I'm not too sure how to kick this one off. I could start with how the introduction completely hooks you in & ends with a bang. Or I could narrorate the epic scale & the grandeur of the universe for this series. I could also compare & contrast the vast differences of Mass Effect 1 & Mass Effect 2. But I think I'll start this game off by telling you how Freaking Awesome this game is. ( This game is freaking awesome.)

The galaxy needs Shepard to save their asses once more & he's more than capable to oblige, even crossing te boundaries of Death so to achieve his goal. As he's strapped back into his combat armor Shepard gets filled in on what's been going down in the universe while he's been away for an extended absence. A mysterious race of aliens dubbed The Collectors, has apparently been snatching up entire human colonies on the Outer Rim for an unknown reason & Shepard is coerced into stopping these dastardly douchebags with the aid of Cerberus. A pro human organization headed by the questionable Illusive Man.   

Your not in Kansas anymore. This new installment has you traveling in the farthest reaching galaxies in known space. While you periodically visit the Citadel from time to time every other environment is brand new, allowing you to land on strange new worlds full of lush jungles, rocky canyons, toxic fumes, & scorching lava. Needless to say its pretty ***. Along with the new locales Bioware has added a fresh coat of paint making the graphics a very noticeable upgrade from their previous Mass Effect. Everything has a alluring shine to it & although there's a few circumstances of pop in pop out textures, it doesn't detract from the look of it as a whole. These updated visuals are some of the best in the gaming world & the character animations are amazing. Graphics aren't everything but they sure do help when it comes to a complete package.

Your proclained "Suicide Mission" means that you must gather some of the most rugged, baddest, meanest, grimiest, aliens throughout space right? Well, kind of. During your adventure you pick up a blunt Salarian scientist, a cloned Krogan war machine, & a deadly Drell assassin just to name a few. You also meet & add some of your old friends from the first game into your crew which OSS definitely nice so you can see what your old squad mates have been getting into while you've been away. (Garrus is one bad mofo') The voice acting for these characters old & new is top notch delivering the aggresiveness of a young Krogan & the well disciplined & knowledgable state of mind of an Asari death dealer. The in game sounds such as the popping of your guns to the wailing of crazed Husks is very appealing too & everything has that certain sci fyey sound to it. As it should. 

A cool feature in this game is that if you have a completed saved game from the previous Mass Effect you can upload him/her into this RPG & it will remember the decisions you have made as well. This will allow you to see what the consequences of your choices were & what impact they had on the universe. Carrying your character over into ME2 really makes it feel as if you are carving your place throughout the games universe. Very cool Bioware. Very cool. 

While it has the same title as its predecessor except for the big 2 stamped on behind it, don't come in expecting to play this just as you did Mass Effect. There have been not so subtle tweaks involving the gunplay & upgrade aspect. This new installment has been streamlined less as an RPG & more as a shooter now. The controls for cover & combat have been tweaked for more responsiveness & relatively easiness for kicking ass. That being said, some of the RPG elements have been completely stripped down to their barebones status. The upgrade & armor system of ME1 has been scrapped & now you must buy different perks per say, for your armor within stores except for you don't. One across many armor parts during your travels. The color of your armor though can now be chosen aboard your private terminal on your shop which is refreshing, so now you won't have to be saving the universe in hot pink & cloudy white color scheme.(THANK GOD) you no longer level up by killing enemies but by completing missions. This is quite different because no longer will you be a level 50-60 hardass taking on unknown perils. I believe I was level 27 when I finished my play through & that was with completing most of the missions. You also have less powers albeit they still rock. & your cool down timer this time around reflects on all of your abilities so no more using Pull & then following it up with a Throw right afterwards. While all of this may sound bad, it's not very noticeable later in the game & it feels more natural as you can hot key your powers to simple button presses.

Upgrading your guns & damage is where Mass Effect 2 kind of loses it's way. They force you to travel around to each planet & go into a awful & menial mini game of sorts to mine the worlds resources so you can upgrade your guns which is kinda weird to think about. Would Shepard actually suck a colonized planet completely dry from their natural resources just so he can receive a 15% increase in heavy weapon ammo? Bioware also adds in two more mini games of sorts called hacking & bypassing. Bypass forces you to match up a pair of nodes together while Hacking gives you 3 preset info clips & you must find their copies scattered throughout an ever moving endless number of different clips. While these aren't very hard, they are time consuming & become very annoying when all you want to do is proceed with the amazing story.

Sidemissions also take a major hit & the developers kinda dropped the ball with this one. In the previous game side missions were doled out everywhere you went. Random people would talk to you, you would hear the beginnings of one of you rode in an elevator, even Admiral Hackett, the leader of the Alliance Military would contact you for help. In this Mass Effect you must scour every planet in every galaxy to receive a 5-10 minute distraction that's supposed to pass as a side quest. It's pretty uninspired also seeing how it's a big waste of time cause you must also scan the planet hoping for a quest. There is one that stands out to me where you must walk atop the hull of a derelict human space craft thats teetering on the precipice of a cliff & has crash landed many years ago. Be too careless & the ship will tumble down to the ground along with you on it. 

For everything wrong with sudemissions the main story arc & different personal quests that you're squad mates request you to go on are nothing short of awesome. You will have to infiltrate & bust out of a maximum security prison spaceship, battling a Thresher Maw on the Krogan home world of Tuchanka, & taking down 3 separate gangs & their respective crime bosses consecutively. Every one of these quests are varied & extremely fun. Never out staying their welcome. Every character gets fleshed out during these quests & you understand what makes them tick. It's very fulfilling. The main story is engaging & keeps you guessing on what's going to happen & when you finally get to the end you crave more. Let it be said though, it's possible for you & your team to die. Like actually croak & everything. No more Shepard. No more squad.

Mass Effect 2 starts off with a flying kick to the face & doesn't let off the throttle until the final credits roll. Bioware has improved upon the Mass Effect lore & it feels like a real universe is living inside this disc & it's your civic duty to save the universe once more.This is definitely a genre setter & other studios should get out their pencil & notepad & take some notes. You are invested in Shepard & actually care about what happens to Shepard & the gang. Bioware has crafted art & if not for the sudemission fiasco than this game would be a complete masterpiece. As of now though, This Game Is Freaking Awesome.