Saying that Mass Effect 2 is the best video game ever isn’t something I’m going to say. I just don’t see the point of making that statement, because a few years from now, I’ll have to explain to someone why it isn’t the best game any longer, or I have to explain why Mass Effect 2 is better than Mass Effect 1, my previous favorite video game ever. Well, I guess I can do that. So, let’s post the question: Is Mass Effect 2 better than Mass Effect 1? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Is Mass Effect 2 better than any game I’ve played in the last twenty years? Yes. Yes. Yes. Is it the best game I’ve ever played? I’m not saying that. You’re not tricking me. Nice try. I am going to talk about Mass Effect 2, however. And I am going to spoiler it. So, remember, if you don’t want to get it spoiled, don’t read after the break. Seriously. I mean seriously.
Shepard dies. But he dies early. I mean in the first five minutes of the game. But, don’t worry, The Cerberus corporation brings her back to life (I only play as a female in Mass Effect. The voice acting is far, far better that way). They need Shepard to go after the Collectors, a race of beings that the Reapers are now using to try and kill the universe. The Reapers are big robots. And they hate humans, for some reason. That is the story of Mass Effect. These machines from outside the Galaxy want to murder us. The only thing stopping them is a badass woman with some guns, an attitude, and a sweet bob hair-cut. Oh, and she likes to have sex with her teammates. But we’ll get to that later. If you played Mass Effect 1, then you know the formula. You get the major mission at the beginning of the game, and then you go out on tiny, smaller missions to find crew members, upgrade items, etc. However, Mass Effect 2 does all the stuff that Mass Effect 1 did. But with one big difference. It is fun. It is really, really, really fun. I mean, I loved Mass Effect. I loved everything about it. But, after playing the sequel, I understand that I had a good time during the first time, but not as much fun as ME2 gave me. I literally had more fun than I have in a game in years, in decades. Super Metroid was the last game to make me feel that way.
But it isn’t Mass Effect 2 that gives me this feeling, not by itself. It is the Mass Effect saga linking together. Playing with the exact character I played with in the first game was genius. Pure genius. I was completely connected to the character (Bella Shepard). Her decisions were my decisions, and sometimes her decisions didn’t make much sense. One minute, I was saving a group of scientist from a burning building. The next minute, I was punching a man in the face, making him talk. I was complicated. My decisions didn’t always make sense. And as complicated as I was, my team members were more so. I thought for sure that I was going to have some sex with Miranda. I knew I was. I mean, in ME1, girls were tossing themselves at you. But in ME2, it is a lot harder. I tried three different times with three different characters to get laid and nothing. No body even wanted to talk to me half the time. Mass Effect 2 demands that you work for the rewards that ME1 freely handed to you. Upgrading your weapons means that you have to probe and mine planets for minerals. Finding upgrades means finding them on missions. You want your crew to dig you? You have to gain their loyalty. But even with all the RPGing and stuff, which has been slimmed in a great and inventive way, what is amped up is the combat. And, man, is their combat. You shoot everything in this game and you do it all the time. It isn’t slippery or haphazard. The combat works, and it facilitates an enjoyable experience that is as addictive as it is amazingly awesome.
So, yes, if you are a Mass Effect fan, you should get this game to cement your love, your desire and validate the sometimes grueling task of beating the first game. But if you didn’t beat Mass Effect One, I don’t think you deserve to play this game. Actually, I know you don’t. You haven’t earned the right to scream when you see one of your teammates die. You haven’t earned the right to worry about the team that has been split from you. Mass Effect 2 is a love letter to Mass Effect fans. And, sorry, this letter is marked personal.