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Mass Effect 2
PC, XBox 360

Reviewed on: PC

Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

I’ll never forget the first time I saw Star Wars. At the tender age of six, George Lucas’ sci-fi epic not only changed my life; it left me thinking of it for days. I never got that feeling again, until now. Simply put, Mass Effect 2 is breathtaking. Bioware has created a gaming masterpiece that through its immersive world, astounding visuals and fascinating mechanics will stick with you long after you’ve finished.

If somehow you missed the original Mass Effect, here’s a quick rundown: you play as Commander Shepard, executive officer of the Normandy – the baddest spaceship this side of the Millenium Falcon.  Being purposefully vague in an effort to keep this review as spoiler free as possible, you traverse across an incredibly expansive universe attempting to unravel a mystery that could destroy the universe as you know it.  In the sequel, you’re tasked with building a team to take down a mysterious and vicious alien race, but saying that’s all there is to Mass Effect 2 is like saying Jaws was just about a shark. What follows is one of gaming’s most compelling narratives of all time.

Let’s be honest with each other, if you’ve finished the original Mass Effect, you’re going to love the sequel that much more. Now that’s not to say that it’s not impressive in its own right but gamers who played through the original adventure will get to see how even their tiniest actions effect the universe. Decisions made in missions large and small affect everything from how the world reacts to you to how your missions play out. This leaves the story completely open-ended and encourages multiple playthroughs. Reportedly, your decisions in both games will affect how Mass effect 3 plays out, so be careful with your actions.

"...the coolest change to game’s story is the renegade and paragon dialogue system."


That being said, if you’ve never played the original Mass Effect, and after playing the sequel you get the inkling to go back, you may want to resist. Take for instance the game’s dialogue tree system. While you did get to choose how you handled situations, the choices always felt so black and white – like it was easy to telegraph if you wanted to be perceived as a hero or villain. Mass effect 2’s dialogue tree isn’t as straight forward. Sure, there’s a few simple choices but sometimes you’ll have to choose between being a jerk and slightly less of a jerk – hey, no one ever said being the commander of a space station is an easy job did they?

Undoubtedly, the coolest change to game’s story is the renegade and paragon dialogue system. At certain moments, an icon will flash on the screen letting you choose between an act of kindness (the paragon option) or the complete opposite (the renegade option). For example, at one point in the game you’ll encounter an alien who’s suffering from a mysterious illness – he’s also pretty anti-human. Do you save him or let him suffer?

You can expect to be emotionally involved in the game’s story – perhaps more so than any other video game experience thus far.  The trust and relationships between your crew are an interesting dynamic (yes, there’s sex in this game) and building it right is imperative to how the game ends. A warning though, the game’s final hours are incredibly engaging and you’ll be thinking about it for days.

"... takes the formula set by its predecessor and improves upon it greatly."


Like all great sequels, Mass Effect 2 takes the formula set by its predecessor and improves upon it greatly. The biggest change you’re going to notice is just how satisfying the combat system is. While the original’s gun mechanics were decent, they never truly felt like they should. That all changes in Mass Effect 2, as this time you’ll actually want to get into the game’s large scale gun fights. The game’s guns – which are all upgradable, all feel different and are incredibly fun to shoot. The genius of Mass Effect 2’s combat system is that it blends the best elements of the finest third person action titles (the cover system is a bit shaky at times, but when it’s at its best, it rivals games like Gears of War and Uncharted 2).

If I had one complaint about Mass Effect 2, it’d be the lame mini-games required to find resources to upgrade weapons and armor. They’re lame, frustrating and quite frankly – boring. Why not just include these resources in the missions like the other items in the game?

That minor gripe aside, Mass Effect 2 is nothing short of an accomplishment; not just in the video game world – but in media proper. With its incredible narrative, deeply satisfying combat and limitless possibilities; it would be nothing short of criminal not to own Mass Effect 2, yes it’s that good. Ladies and gentlemen – we have our first entry for 2010’s Game of the Year. 



CHEATS USED: Super Health, Squad Health, Unlimited Ammo, Unlimited Resources, Auto-Complete Mini-Games, more

Mass Effect 2 is a pretty robust game – and luckily so is its trainer. Of course, you have the normal unlimited health, squad health and ammo but where the trailer really scores is when you get to use them to skip the game’s little annoyances.  Using the trainer you’ll be able to get unlimited access to the resources you’d otherwise have to play the game’s ridiculously boring mining missions.



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