Another argument in support of the thesis that Mass Effect 2 is a role playing game is that of feature grinding
. Sure, it's not grinding for levels, as the game offers those on set when each mission is completed and reviewed by the Illusive Man. But the planetary exploration game in Mass Effect 2
certainly has some grinding elements: it requires time, brings in character-related resources and can be extremely annoying after a certain point.
But the scanning is not, as some have said, the worst mini game in the history of gaming. First of all, you only really have to strip mine on a few of the Rich planets in order to do all the relevant upgrades to the Normandy and to the weapons of the squad.
The worst part is actually getting all the Element Zero you need, but keep an eye out for a planet that was bombarded from space and it should be pretty much enough. The scanning, which is also used to get some nifty side missions, is also a great way of making sure that players at least click on most of the planets in the system and have a chance to read the very detailed and mostly scientific sound descriptions about them all.
The problems with the system are somewhat collateral: the fueling of the Normandy and stocking up on probes. It adds nothing to the experience and actively punishes the player for exploring around a little. You would think that someone on board is tasked with doing all the logistical stuff while you plan on putting together the team who can save the galaxy from the Reapers and the Collectors.
It would have been interesting to somehow make the mass relay jumps themselves limited and force players to choose which loyalties they get and which they leave based on a rational process. But the current limitations are just fluff thrown around to somehow play to the stereotypes of space travel.