Friday, February 05, 2010

Mass Effect 2, a Mass Rebuttal

I have been reading some stuff on various forums about ME2. The complaints especially. I don't agree with most of them so I decided to post a rebuttal to a few. There are some that are legit however.

"Ammo Clips Suck"

ME1 didn't have ammo. In ME1 your guns would fire until overheating, and then you could have to let them vent or cool for a period of time. During this period you couldn't fire that gun and had to hide behind cover or switch to a different gun. In reality I pretty much always let it vent and never switched guns. Or better yet, fire the gun carefully and never reach the point of overheating. What was the effect of this method? You always used the same gun, which ever is best. There is never a reason to change guns unless it's practical like going from sniper to a close range weapon. Boring. The bottom line is ammo is fun. Ammo adds a tension to your game. Not having infinite sniper or shotgun rounds can make you think differently about how to go about battles. In ME2 I often find myself out of sniper rounds and having to drastically change my plans. Ammo conservation also plays a role. Finishing wounded and fragile enemies with a worse weapon is something to consider and adds strategic depth. The addition of ammo in ME2 makes combat much more dynamic.
"Planet Scanning Sucks"

I didn't hate scanning as much as other people did. I never did it all that much, but I agree it is boring. It is much faster than ME1's Mako planet explorations. But it isn't something you need to do. It's extra, it's grinding. The only reason you need to scan planets is to get minerals to upgrade your armor and weapons. This isn't something that needs to be done. On my first playthrough I probably only scanned for a total of 2 hours to get every upgrade in the game. I did this blind without any guides as well. You can easily find a guide online and only scan the best planets for all your mineral needs and spend half the time doing it. But there are two factors that you should consider when complaining about this. The first is, in ME2 there is absolutely no need to grind. You never need to "level up" as you are never "underleveled" part of the brilliant enemy scaling system Boiware uses. The second thing is, on your second play-through you get a big bonus in starting resources and you likely hardly have to do any scanning at all. It's a minor inconvenience yes, but not everything in an RPG can be super mega fun or it won't ever feel like you earned anything.

"lvl 30 cap"

Honestly I didn't even know there was a cap, I never reached it in my first playthrough. But there are hardly enough skills to even use that many points? This isn't something I see as a problem but at the same time I am not sure why it's there. I don't see any problem with allowing you to gain infinite experience and just keep getting stronger and scale all enemies accordingly. I am assuming there is some reason for the cap, but I don't know what it is.

"Unappealing characters"

This one is simply false. The characters in this game are all interesting, well developed and wonderfully voice acted. Some of them even develop and change as the story goes on. If you just don't like the characters, thats fine. But this is hardly something to complain about. The game has 12 characters how can you find them all unappealing? They are all so different.

"Less choices for weapons and armor"

Another complaint that is totally wrong. ME1's weapon/armor system was HORRIBLE. It was my biggest complaint. ME1 has four weapons: pistol, assault rifle, shotgun and sniper. Then each other those had thirty iterations where each was better than the last. So lets just call them upgrades. Four weapons with 30 upgrades each. ME1 did have different attachments you could use which was cool and I am sorry to see that go, but that was replaced by ammo skills in ME2 and thats fine. Armor was the same: heavy armor, light armor and medium armor. You ran around with armor VIII and sniper rifle VIII hoping to find armor IX and sniper IX. When you finally found them they acted exactly the same as the previous ones but did slightly more damage. So did ME1 have 200 guns? No, it had 4. ME2 however has more guns, it has different types of assault rifles and sniper rifles and they actually act differently. You can actually make a choice on which is better rather than always just picking the best. There is also a large number of heavy weapons which all act totally differently. There could be more unique guns, but I am sure they will be DLCed in.

"No XP for Killing Enemies/Hacking"

This complaint is silly for two reasons. The first is, ME2 uses scaling enemy difficulty so you never need to grind. There is no need to just kill re-spawning enemies to gain XP. I am not sure if enemies even respawn anywhere in ME1 or ME2. The only enemy I remember respawning was the thresher maw on random planets. But when you complete a quest in ME1 you killed a finite number of bad guys, and got experience for them. They didn't respawn. In ME2 you killed a finite number of enemies but get the total XP at the end of the mission. It's really not a big deal.

"Lack of ME1 to ME2 Carryover"

This is a legitimate complaint however it's clear why they diminished this (although they did overhype it). If you need to have played ME1 in order to understand ME2 then you are asking consumers to invest 120$ and well over 60 hours into the series. This would be a big hurdle in getting people to buy this game. ME3 will face even more of a problem with many people feeling like they can't buy it if they didn't play 1 and 2.

"Loading Time"

These complaints are silly. No one enjoys loading times and everyone wants the minimized. It's not like Bioware "put" them in and made them extra long.

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