Mass Effect 2 – First Impression

This really is a quick first impression. I think I had all of 30 minutes in game, I spent about 30 minutes prior to that downloading and installing the extra downloadable content.

Just a note, I’m a PC gamer so this is on the PC and I purchased the game via Steam which is also where I purchased Mass Effect from.

On start up there were some news in the main menu of the game explaining you could import your Mass Effect saves from the Configuration link in the ME2 Launcher. So I exited and fired that up.

The joy of Steam is that I don’t appear to have a typical install where everything gets dumped into ‘Program Files’. Instead it’s tucked away so my adventure in finding where my ME saved games were located began.

Apparently I picked incorrectly because when I started the game up again, it didn’t show any saved games for importing and I know I have at least two. One where I played the nice guy (I completed the game with this one) and the other where I was playing the asshole (which didn’t complete the game). UPDATE: I checked the local file system and discovered I only had the save games from the asshole character… which didn’t complete the game. That explains why the import didn’t work.

I’ll have to look into that some more another time.

Downloadable content cannot be installed while the game is going so I had to stop so I could install this items. For me, that was the Dragon Blood armor (thanks to Dragon Age: Origins pre-order) and two other things, one of which was about 400mb.

With it being about 12:40am, I decided I wouldn’t wait on the 400mb download or sort out the save game thing and I would just pop in and use the default instead.

Nifty starting cinematic (in-game stuff), some directed play (you effectively have to go from point A to B) and then some more waiting to actually shoot stuff. I’ll admit they incorporated building your character and setting his appearance in an interesting fashion. Once that was done, you jump right into things with the tutorial giving you some simple starting pointers as you work your way into and through some action.

So far the gameplay is very much the same. Your party works in a similar fashion. Guns shoot in much the same manner. You have biotics as in the previous game. The good stuff stayed good.

The addition I think they made is including ammo outside of upgrading weapon damage – which I don’t seem to remember in the previous version? I seem to remember the guns would overheat and having mods for the weapons to reduce the overheating issues. I could be wrong.

The clear changes they made were the addition of more resolution settings (1900×1200, thank you!) and tweaks to some of the mini-games for hacking. They also increased the quality of the graphics, leveraging a number of newer technologies – it looks a lot better than ME did.

I experienced two forms of hacking so far; one was hacking data pads and the other was overriding a lock. The two mini-games I played were a memory game (unlocking) and sort of running matching game (hacking systems).

In the previous version, both of these involved playing a mini-game where you had to move this pointer to the middle of a series of concentric circles, only there were barriers that did not make this so direct. Additionally there were moving barriers that would send you back to the outer ring if you bumped them. That was the min-game for hacking computers or opening locks.

In ME2 unlocking you have a number of circuits you have to override. Each circuit has two nodes with identical icons on them. You only see this icons when you mouse over them so you have to move the mouse over the nodes until you find a match, then pick the two nodes that match. You have to do that once per circuit and much like most memory games, the nodes you match get removed making things a little easier. Sort of cool and I have to admit I like how it reflects tearing a faceplate off a lock-pad and screwing around with the wires underneath.

For hacking, you’re presented with table that has three columns and several rows. The cells contain code snippets which you have to match to one given above. When you find a code snippet you hit enter and the next code snippet you need to find is shown so you have to find that one. You do that three times. The catch is that there are some blocked out nodes which prevent you from navigating through the code so you have to use your movement keys to get around those and pick off the code you want. There is an attempt counter and a timer, but I’m not sure how it works. I think you might have a number of attempts to get it within a given time, but I’m not sure on that. (i.e. if you run out of time, you lose an attempt and have to start over). Again, nifty and seems a little more like you’re actually involved in hacking code.

My only beef so far is that some parts of the game seem to be a little too focused on console controllers which is a little annoying, but not game breaking. The main thing that stood out was the Option menus. They seemed to have a mix of clickable items and items you needed to use the keyboard for – which is weird. List of resolutions? You could use the mouse. Inverting the Y Axis? You couldn’t use the mouse to flip this on or off. Like I said, not game breaking, just a little annoying.

That’s about all I have for now.


4 thoughts on “Mass Effect 2 – First Impression

  1. Your game saves in Mass Effect are in your windows profile. The typical path would be \My Documents\Bioware\Mass Effect\saves. You won’t find anything in Program files regardless of where you purchased your game.

  2. Yup, I’m aware of how games are now storing saved game data under user profiles. I looked there and pointed at that directory in the config app but no luck. I’ll fiddle with it some more at a later time which means I’ll actually search around and make sure I wasn’t pointing to an empty save directory. 🙂

    When I was referring to “Program Files” I meant the actual game install – like the EXE and what not. If I had purchased the physical media I would have installed and found files under Program Files, not necessarily the save data, but the files still. I haven’t looked into where Steam installs the files since it’s never been a concern until now.

    Thanks for trying to be helpful though, I appreciate it.

  3. Yup it does look like they got a better handle on utilizing all the latest bells and whistles. I’m not sure how it looks on the XBox but on the PC… it’s sweet.

    I discovered the save game import wasn’t working because I didn’t have a completed save game. I guess after I beat ME1 I uninstalled it, including the saved games then later installed it again to play through as a dick instead of Paragon.

    Part of me is tempted to play through the first one, ducking the defaults in ME2 (Council and their ship is destroyed, sacrificed the guy and… I think those are the only ties to the previous game I’ve seen so far, aside from Tali, but I think having her in your squad in ME1 was mandatory for the story.

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