Mass Effect 2 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Starfox / Silver Sorrow   
Tuesday, 28 September 2010 00:32
Article Index
Mass Effect 2
The universe as you see fit
RPG... or not RPG
Alien commerce
Combat Overhaul
Welcome to other worlds
Bioware lands
Hollywood Boulevard
Technicalities and conclusion
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Mass Effect 2


The universe as you see fit


The bit of the story explained above is the basis when starting a new game but there are a lot of points we left aside because the actual state of the Mass Effect 2 universe actually depends on how you start the game. As we previously mentioned, there are two ways to start a new game. Either importing a character from Mass Effect 1 or starting a new one from scratch.

First case (the best one): you played Mass Effect 1 and kept at least one of your savegames. In that case you are offered the occasion to import your savegames and to start a Mass Effect 2 game based on one of your Mass Effect 1 characters. We're not just talking about cosmetic issues there but something that will really impact your experience as most of the decisions you made in Mass Effect 1 (big and small ones) has an impact on the universe you experience in Mass Effect 2 so basically you can start a game that you really “own” because the state of the universe is what you made it with your decisions in the first game. After importing a Mass Effect 1 character you are able to re-customize your character's face and to change your character's class. Importing a character also gives you some starting bonuses. For example an imported Mass Effect character of level 60 will start the game at level 5 with more starting resources and even more money if the character was rich (more than 1 million credits in the first game).

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Second case: You never played Mass Effect (in which case you really should because there's no real point in playing the second game if you have no idea of the general plot of the first one) or you have lost your old savegames... then you'll have to start a game from scratch in which case the game will arbitrarily decide of the current starting state of the universe. Your character will start at the basic level 1 with the basic resources... none. The starting universe in this case will always be the same which is: you let the Council die, you end up the Feros mission killing Shiala and most of the colonists (renegade), and Virmire killing Rana Thanoptis and Wrex (also renegade). The only thing you get to choose in this case is who got a seat in the new council (either Anderson or Udina -- actually you can even skip this part and Udina will always win if you do).  All other variables from Mass Effect 1 are ignored as if you had never played the first game.

The galaxy is a dark, horrible place if all the moral decisions are left up to Bioware. No one likes you and you're technically undead. But remember that this is the same company that gave us the happy sunshine-filled bag of joy and child-like wonder that is Dragon Age.

Of course, most gamers will go with the first option because it is simply the best one. Why let a game make choices that could be completely opposed to the ones you have made in the first game? Not to mention that as most of the variables are ignored the universe is poorer than it could be.

The ability to import the savegame from the previous opus in order to pursue the story is a genius idea if you manage to implement it correctly and it has been fairly well implemented in Mass Effect 2. One can ask why nobody thought about that before as technically it's just a matter of flagging the players decisions in the first game and to use these flags to create the universe of the second game, the hard part being to provide the necessary dialogs and game elements to cover every conceivable situation resulting from the player's previous decisions. Well the obvious answer is that most games where you are required to do moral choices never had a follow-up with the same character (like Neverwinter Nights) and most games that are in a series where a similar trick could be used because the character is the same don't require from you to make moral choices (like Half-Life). So yeah, in the whole gaming history, Bioware is the first company to implement such a system and rather successfully. Only the main storyline cannot be changed which is only fair because without a clear story skeleton, the game wouldn't go anywhere fast.

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It must be noted that your Mass Effect 2 savegames will have an impact on the Mass Effect 3 universe, people and events too so you'd better hang on to them if you want to play the third game in the best conditions. As it is, even some decisions that you took in the first Mass Effect might only come fully in effect in the third game but saying more would be spoilers.
 



 

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