Mass Effect 2 demo and an update about an update

Hey folks,

Normally I wouldn’t make a post about a random demo I played, but I think this is deserving.

I played the PC demo for Mass Effect 2 the other day, and I must say I was very impressed, not only with the game itself, but also the way the demo was set up. First off, I already own the game, but I’m waiting until ME3 gets a little closer to play it. Now, about the demo:

I could feel the high production values just emanating from this game. I believe this was BioWare’s first major outing with EA, yes? One of EA’s complexes is located in the heart of Los Angeles, so they have access to a lot of great voice talent, right there in Hollywood. The first game had Keith David and Seth Green going for it, and this game seems to have even more great voice actors. Also, the first few minutes of the game are very cinematic, and made me feel more like I was watching an episode of Star Trek than playing a BioWare RPG. It was very different from ME1, to me. I’m not a huge fan of Star Trek or anything, but I just mean it was very immersive. The jargon was more detailed and specific than in the previous game, for example.

After the opening movie, there’s this great scene where Shepard steps out onto the bridge of the Normandy and the hull rips away, revealing the planet below. It was very cinematic and beautiful.

About what I referred to as the “set up” of the demo, I thought it was interesting how they gave the player two separate portions of the game to go through. I like that they save your progress from the first part so that you can continue in the full game, and then they proceed to show you an entirely different part of the game so you get the feel for the new level up and battle systems. It was funny to me that they give you the opportunity to buy the game at almost any time (the main menu, pause menu, maybe even the loading screens, can’t remember). If I didn’t already own the game, the demo would probably have been a deciding factor for me to buy it. It was that good.

I think it was an interesting and risky choice to streamline the RPG system from the first game. Where you had like 20 things to level up before, now there’s like 5. Also, it appears some items (like ammo types) are combined into the skill tree now, instead of being equippable items. Haven’t played the game enough to tell if these are good things or not, but I kinda liked it. It gives you fewer choices, but also allows you to focus better on particular skills.

Playing the PC demo was kind of surreal to me. If you follow me on Tumblr, you know that I just got finished playing ME1 on 360. As great as the game itself is, the 360 version is horrible. Textures pop up very slow and sometimes not at all, and the framerate struggled to get over 15 fps in most cases. Very unoptimized, which is strange for two reasons: 1) The game was built for the 360, and 2) They’re using the freaking Unreal 3 engine for crying out loud. It’s one of the most optimized engines out there. Anyway, I’ve heard the PC version does not have these problems, fortunately, and the PC version of ME2 is no different. It was a “surreal” experience to me because not only were there no texture pop ups EVER, but the game looked gorgeous at the highest settings and ran at a constant, silky smooth 60 fps – never faltered (I had the Fraps overlay up to see the framerate). It was a strange sight to me since I’ve never had a powerful enough computer before to be able to run newer games that fast. It makes me even more excited to play the full game now. (Since I started writing this post, I have also played the 360 ME2 demo. I was surprised to see they fixed the texture popups, although the framerate isn’t quite as smooth as on PC).

Now, a quick update about me and this blog: I probably won’t be continuing Neverwinter Nights, at least not any time soon. I’m going to keep playing Fallout 3 on 360, and I have another game I’m going to start up on PC… but it’s a bit of a surprise. It’s a retro game, indeed, but I don’t think you’ll see this one coming. I’ll give you a hint: It came out in 2003 for GameCube, and it wasn’t very popular, though it gained a cult following. I’ll post it up sometime in the next couple days, so stay tuned. Also stay tuned for an update about my YouTube channel, coming soon (If you haven’t already, check out the two videos I do have up. And subscribe, maybe? Pwease? :3).

Until next time.

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~ by The Retro Gamer on May 30, 2011.

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