Posted by pch347 on April 9, 2010
Unlike some of the games we have talked about in class, the urban environments in Mass Effect 2 differ greatly in style. These differences are due to a variation of alien races, urban locations on different planets, and the time period in which this game takes place (the year 2183).
Rather than one continent or world in which many adventure games take place, the virtual world of Mass Effect is based in the Milky Way Galaxy. What happens is that each city represented in the galaxy is different from another, but homogeneous in itself (mostly). One of the first cities seen by the player is called Omega. This city lacks the usual stability and structure that we see represented in a lot of cities: security, a controlled hierarchy, and an overall working economy. Omega seems to be one big slum controlled by various gangs and organizations outside of the law of the galaxy. Various races live here with no particular race having any more control than another. It is diverse in populace, but not diverse in visual style. There is not upper class or lower class sections represented, it all appears to be one big slum.
The next city seen is the Citadel, similar to Omega in that it has a very diverse group of alien races living in the same place. This is where the similarities cease. Where Omega is a slum without structure or security, the Citadel is practically the capital of the Milky Way. Security is tight, and there is a overall ruling government called the Citadel Council, with 4 Councilmen from the most influential races in the Galaxy. The actual city varies in style with the upper level up to the Council Presidium consist of higher class and richer races, to the lower level worker wards where the more blue collar and poor workers live. The varied economical status, the stronger C-Sec Citadel Police security, and the working government for the Milky Way represent a more recognized visage of an urban environment.
The last major city I will talk about is the city of Illum, which is run by the alien race known as the Asari. Illum runs outside of Citadel control and as such has its own rules and regulations. The Asari are definitely the “top dogs” here, although every race flocks to the city. The city is sleek, beautiful, and in every way the stereotypical sci-fi city we see in so many movies. Flying cars, high sky scrapers, and a large populace. Despite all this Illum is clean. Impeccably clean. It’s like the city itself took on the aspects known to its Asari inhabitants: Beautiful, everlasting, clean. Practically perfect. A place to escape the rules of the Citadel, but avoid the slum conditions of a world like Omega.