Mass Effect 2’s Planet Scanning Thrills Now More ‘Optimized’

Mass Effect 2’s Planet Scanning Thrills Now More ‘Optimized’

The intergalactic hunt for minerals may not be Mass Effect 2’s most marketable feature, but BioWare’s latest update to the Xbox 360 version of the sci-fi role-playing game has “optimized” its mundane planet scanning, resulting in many happy players.

“Scanning for minerals has been optimized” may sound vague, but the small change has been met with glee at the official BioWare forums, where the latest update was announced. Scan bigger, scan faster, experience less regret on your deathbed wasting hours looking for Element Zero deposits. And read the full change list after this.

  • Scanning for minerals has been optimized
  • Fixed an issue with marking all entries as viewed in the Journal
  • Fixed an issue relating to text and the menu screen
  • Fixed an issue relating to players starting a new game and loading a save
  • Fixed multiple issues when loading a save containing DLC when DLC isn’t present
  • Fixed an issue with ammo flashing when it can’t be picked up
  • Fixed an issue with crosshairs
  • Fixed an issue with Grunt’s Fortification power
  • Fixed an issue with enemies and cover
  • Fixed an issue where players could receive additional talent points
  • Fixed an issue where squad members would overwrite ammo powers the player had assigned them

May 17 – Xbox 360 Mass Effect 2 Patch [BioWare Social Network]


  • Am I the only one who preferred to go down onto the planets? The whole scanning things is a little dull… sure the exploration on the planets had it’s faults (vehicle control and general emptiness of the world). How about in number 3 we get a combo of the two… scanning for planets that are deemed unsafe (due to atmosphere etc) and planets that we can go down to and investigate as well…

    • I do agree, each game went a little extreme both ways. 3 would be wise to reach a good compromise of the two indeed.

    • Good call. Would love to see some kind of choice between planet scan and actually landing on the plant to explore.

      They really seem to have striped back those benefits on the exploration missions in ME2 as well. I did every anomaly mission in ME2 and while some were cool visually you really did get alot for doing them. Guess that’s what happens when you strip a highly customisable RPG down

    • I’m with you Jonmokoko, planet scanning has to be the worst part of ME2. The mako wasn’t that great but it was awhole lot better than this!

    • Honestly I’d be surprised if they don’t actually do something like what I said. They took on board most of the things that people complained about and fixed them for the sequel (like the slightly unwieldy combat), it’s just that they took a little too far in the case of planet exploration/scanning. So in theory number 3 should be just about perfect… fingers crossed.

    • Everywhere I go I see people complaining about the new planet scanning, and wishing they had kept the Mako planet exploring in. Even if it did handle badly and the planets were empty, it was relaxing, as exploring should be.

      I’m starting to think that these supposed people that complained about the Mako enough to get it removed were made up.

      • Well I mentioned the fact that the worlds were empty… but that never really bothered me personally, as there were the main worlds that made up for it. And yes, the Mako handled like an unruly greasy pig dosed up on caffeine but I got used to it after a while… and I missed it once it was gone…

      • I think the main complaints with planet exploration in ME1 were how barren and uninteresting the terrain was, and that all the ‘mini bases’ you found were the same pre-fab boxes with identical room layouts (and even crate positions!)

        I thought the Firewalker addon for ME2 was an awesome way to explore planetside. The lava escape sequence was great, anf the vehicle controlled really well. Plus, ME2 did away with most of the recycled environments too.

        If ME3 combines more efficient planet scanning with some interesting Firewalker exploration / missions, I reckon they’ll have found the sweet spot.

        • Hmm I never got a chance to check out the add-on due to my not having a good enough connection to be able to do much with DLC. Is it available on a disc? Or is it more likely that they will release all of their DLC in a GOTY type pack so I’ll have to buy the game again like I did with Fallout 3…

    • in my mind the mako wasnt the issue it was the randgen enviroments that made it a pain to drive because of the general annoying sheer vertical inclines in the mission that actually required the mako it worked rather well

  • Damn, two weeks after I finished playing ME2… TBH I didn’t mind the scanning, it was kind of fun. But then I also enjoyed driving around on planets in ME1, so…

  • I had no problem with scanning to be honest, in fact I found digging out the high spike deposits on planets pretty satisfying. It all came down to the technique; pulsing the left trigger rapidly and using both left and right sticks to speed up rotation allowed me to scan planets pretty fast. I also only bothered scanning planets marked at least Good to begin with.

    Another handy trick I learned was that you don’t actually have to hit the sweet spot of a high spike to collect the maximum amount of minerals in that particular deposit. If the graph is only showing a ~1/2/3 etc. bar spike of what you know is a ~7 bar deposit, launching a probe at that will collect all 7 bars worth of minerals.

  • Huzzah! This might actually get me to play a new game!

    The one thing that stopped me from replaying was the torture of planet scanning 😛

    • The thing stopping me from replaying is the fact that I’d have to go back to ME1 to make a character with decent choices or be stuck with the annoying pre-fab choices of existing options.
      A patch update that gives you some pseudo-exam that allows you to tick or cross the major plot points would be a godsend.

      I’m equally dreading and anticipating ME3 for this exact reason.

  • Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that they improved this. Planet scanning was hands down the worst aspect of ME2, it’s been the main reason why I haven’t gone back to play a second playthrough.

    Some people described it as ‘soothing’. Watching paint dry, that kind of soothing -_-

    To be honest I also enjoyed driving around in the Mako, for all its faults. At least the player was doing something and moving around – rather than sitting in orbit with a cursor and an incredibly slow scanner.

  • I enjoyed the planet scanning (don’t hit me) but only at first. After a while it was… “Seriously. This is it? This is my ONLY choice!?”

    But like an above comment says, they should even it out.

    I hated the Mako. HATED IT! Not only that, minerals weren’t important in ME1 like they are in ME2. Having planet scanning meant an easy approach to gaining minerals for upgrades.
    I have no doubt that people would be complaining in this very article if Bioware had finding minerals on planets like in ME1. Everyone would complain that it took too long for how little they received.

    Evening it out between dangerous planets require planet scanning and safe planets are possible to travel to and require the minerals personally is a great idea for ME3.

    ME2 for me was greater than ME1 even if they lost a bit of RPG touch for a greater control in combat controls. I can full faith that with the things fan find wrong in ME2, Bioware will once again correct in ME3. They will bridge the gap between the 2 games to make it what we’ve always wanted it to be.

    ME1 had boring planets. Fair enough not every planet is expected to be designed with luscious environments and building everywhere & places to explore. Expect the occasional planet that is well, empty. But its not something i want to go back to to search for minerals. An even balance would be the best solution.

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