I finished Mass Effect 2 tonight.  I pretty much did it by the book and saved the whole crew.  I destroyed the base.  The crew all liked that, which is evidently a big fat setup for Mass Effect 3.   I’m really curious to know what all the ME2 choices will do, or if they’ll find a way to make them as marginal as saving the Council was.

Shepard listens in a paragonish way

I ended up 100% paragon and about 20% renegade, without any great effort.  I’d often have conversations where I’d get a little of both.  There’s a couple points where renegade is irresistible, such as a certain point involving high explosives.  

It’s a great game, ten times better than ME1.  Each of the missions feels different, and the last one is an intense ride, much better and harder than the ending of ME1.  By the end I wanted to kill Harbinger not so much because he wanted to destroy all human life, but because of his frigging annoying patter.  “This hurts you.”  “Your death is assured.”  “We will end you.”  He’s basically a huge telepathic pubbie.

Combat works well– you have to think about what weapons to use.   By the end I could integrate guns and biotics better.  I still think heavy weapons ammo is a little sparse, though it’s probably well calibrated for a replay, when you’d know what the bosses are.

Ocassionaly the pretense required by the game mechanic shows through… e.g. the quarians, who have an entire fleet, are unable to take a geth-held spaceship, but you can do it with a squad of three.  Usually it’s more convincing why a commando mission is more likely to succeed than either the local flatfoots or one of the many well-supplied armies around.

It’s really pretty linear: you can choose the order of missions, but you’re well advised to do them all, and there are only a few side quests.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless you were expecting more of a sandbox, or an easier completion path.