After spending some firsthand time with Mass Effect 2, the editors at RPGamer return to give us their initial impressions.
I loved the story in Mass Effect, and it only appears to have been improved upon in the sequel. Storytelling is now more organic in Mass Effect 2, but also more dynamic. Rather than going from story segment to combat segment and back again, Mass Effect 2 naturally transitions between these segments. Quick-time button events may pop up during conversations, enabling you to save a dying soldier and such, but you can miss them if you're not quick enough. Characters feel more lifelike through active camera use, different staging during cutscenes, and prettier graphics. In other words, the best part of the first game may have gotten even better. Every single story choice made in the first game can be directly loaded into Mass Effect 2 to boot.
As for the maligned inventory system, I wasn't able to experience much of it. BioWare is trying something different, with players only able to change equipment while near a weapons/armor locker. The one weapon I picked up specifically pointed out that it was the upgrade to a previously owned weapon, so BioWare is obviously trying to make things easier there. It doesn't appear that we'll be scrolling through dozens of upgrades anymore, but I didn't collect enough equipment to find out.