This is probably my fault for not having scoured the Internet for the minute slivers of hard information on this subject, but I was originally very excited to hear that I would be able to set the back-story for Shepard in Mass Effect 2 if I did not have a Mass Effect 1 save to import. Despite words to this effect being spoken on the Bombcast by BioWare’s Casey Hudson, it would appear that the game makes several terrible assumptions about the canon of Mass Effect if you do not import a save game.
The reason this is a problem is because I played the original on the PC, but wanted to play Mass Effect 2 on Xbox 360. Ironically, I’d have been in a much better situation if it were the other way around, with all the PC saves that are out there to download as a direct result of this. However, as it is, I’m stuck with a universe that’s hard to care about because characters are talking about things that just didn’t happen. Every time I hear a reference to events that simply never were (as far as I’m concerned), I cringe, as if watching a bad B-movie that can’t remember it’s own plot half-way through the film.
Knowing that this feature once existed in a build of the game further fuels my incredulity at how this was never included in the final package.
Aside from this glaring omission of functionality, the game plays very well and provides much more satisfying combat than the original. I also appreciate how the loot management has been reduced to zero, allowing the player to focus on the story and the experience of the Mass Effect universe.
Now if only my Shepard could be my Shepard.