Its a tough choice. I preferred the story and structure in the first game, I liked that the Reaper threat wasn’t so dominating and that you could explore a lot of the places in the world. On the other hand it had those terrible moon buggy sections and the loot/combat locations were a little on the repetitive and dry side.
Mass Effect 2 tightened up the looting (probably a little too tight really) and made the companions a lot more interesting however the world and the story seemed to get a lot smaller and more constricted. I could no longer explore the Citadel and I was stuck working for a bunch of sociopaths. It also still had plenty of dumb in the form of OCD traumatising planet scanning, but I’ll forgive it a lot for having excellent DLC.
Shooting seemed much of a muchness between the two of them in my memory, fairly uninvolving and unmemorable, though the big bad boss was a lot better in the first one.
I think the free structure wins out in the end so I’m going to plump for the first game, if they could have something similar to that with the more interesting companions of the second game I’d be satisifed for the third.
Is anyone keeping count of the number of Mass Effect threads?
Anyway, both. The mass effect games are my favourite games of the last ten years.
Mass effect is a wonky shooter with a simple but very effective and well executed rise of a hero story. Interface is rubbish but having played a lot of bioware games in the past I was expecting that. The equipment and leveling appeals to me because I like getting lots of stuff but most of the stuff is rubbish that serves no purpose and most of the levels are +2% increases. Sidequests off the citadel are worse and asset reuse is on par with dragon age 2, but something about the exterior terrain and controls of the Mako appeal to me strongly enough that I’ve completed the collection quests on every one of many, many playthroughs.
Mass Effect 2 is a competent covershooter with a more Dirty dozen style story and a willingness to put shepard by the side of an organization that would have been full of sneering villains in most Sci-fi. The environments of ME2 feel less extensive with the loss of the Mako but the rise in detail and variety of what there is makes the tradeoff painless for me. The low amount of equipment and levels that shipped with the game was a letdown compared to it’s predecessor but at the same time it meant that each skill-level is a noticeable improvement and the guns you get in ME2 are more diverse than the extremely predictable weapon progression of ME1. Exploration is shite mechanically speaking but has the upshot that all those minerals are actually useful for something and the planetary sidequests are a lot better.
Both are brilliant games with strong stories that diverge enough so as not to make me feel like I was retreading the same steps yet again when I played Mass Effect 2. I love them equally.
I love both to bits but if I had to pick one for the proverbial desert island it would be 2 because of how engaging the combat is on Insanity. It’s fun (sorry, that f-word again) to work out how the classes mesh together and which squad mates support my Shepard best, and to this day I’m still working my way through classes I haven’t really played before. Thus far I’ve completed Insanity with a soldier and adept, currently working on an infiltrator and I can’t wait to see how vanguard, engineer and sentinel fare.
On the other hand, I can’t say anything about ME1’s combat system has prompted me to fire up the game. It has strengths elsewhere, of course, but after three playthroughs I’ve pretty much seen everything the game has to offer.
I play Mass Effect primarily for the story, and I liked the way the story was developed in 2 better than in the original. Ideally, I’d want all of the exploration stuff that was available in the first game with the 2 plotting and gunplay, but if I have to choose…
I think this is an important point. ME2 was the first game that departed significantly from the 4-planets structure of every Bioware game since BG2, and that screwed around with a lot of ppl’s expectations. They were thinking that it would be just like NWN, and KOTOR, and Jade Empire, and all the rest: build your squad, then do 4 major quests, a bunch of filler sidequests, then do the finale. They were not expecting to spend three-quarters of the game interacting with their squadmembers, and so tended to discount the actual gameplay that they were getting. That included a dozen major quests that did not have “MAIN PLOT” stamped across them, completion of which would have taken anywhere up to 30 hours. That’s roughly the same amount of time as the main quests plus a fair chunk of sidequests in ME1.
Despite ME2 being objectively better in almost every respect, I voted for ME1 because it was superior in the aspect that matters most: story.
It seemed like the plot of ME2 demanded that I spend almost the entirety of the game assembling my team but hardly any time actually doing anything with them. I would have written the story such that the first 1/3 was assembling the team (i.e. recruitment missions), the next 1/3 was learning how to gel and work together (i.e. companion side quests), and the final 1/3 was taking on the Reaper/Collector threat. Instead, the game devoted about 90% of its playtime to recruitment and side quests and only 10% to the “main” quest. As I said in the other thread, it’s all build-up but no pay-off. It felt like there was a missing act in the game that was cut for time/budget reasons.
I prefer a shitty inventory to no inventory, and the stupid heat sink clip thing…ugh. I still greatly enjoyed ME2, I just wish Bioware hadn’t looked at every problem from ME1 and said “Cut that feature” instead of designing some fixes.
DLC also significantly reduced my opinion of the second game. With how little plot, equipment, and “exploration” (rather than “Go immediately to X to complete Y” structures that fueled most of the cast quests) actually shipped with ME2, the fact that they had the nerve to release some of the exact things that made the first game so appealing as paid DLC was infuriating. I unlocked my free dragon armor from Dragon Age and that’s it, man.
Then again, I hate DLC with the fiery passion of a thousand lustful suns, so I’m hardly objective.