Mass Effect 2 celebrates its 10th anniversary today, showing us how far the series has come (and how much it's changed).
If the original Mass Effect was good, then Mass Effect 2 was great. It's still among my favorite BioWare games, only second to Dragon Age: Origins, but definitely the best Mass Effect title ever made. The sequel had it all: Intrigue, mystery, a kind of dark sci-fi allure that made you want to explore its hidden depths, interesting characters (with the exception of Jacob) that you felt bonded to and wanted to actually get to know. The Illusive Man (probably one of the best NPCs ever made), Jack's harrow backstory, the suicide mission...Mass Effect 2 had it all.
The best part of the game was that it's a middle ground that promised more to come. Mass Effect 2 is a bridge rather than the end, and keeps you wondering. It doesn't squash or resolve the potential like many other sequels, but ignites your imagination to what's to come. The reapers are on the way--they're not here yet--and the sense of unease and anxiety is palpable.
If you've yet to play the Mass Effect games, you could get away with starting off with ME2. It's best to play them in order but definitely do yourself a favor and give the second one a whirl. It still holds up strong today.
With any luck BioWare can return to this old form with its new Mass Effect game and move past the weird action-based focus of ME: Andromeda. As the old saying goes, they don't make them like they used to.
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