Mass Effect 2 (PS3) Review
Review By Grizz @ 03:08pm 02/02/11
If BioShock on PS3 taught us nothing else, it's that an "exclusive" ported to a rival console can cause sads to get cracked. These sads will escalate to shits if punters are also made to wait a year to play said game, and woe betide any developer who hastily facsimiles the original. Any imperfection or dilution is apt to have fanboys lighting their pitchforks under most ordinary circumstances.
It's fortunate then that Mass Effect 2 is anything but ordinary.
For those of you unfamiliar with it; ME2 is a sci-fi epic crafted by RPG luminaries BioWare. It's also the ultimate nerd-boner fantasy. As Commander [insert your name] Shepard, you'll burn around the galaxy in mankind's sweetest space-rod, recruiting like-minded bad-arses to save Earth and do whatever - and "whoever" - you like. Not a star-date will go by in ME2 without you doing something rad enough to earn a double bro-fist from James T. Kirk and Han Solo.
The most obvious downside of the PS3 version is that it has no preceding Mass Effect game to draw user save history from. To get around this problem you’re given access (through a separate, free download) to an interactive Dark Horse comic that summarises the events of Mass Effect. Once acquired this comic sequence will pop up between Shepard's first encounter with the enigmatic Collectors and his arrival at the Cerberus station.
360 veterans of Mass Effect will snort at the brevity of this summary along with the lack of context with the key decisions. Personally, we felt a tiny bit miffed with the absence of a few minor NPC encounters (the obsessed fan springs to mind). That said, newcomers will be blissfully ignorant and can speedily get their head around Shepard and his/her universe in a way that isn’t too disruptive to the game’s opening scenes. Obviously this choose-your-own-adventure format was always going to be inferior to an entire game experience, but for the most part it is handled quite slickly.
In terms of improvements, many of you may have heard that ME2 on PS3 has been wrought upon the anvil of BioWare’s new Mass Effect 3 engine. That sounds pretty impressive on paper (or screen), but the reality is it doesn’t make for a massive leap forward in visuals. At best, there are superficial lighting and shader differences between the 360 and PS3 versions: only the eagle-eyed anal-retents out there will find much to bicker over. The PC edition, of course, still trumps all.
The more worthy bonus to keep in mind is that you’re getting all of the major DLC expansions released throughout 2010 on the one Blu-ray. The downside of that: you’ll have to pause to install it. The upside: no more disc changing. Clocking in at roughly six hours of extra content, this collection of side-missions includes Kasumi: Stolen Memory, Overlord and the ME3 bridge-mission, Lair of the Shadow Broker. Less important, but just as appreciated as freebies, is the Firewalker pack and a tidy cache of DLC weaponry and armour. Not a bad haul, all things considered. It certainly dulls the irritation of having to wait so long to play this on a PS3.
Beyond the disappointment of the comic’s depth (it's just 15-minutes in length), there’s simply no denying that Mass Effect 2 on PS3 is an experience worth playing no matter what your prior experience is with the franchise or the universe. Rather than take up your valuable time singing Mass Effect 2’s praises, we humbly suggest you take a glance at our 2010 Game of The Year wrap up. The compliments we collectively spooged onto the 360 version can be easily reapplied to this PS3 port. They are, for all intents and purposes, the same game.
It would be a critical error in judgement to let petty console rivalry and a misplaced sense of entitlement cause anybody to miss out on this space odyssey. To anybody else who, for one reason or another, hasn’t boldly gone into Mass Effect 2 yet; we suggest you plot a course for your local game shop at warp speed. Pre-set your faces for stunned.
For our more in-depth review of the game when it was released on PC and Xbox 360 (if you want to know more about the series as whole), hit this link.