- Review has been revised since intial post*
When it comes to the actual gameplay part of this shooter, it's a step up from Mass Effect 1, with more intense shooting, a more responsive cover system, vastly improved A.I, and better level design.
In addition, the main world maps are more varied with more NPC's around to help them feel more believable environments, with less of that grey colour that occupied the last game, and the copy and pasta locations a thing of the past.
When it comes to the story and characters on the other hand...
Most of the characters introduced for your party this game are without a doubt some of the most dull (Miranda, Jacob, Samara) and annoying (Grunt, Jack) characters I've ever come across in gaming, I'm assuming the majority of Biowares good character writers were working on Dragon Age because these characters you could mostly fully explore in four conversations, and two of the likeable characters are hold overs from the first.
The main story itself holds up no better, being a step down from the original, with a simplistic story "Colonists have been kidnapped by Collectors, are you a bad enough dude to save them?" that holds none of the intrigue or mystery of the first game, I'm restricted word wise, so I'll sum it up some of my major gripes with bullet-points.
1) Sole Survivor, why you're never allowed to bring this backstory up to any of the Cerberus characters is baffling.
2) The romance paths are very rushed and clumsily written, feels like they were thrown them in to make shippers happy.
3) Nothing is done with the fact that Shepard CAME BACK FROM THE DEAD, all she/he does is make a few snarky lines and the companions are no better.
4) 95% of offworld quests have you killing things, with the most complex story being "BLUE SUNS BASE! KEEL", at least them copy and paste missions kept some interest with it's varied stories and dialogue.
5) The circumstances that allow your crew to be captured at the endgame are blatant railroading if I ever saw it.
6) The final boss looks like the Terminators idiot half brother and is really tedious.
On the whole, while Mass Effect 2 improved the originals gameplay in bounds, it's story and characterisation suffered big time, ultimately, it depends on whether a bad story ruins a game or not.
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