Some random (non-spoilery) thoughts about the game:
- ME2 is more morally gray than ever. Playing purely paragon/renegade is probably going to require walkthroughs now because lots of choices are no longer clear-cut with results sometimes having the opposite effect. I keep finding myself racking up more renegade points than I'd intended.
- Importing your ME1 character is a must. Even the small decisions made with seemingly insignificant characters can have big impacts. Bravo to Bioware for going through the insane amount of work it must have been to plot that all out and carry it over.
- I definitely had empty nest syndrome going on as some of the old crew has moved on to bigger and better things.
- There's an absurd level of Lara Croft syndrome going on with some of the female characters (they even felt the need to upgraded Yvonne Strahovski's physique ). Game dialog even makes a joke about it at one point.
- Everything looks absolutely stunning.
- Auto-save doesn't dump you an hour back anymore. Yeah!
- The hacking and bypass mini games are a big improvement over the old version once you get used to them (they're both essentially matching games). Plus you no longer require a tech person in your squad to hack!
- The new combat system is tons of fun but tactically takes some getting used to. Even after nearly a dozen hours I find myself pausing to let my gun cool down. There's also a lot more emphasis on tactical use of biotic powers. You can't run and gun your way through like ME1.
- The writing is still amazing. I'd dare say the Mass Effect universe is more full and realized than Trek.
They threw the baby out with the bath water in a couple instances though:
- The mako has been removed and replaced with a planet scanning mini-game which feels even more tedious at times.
- Armor/weapon looting has more or less been cut from the game and replaced by upgrades that need to be purchased or found and researched. It seems a bit of an overreaction when the only problem in ME1 was poorly designed inventory screens but it does get the loot-equip-sell monkey off your back which is nice in some ways.
- That leads to my only real complaint about the ME2: figuring out which f-ing weapon to equip. You find some cool guns throughout the game but stat screens for them have been replaced by text descriptions. There are no more nice stats to compare against. You have to figure out the weapon characteristics and which fights they're best for from the text or (what most people will probably do) just equip the weapon and figure out how good it is.