The Best: Loyalty missions. Commander Shepard probably thought they had issues having to deal with the whole sci-fi resurrection, impending Reaper invasion, and prying questions about how they survived the onslaught on Akuze (Kill Bill sirens intensifies). But it turns out the N2rmandy’s rough-and-tumble assortment of crewmates is just as troublesome…but worth the effort of sorting out.
Mass Effect 2’s loyalty missions are by far the highlight of the game. Whether you’re helping your krogan son through puberty or engaging your sea-shell-loving Salarian in a rousing debate over the morality of the genophage, Mass Effect 2’s crew-centric episodes are the bedrock of the game and contain the most creative missions and world-building of the series. And for romantic players, the culmination of a loyalty mission has the added bonus of eventually letting you suck face with your favorite aliens or (sigh) human crewmates. I’d say the fraternizing aboard the Normandy warrants an emergency HR meeting, but its resident therapist is too busy either feeding Shepard’s fish or giving them a lap dance.
The Worst: No Mako. Boo, tomato tomato. As if to over-correct gripes about Mass Effect’s repetitive and uninspired space exploration, Mass Effect 2 removed it entirely. Sadly, this decision not only eliminates the explorative feel in favor of more linear gameplay, it also excludes any and all drivin’ around in the Mako. Instead of clunkily scaling the side of impossibly vertical mountainsides or flinging yourself into an unsuspecting Geth Colossus from the safety of the Normandy’s Nokia phone-esque all-terrain vehicle, you just watch repetitive cutscenes of the crew in their mini spacecraft shuttling themselves hither and thither across the galaxy. I love you Mako-sama, you big hoss, you.