Grim's current review

I know this is kind of random (hence residing in the Spam Can), but I just had the urge to write this. I've played Mass Effect 1, and quite enjoyed it. There were a few bugs, a few things that could make the game better, but overall a good game. Now I started playing Mass Effect 2, which is rather different gameplay-wise. I'm just going to put in the changes and rate them from like to loathe:

- Graphics. It's much prettier to look at, and has lots of detail compared to some of the more plain (and copied) places in ME1

- More characters/squad mates. More is better.

- Significantly lower cooldown of skills. It makes skills seem more useful, and being able to "aim" with the power wheel up to identify targets for separate skills is a great feature.

- Armor Customization. I like being able to change Shepard's armor design to whatever color I want, so now I can tool around in sweet jungle camo anywhere I go.

- Flying from place to place. It makes it a bit more immersive, and makes it seem like you're actually traveling great distances, and have to take fuel into account, etc.

- Rush at any time. Being able to dash regardless of the situation is great, so I can cover distances quickly. In ME1 I resorted to blowing up grenades on myself to trigger the "combat mode" required to allow me to rush.

- Heavy weapons. More boom = more smiles for me.

- Turning weapon ammo upgrades into toggle skills. I can see how switching to different ammo types using just the power wheel is useful, and more intuitive than going into the equipment screen in the middle of battle

- No equipment screen. Very few weapons, all weapon upgrades apply to everyone, and ammo upgrades are skills

- Paragon/Renegade "interrupt" quasi-quicktime events. Eh.

- Hacking minigames. Better than the X/Y/B/A "Bop-It" game to unlock safes, etc.

Not fond of: (but I understand why)
- Planet scanning instead of Mako exploration. Tooling around in the Mako got boring fast, though replacing it with scanning planets with a cursor that moves approximately the speed of smell isn't exactly an improvement.

- Squad point allotment. Having the first upgrade cost 1, 2nd cost 2, 3rd cost 3 kind of prevents you from being truly custom with your points, but then again it makes you think twice about frivolously spending squad points.

- No grenades. Concussive shot sorta works the same, and I didn't really use them that much, but I would have liked to see them stay.

- Thermal clips. It's basically their way of making limited ammunition without contradicting their own lore (where weapon "magazines" are actually just hunks of metal that are chipped away to create projectiles, making limited ammunition "a thing of the past"). I thought the heat buildup mechanic in ME1 was fine enough to keep you from just spraying endlessly, but I find myself low on thermal clips so quickly, and only some foes drop clips to replenish my dwindling supply. It does make combat a bit more frantic though, and makes me rely more heavily on skills.

- Mission recap-style gameplay. I just don't like the whole "mission complete" screen where you get your exp gained etc, it seems too linear for a game that's supposed to be open. Plus it makes it seem like I don't gain more experience if I kill more enemies, obtain tertiary objectives, etc.

- Less prominent bracket overlays on items of interest. I can pass by stuff without noticing I can interact with it, because the little shaded box that sits over it is so transparent, in ME1 it was rather obvious you could talk to that person/examine that data file, etc.

- Very few tangible rewards for achievements. I liked getting little % bonuses to stuff for getting achievements, there are very, very few that do that in ME2 compared to ME1

- 5-ish different weapons for each class (excluding heavy weapons). In ME1 there were over a dozen different assault rifles. Without DLC you can get 4-5 in ME2. Only 3 sub-machine guns. The hell.

- Apparent lack of squad member armors. I liked being able to slap on new armor on my allies; it was fun and didn't break the game, so why remove it?

- Massive pop ups for achievement progress, purchases, renegade/paragon, etc. that take a minute to cycle through and disappear. It's annoying, and seems borderline juvenile. ME1's notifications were much smaller and to the point, so you can see everything you got in one little update, not pages of overly large notifications.

- No toggle radar. The only time it'll pop up is if I depress one of the joysticks and hold it. Why the hell would you make something as useful as a radar hidden all the time, while having useless achievement notifications sit on your screen for 30 seconds?

- No zoom, no cursor, and no "place objective marker" function in map display. What the fuck. The maps are so cluttered and static, they are much more difficult to use. Being able to put an objective marker on the map was a great feature in ME1! I bloody hate the map.

- No map use in battle. I know I hate the map, but not even allowing me to look at a map in combat zones is RETARDED. I've missed rooms and side-quests because I accidentally stumbled upon the final objective before finding the sidequest objectives, all because I couldn't open the bloody map.

- Load times. They are easily twice as long as ME1, if not more. It's especially annoying when you're waiting for the map to load again after getting killed.
The PC version has more prominent radar and interaction notification-icons.

In all three games of Mass Effect and other such action rpgs, the PC version is superior. It is a shame that people with console versions receive the inferior product.
Aim's review of ME1:


ME2 for the XBOX 360 was my favorite iteration thus far, although I generally find that they make technical improvements with each generation. As a complete package, though, I liked ME2 best.
Yeah, I loved lighting them on fire/blowin them up right in the middle of them saying the word "destroy." Good times. But yeah, if there are any things I'm ignorant about (like hidden ways to toggle radar, manipulate the map, etc) please let me know. Though there are many parts that annoy me, it's not enough to make it completely unplayable for me.