Games: Mass Effect 2

Mass Effect 2(£44.99, PC/Xbox 360)

When a mysterious alien race known as The Collectors begins abducting entire human colonies Commander Shepard, hero of the Alliance and a beacon of hope for all mankind, is called upon to assemble an elite team to investigate and neutralise the threat. What follows is an epic quest across the stars to recruit new team members and prepare for a final showdown that will determine the fate of the galaxy. Every action, from how you speak to characters to how well you fortify your ship, shapes the outcome of your final battle.

The game world is massive, housing an incredible number of planets to explore, each containing several missions. Walking around bustling space ports and desolate planets is breathtaking, with each locale feeling like a wholly believable place, rich in lore and inhabitants.

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Combat is vastly improved from the original, with a tight cover and shoot mechanic, intelligent AI team mates capable of holding their own and a range of powerful upgradable weapons. Experience points gained by completing quests can be used to enhance Shepard and the team, unlocking new abilities and equipment.

Hot on the heels of the exemplary Bayonetta, this is another strong contender for game of the year.

• This article was first published in the Scotsman, Saturday February 13, 2010

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