It's now less than one week to the launch of Mass Effect 2, the first big role playing experience of 2010. The title developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts will be bigger and better in every way than the first installment in the series and some of the biggest changes will affect combat. It seems that biotic users might be the ones to benefit the most from the changes.
Christina Norman, who is the lead gameplay designer on Mass Effect 2, told Rock, Paper, Shotgun that “The biggest wow factor for biotic players is going to be real-time power usage and our fast cooldown system. In ME1, every power had a long individual cooldown. This encouraged pausing, and spamming all your powers in every fight. Now all powers can be activated in real time and every power shares a fast cooldown. This has two benefits. First, you can use powers continually throughout combat. Second, you are rewarded for choosing the right power for the right situation.”
In the first Mass Effect, using a power seemed like an important element of combat as the long recharge time meant that you only had a chance to make an impact, usually just as the fight began. Making the cooldown period shorter will probably lead to just as much power spamming, but at shorter intervals.
It could actually make biotic players more capable on the battlefield but BioWare is surely taking its time to balance it all out. An interesting element that could be implemented is a sort of leveling up for the powers themselves, used to actually reward players to concentrate on a limited set to powers they use in a coherent way.
Mass Effect 2 is set to arrive on the Xbox 360 home console and on the PC, the North American version coming on January 26 and the European version three days later.