Mass Effect 2 is a third-person science-fiction action RPG developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts for the Xbox 360 and PC on January 26, 2010 (and the PlayStation 3 almost a year later).
Set two years later after the events of the original Mass Effect, players control Commander Shepard as he (or she) teams up with Cerberus, a human supremacist organization that resurrected him after his violent death from an unknown force, to investigate why human colonies are being abducted. Along the way, Shepard must assemble an elite inter-specie team from the dark, seedy underbelly of the galaxy, and prepare for what appears to be a suicide mission.
It has similar, but significantly redesigned gameplay – such as the ability to interrupt conversations via renegade and paragon actions, a completely revamped inventory system, health regeneration as opposed to requiring the use of medigel, and an improved combat system that includes facilitating cover, as well as altered class development options. Mass Effect 2 focuses much more on shooter aspects than the first installment did although the dialogue trees and streamlined RPG mechanics are still present. Mass Effect 2 has been positioned as the dark second act of the trilogy.Players once again fill the shoes of Commander Shepard, the main protagonist from the first game and allows veteran players of the first title to import their saves allowing for a variety of decisions to carry over to Mass Effect 2. None of the gear, abilities, credits, and etc, however, will be carried over, but characters continued in this manner do get a credit, ability, and experience bonus. Due to the many gameplay changes from the first game, players are allowed to change the appearance, but not gender, and the class of Commander Shepard upon importing their save file from Mass Effect.
The PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2, released on January 18, 2011, uses an enhanced graphics engine while including the Blood Dragon Armor, Kasumi: Stolen Memory, Overlord, and Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC for free. In addition, because the original Mass Effect was never released on the PlayStation 3, the game includes an interactive digital comic which retells the events of Mass Effect while allowing players to make key decisions about the story (which, in turn, applies the decisions to the player's created character). This comic, known as Mass Effect: Genesis, was later released for the Xbox 360 and PC as paid DLC. The PlayStation 3 version also has exclusive paid DLC consisting of pre-order content from the Xbox 360 and PC versions.
Mass Effect 2 has radical gameplay changes since the first installment; however, overall the basis of the game remains the same. Commander Shepard must acquire a team, can use this team in missions, but only two squadmates at a time, and levels up as the game progresses. The game remains a third person, cover based shooter. The most radical gameplay changes are the re-assortment of classes, weapons skills and the combat experience. Classes have been refined and there abilities have been changed to add more impact, meanwhile weapons have been assorted into groups. The radial menu to use skills remains intact, but unlike the first game, only one skill can be used at a time. In addition, a global cooldown for powers is employed rather than the individual cooldowns used in the previous game.
The inventory has also been radically redefined as an inventory "menu" is almost non-existent and "loot" has been limited to money and weapons upgrades. The player chooses his load-out before a mission, and can change his armor at an armory in his/her cabin. The overall HUD (Heads-Up Display) has also been radically changed. Health is regenerative, and enemies health/armor/shields are all shown in bars when a player's reticule hovers over them. Combat has been changed by opting out of unlimited ammo and adding ammo through the use of "heat sinks." These are standard for all of Shepard's weapons and are used throughout the galaxy being dropped by almost any dead enemy. Heavy weapons have been added as an extra weapon class to give Commander Shepard a strategic advantage when a situation goes out of control. These use Power Cells as their ammunition system, and like the heat sinks are universal in all heavy weapons. The heavy weapons range from the Arc Projector, which fires out lightning, to the M-920 Cain which causes a miniature nuclear explosion.
The overall tone of the game is also darker and grittier. While the first game had Shepard touring the Citadel and exploring the Mass Effect universe the second game is more linear. The story has multiple uses of crime gangs, mercenary groups, and warlords and takes the player through the darker part of the galaxy. This includes slums in Omega, and war-torn worlds such as the krogan homeworld of Tuchanka.
Dialogue Trees/ Interrupt Feature
In terms of dialogue, a new interrupt feature have been added where the player is given the option to interrupt a conversation by performing either a Renegade or Paragon action. Also, having the option for paragon/renegade dialogue choices is no longer managed by a skill, but instead by the overall points a player has accumulated over the course of the game, which is defined by his/her actions.
Hammerhead (Mako's replacement)
The Mako has not made a return, and instead planetary scanning has taken its place. Planetary Scanning opts out of landing on planets that look, for the most part, the same and instead the player takes control of the Normandy and scans a planet for minerals which can be used for upgrades. Instead of landing on planets to do sidequests, Shepard can partake in "N7 Missions" which offer more depth and a more varied amount of scenery. The Hammerhead was added later through free DLC which tries to refine the Mako experience.
Mass Effect 2 allows the player to use a save-import system, wherein a player can import their character from Mass Effect. This imports their character's look, and choices made in the first game which will have impact in the second game. This will effect whether certain characters appear or not, whether some quests are available, and reactions from people around the player to his/her previous actions. This tracking of choices will continue onwards to Mass Effect 3.
New players to the game can choose from six different classes for Commander Shepard, each focusing on a different set of abilities for use in combat situations. These abilities are split into three categories:
Combat - Focused on weapon efficiency and physical fitness. Combat users primarily have the ability to use different ammo types for their weapons.
Biotic - Focused on special abilities using the character's bio-amp implants. Biotic users primarily have the ability to manipulate dark energy fields, which can cause direct damage and disarray to enemies.
Tech - Focused on special abilities using the character's omni-tool. Tech users primarily have the ability to throw elemental attacks at enemies.
Pure combat specialists who, through intense weapons training, can focus directly on their targets for lethal accuracy. They can also use various ammo types to cut through different defenses.
Initial Weapon Training: Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Heavy Pistols, Heavy Weapons
Passive Talent (Combat Mastery) - Grants Shepard bonuses to health, weapon damage, running speed, and Paragon/Renegade points. Final evolution is a choice between Commando, which further boosts weapon damage and running speed while adding a bonus for power damage, and Shock Trooper, which further boosts health and Paragon/Renegade points while adding a bonus for power duration.
Active Powers (Combat, One-Use):
Active Powers (Combat, Ammo Type):
Tech-savvy combat specialists with a stealthy mix of combat and technical expertise, including their exclusive ability to cloak themselves from both sight and radar detection. They are also masterful snipers (as time slows down for a brief moment while looking through a scope of a Sniper Rifle).
Initial Weapon Training: Sniper Rifles, Submachine Guns, Heavy Pistols, Heavy Weapons
Passive Talent (Operative) - Grants Shepard bonuses to health, weapon damage, power recharge speed, Paragon/Renegade points, and the slowdown effect when aiming down Sniper Rifle sights. Final evolution is a choice between Assassin, which further boosts weapon damage and the slowdown effect while adding a bonus for power damage, and Agent, which further boosts health, power recharge speed, and Paragon/Renegade points while adding a bonus for power duration.
Active Powers (Combat):
Active Powers (Tech):
High-risk, high-reward combat specialists focused on close-range biotic skirmishes, thanks to their biotic Charge ability (which closes the distance quickly and painfully).
Initial Weapon Training: Submachine Guns, Shotguns, Heavy Pistols, Heavy Weapons
Passive Talent (Assault Mastery) - Grants Shepard bonuses to health, weapon damage, power recharge speed, and Paragon/Renegade points. Final evolution is a choice between Destroyer, which further boosts weapon damage while adding a bonus for power damage, and Champion, which further boosts health, power recharge speed, and Paragon/Renegade points while adding a bonus for power duration.
Active Powers (Combat):
Active Powers (Biotic):
Specialists in both biotic and tech abilities who controls the battlefield for their squads, thanks to their Tech Armor, which gives them extra damage protection (which detonates when destroyed, damaging nearby enemies).
Initial Weapon Training: Submachine Guns, Heavy Pistols, Heavy Weapons
Passive Talent (Defender) - Grants Shepard bonuses to health, power recharge speed, and Paragon/Renegade points. Final evolution is a choice between Guardian, which further boosts all three bonuses, and Raider, which further boosts power recharge speed while adding a bonus for power damage.
Active Powers (Biotic):
Active Powers (Tech):
Pure biotic specialists who are best at defeating enemies without firing a single shot. Along with biotic powers that throw people off their feet (Throw and Pull), Adepts can launch a mass effect field known as Singularity, which leaves enemies briefly helpless in orbit.
Initial Weapons Training: Submachine Guns, Heavy Pistols, Heavy Weapons
Passive Talent (Biotic Mastery) - Grants Shepard bonuses to health, power recharge speed, and Paragon/Renegade points. Final evolution is a choice between Bastion, which further boosts all three bonuses while adding a bonus for power duration, and Nemesis, which further boosts power recharge speed while adding a bonus for power damage.
Active Powers (Biotic):
Pure technical specialists who are most effective at disabling or incapacitating enemy units. They can deploy large, moving Combat Drones which distract the enemy while harassing them with an array of attacks.
Initial Weapons Training: Submachine Guns, Heavy Pistols, Heavy Weapons
Passive Talent (Tech Mastery) - Grants Shepard bonuses to health, power recharge speed, Paragon/Renegade points, and cost towards Normandy research projects. Final evolution is a choice between Mechanic, which further boosts all four bonuses while adding a bonus for power duration, and Demolisher, which further boosts power recharge speed and cost towards Normandy research projects while adding a bonus for power damage.
Active Powers (Tech):
All classes also have access to Unity, which is a non-upgradable active power (with limited supply of medi-gels that can only be restored by encountering medical kits) that revives fallen squadmates. Each revived squadmate costs one medi-gel. Shepard starts the game with the capacity to carry three medi-gels at a time, and can upgrade the capacity up to eight with special Medi-Gel Capacity research upgrades. The Trauma Module research upgrade also heals Shepard and his/her squad to full health when Unity is used. The Emergency Shielding research upgrade also recharges the shields of Shepard and his/her squad to full shields when Unity is used.
By conversing with their squadmates out of combat and making them loyal, players can also unlock bonus active powers (known as Bonus Powers, which consist of certain squadmates' active powers). Each squadmate carries one active power that can be used as a bonus power once players complete the squadmate's special Loyalty Mission. Shepard can only carry one Bonus Power at a time. (He can switch out powers, at a price, as a research upgrade).
The base game includes thirteen AI companions that can join Shepard (two at a time) in all of his/her combat missions. Not all members can be chosen from in one save file, as some events affect who lives and dies at certain points of the game.
Keeping squadmates loyal to Shepard is important for the crew's morale. Conversing with squadmates at opportunistic times and later performing their special Loyalty Mission grants special rewards for each squadmate loyal:
- Their unique active power for Shepard to use as a Bonus Power.
- Their alternate costume.
- Better odds for surviving any potential suicide mission.
- An Achivement/Trophy (Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions only)
However, at key points in the story, loyalties can come into question as Shepard may have to make tough decisions between conflicting crew members.
Jacob Taylor is a biotic human soldier who survived the Geth attack on Eden Prime (as part of the Systems Alliance Army) and later joined Cerberus as Miranda Lawson's "lieutenant". After teaming up with Commander Shepard during the firefight on the Lazarus Research Station and the investigation on Freedom's Progress, he joins Shepard's crew as the Armory Officer, maintaining the crew's weaponry. He is also a potential romance option for Shepard (female only).
He is automatically recruited during the mission Prologue: Awakening.
Weapons: Shotguns, Heavy Pistols
Passive Talent (Cerberus Operative) - Grants Jacob bonuses to health and weapon damage. Final evolution is a choice between Cerberus Veteran, which further boosts health, and Cerberus Specialist, which further boosts weapon damage.
Genetically engineered "to be perfect in every way", Miranda Lawson is a human Cerberus officer specializing in both biotics and tech. After overseeing the development of the Lazarus Project, Miranda joins Shepard and Jacob Taylor after the Lazarus Research Station falls under attack. She soon joins the crew as Shepard's second-in-command. She is also a potential romance option for Shepard (male only).
She is automatically recruited after the mission Prologue: Awakening.
Weapons: Submachine Guns, Heavy Pistols
Passive Talent (Cerberus Officer) - Grants Miranda bonuses to health, weapon damage, squad health, and squad weapon damage. Final evolution is a choice between Cerberus Leader, which further boosts health, weapon damage, and squad weapon damage, and Cerberus Tactician, which further boosts health, weapon damage, and squad health.
Formerly with Citadel Security Service's Investigation Division, Garrus Vakarian is a battle-hardened turian rebel with a proficiency of rifles and an impatience for justice. After joining Commander Shepard's hunt for Saren Arterius and surviving the Battle of the Citadel, he led (under the secret identity of "Archangel") a team of eleven vigilantes to disrupt mercenary groups in Omega. After Shepard's squad aids Garrus in his last stand against a full-on mercenary assault (in which Garrus receives a major wound), Garrus joins the crew. He is also a potential romance option for Shepard (female only).
He is automatically recruited after the mission Dossier: Archangel.
Weapons: Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles
Passive Talent (Turian Rebel) - Grants Garrus bonuses to health, weapon damage, and power damage. Final evolution is a choice between Turian Renegade, which further boosts weapon damage and power damage, and Turian Survivor, which further boosts health.
Bred and educated inside a stasis tank by the krogan warlord Okeer, Grunt is a krogan super-soldier, genetically engineered to exemplify the best traits of the krogan race. If Commander Shepard frees him from his statis tank in the Normandy, the violent and unpredictable Grunt joins him/her in order to satisfy his natural desire for violence.
He can be optionally recruited after the mission Dossier: The Warlord (by activating the tank in the Normandy).
Weapons: Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles
Passive Talent (Krogan Berserker) - Grants Grunt bonuses to health, weapon damage, and health regeneration rate. Final evolution is a choice between Krogan Pureblood, which further boosts health and health regeneration rate, and Krogan Warlord, which further boosts weapon damage.
Known as "Subject Zero", Jack is a psychotic and ruthless criminal and is rumored to be the most powerful human biotic in the galaxy. After an early life as a test subject in a Cerberus facility, she escaped and led a life of piracy until being captured by the Blue Suns mercenary group. She reluctantly joins Commander Shepard after he helps her escape the mercenary prison ship Purgatory (after a deal to buy her went wrong) in exchange for access to the Cerberus databases. She is also a potential romance option for Shepard (male only).
She is recruited after the mission Dossier: The Convict.
Weapons: Shotguns, Heavy Pistols
Passive Talent (Subject Zero) - Grants Jack bonuses to health, weapon damage, and power recharge speed. Final evolution is a choice between Primal Adept, which further boosts health and power recharge speed, and Primal Vanguard, which further boosts weapon damage.
A moral consequentialist, Mordin Solus is a quick-talking salarian geneticist whose technical combat experience came from his enrollment in the salarian elite Special Tasks Group. After working on strengthening the "genophage" (a genetic virus used to control krogan population numbers), Mordin became a doctor and built a clinic on Omega. After curing (with the help of Commander Shepard) a bio-engineered plague spread by Collector-following vorcha, Mordin joins the crew to investigate Collector biology.
He is recruited after the mission Dossier: The Professor.
Weapons: Submachine Guns, Heavy Pistols
Passive Talent (Salarian Scientist) - Grants Mordin bonuses to health, weapon damage, and shields. Final evolution is a choice between Salarian Genius, which further boosts health and shields, and Salarian Savant, which further boosts weapon damage.
Bound by a strict code of justice and honor, Samara is an asari justicar who dedicates her life to eliminate evil from the galaxy. Formerly a mercenary, she swore herself to the Code after giving birth to daughters suffering from a rare and deadly (for other people) genetic disorder. After Commander Shepard helps her find the whereabouts of her deadliest daughter, Morinth, she swears oath to him/her joins the crew. She is believed to be a potential romance option for Shepard (both male and female).
She can be optionally recruited by completing the mission Dossier: The Justicar.
Weapons: Assault Rifles, Submachine Guns
Passive Talent (Asari Justicar) - Grants Samara bonuses to health, weapon damage, and power recharge speed. Final evolution is a choice between Sapiens Justicar, which further boosts health and power recharge speed, and Caedo Justicar, which further boosts health and weapon damage.
One of Samara's daughters, Morinth is a seductive asari murderer suffering from a rare genetic disorder known as Ardat-Yakshi, which causes her to kill and absorb the power of her mates while joining minds with them. Being hunted by her mother (with the help of Commander Shepard), she can join Shepard's crew (under Samara's identity) if, after faking a romance, Shepard decides to betray Samara. She is believed to be a potential romance option for Shepard (both male and female).
She can be optionally recruited by first recruiting Samara and then by completing the mission Samara: The Ardat-Yakshi in a certain way. This outcome, however, removes Samara from the crew.
Weapons: Assault Rifles, Submachine Guns
Passive Talent (Ardat-Yakshi) - Grants Morinth bonuses to health, weapon damage, and power recharge speed. Final evolution is a choice between Endua-Yakshi, which further boosts health and power recharge speed, and Malian-Yakshi, which further boosts health and weapon damage.
Previously a squadmate of Commander Shepard in the hunt for Saren Arterius and the Battle of the Citadel, Tali'Zorah vas Neema (formerly Tali'Zorah nar Rayya) is a quarian machinist who assists the Migrant Fleet by leading top-secret missions. After encountering Shepard in Freedom's Progress, she can later be found in the Geth-controlled planet Haestrom to study the planet's prematurely dying sun. After being rescued by Shepard, she reluctantly joins his/her crew (knowing very well how xenophobic Cerberus is). She is also a potential romance option for Shepard (male only).
She can be optionally recruited by completing the mission Dossier: Tali.
Weapons: Shotguns, Heavy Pistols
Passive Talent (Quarian Machinist) - Grants Tali bonuses to health, weapon damage, and power duration. Final evolution is a choice between Quarian Engineer, which further boosts health and power duration, and Quarian Machinist, which further boosts health and weapon damage.
Thane Krios is a drell assassin and is believed to be one of the most deadly assassins in the universe. Slowly dying due to a disease known as Kepral's Syndrome, he is silent and spiritual (praying for forgiveness after each assassination). After assassinating a corrupt asari emissary in front of Commander Shepard, he joins the crew in hope to redeem himself through death in the possible suicide mission. He is also a potential romance option for Shepard (female only).
He can be optionally recruited by completing the mission Dossier: The Assassin.
Weapons: Sniper Rifles, Submachine Guns
Passive Talent (Drell Assassin) - Grants Thane bonuses to health and weapon damage. Final evolution is a choice between Drell Marksman, which further boosts weapon damage, and Drell Veteran, which further boosts health.
Legion is a unique mobile geth platform, host to ten times the number of geth programs than other platforms (giving it a higher form of consciousness) and designed to directly interact with organics. While its backstory and motives are mysterious, it assists Shepard's squad in their search for the IFF Device in the Derelict Reaper. After being disabled by a husk, it is recovered by Shepard and held deactivated in the Normandy. Shepard can decide to either sell it to Cerberus (for a large amount of currency) or activate it (and, after interrogation, recruits it to assist Shepard in his/her mission).
It can be optionally recruited after the mission Reaper IFF (by activating its body in the Normandy).
Weapons: Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles
Passive Talent (Geth Infiltrator) - Grants Legion bonuses to health, weapon damage, and power recharge speed. Final evolution is a choice between Geth Assassin, which further boosts weapon damage and power recharge speed, and Geth Trooper, which further boosts health and power recharge speed.
Feared as ruthless and relentless, Zaeed Massani is a human mercenary and bounty hunter who can be contracted by The Illusive Man to assist Commander Shepard in the potential suicide mission. In exchange, he wants help with another mission to liberate a refinery from mercenary control. (But for some reason, he has a personal stake in this...)
He can be optionally recruited by completing the mission Dossier: The Veteran, which is only available if the player has downloaded the Zaeed: The Price of Freedom DLC).
Weapons: Sniper Rifles, Assault Rifles
Passive Talent (Mercenary Veteran) - Grants Zaeed bonuses to health and weapon damage. Final evolution is a choice between Mercenary Warlord, which further boosts weapon damage, and Mercenary Commando, which further boosts health.
Confident with a clean criminal record, Kasumi Goto is a human thief and a master of both stealth and technical expertise. After being aware of Commander Shepard's resurrection, she encounters him/her silently, proposing to join the crew on their mission. In return, she wants Shepard to help her pull off a major heist. (For some reason, it's not about the money...)
She can be optionally recruited by completing the mission Dossier: The Master Thief, which is only available if the player has downloaded the Kasumi: Stolen Memory DLC.
Weapons: Submachine Guns, Heavy Pistols
Passive Talent (Master Thief) - Grants Kasumi bonuses to health, weapon damage, and power recharge speed. Final evolution is a choice between Master Infiltrator, which further boosts health and power recharge speed, and Master Saboteur, which further boosts health and weapon damage.
All powers in the game have the ability to 'evolve' into one of two different versions upon unlocking the final rank, which allows the player greater customization of their character.
Adrenaline Rush - Temporarily slows down time (allowing players to line up the perfect headshot) while increasing both weapon and melee damage. Final evolution is a choice between Hardened Adrenaline Rush, which adds damage resistance while Adrenaline Rush is in effect, and Heightened Adrenaline Rush, which increases both the slowdown effect and weapon/melee damage.
Concussive Shot - Fires a single high-powered round (using no ammo from the player's weapon) that knocks down and damages the target. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Concussive Shot, which adds more push force and damage to the blast, and Concussive Blast, which gives the shot a 3-meter impact radius (allowing it to knock down multiple enemies at one time).
Flashbang Grenade - Launches a concussive explosive that damages and incapacitates targets near the blast. Final evolution is a choice between Frag Grenade, which increases the damage inflicted, and Improved Flash Grenade, which increases the explosive's impact radius and duration of incapacitation.
Fortification - Temporarily reinforces armor with a non-Newtonian fluid that increases damage resistance (in similar vein to Barrier and Geth Shield Boost). Final evolution is a choice between Improved Fortification, which increases the power's duration, and Heavy Fortification, which increases the power's effectiveness.
Inferno Grenade - Launches a explosive projectile that sends flaming fragments flying in multiple directions, engulfing nearby enemies (and squadmates) in flames. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Inferno Grenade, which deals more intensive damage, and Inferno Blast Grenade, which increases both the impact radius and the number of fragments.
Barrier - Temporarily reinforces armor with a biotic field that increases damage resistance (in similar vein to Fortification and Geth Shield Boost). Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Barrier, which increases the power's effectiveness, and Improved Barrier, which increases the power's duration.
Charge - Charges the user into a target (even through solid objects) with a power collision that inflicts damage while knocking enemies backwards. At rank 2 and above, the power also restores part of the user's shields. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Charge, which increases the force of the collision while temporarily slowing down time after a charge, and Area Charge, which creates a burst on impact that deals the same effect to nearby enemies.
Dominate - Temporarily brainwashes an organic enemy into a friendly ally. At rank 2 and above, it also creates temporary biotic barriers around the hacked ally, increasing its effectiveness against other enemies. Final evolution is a choice between Enhanced Dominate, which increases the barriers and power duration, and Group Dominate, which creates an impact radius (allowing it to brainwash multiple organics at the same time).
Pull - Fires a small mass effect field at the enemy, yanking the victim towards the user. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Pull, which increases the power's duration, and Pull Field, which creates a burst on impact that deals the same effect to other enemies near it.
Reave - Surrounds a target with a biotic field that leeches off the target, dealing damage over time while providing damage protection to the user (if the power is used against an organic enemy). Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Reave, which increases the power's duration, and Area Reave, which creates a burst on impact that deals the same effect to other enemies near it.
Shockwave - Sends a cascading shockwave along the ground in the intended direction, dealing damage while knocking enemies back. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Shockwave, which increases the force of each blast, and Improved Shockwave, which increases the radius of each blast.
Singularity - Creates a large mass effect sphere (similar to a black hole) that draws unprotected enemies into the field (causing them to float helpless in the air) while stopping protected enemies. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Singularity, which increases the singularity duration, singularity hold duration, and number of targets affected, and Wide Singularity, which increases the radius of the field's gravitational pull.
Slam - Lifts the target with a biotic field and slams the victim to the ground with high force. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Slam, which increases the power's effectiveness, and Crippling Slam, which incapacitates the affected target for eight seconds after the slam.
Stasis - Causes an enemy to be temporarily locked in a mass effect field, stopping the victim in its tracks but making it immune to all damage. Does not work against some armored targets. Enemies break out of Stasis after a short amount of time, in which they are temporarily incapacitated (and weak to all forms of damage). Consecutive Stasis effects against the same victim cause the effect to wear off faster. Final evolution is a choice between Deep Stasis, which increases the power's duration, and Enhanced Stasis, which reduces the immunity of consecutive Stasis effects.
Throw - Uses a biotic blast to toss enemies away from the user (damaging victims that smack into objects). Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Throw, which increases the power's effectiveness, and Throw Field, which creates a burst on impact that deals the same effect to other enemies near it.
Warp - Spawns a mass effect field on a target that damages it over time and stops the victim's health regeneration process. It also detonates targets affected by other biotic effects. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Warp, which increases the damage inflicted, and Unstable Warp, which increases the biotic detonation effectiveness.
AI Hacking - Temporarily hacks a synthetic enemy into a friendly ally. At rank 2 and above, it also creates temporary shielding around the hacked ally, increasing its effectiveness against other enemies. Final evolution is a choice between Improved AI Hacking, which increases the shielding and power duration, and Area AI Hacking, which creates an impact radius (allowing it to hack multiple synthetics at the same time).
Combat Drone - Spawns a synthetic combat drone that move towards nearby enemies, distracting them while dealing shield damage with electrical pulses. Disappears after its shields are destroyed or after a certain period of time. Final evolution is a choice between Attack Drone, which beefs up the electric shock to deal damage towards health and armor, and Explosive Drone, which forces the drone to explode when destroyed, dealing damage to nearby enemies.
Cryo Blast - Fires a high-explosive blast of ice that snap-freezes nearby unprotected enemies (restricting health regeneration and allowing them to be shattered easily) or chill nearby protected enemies (slowing their movement while weakening their armor). Final evolution is a choice between Deep Cryo Blast, which increases the freeze duration, and Full Cryo Blast, which increases the power's impact radius.
Energy Drain - Fires an energy pulse that steals shield, barrier, armor, and synthetic power, restoring the user's shields (while damaging the enemy in the process). Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Energy Drain, which deals more damage, and Area Drain, which increases the power's impact radius.
Geth Shield Boost - Temporarily reinforces armor with geth shield technology that increases damage resistance (in similar vein to Fortification and Barrier). Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Geth Shield Boost, which increases the power's effectiveness, and Improved Geth Shield Boost, which increases weapon damage while the power is in effect.
Incinerate - Fires a high-explosive blast of plasma that deals heavy damage to armor and health while giving the target a burning after-effect, slowing damaging the opponent over time while stopping health regeneration and making certain enemies panic. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Incinerate, which increases the amount of damage dealt, and Incineration Blast, which increases the power's impact radius.
Neural Shock - Fires a red electrical shock that temporarily paralyzes organic enemies. Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Neural Shock, which increases the power's duration, and Neural Shockwave, which creates an impact radius (allowing it to paralyze multiple organics at the same time).
Overload - Fires an electrical pulse that overloads enemy electronics, dealing heavy damage to shields, barriers, and synthetic lifeforms. At rank 2 and above, the pulse temporarily paralyzes synthetic enemies. At rank 3 and above, the pulse overheats enemy weapons (temporarily disarming them). Final evolution is a choice between Heavy Overload, which increases the power's damage, and Area Overload, which increases the power's impact radius.
Shadow Strike (Kasumi only) - Triggers the user's Tactical Cloak, appears behind a target, and delivers a devastating sneak attack (which both damages and incapacitates). Final evolution is a choice between Deadly Shadow Strike, which increases the damage inflicted, and Rapid Shadow Strike, which reduces the recharge time after a successful assassination with the Shadow Strike.
Tactical Cloak - Allows the user to become invisible for a limited amount of time (or until the user either fires his/her weapon or uses another power). At rank 2 and above, the user's weapon damage is increased while the power is in effect. Final evolution is a choice between Enhanced Cloak, which increases the power duration, and Assassination Cloak, which increases the weapon damage boost.
Tech Armor - Deploys a special holographic armor that boosts the maximum shields of the user by a certain percentage. When the user loses all shields, the armor detonates into a pulse of energy, damaging nearby enemies while knocking down nearby unprotected enemies. Final evolution is a choice between Assault Armor, which increases the effectiveness of the armor detonation while giving a shield boost after detonation, and Power Armor, which increases the maximum shield boost while giving a damage boost for all other active powers.
Primarily used by Combat classes, players can activate special ammo type powers that changes the properties of all shots fired (usually causing a damage increase against certain defenses). There are no penalties for using these ammo types (though switching between ammo types causes a recharge delay).
Final evolution for each ammo type is a choice between an Improved version, which further increases the power's effectiveness, and a Squad version, which grants the effects to all squadmates.
Armor-Piercing Ammo - Increased weapon damage against both health and armor.
Cryo Ammo - Shots have a chance to temporarily freeze enemies in place, making them more susceptible to damage. Frozen enemies can also be shattered for an instant kill.
Disruptor Ammo - Increased weapon damage against shields and synthetic enemies. Shots have a chance to overload synthetic enemies or overheat enemy weaponry (which, in either case, temporarily disables them).
Incendiary Ammo - Shots cause fire damage to enemies, igniting most enemies (which causes further damage and sometimes causes them to panic). Improved version adds an explosive charge to each shot, igniting enemies within a 3-meter radius of the bullet impact.
Shredder Ammo - Increases weapon damage against unprotected organics.
Warp Ammo - Increased weapon damage against biotic barriers, armor, and health, with further damage dealt to enemies being affected by biotic effects.
In Mass Effect 2 the number of weapons has been increased since the last game. This included adding completely new weapons, such as the Heavy Weapons subset. BioWare has also released DLC packs that include more weapons. The weapons can be classified into six categories and 3-4 weapons within each subset excluding the Heavy Weapons subset which include:
- M-8 Avenger: A common, versatile, military-grade assault rifle. Accurate when fired in short bursts, and deadly when fired on full auto. The Avenger is effective at penetrating shields, armor, and biotic barriers. The modular design and inexpensive components of the Avenger make it a favorite of military groups and mercenaries alike. The avenger has a reputation for being tough, reliable, easy to use, and easy to upgrade. Manufactured by the Elkoss Combine.
- M-15 Vindicator: A battle rifle favored by assassins and elite mercenaries that fires in highly accurate five-round bursts, and effective against armor, shields, and biotic barriers, Upgrades the Avenger Assault Rifle. Manufactured by Elanus Risk Control Services for the Blue Suns mercenary group, the Vindicator is quickly gaining popularity in the Terminus Systems.
- M-76 Revenant: Unleashes a storm of deadly high-velocity slugs. Less accurate than an assault rifle, but has a high ammo capacity and deals much more damage. Effective against armor, shields, and biotic barriers. Upgrades the Vindicator Battle Rifle. This custom-made machine gun features technology not widely available. Protected against replication by sophisticated Fabrication Rights Management technology, only the richest and most powerful warlords can afford this weapon.
- M-96 Mattock Heavy Rifle: Bringing a flash from the past, the Mattock is an old rifle modified to work with thermal clips. The idea of bringing the gun on the ship was of joint origin coming up from Miranda Lawson, and the ship's AI, EDI. Firing at medium range and being semi automatic, the Mattock is effective against armor, shields, and barriers. The Mattock is a semi-automatic hybrid weapon with an assault rifle's low heat production and a sniper rifle's punch. Though it does not have a sniper rifle's precision scope, marksmen favor its increased power over that of an assault rifle to bring down hardened targets, its lack of a fully automatic setting is advertised as a feature rather than a shortcoming since it curbs a soldier's tendency to spray inaccurate fire under stress. (Firepower Weapons Pack)
- Geth Pulse Rifle: A Geth assault rifle that is effective against shields and biotic barriers. They are rarely recovered from the battlefield, and are generally considered difficult to maintain or repair and have yet to be replicated by any organic species. Though it is comparable to the M-15 Vindicator in its effectiveness, there are two major anomalies that differentiate it from other assault rifles. First, it has a variable rate of fire due its mass effect field generation technology following a sine curve. Second, its slugs are lighter than standard M-8 Avenger slugs, but they are encased in a phasic envelope. It should be noted that this weapon is only available to the player on a Hardcore or Insanity-level play-through. It can be found on Haestrom.
- M-22 Eviscerator Shotgun: A non-military civilian designed shotgun. The unique ammunition generator utilized by the Eviscerator makes it a powerful anti-armor weapon with a longer range than standard shotguns. The illegal nature of the design prevents this weapon from be distributed to military entities. This lethal close range weapon is available as part of a download including the Cerberus Assault Armor and can be acquired through the Cerberus Network.
- M-23 Katana: Common military shotgun. Deadly at short range, but ineffective at long range. Very effective against shields and biotic barriers, but weak against armor. Manufactured by Ariake Technologies, the Katana is a common mercenary weapon and is also popular on colonies with varren infestations.
- M-27 Scimitar: An elite military shotgun capable of rapid fire, this weapon is deadly at short range, but ineffective at long range. Effective against shields and biotic barriers, but weak against armor. Upgrades the Katana Shotgun. Manufactured by Ariake Technologies, the Scimitar features twin mass effect generators, giving it a more rapid rate of fire than a traditional shotgun. This weapon was created for the Eclipse mercenary band but is rapidly becoming popular with Blood Pack mercenaries, as well.
- M-300 Claymore: Very rare Krogan shotgun. Deals high damage at short range; less effective at long range. Effective against armor, shields, and biotic barriers. Upgrades the Scimitar Assault Shotgun. The Claymores is of human design but is only used by Krogan as the kickback from a single shot is enough to break a human's arm. Its large slugs are effective against armored targets. Protected by sophisticated Fabrication Rights Management technology, this weapon is nearly impossible to reproduce and its prohibitively expensive.
- Geth Plasma Shotgun: Coming out of one of Cerberus cell's researching the Geth. The Geth Plasma Shotgun is deadly weapon. This three-barreled Geth weapon fires miniature but potent cluster rounds of superconducting projectiles and has a longer range than standard shotguns. A two stage trigger system allows for either quick-fire capacitors or a charge-and-release attack to electrify the projectiles as they exit the weapon. As the rounds hit the target, they fragment and electricity arcs between the pieces, flash-converting the air to conductive plasma. The resulting impact, heat, and electrical charge overloads shields and barriers and causes massive trauma to unarmored targets. (Firepower Weapons Pack)
- M-92 Mantis: Powerful sniper rifle able to take out most targets in a single shot. Incredibly accurate at long range, but rate of fire is slow. Effective against armor, but weaker against shields and biotic barriers. Manufactured by Devlon Industries, the Mantis is primarily used by police and planetary militia groups. The prevalence of kinetic barriers has made this weapon less popular with the military, but it is used more frequently in the Terminus system where defenses are less common.
- M-97 Viper: Rapid-fire military sniper rifle. Incredibly accurate and deadly at long range, these weapons are popular amongst infiltrators and assassins. Very effective against armor; somewhat effective against shields and biotic barriers. Upgrades the Mantis Sniper Rifle. Rosenkov Materials developed this deadly weapon in response to the rising prevalence of kinetic barriers. While kinetic barriers still offer some protection from this weapon, it's sheer power and rapid rate of fire make it capable of quickly killing almost any target, regardless of its defenses.
- M-98 Widow: Accurate and deadly anti-material rifle. Effective against armor, shields, and biotic barriers. Upgrades the Viper Sniper Rifle. Weighing in at 39 kilograms, the Widow Anti-Material Rifle is primarily used by sniper teams in assault missions against armored vehicles or Krogan. While kinetic barriers offer effective protection on vehicles, the kind generated by conventional military field generators are far too weak against the Widow. The Widow was never designed to be carried and fired by a human. Although this modified model can be carried, no ordinary human could fire it without shattering an arm.
- M-29 Incisor: The Incisor is one of a new wave of military and police sniper rifles designed to overload active defenses such as shields. Firing three shots with each pull of the trigger, the Incisor's burst is so fast that all three rounds will be in the target by the time the barrel has moved a millimeter, increasing its stopping power without sacrificing accuracy. As an added benefit, the noise of the burst is comparable to a single rifle shot in duration, making it no easier to locate the sniper by sound. (Aegis Pack or part of Digital Deluxe Edition)
- M-3 Predator: Reliable, accurate sidearm. Effective against armor; weak against shields and biotic barriers. Manufactured by Elanus Risk Control, the Predator is a valued as powerful, deadly, and relatively inexpensive weapon. While it is not generally deployed in the military, where kinetic barriers are common, it's still very popular in the Terminus Systems where these defenses are less common.
- M-6 Carnifex Hand Cannon: Highly accurate and lethal sidearm. Effective against armor; weak against shields and biotic barriers. Upgrades the Predator heavy pistol. The Carnifex is a favored sidearm of mercenary leaders and Eclipse mercenary tech specialists. An expensive but powerful weapon. Its marketing materials feature a charging Krogan with the slogan "Don't you wish Carnifex was at your side?".
- M-5 Phalanx Heavy Pistol: Brought on the ship by Jacob Taylor, the Phalanx are rare but powerful pistols. A highly accurate and lethal sidearm. Effective against armor; weak against shields and biotic barriers. The M5 Phalanx is the product of the Alliance's Offensive Handgun Project that developed a close in weapon to be used on armored or shielded targets with no loss of stopping power in comparison to the soldier's assault rifle. The Phalanx enjoys a ballistics advantage even over most "hand cannons" and features an integral laser sight which is highly visible even in bright lighting conditions. Civilian variants are often purchased by colonists on planets that have particularly dangerous game animals. (Firepower Weapons Pack)
- M-4 Shuriken Machine Pistol: A common but effective submachine gun. Fires three-round bursts, and can be pulsed for a higher rate of fire at the expense of accuracy. Very effective against shields and biotic barriers. As kinetic barriers have grown in popularity, so has the popularity of submachine guns. Manufactured by the Elkoss Combine, the Shuriken Machine Pistol has a reputation for being deadly and easy to use, but is weak against armor.
- M-9 Tempest Submachine Gun: This submachine gun fires in long deadly bursts. Very effective against shields and biotic barriers, inaccurate at long rage. Weak against armor. Upgrades the Shuriken Machine Pistol. The commonality of kinetic barriers has led to increased demand for rapid-fire weapons like the Tempest. Produced by Elanus Risk Control Services for the Eclipse mercenary band, the Tempest is an expensive but deadly addition to anyone's personal arsenal.
- M-12 Locust: The Kassa Fabrications Model 12 Locust is a compact submachine gun developed for the Alliance but now favored by gang enforcers and hitmen. Very effective against shields and biotic barriers. Featuring a complex recoil-reducing mechanism and high-grade autotargeting software, the Locust is a longer-range, more accurate fire than others submachine guns. (Kasumi: Stolen Memories DLC)
- M-100 Grenade Launcher: A rapid fire grenade launcher used by Vorcha mercenaries in the Blood Pack group. Single shorts are able to take out multiple targets and it is useful against armor, shields, and biotic barriers. It is the first heavy weapon that Shepard acquires.
- ML-77 Missile Launcher: A powerful missile launcher that can be easily carried by a single person due to its collapsible design. Missiles are able to distinguish between friends and enemies, locking onto enemy targets and home in on their position.
- M-622 Avalanche: A weapon based on cryo-round technology. The cooling laser collapses it's ammunition into Bose-Einstein condensate, a mass of super-cooled subatomic particles capable of freezing enemies. It is effective against armor, shields, and biotic barriers.
- M-920 Cain: Nicknamed the "Nuke Launcher," this mass effect-technology based weapon contains 25g high-explosive round slugs. By accelerating its ammo to 5km/s, the round generates an explosion matrix on impact, inflicting high damage within a large area and creating the archetypal mushroom cloud. All beings - enemies, allies, and sometimes even the user themselves - are not safe when this weapon is fired.
- Collector Particle Beam: A highly precise and destructive radiation beam is fired at a magnitude that is several orders higher than the amount needed to launch a high-velocity projective via a mass effect field. It is effective against shields, barriers, and armor.
- M-490 Blackstorm Projector: The ammo consists of a few particles of matter within a high-powered mass-increasing field, elevating them to near infinite mass and creating a powerful localized gravity well - a singularity. This draws in all enemies and objects towards its center before explosively hurling them away. This weapon is only accessible through pre-order DLC that was exclusive to certain retail stores.
- M-451 Firestorm: Based on the Turian "Hieras" flamethrower, the weapon fires out an anti-personnel and anti-armor flame in a deadly stream. The Turian design used low-octane hydrocarbons thickened with dentra oil, which humans reverse engineered to create a synthetic composite with almost identical properties that could be fabricated from heavy weapon fuel cells using an omni-tool. This allows the sticky fuel to be spray onto surfaces while burning at 1,600 degrees Celsius. This weapon can only be found during Zaeed Massani's loyalty quest, which is part of the Cerberus Network DLC entitled Zaeed - The Price of Revenge.
- Arc Projector: Uses an invisible laser to ionize the initial target which allows it to be targeted by a powerful electrical bolt, the laser then 'paints' nearby target so that the bolt can jump from one enemy to another with little resistance. This weapon is highly effective against shields and a group of enemies. The arc projector is available as free DLC through the Cerberus Network.
|The Illusive Man|
The head of Cerberus and all of its operations. He has billions of dollars of support from unknown origins and divides Cerberus into groups, each working on an important project. The Illusive Man focuses on humanities' needs first, holding crucial information for humanities survival. He is calm and collected, and is always seen in front of a dying star, smoking a cigarette. He is genetically enhanced, has cybernetically altered eyes, white wavy hair and a cold personality. He will do whatever he must to ensure humanity's survival. It is unknown whether he is the original leader of Cerberus, which splintered off the alliance, or not.
The best pilot in the Alliance, and has now re-joined Shepard under the Cerberus banner. Having a birth defect, known as "Vrolik's Syndrome" his bones are extremely fragile, breaking at the slightest of contact. However, under Cerberus, his condition seemed to be improving. Voiced by Seth Green, he is a brave, comical, and an extraordinary pilot.
The ship's yeoman, serving Shepard by tracking his messages and being his personal assistant, even being able to feed his fish. Kelly is located beside the Galaxy Map on the second floor, and supplies you with your notifications through friendly conversation. Alongside this, Kelly is a psychologist, put on board to monitor the crew, and keep track of psychological profiles in times of high stress. Shepard can romance Kelly, but it isn't as deep as other relationships. It does not affect any other relationships Shepard may have concurrently.
|Urdnot Wrex Wrex makes a return in Mass Effect 2 (if alive) as leader of Clan Urdnot, a progressive Krogan group that seeks to unify the Krogan and make them stronger. His reforms include a no battle zone for women and children so Krogan can breed and not feel in danger. This brings clans together, and if anyone harms Clan Urdnot, the jeopardy of many females are at stake, making other clans less willing to attack.|
Returning from the first game, Liara is now an information broker in Illium, in search of the Shadow Broker. She has matured since the first game and is a lot more aggressive. She asks Shepard to help her find information on a Shadow Broker agent by cracking terminals, and she also takes a primary role in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC.
New Alien Species
The Vorcha are an alien species from a relatively small planet, being in a world with limited resources, these aliens continuously fight and as a result each generation becomes continually stronger. The Vorcha that did escape their home planet did so by acting as stowaways in ships that arrived on their planet. Their main way of communication is via fighting, and are the shortest lived sentient species found, having an average life span of 20 years.
The Drell are a new amphibian-humanoid species. Where humans descended from primates it seems that the Drell are descended from Amphibious life forms. Due to overpopulation on their home planet, Rahkhana, many Drell were granted asylum by the Hanar. Little is known about the Drell throughout the galaxy, but they have a history of proving very efficient killers. This stems largely from their ability to disconnect their mind and body allowing them to perform whatever actions they may need without conscious thought. Thane, a possible party member, is especially infamous. The Drell also possess two pairs of eyelids, one pair which closes vertically, a second closes horizontally.
A hive-minded insect race with advanced technology including beam weapons. They are the race responsible for abducting the humans from the human colonies and in using stasis pods to transport them in. They also are led by a singular leader, who can possess and control any member of the "hive" at any time. Their advanced technology and techno-organic bugs that sedate kidnap victims suggest that Collectors might have some connection with the Reapers. The Collectors are abducting entire human colonies for unknown reasons - these attacks are what Commander Shepard must investigate.
Three new types of husks have been introduced. They are called Praetorians, Scions and Abominations. The Praetorians are flying conglomerates of 30 husks that can self-detonate and shoot lasers at enemies, while the Abominations are running suicide units. Praetorians appear as boss units, presenting more of a challenge to the player than standard enemies. The next step beyond the Husks, Scions, are beings that are the fusion of 3 transformed human beings that are grafted biologically to a weapon.
Three major mercenary groups are encountered throughout Mass Effect 2:
- The Blue Suns, the largest mercenary group consisting of mostly of Turians, Humans, and Batarians started by Zaeed Massani and Vido Santiago.
- The Eclipse are another mercenary group that operate in tight groups and often employ Asari, Salarians, and a few Humans.
- The Blood Pack is a group consisting of Vorcha and Krogan that have been banned from Citadel space.
These mechs include LOKI, YMIR, and FENRIS mechs. LOKI mechs are common and act as a basic security guard often carrying a submachine gun or heavy pistol. YMIR mechs are massive anti-infantry countermeasures carrying mass accelerator cannons and a rocket launcher. These mechs devastate infantry on the battlefield. FENRIS mechs are anti-infantry mechs that resemble wolves or Varren. Discharging electricity with their heads they can easily take down a criminal. Along side this, they can detect weapons and narcotics with advanced sensory systems.
The main adversary throughout the game. Shepherd encounters collectors on numerous occasions fighting Drones, Assassins, and Guardians. At any time the Reaper, Harbinger, can take control of any collector via the Collector General making the possessed collector a mighty foe.
While no longer one of the main enemies you face, the Geth are still present in a few missions. They deploy essentially the same variety of humanoid Geth types as in the first Mass Effect including Troopers, Rocket Troopers, Hunters, Destroyers and Primes. You also encounter the Geth Colossus and Dropship, however absent are the hoppers and the standard sized Armatures.
- Purgatory: A high security starship.
- Illium: A highly advanced Asari colony.
- Tuchanka: The Krogan home-world.
- Omega: An infamous space station inhabited by criminals and other lawless sorts; described by BioWare as the "twisted counterpart to the Citadel."
- Korlus: The recycling center of the universe filled with broken down ships.
- Migrant Fleet: The Quarian fleet used to house its population.
- Freedom's Progress: A human colony attacked by Collectors.
- Horizon: Another human colony attacked by Collectors.
- Haestrom: An old Quarian colony.
- Mnemosyne: A brown dwarf.
The Mass Effect 2 soundtrack was produced by Jack Wall, Sam Hulick, David Kates, and Jimmy Hinson and contains two discs with a total of 27 songs in addition to a separate nine track album of background music from loading screens and specific in-game conversations. In contrast to the first game's soundtrack (a selection of which can be heard via the "radio" in Shepard's cabin), the tracks try to go for a darker tone, to reflect the changes to the game. The tracks are as follows:
|Track No.||Title||Running Time|
|01||The Illusive Man||02.23|
|02||Humans Are Disappearing||02.00|
|04||The Lazarus Project||01.10|
|05||A Rude Awakening||01.39|
|06||The Normandy Reborn||02.06|
|12||An Unknown Enemy||02.41|
|Track No.||Title||Running Time|
|05||The Normandy Attacked||02.11|
|10||The Collector Base||03.52|
|11||The End Run||02.57|
Mass Effect 2: Atmospheric
|Track No.||Title||Running Time|
|01||What The Future Holds||02.41|
|02||Charges of Treason||01.35|
|06||Chatting With Mordin||01.48|
|08||Negotiating With Miranda||01.48|
Mass Effect 2: Combat
|Track No.||Title||Running Time|
|03||Mother vs. Daughter||1:34|
|07||Delivering The Cure||3:06|
|08||Escape From Omega||1:59|
|11||The Long Walk||4:18|
|12||The Human Reaper||1:34|
|13||The Swarms / Shepard's End||1:25|
|14||The Final Reckoning||1:11|
Mass Effect 2: Kasumi's Stolen Memory
|Track No.||Tile||Running Time|
|01||Death From Above||2:59|
|02||Making Our Escape||2:43|
Mass Effect 2: Overlord
|Track No.||Tile||Running Time|
Mass Effect 2: Lair Of The Shadow Broker
|Track No.||Title||Running Time|
|01||As They Enter||1:44|
The collector's edition of the game came in a tin case and included: the full version of Mass Effect 2, a 48-page hard-cover Art of Mass Effect 2 book, a special version of issue one of the Mass Effect: Redemption comic by Dark Horse Comics, a bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes and making-of videos. This edition of the game also includes the "Cerberus Network Access Card" shipped with the normal edition.
Cerberus Network & other DLC
All new copies of the game come with a one-time code that grants players access to the Cerberus Network. The Cerberus Network allows players to download bonus content for Mass Effect 2 (More info of which is included in the DLC section). Players who do not buy a new copy of the game can pay a single fee of $15 (1200 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC) to gain access to the Cerberus Network. On release day, two pieces of content were available for everyone to download for free:
- Normandy Crash Site: Shepard discovers the location of the Normandy Crash Site, an emotionally charged and reflective moment for Shepard as he is on a mission of salvage and recovery.
- Zaeed - The Price of Revenge: Shepard's shadowy backers buy the loyalty of Zaeed Massani, the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter and mercenary soldier. A new party member, weapons research, and an achievement are included.
In addition a number of other pieces of promotional content were available to people who bought specific versions of the game, or who bought it from specific retailers:
- Blood Dragon Armor: Created for Earth's Urban Combat Championship league, it bears the logo of the Edmonton Blood Dragons. The Inside of the armor bears the signatures of the entire team. (Available to those who own a copy of Dragon Age: Origins.)
- Collectors' Weapon and Armor: This armor and assault rifle set is constructed out of Collector technology. (Available to those who have the Collector's Edition of Mass Effect 2.)
- Terminus Weapon and Armor: The armor increases run speed, reserve ammo storage and shielding. The Blackstorm Projector launches "black holes" that suck enemies towards it. (Available to those who preordered the game from certain retailers.)
- Inferno Armor: Designed for Cerberus officers, it helps them assess people psychological condition, improving their diplomacy. The armor also improves biotic and tech damage, as well as run speed. (Available to those who preordered the game from anywhere that didn't offer the Terminus set.)
- M-29 Incisor: This sniper rifle fires a three-shot burst. Although it was available initially only to those who purchased the Digital Deluxe Edition of Mass Effect 2, it was released as DLC called the Aegis Pack which also included Kestrel Armor. (See Below)
More promotional content was available from Dr. Pepper for a time for individuals who redeemed codes from their products:
- Umbra Visor: A piece of night-vision equipment that augments biotic abilities and tech powers.
- Recon Hood: A ballistic-mesh fabric hood given to covert action teams. Augments weapon damage.
- Sentry Interface: A piece of headgear that allows Shepard to dedicate additional power to his shields.
There has also been content available free to players with access to Cerberus Network added post-release:
- Cerberus Weapons and Armor: Armor geared towards players who favor close and aggressive combat, the M-22 Eviscerator Shotgun is a longer-range shotgun with armor-piercing loads
- Arc Projector: A heavy weapon that ionizes targets with a non-visible laser to ready them for a high-voltage electrical attack.
- Firewalker: Available for free to all Cerberus Network members, includes 5 new missions for use with the Hammerhead hover tank.
As well as this there has been pay-DLC available through the Cerberus Network:
- Alternate Appearance Pack 1: Three new outfits, one each for Garrus Vakarian, Jack, and Thane Krios. Garrus's outfit consists of repaired armor and a headset; Jack's means that she can actually wear some clothes; and Thane gets red reflective shades. ($1.99 on PS3, 160 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC)
- Alternate Appearance Pack 2: Three new outfits, one each for Grunt, Tali, and Miranda Lawson. Grunt's outfit consists of painted armor and headgear, Tali gets even more belts, and Miranda gets armor and a visor. ($1.99 on PS3, 160 Microsoft Points for 360 or Bioware Points for PC)
- Kasumi - Stolen Memory: The main section of this DLC is the new squad member, Kasumi Goto, and her corresponding mission. It also contains a research upgrade, casual outfit, achievement and a weapon, the M-12 Locust submachine gun. ($7, 560 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC)
- Equalizer Pack: The Equalizer pack includes two new helmets and the once pre-order exclusive Inferno Armor. ($2, 160 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC)
- Overlord: A new content expansion, Shepard and his crew is sent to investigate a Cerberus research base that's mysteriously gone silent, Shepard arrives to find Geth overrunning the base. The action unfolds over five new level areas, with two new achievements. ($7, 560 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC)
- Aegis Pack: This DLC pack includes the M-29 Incisor Sniper Rifle and the Kestrel Armor set. ($2, 160 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC)
- Firepower Pack: This DLC pack includes the M-5 Phalanx Heavy Pistol, the M-96 Mattock Heavy Rifle, and the Geth Plasma Shotgun. ($2, 160 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC)
- Lair of the Shadow Broker: A new content expansion in which Shepard teams up with again with Liara to confront the Shadow Broker, whom Liara has been searching for ever since he tried to take Shepard's body and killed one of Liara's friends. ($10, 800 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC).
- Arrival: The final mission-based addon for Mass Effect 2, focusing on the imminent reaper invasion and Shepard's progress of halting it. ($7, 560 Microsoft Points for 360 or BioWare Points for PC)
Mass Effect 2 begins shortly after the first Mass Effect, with the Normandy SR-1 investigating reported Geth sightings. Unexpectedly, the Normandy comes under attack by an unknown force in a large spaceship. Shepard orders an evacuation of the ship as they are no match for this unknown attacker but cannot escape himself, because he has to rescue Joker who refuses to abandon ship. Shepard is able to get Joker safely to an escape pod, before he is thrown into space as the Normandy is destroyed by the unknown ship. Shepard floats in space briefly, before suit damage causes his suit to depressurize. This is the apparent end for Commander Shepard, as he falls, immobile, towards the surface of a planet.
Shepard's body is then picked up by an extremist group called Cerberus, an organization created to protect and advance humanity's interests in the galaxy no matter the cost. This ideal often manifests itself with ruthless behavior which causes the group to be considered more akin to a terrorist group than as a legitimate entity, especially from within the human Alliance which regards them as a severe embarrassment to their own efforts at peaceful co-existence.
Cerberus begins work on rebuilding Shepard's body as part of an effort codenamed "The Lazarus Project". After two years of work, Shepard is rebuilt, although he is awakened before he can be fully tested physically and psychologically. When he awakes, Shepard finds himself in a lab woken up by Miranda Lawson who is urging him to get up and move since the station where Project Lazarus was being conducted was attacked by mechs. Shepard is able to fight his way through the station and finds Jacob, a Cerberus operative who was serving as security chief for the station. He and Shepard make their way through the station together (much to the dismay of Shepard, still dazed and confused, and angry that he has found himself inadvertently working for Cerberus) and find Wilson, a doctor who had helped in recreating and reviving Shepard. Wilson was injured and with Shepard's help is healed enough to join them. Wilson informs them that the mechs on the station have been overridden by someone and he had tried to disarm them but was unsuccessful. This makes Jacob suspicious because Wilson should not have access to mechs since he works in medical. Wilson deflects his suspicion by blaming Miranda who he claims is conveniently missing while they are in harm's way. Jacob wants to go find Miranda but Wilson tells them to forget her and that they should just make their way to escape shuttle since there is no way she survived. They decide to go to escape but right as they open the door to the shuttle bay they find Miranda waiting there. To everyone's surprise she shoots Wilson and states that he was a traitor and that he had reprogrammed the security mechs to attack everyone. They then escape the station and Miranda takes Shepard to meet her boss, the Illusive Man.
Following his resurrection, Shepard meets with the leader of Cerberus, the mysteriously named The Illusive Man. The two forge an uneasy relationship; Shepard is asked to investigate the disappearance of human colonies along the fringes of the galaxy and given the opportunity to walk away if he finds nothing. Shepard also acquires a new ship, the Normandy SR-2, which Cerberus had also constructed under extreme secrecy as well as improve upon with a number of advancements that have advanced it beyond its predecessor's original design. While it is staffed by Cerberus, Shepard discovers that the promised pilot that "he can trust" turns out to be none other than Joker who had signed on with the organization when the Alliance began to whitewash Shepard's reports on the Reapers. Using Dossiers given by the Illusive Man on "the toughest, the brightest, the deadliest allies we can find", Shepard begins assembling an elite team after discovering proof at the colony of Freedom's Progress revealing the involvement of a mysterious race known only as the Collectors, who may or may not have an alliance with the Reapers.
After gathering the squad and going on various Collector-based tasks assigned by the Illusive Man such as going on the Collector ship for data or a derelict Reaper for an IFF Shepard will finally go through the Omega-4 Relay where player-made decisions made in the game will affect the outcome of this final mission. Upgrades to your ship and how loyal your crew is are integral parts to this final mission. After landing on the base Shepard splits the crew into a two man team, with one specialist going through vents. After more fighting Shepard and two other crew-mates will encounter the reason the Collectors have been abducting tens of thousands of people. A giant humanoid Reaper stares at them in the face still in a state of being built. After an epic battle against this humanoid Reaper the Collector Base can either be destroyed or kept intact for technology; however, both outcomes lead to the death of all the collectors on board. The game, finally ends with a massive armada of Reapers flying towards the Milky Way, presumably the main plot point that will be present in Mass Effect 3.
PC System Requirements
Minimum System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista SP1 / Windows 7
- Processor: 1.8GHz Intel Core 2 Duo or equivalent AMD CPU
- Memory: 1 GB RAM for Windows XP / 2 GB RAM for Windows Vista and Windows 7
- Hard Drive: 15 GB
- DVD ROM: 1x Speed
- Sound Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
- DirectX: DirectX 9.0c August 2008 (Included)
- Input: Keyboard / Mouse
Video Card: 256 MB (with Pixel Shader 3.0 support). Supported Chipsets: NVIDIA GeForce 6800 or greater; ATI Radeon X1600 Pro or greater. Please note that NVIDIA GeForce 7300, 8100, 8200, 8300, 8400, and 9300; ATI Radeon HD3200, and HD4350 are below minimum system requirements. Updates to your video and sound card drivers may be required. Intel and S3 video cards are not officially supported in Mass Effect 2.
Recommended System Requirements
- OS: Windows XP SP3 / Windows Vista SP1 / Windows 7
- Processor: 2.6 GHz Core 2 Duo Intel or equivalent AMD CPU
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Video Card: ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT, NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT, or better recommended
- DirectX: DirectX 9.0c August 2008 (or higher)
DEVELOPER NOTES: For the best results, make sure you have the latest drivers for your video and audio cards. Laptop or mobile versions of the above supported video cards have not had extensive testing and may have driver or other performance issues. As such, they are not officially supported in Mass Effect 2. Intel and S3 video cards are not officially supported in Mass Effect 2.
Xbox 360 Game Installation
Mass Effect 2 requires a total of 12.4 GB (6.4 GB for Disc 1 and 6.0 GB for Disc 2) of space to be installed on a 360 HDD. Even when both discs have been installed the game will still require you to swap discs midway through the game, this is, of course, to verify that you own both discs.
Mass Effect 2 was discussed in the following bombcasts: