Mitch Gross: Writing Samples

Mass Effect 2 leads the charge to more action-oriented casual games

Posted in Samples by Mitch on March 26, 2010

The latest roleplaying masterpiece from Bioware has arrived and it definitely reflects the changing trends of the gaming industry and gamers. In 2007, Mass Effect was released and players experienced a highly cinematic game, which mixed high-stakes combat with deep roleplaying mechanics, including detailed squad and equipment management, NPCs who strongly react to the choices you make in the course of the game, and highly customizable characters. While much of this is still present in Mass Effect 2, the game has been highly streamlined as a reflection of the changes in the industry in the last few years to more of a focus on casual and fast-paced gameplay. As the gaming audience has become more impatient and less interested in detailed management of characters and inventory, so have the mechanics of “ME2” changed to the point that the game is much more of an action-oriented shooter with some roleplaying elements: inventory management is gone, ammo choices are more simplistic as is equipment upgrade research. Most telling of all, during roleplaying scenes players can now interrupt NPCs with their own dialogue choices instead of patiently waiting for the scenes to play out. After the sales success of Mass Effect 2, it will be interesting to see how the shift to more of an action focus will affect upcoming releases such as Borderlands 2, Fallout: New Vegas, Bioware’s own Dragon Age 2, and others.

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