Bioware's long-awaited Mass Effect 2 has received rave reviews from a number of prominent journalists, including Ben Kuchera of Ars Technia who described the game as "richly woven" and "utterly" fascinating.
"The politics and relationships are some of the best in modern gaming. While the dialog may feel like a soap opera at times, at other times the humor and genuine emotion will touch you in very unexpected ways," opined Kuchera.
"Each character came from some place, and is going some place, and they fit into a world that is fully realized. That's rare in gaming, and the backstory is more than strong enough to support a series this epic in scope. There is a scene where a character from the first game sends you a message, but in a very unique way, and it will send a chill down your spine."
Marc Saltzman of USA Today expressed similar sentiments.
"Let's get straight to the point, here. The sequel to 2007's critically-heralded Mass Effect role-playing game (RPG) — and the second sci-fi epic in a planned trilogy — is an early contender for the must have video game of the season," wrote Saltzman.
"The 30+ hour single-player game has many tens of thousands of lines of dialogue, all of which are spoken by actors. In fact, the human characters look real, including faces that convey emotion during these exchanges."
However, the title’s combat engine was gently criticized by Destructoid's Brad Nicholson.
“Think of Mass Effect 2 as Gears of War ‘lite.’ Cover is the cornerstone; searching for it is half the battle. But where Marcus Fenix could hurdle and shred his way to new locations with aplomb and trademark viciousness, Shepard cannot," explained Nicholson.
"His movement is still just a little too rigid, and the shooting is missing a layer of tactile feedback - larger enemies just don't respond to fire well."
Nevertheless, Nicholson emphasized that Mass Effect 2 was one of the "best real-time action RPGs" he ever played.
"Think about it: I just compared an RPG to Gears of War. If it wasn't for Shepard's funny legs and some non-reactive bullet-sponges, I'd compare it directly because everything else works as well as an actual shooter - the stop-and-pop, the in-battle powers, and even squad tactics are on par with the best of that genre," added Nicholson.