Like Mass Effect 1 the second part is based on the Unreal Engine 3, but Bioware upgraded the graphics. Therefore PC Games Hardware compared the PC versions of Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2.
Mass Effect 2: Graphics comparison with the predecessor
Mass Effect 2 [Source: view picture gallery]
In a direct comparison of identical scenes from Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 (like the Normandy or a close up shot of Wrex) the improvements that Bioware integrated during the development of the second part become obvious. Especially the characters and the lighting appear a lot more atmospheric. The textures are also sharper and more detailed.
Mass Effect 2: Unreal engine 3 reloaded
The first part already used Epic's popular engine and so Mass Effect is also based on the Unreal Engine 3. From a technical point of view there is not much information about the changes Bioware has made, but some things are obvious. Primarily the lighting has been upgraded and the graphics options now offer ‘Cinematic Lights' or ‘Spherical Harmonic Lighting' for example. Apparently Illuminated Labs Beast is also used again. The textures are more detailed and especially the figures are looking better. Bioware also dealt with the loading times and the streaming - successfully.