Review: Mass Effect 2 (PS3)
It has taken a year, but the Mass Effect series has finally landed on the PlayStation 3. With bonus content and upgraded visuals, Mass Effect 2 on Sony's console is meant to be the definitive version, but is it really?
- Worth The Time?Yes, we've been over this once before. There's no question about it.
- Things LovedMass Effect 2 - naturally everything we loved about the PC and Xbox360 versions, having all of the DLC packs on one disc, the awesome comic book cutscene that explains the original game's story and allows you to make the main decisions from the first game.
- Things HatedThe few minor bugs - like the rare instances of audio delay in cutscenes, the occasional long loads.
- RecommendationThere is simply no reason to pass this deal up. Mass Effect 2, all of its downloadable content packs as well as extra stuff, all at a reduced price, is a PlayStation 3 dream purchase for BioWare's epic.
- Name: Mass Effect 2
- Genre: Action RPG
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PS3 (Already released on PC and Xbox360)
- Developer: BioWare
- Publisher: Electronic Arts
- Price: R453-499 (PS3), R362-399 (360), R85-100 (PC)
- Reviewed On: PS3
This review will be pretty short by most standards. The simple reason of course is that we’ve already reviewed BioWare’s epic Mass Effect 2, and we strongly advise that you give our original review a read before going into this one, as in this review we’re going to primarily focus on how the game performs on PlayStation 3 as well as analyse the new additions to the game and the disc content – perhaps with some slight comparison to the Xbox360 and PC versions here and there. There isn’t much point in reviewing the same game twice, right? And all that PS3 owners will be wanting to know is how it shapes up in comparison to the other versions. To read up on the old review, simply click here.
From the beginning, the fundamental problem on any PS3 owners mind would probably be the original Mass Effect, and how they would get to shape and influence their story of Mass Effect 2 with the first game’s choices since it never made it to the PS3. However, much to our relief and joy, BioWare implemented a brilliant, lengthy in-game comic catch-up cutscene that plays at the beginning of the game and takes you through all of the events of the first game and summarises its story. Furthermore, whenever the cutscene gets to a key decision point in the original game, you’re able to select exactly which choices you wish to make, and the cutscene will take the story in the direction of your choice. The comic-strip mini-movie looks great visually and is both excellently done and voiced over by Commander Shepherd, and certainly does well to get you up to speed with what’s been going on. And as a welcome plus, you’re allowed to rush through it with the square button, so you won’t be made to wait, watch it forcefully or at a slow pace.
Before even getting into the game, you’d most likely already know that you’re in for the complete journey. To get into specifics, at a reduced price BioWare has given PlayStation 3 owners Mass Effect 2 and the Cerebrus Network content pack for bonus goodies and, best of all, they’ve integrated various bonus DLC missions and character encounters into the main story, as though they were always meant to be there as part of the canon plot-line rather than having them exist as separate entities. To elaborate, the Cerebrus Network pack includes bonus armour, weapons and a new character, the mercenary Zaeed, rather separate from everything else, but the second bonus character, the thief Kasumi, as well as the Lair of the Shadow Broker, Normandy Crash Site and Overlord extra missions all flow into the main story and are included in the primary objectives as though they were always meant to be, which is great.
It’s easily safe to say that Mass Effect has made the trip to the PlayStation 3 fantastically, and there are absolutely no problems with the gameplay. It’s every bit as awesome as it was back when it first released, except more so with all of its additions. Unfortunately though there are two small problems we encountered that can cause minor annoyances. The first issue was that of one or two bugs we noticed, one being the audio delay bug where the sound isn’t quite in sync with what’s happening on-screen during a cutscene, but fortunately this was rare. The second problem is that sometimes the loads can be a bit too long, although admittedly not too long to be frustrating, but enough to be noticeable.
The other plus for PlayStation 3 gamers is that the game gets the benefit of running on Mass Effect 3’s engine and, while the graphical overhaul isn’t massive or hugely noticeable, the game does look slightly better in certain areas and as a whole still looks amazing, despite the fact that it was released a year ago on PC and Xbox360. In the end, apart from the two issues mentioned above there aren’t any technical or graphical worries to be had, which means Mass Effect 2 can be enjoyed on the PlayStation 3 to its fullest. However, be warned that there is a somewhat lengthy initial install process for the game, and a 700mb download still has to be made for the downloadable content before you can comfortably settle.
The last point to address is that of how the PS3 version measures up to its Xbox360 and PC counterparts. Firstly, it doesn’t take a team of experts to know that the PS3 edition is the best deal as far as value for money is concerned, since you’re getting the original game plus all downloadable content for less money than the game was on its own. However, as good as the PS3 version’s attempt is at filling in the void that is the absence of the original Mass Effect, the reality is that the Xbox360 and PC versions have the advantage of actually having the first game, and all gamers who played the first game would have carried over their saves to Mass Effect 2, which adds more value to the personal experience as a whole. Sadly, the PlayStation 3 version can’t enjoy that, but fortunately it can enjoy having all there is to Mass Effect 2 on one single disc. In the end see it as you wish, but both sides have their respective pros and cons, and purely looking at Mass Effect 2 as an individual game, factoring out its predecessor, the best buy is definitely on Sony’s console.
Mass Effect 2 really is an amazing experience like no other, and that fact is still dominant after the game’s debut on the PlayStation 3. Even though PS3 owners had to wait an entire year to get it, Mass Effect 2 is still an incredible and entirely epic gaming experience, and is simply one that can’t be missed, especially in a deal like this. It’s everything PS3 gamers have been wanting and waiting for, and it’s everything Mass Effect 2 has to offer, all at a reduced price and bundled together on a single disc. That on its own should be more than enough incentive.