Start with a bang
The launch of Mass Effect Legendary Edition presented us with a unique opportunity: to re-examine this trilogy in a new light, and replay these games in one package, to see the guidelines and how they illustrate a change in a studio and an industry .
They're also a reminder of how great Mass Effect moments still stand out, and Mass Effect 2's famous intro is absolutely one of them.
Set shortly after the conclusion of the first Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 begins with a conversation. Miranda Lawson, an agent of Cerberus, laments that Shepard did everything right, and yet they are dispatched to conduct skirmishes against the lingering Geth.
The Illusionary Man, silhouetted against the huge space window facing the sun, intervenes when Miranda mentions what losing Shepard could mean: [them]. "
We rush to Normandy to see the bridge bickering, but it won't be long before the ship comes under fire. Shepard rushes to do what he can, and once the player has control, he pops out into the void of space. They save Joker, but at the cost of their own lives; and as the Normandy is reduced to scrap and salvage by a huge cruiser, Shepard twists into zero-G for a few moments, then finally stops.
All three Mass Effect games have standout intros in their own right. The first game drops you directly on Eden Prime, facing a gruesome and unknown threat in both the Geth and the Sovereign. And Mass Effect 3, of course, shows the opening moments of the Reapers invasion. The sheer destruction and feeling of helplessness Shepard feels as they take off is something that haunts them throughout the match.
But Mass Effect 2's intro feels personal. You know Commander Shepard isn't really dead. They are on box art. But it still hurts to see that; to see the Shepard you crafted and shaped blast through space, succumbing to a certain fate. And all around them are pieces of Normandy, the ship you called home throughout your first adventure, scattered in the void of space. This ship, your ship, is gone.
I wasn't exactly expecting a level 2 twist of Metal Gear Solid, but I have to admit I was worried for a while in 2022. I didn't know who made it and who perished alongside Shepard that day -the. And today, 11 years later, that intro still hits hard. Stepping out into that void and watching pieces fly, seeing the nearby giant planet getting closer and closer to the wreckage, is hard to forget.
Sending Shepard into orbit and the waiting arms of Cerberus' Project Lazarus is one thing, but destroying Normandy still feels like a punch. Rebooting the first Mass Effect, it was heartwarming to be back on board that old ship. And as Shepard may notice later in Mass Effect 2, the SR-2 may be an upgraded version, but it's not the same ship. It can not be.
Mass Effect 2 sets personal stakes early on; even if you don't like the Illusive Man or Cerberus, you can't help but want to hunt down the ship that shot down Normandy. And as Shepard wakes from their two-year slumber to find the world is changing and has to contend with a galaxy moving without them, it's one hell of a way to start a video game. I really relished this chance to go back and replay these games, enjoying them in a new light thanks to the Legendary Edition. And I'm happy to say yes, 11 years later, the Mass Effect 2 intro still hooks me.