The Mass Effect 2 Journal: Day 7


(Read journal #1 here first)

Alright folks, it’s time for another Mass Effect 2 journal update, as I believe I’ve crammed in enough playing time to put together another installment.

Last time, I was about seven hours in, getting used to the new combat system and recruiting my team to go fight some bitch ass Collectors and Reapers. Now? I’m just about thirty hours in (I never skip through ANY dialogue), and I’ve just now finished recruiting my team, which seems pretty unbelievable. I’m now about to head into the dreaded Omega relay, and honestly I can’t quite figure out if I’m at the end of the game or not.

I kind of find it hard to believe that the entirety of the game consists of assembling nine, count ‘em NINE team members, doing their various loyalty missions, and then heading off to fight the big boss. There have only been two or three real “story” mission pertaining to the main plotline, which doesn’t seem like very many, although I AM about thirty hours into the game, so I would expect the end to be nigh.

It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my playing time so far. Each of the recruitment and subsequent loyalty missions for each team member have been a lot of fun, and in the keeping of the emotional tradition of the game, it really is a great bonding experience for you and your various team members.


“IDK, my BFF Thane?!”

However, as much as I’ve liked getting to know everyone, I really hope that my team ends up having some greater significance to the plot at the end of the game. Right now, I’m predicting that there will be some rather hard level, I’ll pick my two favorite team members to go through it, and I’ll end up personally killing 90% of the enemies we encounter along with the final boss. Having a nine member team is frustrating when you can only utilize two of them at a time, and there’s so much overlap between them, some will be permanently shelved for the duration of the game. I mean, do I really need five different biotics to choose from? You ultimately end up picking teammates based on the funny things you think they’ll say during the mission, not for any of their combat skills which will always pale in comparison to your own.

I’m also a little disconcerted with the game’s lack of side-missions thus far outside of the main recruiting and loyalty questline. I’ve done my fair share of running around Illium and the Citadel for a series of non-combat missions, but I remember a lot more quests from the first game that had people sending me out to distant planets to destroy a base or kill someone. I’ve only had two or three of those so far, and they’ve just been Alliance business.


Meet Grunt, the most genetically perfect Krogan who has ever lived, yet he somehow can’t figure out how to walk up stairs sometimes.

However, it’s entirely possible that I just haven’t explored enough of the galaxy yet, and these missions are out there. But in all my random space exploration so far, I’ve found about 99 planets that are full of nothing but minerals and static and only one that actually contained a hidden mission. Some systems are simply a collection of mineral planets with nothing else in them! I’d say I have about 80% of the game’s upgrades so far, and I have more elements amassed than the goddamn periodic table, despite only mining about 25% of the planets out there. This is a good thing though, because I’ll be damned if I can spend another second mining as it’s the kind of activity that has your friends walk in and say, “This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen in a game,” and at the time, it’s hard to form a coherent argument against that as you spend the next twenty minute shooting probes at a rock while watching wavy lines move up and down.

Needless to say, I haven’t come around to the game’s decision to eliminate the Mako and planet exploration for the new game. Planets used to be more than just balls and squiggly lines on a mineral finding chart. Sure, the environments looked the same, but you could drive around, jump in the air, fight local geth and wildlife, and find bases, artifacts and other mysteries in addition to missions themselves. Here? In Bioware’s effort to eliminate that boring driving part of off-world exploration, they’ve replaced it with no exploration at all, which is far more dull if you ask me.

But before I go overboard on criticism (I only hate because I love), I must say I’m having a blast with the game. I’m annoyed that I only get to use a fraction of my crew at a time, but getting to know them has been a great experience, and flirting with Miranda, Kelly and Tali has been quite amusing. I hated Miranda at first, but started to sympathize with her after her loyalty mission, and I’m impressed with out the game has been able to change my opinion of her. And Tali likes me too? Nice! I always wondered why she wasn’t a love interest in the first game, and I always had a little virtual crush there. Shit, did I just say that out loud? I still have yet to figure out if that’s a viable romance option here, or if it’s just a few select phrases that make it seem that way. And how exactly do we get around that suit?


“Hey baby, wanna let me steam up your visor?”

But what concerns me most about the game at my current point in time is that I’m wondering if the game is going to end. And what I mean by that is, will it have a hard ending the way the original Mass Effect did, where once I head into that Omega relay, I can’t explore any more systems or do any more side missions, and will have to reload a previous save to do so? My experiences with the last game have me creating new saves every other second just in case I do something irreversible that won’t let me continue playing. And when the loading screen is telling me that I can do a “second playthrough to unlock powerful bonuses” that’s an even bigger mindf*ck. If I play through again, which decisions will carry over to Mass Effect 3 for this character? My original ones, or these new decisions in the second go-round, which I would assume would be the case. If so, the game is missing the point as to WHY people want to do a second playthrough. I’m already clamoring to replay the game, yes, but with my Renegade girl Shepard from the previous game, making all the opposite decisions this time around. But as much as I do enjoy playing the game, I don’t want to have to beat it FOUR times to unlock all the bonuses for each save file.

I don’t want any of you to ruin how this all works out for me, so I won’t ask you to tell me what happens, and I’ll rely on my previous saves if I need them. In my mind, ALL Bioware had to do here was have us destroy whatever threat we’re facing, but keep the rest of the galaxy open afterward for exploration until Mass Effect 3 or DLC hits. No second playthroughs in the same file, no hard endings. Just let us beat the game once with each of our characters, and explore the shit out of space once we’re done. I guess, I’ll see if they heeded my advice soon enough.


The Geth are back in ways you aren’t expecting. 

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  1. Okay, I’m going to do this nice and spoiler free.

    I’ll leave you to discover whether or not Tali will hop in the sack. Jack, as I know you know, is an option and is totally worth it for one reason. Once you’re close, Mordin will notice and give you sex advice. It’s the hardest I’ve laughed at a game since Portal.

    The second time you play through the game you get 50,000 of every mineral and a 25% increase in XP from missions. This applies to any new playthrough, whether it’s a 2nd game with your first ME2 character, a totally separate ME1 upload or a band-new ME2 character. If you have the mission accomplished achievement, you get the bonuses. I finished my Paragon Infiltrator and am 1/2 way through my Renegade Sentinel and the bonuses are nice. I’d assume the decisions you make in the last complete playthrough for a character are the ones that stick. That’s how ME2 operated, at least.

    Activating Omega 4 takes you to the final story mission, but it’s not a hard ending. You’ll want to have a nice save set up before you take it, though.

  2. If you explored 99 planets I doubt you’ve only found one mission. So far I have 30 side missions completed and counting. Around half of them I discovered on planets through scanning.

    The scanning missions can take you through fairly long quest-chains. Most of them are vs. the merc clans. One of these quest-lines actually have you discovering a Prothean artifact that works similar to the Prothean beacons in ME1.

    So anyway, either you’re lying about exploring so many planets or you’re the unluckiest guy in the universe(as in, unlucky while playing ME2).

    If you were being sarcastic about it, then pick another style in the future. 🙂

  3. I think the loyalty missions and the upcoming DLC’s are intended to make up for the relatively low number of side-missions. I’ve 100%’d the galaxy and gotten around 10 to 15 or so. Plus you get another dozen or so by talking to people and being thorough during missions.

    I hated every second of planet exploration in ME1. At least the side-quests in the sequel take place in a variety of locales and don’t require you to slip and slide in that god-awful vehicle. I am disappointed you can’t land on Earth’s moon, though. That was fun in the first.

  4. @Velovan

    You’ve been quite helpful, I just wish I read that before I went around doing everything before the Omega relay.

    Do you know if any additional missions open up after you beat the game that weren’t there before?

  5. I’ve completed the game and scanned 100%, and I would say that the 10-15 side missions from scanning is about what I found.

    I loved ME1, and I also loved ME2, but some of the stuff they took out is a little baffling. It got annoying, but running around the large environments in the first game made the universe feel more real. I was actually hoping that they would open up places like the Citadel a little more this time. We get to go to more places (Illium and the Quarian fleet were my favorites,) but the spaces seem smaller in general.

    *POSSIBLE SPOILERS* I was also a bit pissed that you couldn’t carry over your romances from the first game. I intentionally didn’t flirt with the ladies on my crew for the first half of the game while I waited to find Liara, and then all I get is a pretty casual hello kiss with very little chance to talk about the relationship we had had. I would have felt better about it if it were along the lines of her finding another man after thinking Shepard was dead, but her reasoning is pretty much that her job takes up her time. What the hell? *END SPOILERS*

  6. @ Paul

    You know, I’m not sure. I hit Level 30 with the final mission and rushed off to upload my Renegade. I’m pretty sure you just get the chance to do anything you didn’t find/complete before you did the suicide mission.

    That said, you didn’t waste your time. You’ll want everyone loyal and you’ll want your ship’s guns, armor and shields upgraded before you take the relay. You’ll find out why soon enough 🙂

  7. “right now, I’m predicting that there will be some rather hard level, I’ll pick my two favorite team members to go through it, and I’ll end up personally killing 90% of the enemies we encounter along with the final boss. Having a nine member team is frustrating when you can only utilize two of them at a time”

    🙂 have fun playing through the ending…

  8. LOL. I love reading the comments on game journals. They have become baselines for me to judge games.

    I don’t understand why people are so hyped about how you can use a saved character from ME1 in ME2. To me, that’s just a gimmick. I have tested some dialog options in ME2. Yeah, you may get one or two lines or unique response, but the conversation follows a general direction and have the same results unless you choose completely opposite responses.

    I feel that Bioware has really not improved since KOTOR. Every game they make seem to follow the same cookie cutter format. You have a choice of going to (usually 4) locations to recruit team member or destroy bases and then it’s the final boss. The lack of open ended exploration makes the game feel very static and modular.

    I hate to sound negative all the time on my comments. It’s just my observation. Bioware still makes the best game story wise, but that’s all. I feel that there is a general lack of innovation towards game design, specifically mission layout, world exploration, and combat mechanics.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I find original games (borderlands) or games that present the old material in a different angle (bayonetta) much more interesting.

  9. @Zero

    You’re more than entitled to your opinion, but I do take issue with the thought that ME2 isn’t original. Mass Effect 2 is the first sequel in the history of an industry full of sequels where your actions from the first actually affect what happens in the second. I’m most of the way through my 2nd game, each based off a different ME1 save. And the two games have played out remarkably different.

    That’s one thoroughly original idea. Something that hasn’t been done. Ever. That’s one more than you see in 99% of games released.

    Your choice of Borderlands as an original game is interesting to me. The FPS elements were identical to every FPS made, the loot system was outright stolen from World of Warcraft, shooters have been doing online co-op for years and the idea of melding RPG’s and FPS’s was done a decade ago by Deus Ex and System Shock. Even if you want to call Borderlands an MMOFPS, that was done by Tabula Rasa. So what, exactly, was original?

  10. I’ll try to be spoiler free, but there are 10 team members to recruit, 11 if you got the pre-order DLC. The last possible team member you get is in a story mission that DOES trigger a unavoidable event that presses you to go the Omega Relay immediately, although to go or not is a choice you make, but with game consequences.
    After beating the final boss in Omega you are free to roam the galaxy again, do quests and even continue romance (more then once!). After that, when you start a new game you’re given the choice to use your ME2 character again, either with your end game save or a posterior one.
    Mordin is the funniest character in a video game that I ever played.

  11. SPOILER!!!!

    You can continue to play after the end boss and keep exploring IF your character survives (you CAN die during the end mission, also the option to continue to explore is there for any future DLC). Also, try the game on Insanity. It’s crazy! Everyone has shields or barriers, even those damn dog mechs.

  12. @ Velovan


    I guess ME2 just didn’t really meet my expectations. I really enjoyed ME1. Aside from Fable it was one of the few action RPGs I have played on the original xbox. KOTOR was ok, I liked the story, but the force power was a bit limited and repetitive. ME1 added the FPS elements to a RPG game. I haven’t experienced this in any other other games. Sorry, I quit playing PC games after baldur’s gate (couldn’t afford to upgrade every 3 months), so I never really played any of the games you have mentioned.

    As far as borderlands’ concerned. I found the animation in the game fresh. It’s by no means the first cell shaded game, but it was well executed. I liked the humor in the game. For me, RPG games is all about farming for items. (In fact the reason I didn’t complete the first ME was because I got all the items and lost interest). Borderlands had an amazing inventory and item system. At the same time, the game was still able to deliver a flawless FPS experience. There might have been other games similar to borderlands. I either haven’t played those games or weren’t impressed by their take on the genre.

    Without playing the other games you have mentioned. It’s hard for me to say just exactly how borderlands compare to them. What I can say is that borderlands combined elements from different genres and was able to execute them well. That is the key. I have never played a game twice. I did that with borderlands.

    ME tried to be more of a third person shooter. In doing so, it strip away basically the core elements that make a RPG enjoyable. On top of that, the combat mechanic is third rate for such a over hyped game. The game feels confused on its identity and end up not pleasing my taste on RPG games or shooter games. The only thing holding this beast up is its story.

    I don’t want to sound like a snobby critic, but I feel that people are blind sighted by the “you can use ME1 character” aspect of the game. Does it really alter the game experience that much. You may disagree with me on this. I don’t think it’s anything too major. The out come of the game is still determined by the choices you make. Like I said before, getting one or two unique dialog options isn’t enough. To me, that’s the same as customizing your armor in halo. Ok, I get it’s cool, but it doesn’t really add more substance to the game.

    Again, you are entitled to your opinions. I’m one of the few people who didn’t like Avatar (pocahontas in space).

  13. @ Zero

    Credit where it’s due, the visual style of Borderlands was a fantastic break from all the Halo/Modern Warfare clones. I loved the game, and (like you) was impressed by its ability to pull together so much and do it well. Original? No. Well executed? Absolutely.

    It’s true that the save import has gotten a lot of love. The reason is because we’re being rewarded by seeing that all the things we did the first time have had an impact on the world. That’s something very rare. As a result, it’s blowing our mind. And it’s more than dialogue options. Characters who died along the way stay dead. The major decisions you made have had good and bad impacts on the world they’ve crafted. Does it change the overall story? No. Does it make for a different experience? Yep.

    And I don’t think people are blinded by it. I’ve seen a fair amount of complaints by people about planet scanning, the lack of inventory, the removal of the Mako, etc. I don’t think the game’s perfect. I think it excels where the original excelled (story, characters, dialogue, interesting worlds, strategic gameply) and has remarkable improvements where the original fell short (boring inventory, half-assed combat).

    And yes, Avatar was Pocahantas in Space. But it looked effing AWESOME.

  14. @ Velovan

    toche again …

    I think over all, this game is a major improvement over the first one. I guess ME1 blow me away due to my inexperience at the time with similar games.

    In contrast to what has come out since ME1. ME2 fell short of my expectations…

    I still have a lot of fun with this game. Please make the inventory system similar to borderlands for ME3. 🙂

  15. As far as I know continuing after you finish the game just allows you to finish side quests you didn’t get around to doing. I’m sure it will also allow you to access any DLC that is released after you have completed the game too.

    When it comes to playing through the game a second time with the same character from what I’ve read online both of your completions for that character will be importable to ME3 so if you make different decisions the second time through your first time would still be there. Really though it makes more sense to me to play the game a second time with a different character.

    @ MacGyver

    The developers at bioware have said that if you ‘cheated’ on your ME1 romance in ME2 there will be repercussions in ME3.

  16. *Possible Spoilers*

    @Warren: I hadn’t heard that, though it makes no difference in my case. I didn’t “cheat” on the romance in the first game, it’s just that Liara isn’t a potential squad member in the second game. Since you can’t romance people who aren’t part of your crew, the most I got was a kiss hello, and then we basically go our separate ways. I even had a picture of Liara in my quarters, but she basically treats Shepard like a casual acquaintance.

    I just would have been more happy with a more in depth explanation from her about how she had moved on after thinking Shepard was dead for 2 years. It could just be that I didn’t choose proper dialogue options. I’m planning on playing through ME1 and 2 in succession in the near future, and I might see if there’s a different way for that to work out.

  17. About the romance bit, I played as a female Shepard and romanced Kaidan in the first game. I was hyped to see if we could continue the romance b/c that would be something unique in a game, but when I went on the first big mission and rescued the colony I was dissapointed. I was so pissed b/c I was baffled as to why Kaidan would just blow my Shepard off b/c she was working for Cerberus and wouldn’t even trust her to hear her explanation even though he even outright said that he ‘loved’ her and she meant a lot to him. Wtf. In my experience, when you love someone, you trust the person and actually give them a chance to explain themselves. I mean Shep was just using Cerberus to save the world, she wasn’t doing their bidding.

    Anyways, I was glad he wrote Shepard a message after that apologizing and saying that maybe when it is all over, they will get back together. I am going to try not cheating on him and seeing how that affects ME3 if anything.

  18. “as it’s the kind of activity that has your friends walk in and say, ‘This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever seen in a game,’ ”

    My friends said the same thing when I was playing Oblivion. Only in that case it was running around fields picking flowers so I could make deadlier and deadlier poisons for my arrows…

  19. Possible spoilers

    Hi there ME2 lovers … I’m writing these few lines as I love this site and actually found a lot of nice ppl posting here. This was my first incursion in the ME universe and I just loved it. Started the game in insanity difficulty ( i know … cocky ) and soon downgraded to veteran as it just took to much and just wanted to experience the game. What can I say … I’ve been playing MMO’s for the past 6 years and I can’t remember the last time I took a break for a RPG. Story was intriguing and I must say it was short 🙁 from my point of view. Not as short of let’s say Fable1 🙂 but I got the game done in 31h, and that’s with all the universe charted and scanned. I played an infiltrator ( i liked snipers 🙂 ) and I now have an adept on hard mode. I decided to go all out Renegade and to try and nail Jack :). On the first go i managed to get Tali in my bed but now i want to go for the tattoo’s. I kinda disliked some bugs that i found … especially with cracks in the walls … me being on the map was fun but I got frustrated when i couldn’t get back down :). I don’t know but someone said they disliked the idea of combining FPS with RPG but i actually liked it. Maybe it’s gonna be different with a biotic now … we’ll see

  20. About innovation, I don’t think you understand what innovation means there “zero”, this is the first game EVER where your actions and decisions actually carry over in ANY way from the previous game. There are dozens of changes from character to character from one game to the next. Maybe you just played one type of character in ME1 and so you don’t have the perspective. Did you save or kill the Rachni for instance? The teasers in this game(including the sightings of Rachni ships) are going to play large in ME3. Did you save the council?Did you put Anderson in charge?Who did you let die?Did you solve the corruption on Noveria?Were you level 60?were you rich? All of these and many more make each game a largely unique experience. The ability to actually import your character is an innovation that ( I hope) is going to really catch on. Being able to do multiple imports and change your characters class doesn’t hurt either. The only complaint I have is that friggin’ soul crushingly boring planet scanning.

  21. Anyone.I never finished ME1 and I just started playing ME2(I bought it day 1 but wanted to import a character-so I never played ME2)should I suck it up and finish ME1 or continue with ME2.I figured I could always finish ME1 and import a character on my 2nd playthrough of ME2 before part 3 comes out?

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