Mass Effect 2 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Mass Effect 2 box art
System: X360, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: BioWare 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: EA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Jan. 26, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

First, the musical score is tremendous, nicely capturing not just the overall feel of the title perfectly but individual moments, as well. My only regret concerning the melodious accompaniment is that the epic dirge that marked character death in the original has been replaced with a tune decidedly less grand (a quibble even my wife made mention).

Mass Effect 2 screenshot

Second, the stellar voice acting found in the first entry is more than intact, it's actually superior. BioWare has spun a yarn that the actors obviously feel is important, because the dialogue and character interactions are the best I've ever heard. Mass Effect 2 truly sets the bar in this regard.

Third, graphics have also received a brilliant polish. The characters and environments are all extremely detailed and lifelike. The lip-syncing is impeccable, skin textures look like actual flesh, and planets and structures seem like they're part of a living creation. In general, it's tough to tell whether you're in or out of cutscenes, as the entirety of the game is brilliantly depicted and rendered.

Finally, Mass Effect 2 is quite a stable game technically; something that couldn't be said of its predecessor. The seaming, screen-tearing, frame drops, and texture issues all seem to have been ameliorated with a lot of care. Early chatter across the Internet has revealed that ME2 still does have a few issues (mostly crashing and the sound cutting out). Indeed, another CheatCC writer did experience some seaming and slow-texture loading. However, in my nearly 20 hours with the game, I experienced nothing but a rock-solid and polished gameplay experience. The only minor foible with which I had to contend was when a crew member followed too closely and pushed me on top of a table - an unrecoverable situation that forced me to reload. Fortunately, the game features an excellent, frequently accessed auto-save function (that performs its job unobtrusively in the background), which makes reloading a breeze.

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A lot more could be said about this game, but all you really need to know is that Mass Effect 2 is one of the best current-gen gaming experiences around. It's one of those era- and genre-defining titles that core gamers will reflect upon and reminisce about with nostalgic fondness in the future. I commend the development team at BioWare for all the hard work that went into making this title not only shine but feel both familiar and completely fresh at the same time. Great show; I can't wait for the third installment!

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.8
Graphics
The visuals are a thing of beauty, and the multiple technical issues of the original have been ironed out.
4.8
Control
Some of the best third-person tactical shooter controls around.
5.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
From phenomenal musical themes to brilliant voice acting, ME2 is head and shoulders above every other game in existence.
5.0
Play Value
Get ready for an impressive, adrenaline-pumping adventure that will have you pining for the third installment.
4.9
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Futuristic weapons: Choose from 19 different weapons, including devastating heavy weapons that can end a battle in seconds.
  • Elite specialists: Recruit up to a dozen of the galaxy's most dangerous operatives to help you in your mission. Train and equip your team to survive insurmountable odds.
  • Explore the galaxy: Scan planets to uncover unique secret missions.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge Mass Effect 2 screenshot - click to enlarge

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