GOONL!NE Advent Calendar: #5 – Mass Effect 2

By Jonathan Cullen.

Since the first Mass Effect released on the Xbox 360 back in 2007, hype and demand for a sequel was big for the epic RPG that swept us away.

In February this year, we got our wish. In January next year, we get to play it.

Mass Effect 2 is coming. The questions is can you make the ultimate sacrifice to save the galaxy?

Last time we left Shepard, we had barely saved the universe, foiling Saren’s plans with the Reapers to invade the galaxy and destroy all organic life, two years since the original Mass Effect has passed. No sign of the the Geth reappearing from the get-go , although human colonies are disappearing throughout the universe. First signs at the disappearence seems to be pointing at a form of new species, known as Collectors: believe to be working with the Reapers.

It’s all change too with what ship you will be using. In what looks like the early part of the game, the Normandy gets attacked and destroyed. It was the basis of this attack which set up the teaser for the game, back when it was announced in February. Was Commander Shepard really dead? As videos from later on showed, he was not. Escape pods for the win, it seems. Dont fret though: you do get a new ship, similar to the Normandy, which will oversee your invesigation, which will soon turn into a suicide mission.

You will get new party members to come along with you for the ride, including Subject Zero, Grunt, Thane, plus more as well as non-party members. The biggest new character of the lot is the much talked about Illusive Man, voiced by Martin Sheen. First mentioned in the novel Mass Effect: Ascension, with more on him in Mass Effect: Galaxy for the iPhone, this will be the first time we see him properly: as the head of a group, which sends Shepard out to find out what is happening with the human colonies, known as Cerberus.

Depending on what choices you made from the first game, old party members will also return including Ashley Williams, Garrus Vakarian, Joker, Tali and more. You will visit new worlds in Mass Effect 2, including Omega, Purgatory and more.

BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuck and Project Director for Mass Effect 2 Casey Hudson has said beforehand to keep your save files from Mass Effect, as any decisions you made from the first game will carry over and affect the outcome possibly of Mass Effect 2, so for example:

[Spoilers]If you left Kaidan on Virmire in the original game, you will have Ashley in your crew for the second game etc.[/Spoilers]

Not to worry though if you’re a Mass Effect noob though. If you are just starting with Mass Effect 2 and gone on without playing the original, there will be a sequence at the start of the game which will tell you what happened in the first game with interactive decisions made by the player to establish a cannon background.

With the release of the original two years ago, Mass Effect 2 will get a release from EA this time around instead of Microsoft, who published the original before BioWare were bought by EA. Which means a PlayStation 3 version is certainly not out of  the question, as EA does own the Mass Effect IP [and also publishing the PC version of ME1]. However, as of thus far, the game is only getting a PC/360 release, with BioWare constantly shooting down rumors of a PS3 version practically every day of the year.

Regardless, if the release of a certain JRPG wasn’t in 2010, without a doubt, this would have been the biggest game of the year. But either way, it is one of the biggest games of 2010, one of the biggest RPGs of 2010 and the biggest WRPG of 2010, no question. Mass Effect 2 will rock your face.