"With Mass Effect 2, the producers at BioWare have gone on record stating that they wanted to "critic-proof" their sequel, taking every bit of feedback received from the gaming community at large and addressing it somehow. This is how sequels work in video games, so these kinds of statements in the weeks and months before release weren't surprising.
"As the game's basic narrative became apparent, "risk" seemed a major theme for Mass Effect 2's story, but more surprising, "risk" seems to have been a design concept as well. Dragon Age: Origins was hailed by critics as a spiritual successor to BioWare's classic Baldur's Gate II, but it remained rooted in a tradition that's seen little change in a decade. While the first Mass Effect was marked by similar problems, Mass Effect 2 sets a bold path to BioWare's future, keeping the writing and craftsmanship the studio has become known for, while discarding outdated mechanics and conventions that weighed down the last game. By taking that risk, BioWare has put out something that feels like a successor to its legacy-and a game that ranks at the top of the medium.
"Mass Effect 2 delivers the best experience of its kind in this generation-and considering I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I finished my initial 39-hour playthrough a few days ago, a lower score would feel disingenuous. From its mechanics to its writing to its presentation, Mass Effect 2 is the kind of game that justifies gushing clichés and superlatives. I can't recommend it highly enough."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Great pains have been taken to ensure that this review is completely spoiler free.
BY ARTHUR GIES
JANUARY 26TH, 2010