Why Mass Effect 2 is Undeniably Better on PS3

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After playing through both Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 multiple times each, ME is without question my favorite new IP of this generation. In fact, if the freshly revealed third installment hits the same high notes of its predecessors, then it might usurp Metal Gear Solid as my favorite franchise ever.

So why, with my dozens of hours of pre-existing 360 save data and a year after its original release, am I so excited to see Mass Effect 2 make its way to the PlayStation 3? Glad you asked! I can think of five reasons right off the top of my head:

It’s all on a single disc

The reasons to fall in love with the Mass Effect franchise are many, but none are more impactful than the engrossing, meticulously detailed universe that BioWare has crafted; it’s some of the finest science-fiction you’ll ever come across, bar none. Even if the riveting story and believable characters leave you with a few lingering questions, there’s an encyclopedic Codex to teach you about faster-than-light travel and to help you remember the difference between a batarian and a vorcha.

That’s why it was kind of a bummer for Mass Effect 2 to span two discs on the 360. Sure, it was a one-time thing, but when you’re ready to travel to another solar system to take on another life-or-death mission, only to be told to swap discs … well, that’s kind of a buzzkill. It’s sort of like being woken up in the middle of an awesome lucid dream.

Thinking ahead, we can’t imagine the conclusion to the epic trilogy to be in any way smaller than ME2; do you really want to be bothered with being pulled out of such a rich universe to change discs for Mass Effect 3, possibly more than once? I kind of don’t.

An embarrassment of DLC riches on the disc

As if it weren’t enough to put the massive Mass Effect 2 on a single Blu-Ray, all of the DLC to ever release for the game is also there, with no downloading required on the user’s part.

On top of the fact that the value of this extra content is over $30, the amount of extra play time that this adds is pretty significant — the PS3 box art claims 6 hours, but could be more depending on your play speed. Personally, I finished the core game in a little over 47 hours, which is well over the 33-hour average recorded by BioWare a while back. In any case, PS3 players are in for a long ride.

A timely, pre-release demo

Of course, it’s all for naught if you don’t even like playing the game. As unlikely as it may seem to ME die-hards, the game isn’t for everyone. It’s a beautiful thing that with the advent of massive hard drives and broadband connections, then, that there’s a demo available for Mass Effect 2 as we speak.

Unfortunately for PC and 360 gamers that wanted to try the game before committing to it, a demo didn’t see the light of day until five months after release. At that point the game was already a massive success to be sure, but I witnessed two different things happen: on the one hand, I had a friend that simply didn’t bother with the game because of the long wait for a demo; his loss for sure. On the other, I knew someone else that bought the game the following weekend after the demo finally released.

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So yea, getting a demo out before the release of your blockbuster game is kind of a big deal. Hell, even I downloaded the ME2 demo despite knowing exactly what happens. In my case, though, I wanted to check out another awesome aspect of the PS3 version:

It runs on Mass Effect 3’s engine

Every Mass Effect fan out there is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Mass Effect 3, and we’ll take every little taste of the game that we can get. Seeing the reveal trailer, along with a lot of other fantastic announcements, was a huge (and probably the only) reason for gamers to tune into Spike’s dreadful Video Game Awards show two weeks ago.

So it came as a pleasant surprise to find that the PS3 version of Mass Effect 2, including the demo up on PSN, runs on Mass Effect 3’s engine. As a result, the game is looking mighty fine. BioWare have gone on record to say that the game looks “as good, if not better” than it did on Xbox 360, and recent comparisons of the demos on XBLA and PSN are consistent with this claim.

Which leads me to my final point …

Missing Mass Effect 1 isn’t a big deal

I’m kind of bummed that the first game can’t find its way to the PS3, especially with the decisions you make there carrying over into Mass Effect 2 on PC and 360. But if BioWare’s own statistics are to be believed, then it’s not nearly as big a deal as you would think — according to the same set of data that revealed the average play time for players, it turns out that only 50% of Mass Effect 2 players imported their data from the original game. So while the feature was a major selling point for the second game on PC/360, it didn’t quite resonate for some reason.

Subjectively, there are other reasons that you won’t miss the game at all. First off, the game has various technical flaws, the most obvious being texture pop-in. It’s nothing game-breaking, but it’s definitely off-putting to see a rock morph take proper form before your eyes whenever you’re planetside. And surely you’ve heard of the infamous elevator rides that stood in for traditional loading screens? The particular ride seen here is almost a full minute long. Mix in clunky inventory management that was mercifully streamlined in the sequel and suddenly what was once magical in 2007 doesn’t quite pass muster.

While not ideal, the “interactive backstory comic” that condenses the story and choices of the first game into 15 minutes will certainly be better than the nothin’ that 50% of PC/360 players got when the game launched.

So what do you think? Am I off my rocker? Another megafan looking forward to replaying PS3 release to death? Sound off below.

Readers Comments (55)

  1. I’m looking forward to the game and although I downloaded the demo, I don’t really plan to play it. When I force myself to almost blindly buy something I tend to enjoy it more. So if I go ahead and buy the game without playing it I’ll be more likely to finish it up if for no other reason than to get my money’s worth. This forces more time with the game and raises the chances that I’ll like the game.

    I just pray for a controllable camera. The camera controls have become a real game purchase breaker lately. There’s just no excuse to have a bad or fixed camera in games nowadays.

  2. As much as I love the PS3, ME2 on the PS3 is actually inferior. From graphics, to framerates, to shadows, to lighting. Just look at all of the comparisons including digital foundry, lens of truth, Gameblurb, and Eurogamer sadly.

  3. Can’t forget about the screen tearing as well. Most of these gaming site’s have setted up a demo thats head to head and the 360 version won

  4. 33 hours, really?

    I just played ME2 for the first time, I recruited everyone and did all their loyalty misions and most of the random assigments and it took me 19 hours and 25 minutes, I didn’t do any mining but I had no problem advancing through game without the updates I would’ve gained from that so it was unnecessary because it seemed boring

    I think the best reason is the upgraded visuals, changing the disc twice in almost 20 hours on the 360 was no problem

  5. by the way, I played the ME2 demo on PS3 soon after beating the game on the 360 and I could see, even on my 32 inch TV that the PS3 had better visuals, don’t believe those sites, download the demo and you’ll see for yourself

    • I have just played through the Mass Effect 2 Demo on PS3 and have completed the game numerousa times on the 360. Long story short, 360 is better. I am in no way being biased and I love both consoles but the framerate, screen tearing and in some places what seems like inferior textures on the PS3 version simply put make it worse.
      Saying this PS3 only owners are about to be treated to one of the finest entertainment experiences avaliable.
      On a final note the comic thing sounds really cool and something i would love to have on the 360 version.

    • is true i have both systems and im a big fan of mass effect so i download the demo last night, the ps3 version is most better the textures and ligths in my tv 42 inch looks awesome so im going to buy this version, to have all mass effect experience.

  6. This is funny, missing Mass Effect 1 is a huge deal, you miss a 80 hou game in the universe of ME, which is half the experience

    Also looks far better on xbox 360 actually, has vastly better textures and shaders and lighting, all HD comparisson so far show that clearly

    • ME1 is less than half of your 80 hour estimate — in my first two playthroughs I clocked in about 75 hours total.

      ME2 was a fantastic game, and most people would agree, yet no one wants to acknowledge that half of those people didn’t import a ME1 character. I did and think it’s better to be able to, but it’s clear that it’s not nearly as important as people make it out to be.

  7. I have the demo and I have noticed a lot of problems man. No fanboy here, but all of those sites are true. I hope this demo was just an old build

  8. I also think ME1 is no big deal, as great as the story, characters and setting are, they are nothing without great the third person cover/shooting mechanics

    and ME1 didn’t have that, the action gameplay itself was weak, ME2 is just as good as any third person shooter, and the other secondary elements make it great, ME1 has the secondeary stuff nailed already but lacked great gameplay

    I played ME1 when it first came out and played ME2 last week and I could barely remember the story of the first game and it didn’t affect me at all in enjoying the game and I suspect most PS3 gamers will fell the same

  9. I really appreciate this article as im an avid PS3 gamer and dont anyother system so the fact that i have never played the first is a plus to hear someone thats completed both titles saying i dont really need to play the first is great news. Even tho i was a little confused about at the start of the demo… i was like WTF?!

    But i can see an epic game in there just from trying out the demo for the first time.

    Any body know of any decent detailed youtube vids of a back story to Mass Effect 1 for me to watch so i can catch up on?


    Send the link to: Mr_KAP on PSN if u can.
    I’d really appreciate it.


  10. Having to change a disk once or twice in a 20 hour plus game is no big deal…….

  11. this is the first time i have ever left a comment on a page, but after reading that article i felt like i had to reply, i have both a 360 and a ps3 and will def plat ME2 on the ps, but to say that you don’t really need to play the first is one of the stupidest comments i have ever heard.mass effect 1 builds up to the second, the characters growth and even just the story is brilliant, a little interactive comic is not going to make up for one of the best games ever created.ps3 players will miss more than the could ever imagine, unless they played it on the 360 first.

  12. Why Mass Effect 2 is Undeniably Better on PS3: Because missing Mass Effect 1 isn’t a big deal.

    First of all, this explanation makes no sense whatsoever. And second of all, if you really were a fan of the franchise you’d never draw this conclusion.

  13. This article just seems to boil down to the same old tired arguments sony fanboys always use.

    1. Our discs are bigger, and
    2. Our games have prettier graphics.

    Thanks to evolution, swapping discs out of a console with out highly developed hands isn’t the problem many sony fanboys seem to think it is today.
    And it isn’t the graphics that maketh a game, it’s the game itself, if graphics were everything than Pokemon wouldn’t be the massive best seller it is today.
    Thirdly and finally, the first game was great. Sure you don’t need to play it to play ME2, heck none of my friends did. But if you play the first game it just brings the seconds universe a lot of extra depth, both in the game and to the player. So if you don’t own a 360, play it on PC, or play it at a friends place.

  14. 1. PC does not require a disk at all, and even on 360 it is not a big deal at all. It’s not like a resident evil 4 on gamecube type deal where if you want to play certain levels you find yourself switching disks all the time. In ME2 on 360 I never found myself loading up a save and having to change my disk. Is having it on one disk more convenient? Sure, but it is hardly a big deal.

    2. The DLC is there on PC and XBL for anyone who wants it, and since the game is now only $20 (less if you get it on sale on steam or amazon) then it is cheaper to go the PC/360 route.

    3. I will assume you were just trying to take up some space.

    4. Runs on the ME3 engine and yet the 360 version arguably looks better, which definitely means the PC version looks and runs better. Saying it runs on the ME3 engine seems more like a marketing move then one that makes any, or any significant difference in graphics and performance. ME2 wasn’t originally crafted for the engine like ME3 is going to be, so it is dumb to pretend that it is some big advantage. We haven’t seen the full game so maybe some how the rest of the game just looks amazingly better, but the beginning of the game shows the opposite.

    5. I don’t see how saying how many people missed the experience of transferring their saves means that it is not something worth having. There are two things people miss out on not playing ME1. First is the obvious of missing all the side content and transfers to ME2 which some may not care about, but more hardcore rpg fans or ME fans like me do care about. It is like missing out on the first Star Wars or something where yes if you started with Empire Strikes Back you will get the story, but you still will be missing a good deal about the universe except even more in this case since it is your story. Second is the character development will be totally lost on people. When you meet up with Liara and do the shadow broker mission the story for people who played ME1 is more enriched by knowing and having a history with that person, than a 15min graphic comic which will probably make some people ask “who is this person again?”.

  15. Nice article.
    Personally though, I have to disagree with the fact Mass Effect 1 is missing not mattering. A very large amount of the reason Mass Effect 2 was better was that Mass Effect 1 made it feel real.

    (Might be spoilers for those crazy few out there that haven’t played the game)

    I knew those people, they knew me, they were hurt when I was gone. The biggest moments of the game weren’t the intense fights or the new people. Reuniting with Wrex, albeit briefly, finding the first friendly mask I encounter was none other than Tali, staring at Liara’s photo before accepting I could die in the line of duty and wishing she was with me. Then with that final DLC included actually getting her back.

    So no ME1 missing won’t break the game, it’s great on it’s own merits, but it wouldn’t be half the memory for me without it. But, I probably don’t need to write any of this for you to know what I mean if you really liked the game. =)

    On a significantly less important side note, playing ME on the PC sidestepped all of the 360’s issues. =D
    Well, except the demo but I got ME1 when ME2 released in a bargain bin and treated it as my demo, thank god I got ME2 after seeing that.

  16. LOL (www.psuni.com)u aint kidding anyone lol PS3 Version sucks. Xbox360 superior version u ps3 retard.

  17. Doesnt matter what system is better what matters is 360 just lost another one of their beloved Exclusives. Having played ME1 on 360 (before it red ringed) I always wished the PS3 would some day make a great exclusive RPG like bioware did with ME2. Now here we are 1 year later and all they have left is a sim racer and a 3rd person shooter left in next years releases. Lets face it PS3 is going to have their best year yet and all the 360 fan boys need to save some dough and get the better system instead of bashing it for making the right moves (blu ray, free PSN). Im buying this game day 1 and with the extra DLC and the comic where you actually make character choices is just icing on that PS3 cake.

  18. I played the Mass Effect 2 Demo and I think the gameplay was horrible. Also the shooting sequences were boring. I do not plan on buying this game. I am saving my money for Uncharted 3, Infamous 2 and Resistance 3. Killzone 2 and possibly Dead Space 2 will have to keep me occupied until then.

  19. LOL at the 360 fanboys they have none of their own opinion, just free loading on Microsoft’s crony websites in Europe lens of truth, digital foundry, eurogamer, now gamer etc. The PS3 version does not look in any manner they tried to present to us. Having played the PS3 demo the details & dynamic lighting are fully intact unlike the washed up images these sites shows us. Anyways they live on this crap everyday so let them have it all.

  20. Ok so the 360 fanboys day that there a some websites I never heard of stating that the PS3 version is inferior. Yet IGN says that the ps3 version clearly looks better. Who should i believe? hmmmm…..

  21. *say

  22. Seriously? You are too lazy to swap a disc? That’s a game breaker for you?

    Didn’t you ever play old PC gaming epics, like Baldur’s Gate? The game had five damn discs. Most games had more than one disc. How is it a buzzkill? How does that even matter at all?

  23. I don’t care about the PS3 version of ME2, its worthless now that the 360 version has been out for a year. (Unless you only have a PS3, but you wouldn’t be able to play ME1.)

    • haha why dont you just accept the fact that the PS3 version will look way better and have better features like the DLC for free on the PS3 version. even though its a year later its still going to be better and less money for ps3 gamers.

  24. Who swaps discs in 2010? No its not really a buzz kill but cmon, its 2010 not 1998. I don’t wanna swap discs. Whats with the loading tray also? Who does that?

  25. just picked up me1 off steam for $15 in anticipation of playing me2 on ps3. i’ll just make the same choices in the digital comic that i did in my pc play through.

    even with the extra content on the ps3 disc i still do not like that it’s a $60 price tag when the xbox counter part (dlc-less) is regularly selling for $20. i’ll wait a few months as like this will drop in price fast for ps3 the same way bioshock did.

  26. i dident import my me data to me2 cuz i got bored before i finished it, so i gues i could say the me summary is a better choice because some probably dident finish the game, and others dident like their choices so now they can change them, plus its a good way of changing the me2 start scenario without going through 16 houres of couscene-shotting-cutscene-shoting-cutscene…

  27. wow, it took me 25h to get 100% on Mass Effect 2 so the dlc must give you extra 20h if it took you 47h

    • *cough cough* bullshit

      By 100% do you mean 100% gamerscore? Because you HAVE to play the game twice to get 100% gamerscore (unlock the highest difficulty). And there is simply no way you did all the loyalty missions in at least one play through, and then beat the game a 2nd time on the hardest difficulty in 25h.

      • youre right my friend, im not an achiewment hore like some people, i just did 100% of all misions, once with good shepard, and once whit an evil bitch

    • LOL, you might want to re – check that sum of yours. 25 hours + 20 hours = 45 hours, not 47. Epic math fail!

      • 2 houres give or take, eweryone has their own dificulty perference and playstile, i usualy finish my games quicker than what the reviewers say, despite that i almoast always play them on hard

  28. God I hate PC/360/PS3 fanboys.

  29. In my opinion it’s not that big of a deal that the PS3 version is on one disc, as opposed to two, but I do prefer it. What I find most interesting is the statistic of 360/PC players that didn’t import their ME1 gamesave! I’m just going to play ME1 on 360 then make the choices in the comic on the PS3 version of ME2 that I made in ME1 on 360.

  30. so the ps3 finally gets the mass effect 2 …well played the demo and found out it runs some what faster but there were times the graphics would tear but the gameplay has not changed… graphics are graphics and speed will be speed but in the long run the game is what counts… ps3 vs 360 does not matter. if you own both systems and have the same game sure… if you played and downloaded the DLC on xbox then you you know it is a very good game…as for the ps3 running the ME3 engine we would have to see until the game comes out the demo was not enough to show what the engine can do …sure more pixel are shown and one disk to run on but the game no matter ps3 or 360 it will be a good time no matter what system it is …if you got the money spend it if not continue playing on pc or xbox but remember mass effect 3 will be here in a year so ps3 people enjoy the game and 360 owners there is no real reason to hate you played the game already … you would only hate if you played the game and it sucked… like i said for all the people that own both systems and played through the game… if your a fan and got the money sure get the game…

  31. TraumaticTighearnan December 23, 2010 @ 21:27

    The more articles this website posts, the more my opinion of it plummets..
    Seriously, a disc swap?
    Seriously, the bonus DLC on a game that will retail for full price, as opposed to its counterpart?
    Missing ME1 is a pro? LOLWUT?

    I am a Ps3 only gamer, but OMFG even I can’t see the sense in this..

  32. how about price point te 360 version U can pick up for around /£10 now and theres also a collectors version avaialable, the ps3 version will c ost £49.99 and no collectors version

  33. There is one huge major flaw in this opinion piece, and it’s the fact that ME1 does in fact make a big difference. On the 360, you import your game save data and it plays a role in ME2. The decisions you made, the paths you took, all play out in ME2. To me, the streamlining of the story makes Mass Effect 2 infinitely better on the 360. Additionally, you can get the game for $15 and the DLC for less than the PS3 version. The graphical differences are minor at best.

  34. balls, do some people even read the article? The Author didn’t say that missing is straight out a good thing but that its really not that bad because of two things: how much better the sequel is and #2 that the comic is basically a save game creator (and that 50% of 360/PC players never even utilized the save game feature.)

  35. I’m really glad a demo was released for PS3, after playing it, I’m actually quite disappointed. I know it’s only a small taste of what the game has to offer, but it just didn’t excite me. Am I missing something, or is this game just not for me?

  36. exluding ME3 engine, thats kinda cool, your reasons are based on the disk. Congrats, you dont have to download any of the dlc, seperately. You just have to sit through a biblical wait before you even get to the main menu the first time you throw it in. Then its all there. Most of it was free already, but the paid dlc was a lengthy distraction, well done yes, but lacked any real impact. And missing ME1 not a big deal? sounds like a fanboy shrugging off a downside.

  37. Given Mass Effect 2 has been out for the Xbox 360 for awhile now, this news doesn’t strike me as surprising. BioWare is a strong developer, and I’d expect them to improve their work as time passes; in this case with their PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2. It’s great for gamers who hadn’t gotten a chance to enjoy this games beauty, though.

  38. Why Mass Effect is undeniably better experienced on the 360/PC.

    Because it has Mass Effect 1, a game that wasnt dumbed down to little more than a basic cover shooter game. A game where the story actually matters, and the characters fit into it uniquely, instead of being interchangeable pokeman you collect by gunning down hordes of enemies.

    Simply, of the two Mass Effect 1 is the better game.

    Yeah, ME2 might have the better visuals and shooter combat, but its MUCH more linear, has a worse story, the characters dont talk as much (or barely even talk at all unless you want to bone them), has virtually ZERO exploration, unless you count planet scanning, or stopping to trawl through the odd optional planet that is just a smaller even more linear version of the shooting galleries you get in the main story.

    My advice to anyone is to buy ME on the 360/PC, force yourself to play through ME2, if only to see how dumbed down it is and hope Bioware actually put some thought into ME3, instead of how best to dumb it down into something any shooter fan will pick up, without hardly a thought spared for how RPG fans might enjoy the game.

  39. :facepalm:

    50 percent of people imported their character, that means ME1 is un-needed. Or that it has technical flaws. A technically flawless comic is way better than a 30 hour game. Amirite?

  40. …..First off lets get it straight that I actually play the ps3 probably 99 times more then a 360. I don’t own a 360. What I do own is a damn good PC built from scratch and play my PC about 5 times more then my ps3. So no system biased here….

    But my god……..the comment of of “Missing mass effect 1 isn’t a big deal” is one of the most ignorant comments I’ ve heard from someone with half a mind in game. Yeah….it’s getting a comic…but my lord mass effect 1 is an amazing game, even when compared with the second, and has SO MUCH story and desicion making, and out right pure fun that it needs to be played.

    Devil May Cry 3 is something you can play without playing 1 or 2. Mass Effect is something YOU NEED to play the original on.

    With that being said if you only have a ps3 and no high end PC or 360. Mass effect 2 still is worth playing, however unless you haven’t played the first game in some way and at least matched up the decisions in the comic with the ones you have selected on another platform, DLC or not you’re still getting the short end of the stick 🙁

    Once again still don’t miss the game. I wish ME 1 came included for those who only have ps3.

  41. I sure love this game and its wonderful on a ps3. I played the first on my X360. Amazing games and cant wait for the last in the series. Just buy a xbox360 and play it there. Dont costs alot. I dont see the problem? Or is it just that ps3 users and xbox360 users fight with eachother? Idiotic.

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