December 22, 2010

Demo Report – Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2
Alongside other heavy hitters like Dead Space 2 and LittleBigPlanet 2, yesterday saw the release of the Mass Effect 2 demo on PSN. As the resident Mass Effect addict, I took it upon myself to acquire this mystifying new software package and convert its contents into a convenient text delivery for your purposes.

The demo provides PS3 players with a short video explaining the basic premise of the original game, and then moves on to the opening scenes of Mass Effect 2. From there you’ll enter the character creation suite, where you can fully customize your demo Shepard. It probably would have been easier to simply offer the default appearance for Shepard in the demo, but including the entire creation process is a smart choice; customization is a huge part of Mass Effect 2, and this feature goes a long way towards communicating that to potential PS3 players.

When your character is complete, you’ll run through the opening mission, which serves as a tutorial, teaching you the ropes of conversation, combat, and the general navigation of the Mass Effect world. This was a well designed sequence in the full game and functions equally well in a demo serving to introduce the game to PS3 owners who’ve likely never touched Mass Effect before.

Mass Effect 2
The demo then moves on to a later, more combat-intensive mission. With your character now increased several levels, you can familiarize yourself with the upgrade system and get a feel for power development and customization in ME2. You’ll also encounter enemies sporting armor and shields—defenses not seen in the tutorial mission that will inform your strategy and add a new wrinkle to gameplay.

This port of Mass Effect 2 reportedly uses the graphical engine designed for the upcoming Mass Effect 3. Although 360 players won’t immediately notice the difference—and you’re not likely to spot it while running and gunning—once you come to one of the games dialogue sequences, the improvements are obvious. Sharper textures and improved lighting provide a noticeable step up, taking what was one of the best looking games of 2010 and making it even better.

Strangely, however, the opening cutscene—which is not rendered in-engine—suffered from a few odd hitches and visual tears not seen in the 360 version. The full game has a number of these cutscenes, so one hopes this is a problem unique to the demo. Furthermore, I experienced several instances where sounds did not play properly or did not play at all—again, a problem one hopes may be specific to the demo.

Mass Effect 2, along with the DLC included on the PS3 version, runs upwards of fifty hours—so a demo could only hope to scratch the surface, but it provides a solid sampling of one of the top games of the year, and PS3 owners would be doing themselves a disservice not to check it out.


  1. Weird. I read the headline and thought to my self… “A little late for a demo of ME2” then it dawned on me it was for PS3… duh! :P

    Comment by Ujn Hunter — December 22, 2010 @ 3:50 pm

  2. That good to know abiout the quality cuz in the trailer they released the ps3 version looked worse.

    Comment by Matthew Morales — December 22, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

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