It’s only eight days to go until Mass Effect 2 is released and due to it including a character import I’m playing through the first one again to create the ‘perfect’ save. Ideally I want my character to be a female level 60 soldier with paragon alignment and all sidemissions [bar the planetary collection ones, but including the party member ones] complete. In addition I would also like to complete the game on hardcore and insanity difficulty which means it’s even going to take longer.
I’m currently on my fifth playthrough since the game’s release, although only the second one on this 360 as I sold my original one back in 2008 and had to delete the saves. I still love the game as much as I did when I first played it and when I first completed it, but there are a few things I would like to see improved in the second one. Perhaps some of these improvements have been announced before, but I haven’t read or watched anything about the game since last summer due to not wanting anything spoiled with the exception of the ‘fishtanks’ article, the one announcing the celebrity cast, the news that Jack Wall will again be scoring the game and the save import.
In no particular order:
- A better use of the A button. Currently the A button is both run/sprint and interact and more often than not I find myself running just to trigger a conversation or look at a sign.
- Fewer doors that are just scenery to give the impression of a much larger area. Noveria is a particularly good example for this. The main administration section has at least four doors that are just part of the scenery and inaccessible. Don’t show me areas I can’t access, it takes away the realism.
- The inability to talk to some people. Sure, many people in the game don’t have anything to talk about or repeat a set number of phrases, but some, again especially in Noveria, can’t be highlighted in the first place. Why let me highlight this ERCS guard yet not the one ten metres away?
- Only being able to talk to party members on the Normandy. Of course people would rarely consider the heat of battle to talk about their problematic upbringing or the imminent death of their entire species, but there’s plenty of downtime on planets in between missions. Time that could be spent with a little chat here and there to break up the constant collecting and fetching. Dragon Age Origins had a good system in allowing some private chat on missions with only the very private and intimate ones in camp.
- Too many weapons upgrades. Yes, customisation is awesome, but there are limits. Too many different bullets/heat sinks/combat sensors/barrels/combat optics/stabilizers for every single weapon and party member. Talking about items..
- Too much loot. Of course realism would dictate that every killed person drops an assault rifle, a shotgun, a pistol, a sniper rifle and their lunchbag and even though Mass Effect doesn’t enforce this a hundred percent all the time there are still far too many items. That’s excluding storage containers and wall safes.
- Money is worthless. Due to the game having far too much loot and the shop items rarely being better than items already equipped money is entirely useless. In my current playthrough which is about 40% into the second one with this character I have over 8.8million credits and I wouldn’t even be able to gamble that all away!
- The hacking/overriding system. I like the button sequencing, even though I don’t tend to be a big fan of Quick Time Events or the like, but seeing the game drops far too much loot and there’s no point in selling it, it’s too easy to just convert it into Omni-gel and use it to bypass all the hacking and overriding.
- Inconsistent gameplay settings. I’ve just realised that for some reason unknown to me my difficulty setting has reverted from hardcore down to veteran. I’m not sure when it happened, but even completing this playthrough will not unlock the higher difficulty. Why did the setting change?
- Party members weapons selections. So Wrex has this ability with the shotgun which obviously means he never uses the shotgun. If I want him to use it, I first have to get him to switch and only then can activate it. This is only a few seconds, but when pausing/unpausing during battle surrounded by multiple enemies it’s a few long seconds.
- Thresher Maw’s. I still can’t stand them..
- This. BioWare, please elaborate.