“Ahh yes, the reapers. The immortal race of sentient starships allegedly waiting in dark space. We have dismissed that claim.”
The differences between the plot in ME1 and ME2 make a huge difference to the way the story is portrayed, how the player relates to Shepard and the game-play. As I said in the earlier post Mass Effect 2 gives you more freedom.
The story in ME1 is centered more around Commander Shepard and his/her belief in the Reapers. An apparent myth that only Shepard, Shepard’s loyal team and Saren believe in. The plot gets portrayed accordingly. Despite the fact that the plot is so EPIC, it is only delivered that way through dialogue in ME1. Because Shepard is considered a bit of a crazy sensationalist, what actions he takes don’t do his words justice. This is why the game-play and plot proceedings aren’t that epic in ME1, until the ‘shit hits the fan’ and the Citadel gets attacked(then the action gets amped to >9,000).
The switch from RPG to Complicated Shooter in my opinion was a good choice. In the first Mass Effect the game-play has a weaker link from the player to the protagonist. So that the link between actions and words becomes more vague. The will of the protagonist still remains with the player though, meaning that you are willing to do something, but not having the resources to do so. This is metaphoric of the player’s link to the character and the whole RPG style of game-play.
Mass Effect 2 however demands something that puts the player deep into Shepard’s boots. Without the Council watching your every move you have more freedom to be yourself. The plot is portrayed a bit more visually and through actual occurrences in the plot (getting out of the smoke screen). The game-play is more of an action shooter, allowing for a better link from player to protagonist. It also an incredibly kick-ass game compared to the first. The first was also more of a methodical and philosophical title, perfect for an RPG game-play infrastructure.
I’m not good at conclusions so… The End.