.  He grew up taking the stories and virtues told by the Nintendo of his childhood to heart.  As an adult, he continues to appreciate the entertainment and learning experiences that videogames offer and studies the technological and artistic advancements they have made throughout his lifetime.  As a videogame reviewer, he enjoys both observing and experiencing the cultural impact that these games have on his generation.

Awards

Award Giver Category Verdict
Golden Joystick Awards 2009One to Watch Award Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2009Most Anticipated Game Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best DLC
(Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker)
Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best Original Score Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best PC Game Nominee
Golden Joystick Awards 2010RPG of the Year Winner
Golden Joystick Awards 2010Soundtrack of the Year Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best Performance by a Human Female
(Jennifer Hale as Commander Sheppard)
Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best Performance by a Human Female
(Yvonne Strahovski as Miranda Lawson)
Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best Performance by a Human Male
(Martin Sheen as Illusive Man)
Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best RPG Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Best Xbox 360 Game Winner
Spike Video Game Awards 2010Game of the Year Nominee
Spike Video Game Awards 2011Best DLC
(Mass Effect 2: Arrival)
Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011Artistic Achievement Nominee
Canadian Video Game Awards 2011Best Audio Nominee
Canadian Video Game Awards 2011Best Console Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011Best Game Winner
Game Developers Choice Awards 2011Best Technology Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011GAME Award of 2010 Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2011Game of the Year Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2011Game of the Year Winner
Canadian Video Game Awards 2011Game of the Year Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011Gameplay Nominee
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011Original Music Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2011Outstanding Achievement in Game Direction Nominee
Interactive Achievement Awards 2011Outstanding Achievement in Story Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2011Role-Playing/Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year Winner
GAME British Academy Video Game Awards 2011Story Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2011Best Audio Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2011Best Game Design Nominee
Canadian Video Game Awards 2011Best Game Design Winner
Canadian Video Game Awards 2011Best Technology Nominee
Canadian Video Game Awards 2011Best Visual Arts Nominee
Game Developers Choice Awards 2011Best Writing Winner
Canadian Video Game Awards 2011Best Writing Winner
Interactive Achievement Awards 2011Outstanding Character Performance
(Mark Meer As Male Shepard)
Nominee

Additional Info

ESRB Description:
Blood, Strong Language, Sexual Content, Drug Reference, Violence

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