Overall Game of the Year Mass Effect 2

I played, reviewed and wrote the guide for Mass Effect when it first hit the Xbox 360 a few years ago, and I thought it was a pretty good RPG with some rough spots. By the time I had made it almost all the way through Mass Effect 2, I realized that time had dimmed my memories of the first. I erased both games' save files and started fresh with Mass Effect, imported my character into Mass Effect 2 and played it all the way through a second time. Mass Effect 2 is just that good. Everything about this second entry in the amazing series is absolute gaming perfection. The story and characters are miles beyond anything seen in video games to this point, the graphics, sound and voice acting are equally impressive and, in a departure from the first game, Mass Effect 2's firefights are quick, action-based skirmishes that are more Call of Duty than Final Fantasy.

My mother used to say that you know a book is good after you finish it because you miss the characters. I miss Commander Shepard, Joker, Garrus, Miranda and the rest. The just-released teaser for Mass Effect 3 has the Normandy's crew back on my mind, and the proposed release date of Holiday 2011 almost ensures, in my mind, what next year's best game will be. If you haven't visited the complex galaxy BioWare has crafted in these two games yet, you owe it to yourself to suck it up and dive in. More than any other game this year, Mass Effect 2 proves that video games are indeed an art form, and I can't wait to see what BioWare has in store for the saga's final act.


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