Features & News
Hands on: Mass Effect 2
November 6, 2009, Author: Simon Weatherall
As busy as Eurogamer was, I found that if lady luck was on my side I could pretty much get on anything. This included Mass Effect 2, which for two days had a nice big queue of people all blocking the entire isle. Being such a big name title, I would have thought that they would have used more than the two Xbox’s that they had. Fearing I may never get my chance, I thought to myself ‘never-mind, I can always wait for the full release’, while actually deeply annoyed that I couldn’t get near the console, let alone see the screen. Being a big fan of the original it’s one of the few games that I have kept since buying it, the rest finding their way to eBay and hitch-hiking in a Royal Mail van to their new homes.
Annoyed that I couldn’t get on the game, me and Andy decided to wander around and play something else. Andy found his way onto Saboteur and I thought I would see if anything else was free. Lady luck was definitely on my side at this point and as I wandered past the Mass Effect booths, I noticed that no one was on the second one. Quickly I dashed in front of the booth grabbed the pad and Mass Effect 2 was mine, if only for a little while.
As I started the combat demo, I think I began to drool. The first thing I noticed was the HUD was very different from the first game. The positioning and layout is similar but noticeably different in design, but if anything it’s an improvement. I also noticed that there were no refresh rate or screen tear issues and the controls weren’t jumpy like in the first game; everything was smooth. The combat-heavy demo had been set so that you had automatically been fully levelled-up and you had some decent weapons to boot.
Snapping to cover as soon as I could, I was attacked from all angles as I slowly and tactically worked my way through the level, killing every enemy on my way. The level was well designed and the combat was an absolute joy, using every weapon in my arsenal was a must try in anyone’s books. One of the new additions to the weaponry was a grenade launcher, which made fast work of the enemies. The AI also tried to flank me on several occasions so using my machine gun I continued to kill them off one by one. There was a slight claustrophobic feel to the way that the level had been designed, being quite tight and intense thanks to the majority of the battling taking place up close. I had no choice but to change weapons every two seconds and dispatch the enemies closer to me. As I got towards the end of the level I knew my time on Mass Effect 2 was coming to an end. Hitting my destination I was presented with a beautifully rendered cut-scene using the in-game engine. After watching my target get assassinated by an unknown attacker, I was presented with the dialogue response icons and I could chose how I wanted to act. After talking to the Assassin (an alien, reptilian in nature, and very new to the series) for a few minutes; that was it. My time was over and I tearfully had to leave the booth so that another person could have a go.
Having not played the original for a while, I had totally forgotten the influence that your team-mates can have, until Andy pointed it out during his play through. By holding down the left bumper you can select what weapons your team-mates use, with the right bumper you can order them to use various powers on the enemies, such as levitate, freeze or making their weapons more powerful, but all these abilities are dependant on which classes are in your party.
From my short play-though I automatically knew that this game is going to be massive, playing for only a few minutes had clearly set in my mind that that Bioware had been working very hard. If the final product is just as polished as the demo then the game is going to so big, being measured only on a galactic scale. One thing is clear; come release I will be losing myself into the world (yet again) of Mass Effect.