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With the Mass Effect 3 demo due in mere hours, I figured it was time for our second ‘Ring a Bell?’ article, this time with a much more obvious subject: Mass Effect 2.

I played – and reviewed the original Mass Effect on PC when it came out and was elated that I didn’t miss out on a great game. Well, ME 2 was even better. I didn’t review it, unfortunately because despite my fondness for it I never played it deep enough to compile a comprehensive opinion.

I first played ME 2 on Xbox 360 and was blown away by the cinematic and overall polish of the game. You’ve heard of games being heralded as being like an interactive movie, but for me this was the first time I felt that that was true. The pacing, setting, characters and most of all graphics were so high-quality that I couldn’t shake the game.

Mass Effect 2

Unfortunately that Xbox 360 was only borrowed. When it came time to buy the game I chose my system of choice –  PC. It didn’t hurt that EA was selling the deluxe version of the game, which at the time was retailing at $60, for only $25.

Mass Effect 2’s characters are strongly defined and have unique personalities that really bring them to life. I praised Dragon Age 2 for this as well, but Mass Effect 2’s cast is less humorous and more dramatic. Which is better is purely a matter of personal preference. The voice cast was also rock solid and I didn’t find a single character, voice, or line that sounded out of place.

If there was one thing I liked better then the presentation, it was the gameplay. It’s not at Gears of War-level of action, and that’s a good thing for me. It’s close enough to the GoW formula to be familiar to anyone who’s played that series while having a slower, more deliberate pacing. The powers you were given access to were helpful as well, with Overcharge – an ability for shutting down enemy shields – having near endless utility. Being able to give orders to your squad mates wasn’t just icing on the cake, it was critical to success. They were usually smart enough to handle situations well enough but if you wanted to you could micromanage them down to where the stood which made many a battle easier.

In case it’s not clear, I loved this game. So, with the demo now imminent, is anyone else looking back at Mass Effect 2 fondly? Does this Ring a Bell?