Mass Effect 2 dated

BioWare targeting end of January.

BioWare has announced that Mass Effect 2 will be released in the UK on 29th January for PC and Xbox 360.

What's more, there will be a couple of pre-order incentives available through yet-to-be-announced retailers to provide a jumpstart on the opposition.

One such incentive is Terminus Gear, a loadout designed for extreme planetary conditions consisting of special assault armour that increases your speed, shields and ammo reserves, and a big old gun called the M-490 Blackstorm, which generates its own localised gravity well for accelerating enemy particles to near-infinite mass.

T'other bonus is Inferno Armour, which heightens your awareness of battlefield conditions by improving response times, run speed, damage inflicted and, for some reason, your skills as a negotiator.

Mass Effect 2 is the second game in BioWare's planned trilogy of RPG/shooter hybrids, in which Commander Shepard runs around the galaxy assembling a group of merry men and investigating shady, grown-up goings-on.

In this case he's trying to discover why human colonies are disappearing, so he's teaming up with the human supremacist organisation Cerberus. Expect multiple headings.

To help him on his way, BioWare has refined the game's various systems so that conversation is more fluid (complete with the option to interrupt - our favourite such interruption being to shove somebody out of a window). Inventory management is also less fiddly, and there are more guns, biotics, side-quests and so on.

The veteran RPG developer is even attempting something ambitious with player death, about which you can read more in our Mass Effect 2 preview from a while ago.

Meanwhile, the technical side of the game has also enjoyed a boost, as you can read about in our Digital Foundry appraisal from gamescom.

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