Reader Review: Mass Effect 2

Reader Review: Mass Effect 2

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Dean does, as he scans for minerals on planet Insanity.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Dean Henderson. If you’ve played Mass Effect 2, or just want to ask Dean more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Mass Effect 2 (360, PC)

Unless you have been living on Norehsa in the Qertassi system found in Nubian Expanse cluster, you would have heard of Mass Effect 2 and most likely played it to completion. Thus, this review is not here to encourage you to make the purchase, but to convince you that the greatest reward in this game comes from a second playthrough on Insanity.


Bring The Right Tools For The Job: On my first playthrough I could not for the life of me tell you the difference between different ammo types or even what upgrades I researched. It just did not matter. Whatever you aimed at, and pulled the trigger on, died. Obviously this does not work at the highest difficulty level and it forced a tactical approach that I simply loved. Plenty of armoured enemies? Make sure incendiary ammo is loaded. Long sight lines? Pull out your sniper rifle and upgrade headshot abilities. Careful planning is the key and this difficulty setting provides another level to the combat.

Nice Guys Finish Last: Shepard’s choices in my first run-through were easy. I just followed the simple rule WWJD (What would Jesus do?). Everyone loved me and I was a hero. Second time round was not so easy. Whilst trying to extract Archangel, for example, you are given an option to be a real “shock” to someone who repairs the air attack vehicle. Easy to leave him be and face a fully fixed craft on the lower difficulty settings. But when I was faced with this option on Insanity, all I thought was how can I make this easier for myself when battle time arrives? Quite a few times my morals were left behind and my need for survival directed my responses.

Mission Impossible: The overarching story of Mass Effect really tries to emphasise the dire circumstances that are being faced by Shepard and his/her team against the Collectors. Unfortunately, I never really felt this on the lower settings as all enemies were just carved up and dead before they knew it. No real threat was felt. A few battles on Insanity, however, and you quickly realise the odds are stacked against you and that there really is a desperate struggle for survival.


Your Team Is So “Special”: For a bunch of the supposed best people in the galaxy, your team has a real tough time of it when it comes to combat. I really feel for Shepard and often imagined a frustrated commander bashing his/her head up against a wall wondering why his team was so incompetent during battle. Even when given direct instructions, your team mates can often take precious seconds to understand and follow. Like any good commander though, you work with what you have and sometimes you will even be surprised what your team can do for you.

It is not often that a game can compel an overwhelmed-with-titles gamer to a second play through and it is a credit to Mass Effect 2 that it provides such a rewarding experience for your time. So I implore you: take your Shepherd out into the galaxy and take it to those Collectors once more.

Reviewed by: Dean Henderson

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words – yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


  • Completely agree with the review, Insanity is a completely different game.
    Ammo/medkit management, weapon rotation, tactical options…
    Unity becomes a neccesity, as opposed to “a couple more kills and a free resurrection”.
    In normal, harbringer is a concern but not a challenge. On insanity, if you don’t take out his respawn options, he becomes an ammo soak, even with incinerate or warp. You have to rotate your weapons just to take him down.
    However, I found that, if you treated your allies as portable turrets, they could be useful, especially with unlimited ammo.

  • Very well articulated indeed. I also agree with your take on an overwhelmed-with-titles gamer, an absolute credit to ME2. Rewarding indeed.
    Look forward to your next review Dean Henderson.

  • I have a few problems with ME2.
    After playing dragon ago I was sort of expecting something similar in the way of length and depth, instead we ended up a rather short game where the majority of the main storyline feels like it’s made up of (and indeed arguably is) side quests.

    One by one you put your team together and figure out their problems (which all seem to be daddy issues of some sort) and then suddenly it’s over. Thought that made the story a bit thin – bioware have created a fantastic universe, but instead of immersing your self in it like you did in the first one a lot of the time you seem to be sort of skimming round the edges of it.

    In the end I think ME2 could have benefited from a longer/better/more in depth main quest, more actual side quests (What happened to Hackett and 5th fleet!?), a little less of the ‘lets tone down the RPG aspects’ and finally the inclusion of a charismatic main villain. The collector general and his ilk were nothing on Saren (which is really quiet sad because he was really just a run of the mill bad buy).

    That said I did have a decent amount of fun playing ME2. Just no where as much as I had playing the first one and KOTOR.

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