Mass Effect 2 PS3 Review

There it is. It seems so strange to be playing a Mass Effect title with a DualShock 3, but it didn’t really feel strange. Then again, I’m one of those people who can switch back and forth between the 360 and PS3 with relative ease.

But, no, it’s just wrong, right? This is BioWare betraying Microsoft, betraying the Xbox 360 that gave the franchise its start and, most importantly, betraying the fans. F–k the PS3.

Nah, not really. J/k, j/k, Sony.


Mass Effect 2 (PS3 [Reviewed], PC, XBox360)
Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Release Date: January 26, 2010
MSRP: $59.99

The truth is that Mass Effect 2 on PS3 is totally fine. It’s identical to the 360 version in almost every way that is important, better in one way, and inferior in a couple others. There’s little to be that upset about.

Really, the biggest problem with Mass Effect 2 on the PS3 is that Mass Effect 1 is not on the PS3. BioWare created an interactive comic to try to make up for that, but it’s not the same. The comic only gives you four major choices: whether or not to kill the rachni queen on Noveria, whether or not to kill Wrex on Virmire, to save Ashley or Kaiden on Virmire and whether or not to save the Council at the end.

As you would expect, so many of the nuances of the story and all the smaller options are absent; Feros isn’t even mentioned, for example, and you miss out on all the little things that carry over from 1 to 2, like running into Parasini on Illium or encountering a very drunk Fist at Afterlife. Too, the reveal of Archangel’s identity loses all its impact if you haven’t played the first game. It’s hard to say that BioWare could have done more to make up for that given the circumstances, but I can’t help but feel sorry for players new to the franchise who aren’t getting the full experience.

From the beginning of the game, one difference between the two console version is readily apparent:the PS3 version feels much smoother. I’m not the type to dig into the technical details, so I can’t attribute this to a higher framerate or simply a more stable platform, but it’s immediately noticeable if you’ve played ME2 on Xbox.

Aside from how you don’t have to change discs, that smoothness is the PS3 version’s sole advantage over its counterpart. Players will certainly notice two glaring deficiencies, and a third, more rare glitch will also pop up. The small glitch is merely the occasional graphical freakout, in which a character model will spaz out in a way that isn’t easy to explain without video. You’ll certainly know it when you see it.

The other glitches are quite infuriating, however. The first is the game’s extremely long loading times. The easiest standard for comparison is traveling to different parts of the Normandy; on 360, this would take a handful of seconds, maybe 10, to do, but on PS3 you’ll find yourself waiting upwards of 45 seconds. It was a lot of fun to bitch about the long elevator rides of Mass Effect 1, but at least there you could listen to the Extranet news or your teammates talking to each other, but here you just get to stare at a loading screen. It’s kind of amazing that this is such a problem even with an almost 5gb install.

The other major problem is that the sound effects in the non-pre-rendered cutscenes are out of synch. This is bizarre because the voice tracks stay in synch, but the effects, whether they be gunshots, explosions or anything else that isn’t a voice will reliably be about a second behind.

There are a couple other occasional problems I’ve never seen pop up on the Xbox 360 version (which I’ve played seven times). The end of a conversation will sometimes be cut off, and, more importantly, the game twice in my 25-hour playthrough didn’t register one of my teammates. While he or she would still be present, I couldn’t order them to use powers or even revive them if they went down. The second time this happened was during the final battle, and this resulted in that particular teammate being absent during the two cutscenes even though Shepard interacted with him in one of them.

Content-wise, the game is almost identical to its counterpart. There is a line slightly altered here or there to accommodate players who didn’t play ME1, and I believe sometimes you’ll earn more money from a hack in this version. The PS3 version also includes all the paid DLC from the Xbox 360 and PC on the disc, which is awesome.

Since the content is pretty much the same, it has all the same flaws and problems. Space mining is still dumb and the story is still way too structured and inorganic (“You better make sure everybody is loyal or people will diiiiiiiiiiiiiie no I’m serious and I’ll remind you of this every five freaking minutes”) and Mark Meer is still a s–t voice actor as MaleShep and very little still happens in the main story.

But the game is still pretty great despite all that because of the greatness of individual scenes, some wild character moments, the stunning score (and one of the best and most memorable themes in gaming history) and this amazing universe BioWare has created. And it’s also fun to play and looks rill pretty! Read our review of Mass Effect 2 from its original launch.

What’s the verdict? Think about this: I have played Mass Effect 2 eight times in the last year. Things about it irritate me, but I’m not even close to getting tired of it. Mass Effect 2 is one of those games you simply have to experience. With the DLC included, you’re looking at 35-40 hours of game here, and it’s absolutely worth the price. Long loads suck ass, and the sound effects thing is annoying, but but this is a game everyone must own, and if all you’ve got is a PS3, you should just do it.

Final Score: 90/100

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2 Comments on Mass Effect 2 PS3 Review

datdude

On January 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Good, honest, realistic review. I definitely give the 360 version 95 out of 100. Love the Mass Effect series. Have 5 playthroughs of part 2 on my 360 and will probably add one more before ME3 drops later this year/early next year. I’ve been telling my ps3 only owning friends about this series for years and am happy they finally get to experience what I consider the best game series this generation. I borrowed a friends copy for my ps3 to see what it looked like/played like and agree the visual differences are negligible, just lighting/shading differences. Really a matter of preference. Didn’t play long enough to notice any technical glitches but did notice the longer loading times, but that is par for the course with most ps3 multiplats unfortunately. Reading the Mass Effect wiki is a must for any gamer who did not play ME1. The comic is a joke. There is no connection to characters that results from it, it is a brief introduction to a few characters, that is all. It bothers me that ps3 only gamers will not get the in-jokes, understand the character development, or hell, even understand/know who the shadow broker is and what role he plays/played in the ME galaxy. Codex and wiki a must.

Phil Owen

On January 25, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Great point about the Shadow Broker.

And, really, the whole Cerberus thing is also meaningless without the first game.