Took me a couple days, but I did find something I like better in ME2: minor character conversations.
In the first game, I basically had two reactions to conversations. 1) “Hmm…yeah, not interesting.” 2) “Oh dear, this is going to be one of those ridiculous Superman side quests, isn’t it?”
In ME2, on the other hand, I’ve found all of the conversations I’ve overheard so far interesting and often funny. Two stand out as being particularly excellent.
In ME1, there was this woman and her brother-in-law arguing about whether or not to get a particular medical treatment for her baby. Arguing in a public place? Oh no! But no worries, Shep is all over it. As soon as they start explaining I’m just groaning because it’s so obviously a family issue and why am I even talking to them? But I know now that I’ve gotten involved I’m going to either have to be a jerk or give them some random totally-uncalled-for advice.
Now here they are again in the second game! Two years later in a rebuilt Citadel after that huge destructive attack. Having the same damn conversation. How long has this woman been pregnant? Or is she having another baby now, maybe with the brother-in-law? Hmm. Either way. It is just ridiculous and nostalgic enough for me to absolutely love it.
I think their names are Rebekah and Michael, so I’m going with that. Apologies if I’m wrong. But Rebekah just keeps repeating variants of her lines from before: “I’m just trying to protect my baby! I’m not doing anything wrong! It’s all I have left of him!” (Ok, so this guy is probably not the father of a new baby. I have three explanations: These are not earth years, humans in the future have really long pregnancies, or this woman is just incredibly unlucky.) And Michael just keeps saying “I know. I know. I know.” And then finally (paraphrased):
Rebekah: I just don’t know, Michael. What should I do?
Michael: [annoyed] Well, we could always ask some random stranger in the street.
Michael is now my favorite character in either game, just so you know.
In the Citadel gift shop, I find the cutest couple I think I’ve ever seen – an asari and a turian discussing souvenirs to buy. The asari tries to convince her partner to get a ship, then when he’s not interested in that she suggests a fish.
Turian: How is a fish supposed to remind me of the Citadel? Anyway they only live for a few years.
Asari: The important thing is to cherish the time you have with the fish.
Turian: Ugh, is this the lifespan discussion? I am not having the lifespan discussion right now.
I love them both to pieces, I really do.
Obviously, I also finally figured out the map. And that takes care of the biggest problem I had with the game, so things are looking good.