One of the major selling points of Mass Effect 2 is the ability to import your saved game file from the first Mass Effect. This lets you to carry your old character, as well as any choices you made, over into the new game. Bonus experience, money, and resources are also given based on what level your imported character was.
It’s also possible to “import” a finished ME2 save game, which allows you to play through a second time with all of your previous skills and equipment intact. In both instances, you are given the option to alter Shepard’s appearance, in line with what happens at the beginning of the game’s story.
ME2 is labeled an action RPG, but role-playing elements have been cut back considerably since its predecessor. Character progression is far simpler; For instance, the guns you can use are based on your class selection and there are no secondary specializations. Enhancing your abilities costs an increasing amount of skill points, with the fourth and final upgrade giving you a choice between two evolutions of that power.
Usually these alternatives involve deciding between greater effectiveness and an AOE or squad-wide benefit, depending on whether it’s a damage dealing or buffing power. Later in the game you can pay resources to reset your skill points and spend them differently, otherwise known as a re-spec.
Looting various weapons of the four basic types is gone, replaced by the acquisition of a total of 19 weapons throughout the game. New heavy weapons include a grenade launcher and flamethrower, but they require special power cells that are found in limited quantities throughout your travels.
Rather than the unique weapon overheating system from ME1, BioWare has made the switch to universal, expendable heatsinks that function just like regular ammunition does in other games. Specialized/elemental ammo does return, though, except as a toggled skill instead of a swappable weapon component.
There are no more light, medium, or heavy armor types, in fact the only armor you can change is your own. You can purchase individual armor pieces with varying attributes from stores or else use special complete suits such as those available via DLC. The basic armor can be customized with different colors, patterns, and amounts of reflectivity.
You can spend resources to research weapon, skill, and attribute upgrades, as well as unlock ship upgrades and bigger, badder heavy weapons. If you want to be able to afford all of the available upgrades, you’ll need to explore the many planets throughout the galaxy and mine them. On the bright side, you now simply scan planets and dispatch probes from orbit, instead of driving around a barren wasteland trying to discover hidden mineral deposits.