Mass Effect 2
E3 2009: Mass Effect 2 Preview - The E3 Climax
Written Tuesday, June 16, 2009 By Dan Webb
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There is one thing that I found peculiar about the Mass Effect 2 showing at E3 this year, and that is simply, why didn’t BioWare ask us to remove our socks before we watched the presentation? Why you ask? Well, because after 20 minutes of Mass Effect 2, I found that they had “wowed” them bad boys completely off *bad dum ching* Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Trite humour aside, with a show packed to the rafters with great games, it would have to take a special game to truly leave us reeling enough to award it our best of show and that’s what it did. In the last of the E3 write-ups, we take a look at Mass Effect 2 and roll around in its pure awesomeness.

You know what they say in Wales? You can’t keep a good Shepard down, and despite BioWare’s debut teaser hinting at his demise, the original’s main protagonist lives for the sequel. Mass Effect 2 is the dark second act of the trilogy and with the Reapers temporarily deterred; Shepard now has to face a threat on the human race as groups of humans are mysteriously going missing. Working with a shadowy pro human group – we presume Cerberus and the already confirmed Illusive Man – Shepard has to recruit the most dangerous and powerful individuals from around the galaxy to embark upon a “suicide mission.” I pose a question to those who have read the books, could this unknown enemy be the “collectors” – a mysterious race who many of the galaxy class as a myth who trade advanced technology for what we can only assume are test subjects.

Mass Effect 2 sees you visiting the darkest reaches of space – the planet Omega is already confirmed and described in the book as the “Terminus systems’ dark twisted counterpart to the Citidel” –to find them, procure their services and make them loyal to your cause. The crux of the game is assembling your team for this one suicide mission and BioWare openly talked about the real possibility that if you fail to build a loyal and strong squad, Shepard can die. So it’s up to you to get your squad to be powerful, dynamic and loyal enough to see off this new threat. We’re not talking a game over screen here either, we’re talking that being one of the game’s many endings. If you do see off the threat, Casey Hudson, Mass Effect 2 Executive Producer, stated that you can continue after the credits roll, do the side missions and “download new adventures.” I feel I must add that this final mission has nothing to do with your paragon and renegade stats either, it’s completely separate.

A quick side note about the importing of saves before we talk about the action and the improvements in the title. As widely stated, in Mass Effect 2 you can import your Mass Effect 1 saves to continue the story where it left off. First up, it should be noted that this only relates to story choices and not your levels. Secondly, you can’t change your class coming into Mass Effect 2, so if you were a Vanguard in 1, you’re a Vanguard in 2. Lastly, the option to customise the visuals of your character going into 2 will be offered before you jump into the adventure. So you’ve not played Mass Effect 1? Well do it now!!! I kid, I kid. Hudson did make a moot point that Mass Effect 2 is an “excellent entry point into the series,” so fear not. That may very well be the case, but I encourage people to experience the original anyway.

The presentation picks up with Shepard and an unknown asari, in a small spacecraft on the asari planet, Illium. Occupying the backseats of the small, almost car like spacecraft, are Miranda and Jacob – we presume the same Jacob from the upcoming iPhone game. The crew are on their way to Dante’s Towers to try and secure the services of Thane, a drell, who is the galaxy’s most dangerous assassin. It is here where we get the first glimpse of the real-time and dynamic cut scenes as Shepard and the asari discuss the upcoming mission. In Mass Effect 2 the conversations will become a dynamic part of the cinematic experience. So while in Mass Effect 1 you’d be leaning back watching the action unfold, in the sequel, you become a part of them using the conversation wheel to respond and interact.

The next scene sees Shepard and co. arrive at Dante’s Towers, where they have to lean on one of the local guards to find the whereabouts of Thane. It is at this point we see the new “interrupt conversation” trigger point. In the bottom left corner of the screen, during the conversation, an icon will flash, and if the respective button is pressed at that time, it performs an interrupt conversation action. In this case, Shepard sees the guard is of no use to him and proceeds to push him out the window – very classy. It’ll be interesting to see how BioWare weaves this aspect in with both the paragon and renegade temperaments but pretty damn awesome nevertheless. This feature was promised prior to Mass Effect 1, so hopefully we’ll actually see it this time around.

It is at this point Shepard and his squad have to fight their way up to Thane’s expected location which formed the majority of the presentation. The combat orientated section allowed BioWare to show off all the new combat improvements ... and boy were there a lot. The game’s combat has been ramped to the nth degree to give it that more “precision shooter feel.” So that includes location based damage, an improved cover system, no texture pop-up, stable frame rate, improved enemy AI, regenerative health for everyone (not just soldiers) replacing medi-gels, Shepard’s ability to mantle, and context sensitive move and attack orders for each squad member (located on the left and right d-pad buttons), to name but a few. The chance to set up real-time attacks as well like equipping incendiary ammo and concussive rounds are all available in the game’s power wheel mid combat. Other new combat tools and biotic powers are promised and we noticed a few new ones worth a mention; “heavy overload,” “crush,” and “pull.”

Mass Effect 2 adds 9 new classes of weapon into the game as well as boasting a heavy weapons system that features weapons that include, but are not limited to, homing missile launchers. According to Hudson the same principle regarding weapons from the original regarding over-heating comes back but it’s been tweaked with players able to eject a heat-sync to cool the gun down now ... that may have explained why Shepard was constantly reloading – or that’s what it looked like. It seemed like the heavy weapons carried an ammo count as well, but further details were not divulged on that.

As far as returning characters go, in the preview and the screens released of course, I think it’s safe to say that Tali, Liara and Joker return for sure. Other bit characters like Nassana from the original – an asari diplomat who deceives Shepard into assassinating her sister – made an impromptu appearance but she doesn’t really last long when Thane gets her hands on her ... which funnily enough was when the presentation ended.

BioWare had chance to address a few other key points following the walkthrough regarding major fundamental improvements. First up, they mentioned that the inventory system has been totally revamped and is completely new. Hudson also addressed the uncharted worlds and stated that each location was unique and very different. You can effectively choose where you want to land now but the specifics on how it would work went unclarified. It was mentioned that these worlds would be hand crafted and exotic, yet whilst being optional, would enhance the main story arch. In closing I asked about downloadable content for Mass Effect 1 and Hudson stated that they would “probably have an announcement pretty quick” ... although I’ve heard that one before from BioWare.

Mass Effect 2 is currently shaping up to be a pretty damn epic sequel of what is already an impressive original. Everything that seemed to hold the original back from the realms of gaming greatness has been corrected and a ton more content added on top. Of course this was only a small slice of the game in action, but the story seems to be as celebrated and immersive as the original and the new features make me wonder if I can look at the original now without bursting out in tears and shouting profanities at it ... “why can’t you be more like your younger brother!?” BioWare could easily have rested on their laurels, but I can confidently sit here and say, that’s certainly not the case. Now if anyone wants me, I’ll be locked in a room preparing a few saves for when it finally drops next year.

Mass Effect 2 will hit the Xbox 360 and PC in the early part of 2010.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 788
Comment #1 by GrindPantera95
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:03:11 AM
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Man I can't wait, this is going to be one of the best, if not the best, games of 2010!

Forum Posts: 73
Comment #2 by Metalteeth9
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:03:19 AM
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Seems good, but a little disapointed that levels will not carry over.

That brings up a question though. How will achievements work, with there possibly being different story elements depending on decisions from ME1?

Forum Posts: 588
Comment #3 by MyAbsolution
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:06:47 AM
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maybe I will replay the original game a couple times for the last few achievements (bloody ally achievements). get into the spirit and refresh my mind on the ME universe before the sequel hits.

And possibly download the DLC..

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #4 by NaughtyNinja74
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:07:47 AM
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I can't wait for this game

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #5 by Mcmole2
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:12:13 AM
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As if the first game wasn't good enough, now they are going to make an incredibly impressive sequel. The only problem I had with the original was the inventory. Got the best weapons, so all I did was convert to gel, but that was soon maxed out. It'll be interesting to see how your actions can cause Shepard's death.

Forum Posts: 75
Comment #6 by icky2049
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:14:33 AM
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it will always annoy me the way the main character sprints and walks. Thats my ONLY complaint.

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #7 by GsA Dragonheart
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:20:53 AM
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game of the year

Forum Posts: 5083
Comment #8 by Skillet
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:23:35 AM
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FINALLY got this posted, eh Webbo?

Nice. ;)

I have to say though... I hope the "Interrupt Conversation" feature doesn't actually replace the renegade conversation options. You were able to shoot a few people in the first game in conversations... but there were some mean things you could say to eanr yourself some renegade points as well.

BAH! What am I saying? Mass Effect 2 is going to be awesome anyway. I guess it's about time I stopped my complaining, right? :p

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #9 by lukeaduke
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:24:46 AM
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Ya boy this game is going to rock

Forum Posts: 175
Comment #10 by i Eat Kittenzx
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:28:09 AM
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i Came

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #11 by Help42Morrow
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:38:26 AM
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I love Mass Effect it is by far one of the best games ever created...
(One of the best RPG games of all time)

Forum Posts: 62
Comment #12 by Mr KILLJOYs
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:46:17 AM
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amen brother

Forum Posts: 62
Comment #13 by Mr KILLJOYs
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:47:29 AM
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I have the E3 trailer on my 360 and I watch it every time I get on, I love the song on it.

Forum Posts: 462
Comment #14 by L1E
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:06:13 AM
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This will be awesome, I should have spent my offline day of Xbox on Mass Effect! Not 50 Cent! Spring 2010 can't come soon enough!

Forum Posts: 43
Comment #15 by mdgamer86
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:25:07 AM
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Man this game is going to be fuckin' sweet! The early part of 2010 is going to be a great time for RPGs on the XBox 360. With Final Fantasy XIII, Mass Effect 2, and Alan Wake ( which also looks fuckin' amazing ) the early part of 2010 may be the best time for RPGs ever. Man 2010 can't come quick enough.....

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #16 by Bolshevik kitty
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:30:45 AM
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This is seriously the sickest game i have ever seen. Mass Effect is my favorite game and the only game i can play after i got all the achievements. I was wondering about the whole keeper thing myself, I put money on Kahlee Sanders playing some sort of role in ME2. I Personally hope that they add more like actual city's that would be the coolest thing! I also want Bioware to announce ME1 dlc. I wants it!

Oh and one last thing I'm fairly sure Omega is an asteroid but i could be wrong

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #17 by Bolshevik kitty
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:41:28 AM
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My bad i meant the Collector's Lol

Forum Posts: 492
Comment #18 by EcT Felix
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:48:28 AM
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Looks seriously bad

Forum Posts: 79
Comment #19 by ElliotRobinson
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:55:35 AM
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I have started a new game with my character on ME1 - which choices do you think will be carried through to ME2: the 1st or 2nd playthrough? (although I haven't finished the 2nd yet)

Forum Posts: 61
Comment #20 by pieroglyphic
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:58:50 AM
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that was the best presentation at E3.. did you guys get to play it upstairs?.. i did:)

Forum Posts: 208
Comment #21 by xHHx CURT
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 03:04:40 AM
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am i the only 1 that thought that this game is a complete waste of time? how can this game get the hype it is getting i mean peoples opinions yh but game of the year? wow i must have missed something...

Forum Posts: 297
Comment #22 by gingerCHRIS123
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 03:24:08 AM
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Im gonna go through Insanity on ME1, just love that game, and 2 should be even better the way it's shaping up.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #23 by FireFist94
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 03:27:59 AM
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Mass effect is a great game but it's always giving errors, yesterday my xbox 360 had 5 errors with mass effect in about 10 minutes, i had to turn off my console had turn back on 5 freak in times!!!!!!!!

Forum Posts: 127
Comment #24 by Ninja Business
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 04:38:45 AM
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Can.not.wait!! My poor social life... :-)

Forum Posts: 15
Comment #25 by Genesis Demon
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 05:16:29 AM
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yay a good escuse to take some time off work this one will be

Forum Posts: 14787
Comment #26 by Webb [STAFF]
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 05:32:58 AM
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@#8 - They don't replace them. It's another layer on top. You could have let the icon carry on flashing and if you didn't press it, the conversation would have continued after.

Forum Posts: 564
Comment #27 by Tubby 94
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 06:32:39 AM
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if they straighten up framerate issues and such from the first game this very much could be a GOTY contender AND PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD NO ALLY ACHIEVEMENTS

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #28 by TristanValendro
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 06:58:47 AM
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Still got to get the Garrus and Tali Achievements..., oh well. That gives me an opportunity to set the game events how I want them to be in Part 2.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #29 by DevilDog7856
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 07:09:08 AM
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I can't wait for this game! The first Mass Effect was one of the best games I have ever played!

Forum Posts: 66
Comment #30 by DiegoTan
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 07:24:54 AM
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One of the greatest game that will come. It's worth to wait.

Forum Posts: 32
Comment #31 by Vandiloo
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 07:28:16 AM
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I can't wait for 2010!

Forum Posts: 34
Comment #32 by Aaronc281
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 08:42:33 AM
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This game is gonna be amazing!!!!

I think that ill play through the first one twice again. 1 Renegade and 1 Paragon to make sure i can see all of the new stuff in Mass Effect 2.

Can't wait till the next DLC for the first game!!

Forum Posts: 536
Comment #33 by StephenJ360
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 08:54:31 AM
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Don't hate xHHx Curt, it's not his fault that Mass Effect wasn't exactly like Halo.

Anywho, why can't it just be 2010, already? Jeez.

Forum Posts: 17
Comment #34 by FuriousAli007
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 09:05:11 AM
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As long as there is more love scenes I'll get it :)

Forum Posts: 56
Comment #35 by Louchavelli
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 10:33:23 AM
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Also, on the waiting for this game bandwagon. I wonder if they are going to follow up with some of the side quest decisions (i.e., the human supremacists on citadel).

Forum Posts: 2099
Comment #36 by mjc0961
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 10:39:53 AM
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Haha, I just finished my first playthrough of the first game, so I know I'll have to be getting this. Man, I'll be RPGing a lot next year... Mass Effect 2, Golden Sun DS, and probably Pokémon Heart Gold.

Forum Posts: 9
Comment #37 by miller da nub
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 10:47:52 AM
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man this game is gunna be awsome i loved #1

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #38 by hispanicplaya
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 11:20:21 AM
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i picked up the first one about a month ago and what a trip it has been..its easily in my top 5 favorite/most epic games ive ever layed my controlling hands upon and with talks of ME2, more(hopeful)DLC and improvements in aspects of gameplay...who's to say (just like the back cover stated on the Platinum Edition of ME1)that this isn't to shape out to be one of the best and most memorable gaming franchises ever...I am DEFINITELY trying to shoot for all the Achieves. and make another character or two since ma Vanguard now is BEYOND brolic lol but all i have left to say is I-CAN'T-WAIT!!!!


Forum Posts: 406
Comment #39 by iruhlman
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 11:20:59 AM
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agree with #30. Fantastic game and our save files transfer throughout the trilogy!

bring on more ally achievements... the harder the cheevos for you 1000/1000 guys to complain about the better :P

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #40 by hispanicplaya
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 11:32:00 AM
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lol at 39 with the ally b.s. ahaha

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #41 by DannyG92UK
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:02:40 PM
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cannot wait for this. loved the first game

Forum Posts: 53
Comment #42 by JT Gregory
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:22:33 PM
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i never played the original, but after what ive heard here ad from elsewhere ill definately give this one a go!!

Forum Posts: 762
Comment #43 by The Elite Elite
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 12:31:39 PM
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I can't wait. This is the game I'm most looking forward to next year.

Forum Posts: 206
Comment #44 by SasileUchiha92
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:34:45 PM
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I hope this game and Final Fantasy XIII don't come out at the same time. I don't know which one I would pick.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #45 by Biohazard K
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:51:26 PM
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@1-- I thought it was released 12/31/09...Would that still be into 2010?

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #46 by Biohazard K
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 01:52:23 PM
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But yeah, it is going to be a kickass RPG for sure. I'm not getting it right away because of Army of Two: 40th Day, I've already got that pre-ordered and personally, I liked it better. But I'm for sure getting this also.

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #47 by S lH A lD o W
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 02:23:49 PM
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The black guy is named Jacob...there's also another woman who I assume replaced Ashley if you let her die in ME1.

Forum Posts: 14787
Comment #48 by Webb [STAFF]
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 02:48:25 PM
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@#47 - Her name is mentioned in the article ;)

Forum Posts: 462
Comment #49 by L1E
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 04:22:12 PM
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Is this the last preview? Because it seems like you guys are saving the best for last, and this IS the best.

Forum Posts: 3
Comment #50 by Gloce
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 04:44:19 PM
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I cannot wait for this game. I am replaying mass effect to get a feel for this new. I wish it came sooner then Q1 of 2010, however.

Forum Posts: 987
Comment #51 by Devil Sora
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 08:09:14 PM
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Man. . . . .just . . . .man. . . fucking sweet I'm at a loss for words right now. . . .I'm going nuts dude. . . this is the pincale of RPG greatness if not the pinicale of gaming greatness. . . . .I'm tempted to throw this sucker back in and even though I 100% the original. . . .I just want to play the game so damn much.

Bring it on Bioware. . . .god knows I'll play that game 24/7 when it does come out. . . .no joke I'll take a week off of work just to play it strait.

Forum Posts: 178
Comment #52 by Blue Thunder28
Wednesday, June 17, 2009 @ 09:37:03 PM
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Best game of my life seriously can't wait for this I am going insane.

Forum Posts: 83
Comment #53 by jakekh1983
Thursday, June 18, 2009 @ 12:58:49 AM
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it cant come soon enough.

Forum Posts: 300
Comment #54 by toonsage
Thursday, June 18, 2009 @ 08:24:00 AM
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wow game looks great cant wait

Forum Posts: 61
Comment #55 by Metal Metallica
Friday, June 19, 2009 @ 01:13:08 AM
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I hadn't bought Mass Effect until about a year and a half after it came out, and I was upset about what i was missing. Mass Effect is epic, and I can't wait for the sequel.

Forum Posts: 34
Comment #56 by PENGU1N
Friday, June 19, 2009 @ 09:57:31 PM
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god I just hope they get rid of the Mako

Forum Posts: 987
Comment #57 by Devil Sora
Saturday, June 20, 2009 @ 05:23:23 PM
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@56 I could drive that bad boy to places you wouldn't imagine. . . . it was my bebe lol

Forum Posts: 229
Comment #58 by Mana Fiend
Sunday, June 21, 2009 @ 12:25:41 PM
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Rented out Mass Effect a few weeks ago; should have gone straight in for the purchase. An amazing game, so I'm sure that the sequel will rock just as hard. Can't wait!

Forum Posts: 18
Comment #59 by Phsykopath
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 09:11:08 PM
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i love mass effect
2's gonna be amazing

Forum Posts: 1543
Comment #60 by MASS DOMINATION
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 09:08:25 AM
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cant freakin wait. full 1050G im mass 1 and will be gettin the full G in mass 2 aswell.

Forum Posts: 87
Comment #61 by Darth Taral
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 11:01:13 PM
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At least with this game coming out next year that give me time to finaly get the rest of the achievements for the 1st game.

Forum Posts: 1035
Comment #62 by WhIpLaSh 014
Friday, June 26, 2009 @ 02:34:05 PM
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Man, this is gonna be better than Fallout 3 or fable 2! Loved the first, can't wait for the sequal.

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #63 by Jmurray21
Saturday, June 27, 2009 @ 08:37:17 AM
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This game will be such a hit. Mass Effect blew me away with it's breath-taking visuals and brillant gameplay. I cant wait.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #64 by Jonny110
Sunday, June 28, 2009 @ 07:10:58 AM
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Forum Posts: 141
Comment #65 by Rastaman20
Friday, July 24, 2009 @ 10:55:14 PM
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this game looks effing crazy i cannotwait for this installment and also the the fact that it adds a coutiousness and penalty for dieing, if you die in ME2 yo ass aint making the 3rd game less u make a new charecter great decision cuz every game i feel u can die and there no reprocotion for die u just get up and are like "oh well lets try again" where ME2 u cant do that u die ur like FUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but yea looks like an awesome game i will definatly pick this up

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #66 by cpshaggy
Sunday, August 23, 2009 @ 03:35:03 PM
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Best thing about ME1 - conversation system, easily the best in any rpg. (shame they haven't done the same for dragon age:origins, which also looks amazing)

Worst thing - the FRAME RATE issues

If they sort that out then this game will be amazing, forget MW2 this will be a contender for GOTY.

Forum Posts: 18
Comment #67 by Jordan11
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 @ 12:57:18 PM
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Very excited for this game. I loved mass effect 1 and i know im going to love mass effect 2!

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Game Info
Electronic Arts


US January 26, 2010
Europe January 29, 2010

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