Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Release date(s): Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360 – January 26, 2010
PlayStation 3 – January 18, 2011
Genre(s): Action RPG, Third-person shooter
Mass Effect 2 begins weeks after the ending of the first game. While patrolling for geth, the Normandy is attacked by an unknown starship and its crew is forced to evacuate. During the evacuation, Shepard tosses Joker into the final escape pod before being blasted into space, where Shepard dies from asphyxiation due to a suit breach. With the help of former squadmate Liara T’Soni, Shepard’s body is retrieved by Cerberus, a clandestine pro-human organization for a two-year resurrection program called the Lazarus Project. Shepard awakes aboard the besieged station, and aids Cerberus agents Jacob Taylor and Miranda Lawson in their escape, and is given an audience with the Illusive Man, head of Cerberus.
The Illusive Man informs Shepard that entire populations of human colonies are disappearing all over the galaxy, and that he believes the Reapers are responsible and working by proxy through an insect-like species called the Collectors. Shepard is convinced of the Illusive Man’s theory after visiting a recently attacked colony called Freedom’s Progress, and agrees to help him stop the Collectors by eventually traveling through the Omega-4 Relay, from which no ship has ever returned. Shepard is given command of a new Normandy piloted by Joker and equipped with an onboard A.I. named EDI.
Shepard recruits four new squad mates – scientist Mordin Solus, former squadmate Garrus Vakarian, convict Jack and genetically engineered Grunt – before receiving intel from the Illusive Man that another human colony called Horizon is under attack. Shepard successfully stops the attack, despite a large portion of the colony’s population being captured by the collectors coupled with the presence of a powerful Reaper named Harbinger who has the ability to assume direct control of random Collectors at will. Following the mission, Shepard’s reunion with former squadmate Ashley Williams or Kaidan Alenko turns sour due to Shepard’s alliance with Cerberus.
Shepard continues to recruit squad mates, adding three more – former squadmate Tali, Asari Justicar Samara and assassin Thane Krios– until the Illusive Man contacts Shepard about a Collector ship supposedly disabled by turians. Once there, Shepard learns that the Collectors were originally Protheans turned into slaves of the Reapers. With EDI’s help, Shepard finds out how to bypass the Omega-4 Relay before being ambushed by the Collectors. Although Shepard and the Normandy manage to escape the Collector ship, relations between Shepard and the Illusive Man are strained.
Shepard spends time earning the loyalty of his/her squad mates and then, when ready, visits a derelict Reaper. Shepard acquires a Reaper IFF transponder, which is necessary for safe travel through the Omega-4 Relay, and in the process brings an unconscious geth onboard the Normandy. If activated, the Geth adopts the name Legion and voluntarily joins the squad. Soon after, the Normandy integrates the IFF into her systems while Shepard and the squad leave the ship in a shuttle. During their absence, the Normandy is attacked by the Collectors and only Joker avoids capture.
After Shepard’s squad returns to the Normandy, they use the Omega-4 Relay to get to the Collector base. They manage to board the base, rescue captured members of the Normandy, and fight their way to the central chamber. Shepard discovers that the Collectors have been constructing a new Reaper made from the abducted humans, although EDI is unsure of its true purpose. Shepard destroys the infant machine and prepares to destroy the Collector base. However, before doing so, The Illusive Man contacts Shepard and gives the order to sterilize the base with a radiation pulse so information from the ship can be used against the Reapers. Shepard can either choose to destroy the base, or sterilize it.
Mass Effect 2 ends with Shepard on the Normandy contemplating the consequences of his/her actions. Humanity now has the full attention of the Reapers, who have awakened in dark space and are descending upon the Milky Way.