Like just about everyone I know with an Xbox 360 or gaming PC, my current obsession is BioWare’s “Mass Effect 2” (rated M, $60 on Xbox 360, $50 on PC). Before I commence with the picking of nits, I need to say that, thus far, I’m a huge fan of “Mass Effect 2,” as well as the “Mass Effect” series and BioWare in general. So don’t jump down my throat for what I’m about to say, OK?
No game is perfect, and one of the things that’s been driving me a little bit nuts as I progress through “Mass Effect 2” is the frequency at which I run into characters from the first “Mass Effect.” (This is the point at which you should stop reading if you’re one of those people who considers every minor revelation a “spoiler,” though I’m steering clear of particulars.)
It doesn’t matter what remote part of the universe I’m in; the game seems to turn into “This Is Your Life” every time I round a corner. Now, I don’t actually mind running into some of the major characters from the first game. After all, these guys saved galactic civilization alongside Commander Shepard in the first game. It makes sense he might end up encountering (or even working with) some of these folks in the sequel.
I don’t even mind bumping into folks from my past on the Citadel, the massive space station that served as a galactic hub in the first game. You can revisit the Citadel in “Mass Effect 2,” so it makes sense when you reunite with some characters who call the station home.
No, my problem is when I’m off on some out-of-the-way planet, population a few thousand, and cross paths with some minor character who had 30 seconds of screen time in the first game. The whole thing just seems so implausible. The universe is huge, right? What are the odds I’d encounter someone I’d helped, two years after the fact on a planet on the fringe of civilized space where they recycle decrepit star cruisers? Obviously, the point is to show how Shepard’s decisions in the first game affected the lives of these virtual folks, but after a couple such encounters, it’s a little silly.
Yes, I realize I’m talking about implausibility in a series where you can hurl people through the air with your mind and fall in love with a blue alien, but still. It seems like someone’s trying a little too hard to integrate the two games.