Play it Again, Commander
A never ending supply of quality new games and an increasingly affordable, but broken pricing model has ensured that I'm never short of something new to play. In fact, I have too many games and a backlog that stretches as far back as last autumn. With this ever present embarrassment of riches, I will rarely find the time or motivation to play a new game twice. Mass Effect 2 is a notable exception.
Having played it originally on the 360, last month I made the decision to transfer the series to my PS3 in time for Mass Effect 3. I wanted save-file continuity so I sought out a second copy of Mass Effect 2, this time on the PS3, at the same time as purchasing ME3. I have spent the last week and a half re-living this intergalactic romp and am very happy with my decision to look back before looking forward. The simple premise of searching the universe for potential squad members to take on a desperate mission remains as satisfying and wonderful as it was back in February 2010.
It’s not as visually impressive as I remember, but frame rate issues and jagged edges have not gotten in the way of my enjoyment, as I continue to recreate my original run-through with the ultimate goal of sexing up Miranda and making sure that the whole team survives the misleadingly titled Suicide Mission. I am making an effort to approach certain familiar situations slightly differently this time around and have been impressed by how seemingly insignificant choices can lead to divergent outcomes.
As I was unable to connect my 360 to the internet at the time, I missed all of the DLC and extra characters during my first play-through, but I’m certainly making up for it now. The bonus characters are a welcome addition, with Zaeed as the hard as nails, space cockney and Kasumi in the role of stealthy thief/ninja with a Japanese name (it would seem that old stereotypes have survived the advent of intergalactic travel). The introductory, Dark Horse interactive comic is a nice touch, offering a five minute round-up of Mass Effect 1 and allowing you to make a handful of the game's biggest decisions, though without the bonds that are forged over hours of gameplay these choices carry no real emotional weight. <<<<Mass Effect 1 Spoilers>>>> Though I don't regret leaving Ashley Williams to die, I do wish I hadn't capped Wrex as I hear he is a rather entertaining character and that space would have been an even more interesting place had he lived. Unfortunately, the comic didn’t convey that particularly well and I just mistook him for a pain in the arse. <<<<End of spoiler>>>>
|Don't stop, believin'|
I have found that the Mass Effect universe is still a wonderful place to spend an evening. Its history and culture remain thoroughly engrossing and I almost soiled myself this morning upon discovering that I can download an app, Mass Effect 3 Datapad, which beams a trilogy worth of codex straight to my phone. My investment in the lore of ME is surprising considering my disinterest in most things Sci-Fi. I'm still not sure of the difference between a Star Trek and a Star Wars and besides, I much prefer Kubrick's Star Ship Troopers anyway.
I already have my copy of Mass Effect 3, but I have no great desire to rush through its predecessor just so that I can get stuck into the closing chapter. I'm happy to let the legions of dissatisfied fans tire themselves out on their favourite forums before I add to the noise. Based on the overwhelming amount of whining regarding ME3’s finale, I have come to the conclusion that it probably ends to the music of Journey, the screen cutting to black as we are left wondering whether or not Garrus, Liara and Anderson's dinner was ruined by Shepard's messy demise. David Chase would be so very proud.
If the internets are to be believed then humanoid - alien homoeroticism may well turn my world upside down, causing me to question my sexual orientation and/or views of inter-species copulation. I also hear that it is 90% DLC, which must be purchased in an effort to stop the game from going wrong. Bioware fans do seem to enjoy getting their knickers in a twist, though I reserve the right to join them in their sense of entitlement and injustice once I've actually played the game myself. That Metacritic score is pretty good though, hey?
I'll find out all about Mass Effect 3 soon enough, but for now I'm happy rejoining my rag-tag crew, scouring the universe for chatty aliens and precious minerals. It's definitely good to be back.