Universal acclaim - based on 98 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 98 out of 98
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 98
  3. Negative: 0 out of 98
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  1. games(TM)
    Despite all of the ways Mass Effect 2 is more engaging to play and explore, after 35 remarkable hours it was the characters that stayed with us… Game of the year in January? Oh, go on then. [Feb 2010, p.112]
  2. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Both an astonishing RPG and confident shooter, Mass Effect 2 is daring, shocking and often awe-inspiring in its use of choice. This is the future of storytelling in videogames. [Issue#, p.85]
  3. It's mature: not because of profanity or nudey bits, but because it tackles complicated themes without telling you what to think. Having already sunk a distressing number of hours into ME2, the second this sentence is finished we're firing it up and exploring the rest of the universe.
  4. Mass Effect 2 is the perfect fusion of the shooter and RPG genres. When you're not playing it, you wish you were. When you are playing it, you can't imagine doing anything else. Engrossing, captivating, stunning. Roll on DLC, and Mass Effect 3.
  5. 100
    Mass Effect 2 delivers the best experience of its kind in this generation-and considering I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I finished my initial 39-hour playthrough a few days ago, a lower score would feel disingenuous. From its mechanics to its writing to its presentation, Mass Effect 2 is the kind of game that justifies gushing clichés and superlatives. I can't recommend it highly enough.
  6. Mass Effect 2 strikes a perfect balance between intense shooter action and gut-wrenching drama, set in a richly textured world on the brink of destruction. It's a must-own for science fiction fans, who will love exploring the depths of the galaxy and fighting to save humanity.
  7. We can't do anything but to celebrate another masterpiece from Bioware, a game that has never been so close to perfection. If you have not upgraded your PC yet, it's time to do it; if you you needed an excuse to buy an Xbox 360, now you have one. Not to play this game would be crazy.
  8. 100
    Perhaps BioWare's greatest success in Mass Effect 2 has been taking a complex RPG and making it effortless to understand, play and enjoy on a constant basis, because it has done this in a manner that should prove utterly essential to veterans and newcomers alike, and more than enough to suggest Mass Effect 3 will be the most important game in BioWare's history.
  9. My journey with Commander Shepherd opened up a new view of what this form of entertainment can do, and allowed me to emotionally connect (and care) with the virtual characters on my television screen. The dialogue, story progression, graphics, soundtrack, controls, and presentation are all well above what so many other games of this genre are offering these days... has never given a perfect score, until now.
  10. The fluid systems -- the navigation, the combat, and the quick-fire missions -- combine to make Mass Effect 2 an RPG that challenges the genre conventions. The superb emphasis on character development, the gripping plot elements and big-budget presentation aren't too bad either.
  11. 100
    It's the way that Mass Effect 2 expands upon the narrative established in the first game that marks a true breakthrough for interactive storytelling.
  12. Mass Effect not only is the best RPG of this generation, but also an excellent action game that will appeal a broader audience. It's one of those few titles that we'll still be talking about in many years to come.
  13. If you liked Mass Effect 1 to any degree whatsoever, you’ll definitely love Mass Effect 2 with its improved combat and AI, and cinematics and storyline – sans the glitches we all know and hate from ME1.
  14. 100
    Mass Effect 2 far exceeded our expectations and is without question one of the best games we've played. Use whatever positive description you'd like. System seller, potential game of the year, landmark achievement; just make sure you buy it immediately.
  15. 100
    If you even remotely enjoy a good narrative, this game is a must buy. Fans of the original are in for a treat as everything that was wrong with the last game has been fixed. Mass Effect 2 truly is the definitive entry in the series, and quite possibly the best BioWare game to be released thus far.
  16. Mass Effect 2 is an epic in every sense, not forgetting anything. It can hold us until the last second, and still allows us to go further.
  17. This is a series that deserves its own place in gaming history and while there will always be comparisons of where it originated from. It's nice to know that there can be a story told in space that is so epic, so intelligent, and so rewarding, that doesn't have to have the word "Star" in its title.
  18. 100
    The second part of the Mass Effect saga is nothing short of a milestone in game design. The technical issues present in the first game are now gone, a fact that's beautifully demonstrated by the improved graphics engine. There's a ton of worlds to explore, an amazing roster of characters to recruit and a great and engaging story. But Bioware's major feat is how all your decisions have a major impact on how the story, and thereby the trilogy, unfolds.
  19. Mass Effect started with a huge stable of good ideas. Maybe the task of executing on all those ideas was too great for any one development team to accomplish in a single game, but BioWare has really gotten it right the second time around. They took those same ideas and figured out a better way to combine them into a more cohesive, more playable sequel that makes good on every bit of Mass Effect's potential and leaves me staring very grudgingly at the presumable two-year wait until my own Commander Shepard can continue his fight in the next game.
  20. 100
    Mass Effect 2 is a superb adventure, a deep gameplay experience, action packed and stuffed full of amazing vistas, If you own an Xbox 360 you have to buy this game. It's every bit the the smart, sexy, thrilling, moving, funny, tense game we hoped it would be.
  21. Great role-playing uses unpredictable situations to provoke unexpected responses in players, and accordingly, Mass Effect 2 is surprising time and again.
  22. More importantly though, Mass Effect 2 is simply an amazing game from start to finish, regardless of the decisions you choose to make.
  23. Few games take as many risks, and even less actually emerge for the better, but Mass Effect 2 pays off in an almost effortless fashion. Not one to be missed.
  24. The fabulous storytelling, innovative dialogue system and impact of your choices remains in full force, and that’s all you really need to make a great RPG: the actual role-playing. The commitment from Bioware in making this franchise the best it can be is astounding.
  25. AceGamez
    It’s forty-plus hours of top-notch combat, incredible voice-acting, emotional provocation, stunning graphics and exhilarating gameplay of a standard that simply hasn’t been achieved before as a complete package.
  26. 100
    The only thing that shocked us more was the fact that we instantly wanted to play it again from the beginning. With Mass Effect 2, BioWare have created an astonishing video game which is likely to entrance casual and hard-core players alike. The only requirement one needs to enjoy Mass Effect 2 is an inclination to become lost in its dark and wondrous universe. Oh, and perhaps a week off work.
  27. The second chapter of this beautiful Bioware saga stands with right among the most enjoyable and immersive adventures ever created for the videogame industry. Its artistic value shines above every universe ever imagined by any videoplayer or game designer.
  28. 100
    The recipe is easy: More action, less roleplaying. Oh boy, Mass Effect 2 is a fun game!
  29. 100
    But it all boils down to the fact that you need to play this game. Because once this trilogy is done, we might well be looking at one of the greatest science-fiction works – in any medium – of all time. Mass Effect 2 is an utterly absorbing, satisfying and rewarding journey that you absolutely will not want to end, ever.
  30. Unprecedented story telling, superb soundtrack, exciting characters and intense, varied battles... Mass Effect 2 is a must-buy for any roleplaying gamer and already is one of this year's best games.
  31. Mass Effect 2 has the balance of an RPG as well as plentyt of action and adventure, making it the perfect console game.
  32. This bottom line is that this game is borderline perfect.
  33. If I had to sum up the game in two words, it would be "captivating" and "cool" as developers BioWare have really gone beyond the original and have made a large toy box, even bigger.
  34. Simply put, Mass Effect 2 is a game that everyone should play.
  35. I commend the development team at BioWare for all the hard work that went into making this title not only shine but feel both familiar and completely fresh at the same time.
  36. Mass Effect 2 is easily one of the best games of the generation, blowing away its predecessor in just about every way, and removing the "flawed" attachment to the "masterpiece" title.
  37. The loss of RPG elements may hit some people hard, and the repetition in minigames may lead to yawns and tired eyes, but none of these faults hold Mass Effect 2 back from being a work of bold ambition, and one of gaming’s most exciting sequels.
  38. Substantial improvements, great story, amazing character development…it’s not often that you get to name a “Game of the Year” candidate in January but guess what, I’m doing it now!
  39. 98
    Bioware has delivered everything they have promised with Mass Effect 2, and then some.
  40. There's just so much here to experience, and it's all uniformly excellent in execution. BioWare has delivered on its promise to let us affect this massive world through our actions, and you can bet that we'll be playing this one through several times in anticipation of how it all pans out.
  41. 97
    Mass Effect 2 is a work of unreserved genius that not only surpasses its predecessor in almost every conceivable department, but also deserves to be listed alongside the greatest science-fiction properties in any medium. The perfect blend of rich, lustrous visuals, an evocative soundtrack and pure gameplay quality make Mass Effect 2 without question one of the best games of this or any generation, and anyone who believes otherwise, is just plain wrong.
  42. The two halves– the rewarding combat and the massive role playing element – will provide something for everyone. If you’re a fan of both camps, then you really need to get this. A wonderful, immersive tale that sets things up superbly for the finale, which, based on the evolution Mass Effect 2 has showed, should be magnificent.
  43. 96
    It's incredibly personal while still retaining a sense of epic sweeping scale. The combat and mission design are outstanding. The visuals, voice acting, soundtrack, and direction are miles ahead of the competition. Perhaps most impressively, Mass Effect 2 manages to fulfill its incredible ambition while only suffering from very few technical hiccups.
  44. 96
    Mass Effect 2 resumes with pride the path opened by the first game. This sequel is a lesson of how things should be made.
  45. Storytelling, atmosphere, playability, graphics, music, characters, everything in Mass Effect 2 screams the word KOLOSSAL out loud! This game, and this saga, deserve to sit right next to Sci-Fi classics such as Star Wars and Star Trek. Masterpiece.
  46. Mass Effect 2 is a worthy successor to the original, and whilst it's a surprise to see the legends of hardcore RPG developers BioWare take a step away from the RPG and into the third-person shooter; it's one that will appeal to a far larger audience and when it's at this level of brilliance - everyone should be lucky enough to enjoy it.
  47. Bioware has done it again; and even better this time.
  48. Although the sequel suffers a little from being the middle game of the trilogy and the stepping stone of the (hopefully) grand finale, Mass Effect 2 is extremely well polished and improved from its predecessor in almost every respect.
  49. Official Xbox Magazine
    Mass Effect 2 overcomes its few gameplay weaknesses with a fantastic weave of dynamic combat, lavish presentation, and engaging character and weapon customization. But for all the myriad improvements that make Mass Effect 2's visuals so appealing and its combat so exhilarating, it's ultimately the way it moves us that makes it so memorable. [Feb 2010, p.56]
  50. Right now I’m even salivating at the prospect of finishing up all of the extra content.
  51. Overall, Mass Effect 2 is a title that everyone has to experience. As fun as the first title was it did have its own share of issues. It’s refreshing to see a development team take in all of the criticism from their previous title and use it to improve upon their concept for the sequel.
  52. Mass Effect 2 is much more than a game. It’s an ominous sci-fi-mystery-action-epic that continues to provide thrilling moments around every bend.
  53. Modern, fascinating and truly innovative, Mass Effect 2 is a brand new take for the western rpg, Bioware reached a perfect mix between action and storytelling, graced by stunning visuals and a long and challenging gameplay.
  54. Mass Effect 2 is a must buy. Deep RPG mechanics and good shooting fill an exciting universe, full of great characters, marvelous worlds and dangers. A great graphics and an incredible dubbing make this second chapter one of the greatest experience to date.
  55. Mass Effect 2 is a captivating experience that begs to be played and replayed. Phenomenal presentation is augmented by enjoyable combat, deep characters, and epic narrative; only minor quibbles exist in these areas.
  56. 95
    Gamers looking for a beautiful action game with exciting storyline and an interesting setting need to look no further than Mass Effect 2. The improved gameplay formula creates a fluent experience and audio-visually the games goes all out. It may be a bit early to dish out “game of the year”, but Mass Effect 2 has everything to get that title. Highly recommended for every game lover.
  57. Some hardcore RPG fans will be disappointed by Mass Effect 2 - the higher focus on the shooter aspects of the first game and the streamlined nature of the combat might turn them away from the game. We'll call this their loss, because one thing is certain - Mass Effect 2 is the perfect blending of Shooter and RPG, mixing Gears of War style battles with one of the deepest, most immersive fictional universes in gaming history.
  58. Mass Effect 2 is an improvement over the original in almost every way. Bioware decided to focus more on the shooter aspect and less on the RPG aspect, but that streamlines the game and makes it significantly more enjoyable.
  59. For role playing fans, this is the pinnacle of the genre, an all encompassing experience that is quite simply hinged on it's own grandiose and success, a must play title. For shooter/action fans, there might be a lot of waffle to wade through, but the merits of sticking with it outweigh any of the potential downfalls. Again, a must play game.
  60. 95
    The game fulfills the obvious but unfulfilled potential of its predecessor in grand fashion, with a bigger adventure, a richer universe to explore, more visceral combat, and conversation mechanics that actually make character development a captivating piece of the experience.
  61. 95
    Basically this is Mass Effect but with the next chapter of the epic story and every gameplay mechanic refined or tuned in one way or another.
  62. Mass Effect 2 is easily one of the most compelling, exciting and emotionally affecting interactive experiences you’ll ever have.
  63. While it ultimately may be more evolutionary than revolutionary, Mass Effect 2 still sets a new, almost impossibly high benchmark for future games.
  64. Mass Effect 2 is seminal in its genre. It is individually brilliant in every aspect... The combat, the writing, voice acting, visuals, score and direction comes together to create an unmatchable experience, and we fear it will be a while before we see one of this quality and standard.
  65. The story is bigger and more personal, the combat and inventory have been refined for better execution and the overall presentation trumps the quality from the first game. Everything you could have hoped for in a sequel is made clear in Mass Effect 2.
  66. The game still probably won’t appeal to RPG purists due to it being focused heavily towards the action gamer, but if you liked the original than the sequel is unmissable.
  67. The story does waver when it matters most, and the planet-scanning and other hacking mini-games are quite the bore, but aside from that Mass Effect 2 is a game that doesn't seem to put a foot wrong. Riveting use of characters and your involvement in their stories really make this one you can't miss.
  68. Mass Effect 2 maintained the promise of delivering a worthy sequel to the first game, improving it with a tighter shooter component and the brave choice of streamlining the RPG one. Our only complain is the sub-par story, lacking the complexity and intrigue of the first one. Despite this, it remains a game capable to amaze any sci-fi lover.
  69. Mass Effect 2 is the poster child for non-linear storytelling. With perhaps the finest cast of characters in gaming, and tons of replayability, Mass Effect 2 is an epic sci-fi adventure that shouldn't be missed.
  70. Pelit (Finland)
    Mass Effect 2 gives you an opportunity to play a role, but I'd be hesitant to call it a role-playing game. So what is it exactly? A really robust action-adventure? Can't tell for sure, but once you get past the fact that you're not playing a RPG you really can't help but to enjoy what game has to offer. Mass Effect 2 is truly a genre-defying masterpiece. [Feb 2010]
  71. 93
    Mass Effect 2's greatest strength once again falls upon the beauty of its universe and the carefully interwoven character dramas underpinning the action. It's a fascinating and hugely enjoyable experience that serves not only as a reminder of how wide the valley between a 'great and an 'excellent' game actually is, but why BioWare is still one of the most vital and important developers out there today.
  72. Mass Effect 2 has quality oozing from every facet of its makeup. If you're patient enough to hop from tactical combat to immersive role-playing without a blink, then you'll discover that Mass Effect 2 is a wonderfully engrossing quest that's deep yet suitably streamlined and incredibly cinematic.
  73. Mass Effect 2 is an amazing RPG with an unbeatable cinematic feeling and a history and characters simply astonishing. This is a game that demands to be played by every Xbox 360 user because it’s the very definition of what Next-Gen wants to be.
  74. Everything BioWare did to improve the game has lead to satisfying results. Such efforts actually redefine how sequels should be made. This was one of the most memorable gaming experiences we've had in recent history.
  75. Mass Effect 2 is an awesome RPG set in an amazing universe. The story is compelling, the characters throughout the adventure come to life and every battle you encounter is a treat to play. It’s the adventure of a lifetime!
  76. Games Master UK
    The most polished and impressive RPG from BioWare to date. Roll on part three. [Mar 2010, p.60]
  77. Mass Effect 2 is a sequel that offers a much improved experience over its predecessor. The story, the graphics, and the gameplay all combine to offer a more refined game then the original.
  78. 93
    Bioware has managed to surpass the first Mass Effect on many fronts. For us as gamers, the new year couldn't have had a better start than this.
  79. 92
    On most levels it’s hard to fault Mass Effect 2; this is a sequel that polishes many of the original’s faults, tightening the combat and turning the screw on Shepard in the fight to save humanity with an impressive flair. Those already in thrall to BioWare’s magic will fall in love all over again with a game that’s got the sweep and stagger of the very best sci-fi epics.
  80. While Mass Effect 1 was a good game, this sequel really just improves everything. With a wide range of gameplay tweaks and some slight nudges to the presentation, the game ends up really reaching its full potential.
  81. 91
    When Mass Effect 3 rolls around to bring this tale to its finale, I'd really like to see BioWare strike some sort of happy medium between the clumsily executed RPG mechanics of the first game and the stripped-down shooter feel of this sequel. But even with its simplified mechanics, ME2's story makes for a compelling odyssey.
  82. You won’t give much attention to the unintuitive HUD, and the low level cap won’t stop most from playing the game again with added difficulty or for multiple story options. You'll get frustrated, you'll ask yourself why, but you'll still love it. Facing the dark reality of Mass Effect 2 has its stumbles and slips, but it’s a trip worth taking, no matter the destination.
  83. Role-play at its best. Interactive communications, movie-like staging and visual effects bring down some fireworks on your TV-screen. Who is behind these Collectors and will Shepard be able to encounter the real enemy. You just wanna know.
  84. Mass Effect 2 may not have quite the depth and consequences of Dragon Age - although it's impossible to tell, as both games contain so many variables - but it's the more polished and confident of the two. It is arguably the best RPG of recent years, and as a standalone game, a sequel, and a lead-in to the final part of the trilogy, it's an unqualified success.
  85. 90
    An improvement on just about every aspect of the original game, with the exception of one tiny aspect; the very final battle. Mass Effect 2 sees BioWare's approach to the role playing genre evolve beyond anything they've worked on previously, and gives us a glimpse of how both RPGs and shooters will begin to merge in the years ahead.
  86. Once this intense and action-packed role-playing game pulls you into its orbit, you won't want to escape.
  87. With the first instalment, BioWare built a universe of words – a deeply convincing multicultural sprawl you could read about without ever quite getting to touch. Here, you’re inside it from the start – and the view is often dazzling
  88. By making choice, dialogue and characters the key ingredients, Mass Effect 2 delivers an experience in which the player feels directly at the core - more so than any other game we can think of. It effortlessly expands the scope of the original, creating a universe which is deeply engrossing and a plot that you can't help feeling part of.
  89. Mass Effect 2 may have turned a bit more into a shooter than its predecessor, but the story and the dense atmosphere will appeal to SciFi- and roleplay fans alike.
  90. Much like the first Mass Effect, you can ignore everything that is wrong with Mass Effect 2, because it is just so good at everything that it does right. The faults are not as glaring as they were in the last game and you will be so enthralled with the amazing story, characters and combat that for the most part, you won't care anyway.
  91. 90
    From the war-torn home world of the lizardlike krogans to a planet so wracked by radiation that stepping out of the shade will eat away at your shields, the galaxy feels more lovely, lurid and dangerous this time around.
  92. Mass Effect 2 improves in almost every way on its predecessor by offering smoother and more action-based combat while still retaining the quintessential interactive storytelling that's always been the hallmark of Bioware games. This seamless melding of genres results in an unparalleled sci-fi epic.
  93. A milestone game for BioWare, where character-driven drama proves just as engrossing as the combat.
  94. 90
    Mass Effect 2 succeeds ultimately on the strength of its world and BioWare have created one of the most beautiful, fantastical, consistent, comprehensive and coherent universes seen in science fiction, let alone video games.
  95. 90
    BioWare have not only built up a fascinating, rich universe, they've made another fantastic game in which you get to be a part of it. A masterful piece of video game storytelling and a great action RPG to boot.
  96. Science-fiction movie fans already had movies like Star Wars and Star Trek. Mass Effect 2 manages to finally give a big sci-fi epic to gamers. Thanks to the beautiful visual effects, the game shows a realistic and convincing way of telling an interactive story. On top of that, the game improves upon almost all of the mistakes of its predecessor, though some players might feel the game lacks some more profound RPG-elements.
  97. When all’s said and done, and in spite of our qualms and nitpicks, Mass Effect 2 truly is an excellent game.
  98. Players who can look past the lack of drive, annoying decisions, and a general stripped-down, dumbed-down feeling can (thankfully) still look forward to some truly spectacular moments and unforgettable action before credits roll.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 3703 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Aug 21, 2010
    Well, every game has it's detractors,but seriously? "Oh noes, they dun stole my RPG elements! It is awl dumb-down and stoopid now!" blissfullyWell, every game has it's detractors,but seriously? "Oh noes, they dun stole my RPG elements! It is awl dumb-down and stoopid now!" blissfully forgetting through their misty-eyed watercolour memories that Mass Effect could be muscled through with sheer gaming skill and an unleveled Shepard. Being able to be beaten by skill alone, an RPG does not make. The inventory was awful, it turned the whole game into a puzzle of managing your inventory. I'm glad to see it gone. To finish up, the romance options are much improved, instead of humans only or a 106-year old archeologist. Full Review »
  2. Apr 14, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. RPG? --- I don't get it... I just don't. How could this game have received a 9.0 user score? It must be because the current generation of gamers is made-up of FPS f-boys who care more about ownz and lolz, than a deep RPG experience. Mass Effect 2 isn't an RPG.. it doesn't even have elements of an RPG. The only thing that had RPG elements in ME2 was the marketing letterhead. ME2 was a third person shooter in space. Period. None of your choices matter or make any difference to the story line, except who is or is not around after the credits roll. Big woop.

    Completely linear gameplay -- huge disapointment throughout the entire experience. Side-missions are nothing more than 10 minute long fire fights, without any purpose. No loot, no weapons or armor to find, no unique artifacts.... just more fps lolz and ownz.

    Mining -- makes me so sick I don't even want to write about it. Bioware took away immersive planet exploration in an awesome all terrain vehicle.... for a glorified game of darts. Congrats developers. You epic failed. All you had to do was add some more alien villages, or interesting ruins to explore. Instead, you Bioware typed select-all, Shift-delete. "We're golden yo!" I've met smarter rocks.

    PS - to the people who complained about ME1's planet exploring vehicle controls -- you're just too dumb. Sorry. The controls worked perfectly, and exploring the mountains of a distant world was great fun. Try learning how to control a vehicle other than a Halo Bullfrog buggy... or whatever it's called.

    Inventory - Shift-Delete.
    Armor, Weapons - Shift-Delete.
    ...a new bioware trend.

    Finally... the final Boss.... WTF kind of special education, highschool drop-out, pregnant at 16, eats paint chips, glue sniffing, embarrassment to humanity, brainchild decided that a giant skeletor in the middle of space was a "awesomz lolz yo, yo" final boss?

    Skeletor...really? In space??? How was this thing supposed to do anything, go anywhere, or simply be a threat to anyhing in the ME2 universe? Was he going to fling asteroids across known space?
    Oh, and the best part was that he was made from a mix of biological DNA.... so he was the giant mutated baby of Rosanne Bar and Shaq?? Bioware is so dumb.

    You get a 4 because the graphics were pretty. That's about it.
    Full Review »
  3. OG
    Apr 12, 2010
    Loved the first game, don't know what happen in this one. Feels that they didn't feel good with the game the first time and threw Loved the first game, don't know what happen in this one. Feels that they didn't feel good with the game the first time and threw everything away. Is a complete different setting, instead of the council now it has a corporate sponsor. Horrible plots with lots of holes. The last one was sci-fi, this is like gossip girl on space. Arrrgh! I can't believe I wasted 60 bucks in this. Not buying the next one for sure. And they can buy all the reviews they want. In the end, they know who are the real fans. Why buying an angry space shooter game if there is Gears, Half life, even Modern Warfare. What was this game offering that the others didn't? All that they threw it away. Full Review »