Many games can skate by with poorly written dialog and cutscenes because those aspects are just means to an end, while ME2 makes that end impossible to reach without thinking about your choices and spending the time to create your loyal team through nurturing and conflict resolution and that is truly an amazing feat.
Loading screens that entertain and keep me in the game: Someone must have gotten screamed at through a megaphone over the sorry ass presentation in ME1, because the presentation in ME2 is amazing. Every time the game has to load, be it transition to or from a planet or moving from one point to another on a planet, the loading screen shows cool x-ray diagnostic imagery of the ship deploying the shuttle or a cab ship flying to the window of a building. It can get old seeing the same video clips over and over throughout the tens of hours required for ME2 but hell, loading screens are usually as boring as dirt, and these aim to keep the player in the moment.
Looting of the best kind: Something I love about action RPGs is the looting aspect. When you kill a foe, he drops a weapon or piece of armor or whatever that can be equipped or mixed with something else to then be equipped and it’s great, though it can also be annoying picking up tons of shit that usually weighs down the player or takes forever to sell off.
Well that doesn’t happen in ME 2 and it didn’t happen in ME1. But the real difference here is sometimes there will be a dead body in an area clinging to some sort of upgrade to a weapon and that’s pretty cool. It adds to the exploration aspect of the game and gives the player reason to keep a keen eye out when exploring areas. Also it introduces new and exciting things to use even when not blatantly shopping around for it. I was playing and was given the upgrade to use assault rifles, and that totally changed up my game immediately.
Research projects Despite not liking the large scale way in which ore is extracted, the things that can be obtained by putting the gathered minerals to use are awesome permanent upgrades to the game. Also sometimes a secondary character will gain an exclusive weapon or power upgrade which is pretty cool.