Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2010 in 2011 #1 - Mass Effect 2 (X360)

It's really, really good.

I came charging into this year with the intention of getting solidly into this thing, providing a better document of my gaming throughout the year to come. This past week and a half, it’s been really tough, and it’s all Mass Effect 2′s fault.

Mass Effect, back when first announced for the 360, was such an exciting prospect to me. It sounded like it was going to perfectly appeal to my passions for action and sci-fi, and I really looked forward to the prospect of pausing battle mid-flow to issue strategic decions. Unfortunately, something got lost along the way and when the first iteration was released, I never got around to playing it.

In January last year, Mass Effect 2 was released, and the gaming community seemed to be frothing at the mouth over it. The more I read and the more I listened, it sounded like a sure thing to be a quality title. I can still remember the edgy comments concerning the fact that the game was simply so good that it was already going to be a strong contender for Game of the Year. An accolade it went on to collect from various publications, including my personal favourite

The accolades and high-praise that it received were what inspired the creation of that list of games from 2010 that I had missed. A swift ebay cruise later, and Mass Effect 2 had arrived.

This game is flat-out brilliant across various criteria. Story-wise, I’m in love. Until now, I have never (to my memory) experienced a sci-fi RPG, and it’s wondrous, quite honestly. There are individual threads, an overall arc, and real characters that I feel as if I have gotten to know.

Visually, it is as stunning as it is awe-inspiring. The art direction is excellent, and there are few more wonderful moments than when the Milky Way is opened up to you, and you’re staring at a whole galaxy that you have been welcomed to explore.

As a result, I’ve been glued to it for nearly two weeks now, getting roughly two hours of play per night. I have purchased the first game also, in order to play them in sequence and better understand the story. As has been mentioned elsewhere, the universe and mythology that has been created around Mass Effect rivals that of Trek/Wars. Accounting for that, alongside the fact that decisions from the first will colour your options and experiences in the second, and that both will go on to influence the third (due out later this year), means that there is an unimaginable potential for variation between playthroughs.

It was my birthday last week, and my girlfriend got me Batman: Arkham Asylum. A great 2009 title missed in 2010 (noticing a trend?), I plan to maybe give it a blast between my finishing of this current playthrough, and the huge upcoming journey from ME1 to ME2.

I need to stop gushing now, and get back to planning with DLC I’ll be purchasing first, and whether or not I’ll start reading the books. I am obsessed, and it feels great.

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