Back when Mass Effect 1 was released, it was a busy time for us. The game was filled with bugs (most of these were triggered by the game’s copy protection mechanism, on pirated copies) and we had to post several troubleshooting articles to answer all the questions that were directed by our readers. Thankfully, Mass Effect 2 (ME2) release has been a lot ‘cleaner’. It does not seem to carry an insanely paranoid DRM system and at the same time seems to be very well optimized. I’ve played a few hours into the game and it’s been good so far – there aren’t as many RPG elements as there were in the first game but they’ve definitely ramped up the pace of action. Anyways this article tries to address some of the common issues with ME2, as pointed out by our readers.

Note that this is a work in progress. More issues/solutions will be added as they are discovered.

How do i import Mass Effect 1 saved games into Mass Effect 2?

As revealed by the developers, the choices you made in Mass Effect 1 can affect your story progress in Mass Effect 2. If you have at least one complete playthrough on ME1, you can import the saves to ME2 and continue from where you left off (not having saved games does not mean you’ll miss out on anything in ME2 though).

  1. Open the Mass Effect 2 launcher.
  2. Select ‘Configure’
  3. Open the Savegames tab to the left
  4. Select Copy Mass Effect 1 save games button and browse for the location of your old ME1 saves. If i remember correctly the default location is /My Documents/Bioware/Mass Effect/Saves
  5. Save the configuration and exit the launcher.

Note that even after importing saves, you character won’t start our as a leveled up mofo. You will start from level 1 but you will be given certain bonuses as you progress through the story, based on your actions in ME1.

Also note that some people seem to have experienced an error after importing ME1 saves; the game either crashes or freezes at the loading screen. This has only happened to some readers and not for all. At the moment we do not know of a specific solution for this problem.

How do i change game settings?

Game settings can easily be changed from the game launcher. Note that if you want to enable Anti Aliasing (AA), the launcher does not have an option for it. It seems the game does not support AA (as it didn’t seem to work when forced from video card control panel either). Whatever changes you make, they won’t take effect unless you save the configuration file.

How to avoid errors at loading screen, skip intro movies and improve loading times?

Let’s face it – intro movies are cool the first or second time you watch them. After that it becomes annoying. If you want to disable the imntro movies and save up some time during loading, you can easily do that. Some readers have reported that disabling intro movies got rid of their crashes at game startup so it could be a possible solution for such problems as well.

  1. Go to Mass Effect 2 installation directory and browse to Mass Effect 2\BioGame\Movies.
  2. Delete or rename the following files:
    ME_EAsig_720p_v2_raw.bik
    BWLogo.bik

I get a “failed to initialize the physics system. Please ensure you have an updated version" error.

Sometimes, you may end up with this message even if you have PhysX system software installed on your system (seems to have only with some NVIDIA cards). The only possible solution we have found so far is to uninstall the existing PhysX version and installing from the setup that came with the Mass Effect 2 DVD disk.

Tips to avoid Mass Effect 2 random crashes to desktop (CTD, black screen and more)

Mass Effect 2 does not seem to have any showstopper bugs such as the galaxy map problem in ME1. However, below are some guidelines you can follow to avoid crashes and gain optimal performance not only with ME2 but with any PC game. These probably won’t fix all of your problems but they sure as hell will help in one way or the other.

  1. Install the latest DirectX runtime – Latest DirectX should be available in your Steam directory but if it’s not (or if you didn’t buy the game from Steam), you can download the latest monthly runtime from here. This is a standalone installer that will work in offline mode as well.
  2. Install Microsoft Visual C++ runtime libraries – I’m not sure if this is an absolute necessity for this game but it’s required for most games nowadays (as demonstrated by the case with Dragon Age : Origins). You can download the required files from this link.
  3. Update Video card drivers – Both NVIDIA and ATI have recent video drivers out – you should always try updating to the latest official driver version available for your hardware for best performance. If anything goes wrong, the option to rollback to previous release is always there.
    ATI Drivers: Download the latest ATI Catalyst drivers from this link: http://game.amd.com/us-en/drivers_catalyst.aspx
    NVIDIA Drivers: Download latest official NVIDIA drivers from this link: http://www.nvidia.com/Download/index.aspx?lang=en-us
    For Beta ATI/NVIDIA drivers for Windows 7, XP and Vista, check out this page: http://downloads.guru3d.com/. If you are having video issues with official drivers, do not hesitate to give beta drivers a go. They are not always evil as the sound like.
  4. Update sound card and motherboard drivers – Overlooked by many but an essential step to playing games crash free. Click Here to download 3DP Chip for Windows Vista/XP/7 – This program will automatically detect your hardware and search for updated drivers for them.

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44 Comments

  1. DarkChaos // 1/23/2010 02:27:00 PM  

    Looks like some useful stuff but unfortunately when I click Launch the game crashes. After I did some research I found out that people had this issue with the first game but I found no solution.

    http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/694/fuckc.png

  2. Stephen // 1/23/2010 07:14:00 PM  

    Oddly, I had a problem with power DVD during the first game. It would cause the intro and game itself to stutter very badly.

    Something very basic which ended up solving a lot of my problems was to end task any non-necessary programs. You never know it might help.

  3. nca // 1/23/2010 11:31:00 PM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  4. nca // 1/23/2010 11:32:00 PM  

    i have a problem, only in the options screen the text and the highlight that happens when you mouseover the options leave strong trails. everything looks all jumbled up and stuff. i tried many things, including updating directx, drivers, physx etc. tried all graphic options as well. any suggestions?

  5. Alexander // 1/24/2010 07:34:00 AM  

    I have the same problem as DarkChaos...

    Game crashes right after clicking launch.
    Please help!

  6. Bmanfoust // 1/24/2010 11:14:00 AM  

    Having an issue with sound going completely out of sync in the cut scenes and clipping of the sound near the end of short dialogue, anyone else having this issue and know how to fix it ?

  7. Enrique // 1/24/2010 07:13:00 PM  

    I have an ATI graphics card (HD 4670) and i still get the "Failed to initialize the physics system error".

    And i can't find any link to download the PhysX software for my ATI card..

  8. Alexander // 1/24/2010 11:16:00 PM  

    Found a fix for game launch crashes:

    Use windows "run" option, type "msconfig" - then check newly openned window for "load or download or smth like that" "new parametrs" and switch proccessor count from 1 to 2.

    After that reboot and reinstall the game. Good luck.

  9. TEAM FILEnetworks // 1/25/2010 12:32:00 AM  

    Thanks everyone for sharing tips and solutions. If anyone needs help with language issues and how to change language check this post:
    http://filenetworks.blogspot.com/2010/01/how-to-change-language-in-mass-effect-2.html

  10. semiflyaznguy // 1/25/2010 02:31:00 AM  

    My computer just freezes when it hits the loading screen after clicking new game : /

  11. as // 1/25/2010 03:48:00 AM  
    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
  12. TEAM FILEnetworks // 1/25/2010 04:47:00 AM  

    Please do not post torrent links to ME content. Thanks.

  13. tdavethomast // 1/25/2010 06:04:00 AM  

    @ semiflyaznguy

    "My computer just freezes when it hits the loading screen after clicking new game : /"

    Same thing here man, anyone have tips for the start new game freeze?

  14. as // 1/25/2010 07:32:00 AM  

    ""For those having the "freeze after starting a new game" problem, my solution is to replace the loading screen videos files with blank bik files.
    I got the blank .bik files from a "no intro" fix i googled and downloaded. You just have to rename them correctly and drop them into the \Mass Effect 2\BioGame\Movies\ folder.
    BACK UP ANY VID's YOU REPLACE (...a better fix may come)
    the files I've replace so far are:
    load_f01.bik
    load_f06.bik""

    sorry about the to**ent T_T

  15. Mariano // 1/25/2010 07:32:00 AM  

    mine freezes on the second dialog choice, when the character is putting out the fire (id say spoiler alert, but this is around 2 minutes in)
    So Idk

  16. tdavethomast // 1/25/2010 09:20:00 AM  

    @ as
    OMG Dude i love you for this fix it works perfectly! i love you so much <3!

  17. tdavethomast // 1/25/2010 02:38:00 PM  

    Update
    Well i spoke to soon the blank .bik fix did enable me to start a new game but the fps is like sub zero,
    its unlike any kind of fps lag i have ever seen. To describe it, i'd compare it to clicking play then pause every 3 seconds on a vcr. I'm fully updated, should be able to run it fine. More as it develops Anyone else with this problem?

  18. as // 1/25/2010 09:34:00 PM  

    @tdavethomast

    I have the same problem , :/

    now Im gonna play mass effect 2 in win vista, to see if it work

  19. as // 1/25/2010 09:53:00 PM  

    USE win vista sp2 it is works OMFG
    T.T

  20. tdavethomast // 1/26/2010 06:52:00 PM  

    Ok so fixed the zero fps bug with vista, the .bik file freeze, now the game freezes up on the the loading screen right after choosing my profession/class. FUCK

  21. as // 1/26/2010 08:23:00 PM  

    raplace all the "load_xxx.bik" files with blank .bik files, and a file named "NumberReel.bik" raplace it too

  22. Benjamin // 1/27/2010 02:19:00 AM  

    I have a "recruit the convict" issue. The game is rock solid, no bugs, but when I go after the "Subject zero" in prison in hourglass nebula, after speaking to the warden, when I'm headed to pick up my package game crashes to desktop, it always crashes at the same place. Tried reinstalling DX, Gdrivers, PhysiX and I still get a crash at the same place. Anyone has any idea on fixing this? Windows7, catalyst 9.12

  23. Miles // 1/27/2010 03:48:00 PM  

    My game crashes after the loading screen when I've clicked the import ME1 character. I'm torn, I don't even want to play ME2 with another character but if there is no fix I might have to.

  24. caeos // 1/30/2010 12:44:00 PM  

    If you have an ATI video card and are getting the following error:

    "Failed to initialize the physics system. Please ensure you have an updated version of the PhysX System Software installed."

    Update your Windows Installer:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=5A58B56F-60B6-4412-95B9-54D056D6F9F4&displaylang=en

    Then install the Physx from the Mass Effect 2 CD.

    This should fix it!

  25. JetStream // 1/30/2010 03:47:00 PM  

    Hello!
    I have the zero FPS problem in WIN XP.
    Please help.

    THX.

  26. Mccoy // 2/01/2010 10:05:00 AM  

    right before the final mission,on the load screen, the screen goes blue and stays that way. i replaced all the LOAD BIK files, and the NUMBERREEL.BIk file as well, with empty BIK files. ive played the whole game without problems after that, until the load screen to the last mission. the game is great, but i really wanna finish it...

  27. as // 2/01/2010 09:34:00 PM  

    @Mccoy:

    replace this blank files load_f21.bik and load_f22.bik for the original video .bik files
    that should work

  28. as // 2/01/2010 09:38:00 PM  

    @Mccoy:
    and if that didnt work, replace all load_xxx.bik files with the original files, except load_01.bik and NumberReel.bik

  29. Mccoy // 2/02/2010 05:09:00 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  30. Mccoy // 2/02/2010 06:06:00 AM  

    @ as

    ur second suggestion worked! thx!! :DDD

    this game is awesome, and the ending was fucking epic!

  31. OrganEater5000 // 2/03/2010 01:45:00 PM  

    I'm having that freeze for 5 seconds every second thing too. I really must know what will fix this.

  32. my brains getting rusty // 2/04/2010 07:59:00 PM  

    Dude just installed Mass effect 2 on windows 7 but the fukin thing crashes at the first load where shepard is recovered....

    @as: replaces all the load_fxxx.bil files nd reel-something.bik but still the same problem... pls help sm1!!!

  33. my brains getting rusty // 2/05/2010 01:21:00 AM  

    installed ME2 on windows 7 ultimate 32bit, on my intel Quad core 2.66 with 4gb ram nd 9500 gforce...

    the game just crashes after the prologue part where he is being revived. i see the loading screen with the skull on the right but right after tat it crashes.

    smwhere i read i could skip the videos by adding -playnovideo something in the shorcut target bar. but this only takes me a few mili seconds further where i see shepard staring into space for a few sec's nd same crash all over again.


    sm1 pls help me.

  34. my brains getting rusty // 2/05/2010 01:21:00 AM  

    installed ME2 on windows 7 ultimate 32bit, on my intel Quad core 2.66 with 4gb ram nd 9500 gforce...

    the game just crashes after the prologue part where he is being revived. i see the loading screen with the skull on the right but right after tat it crashes.

    smwhere i read i could skip the videos by adding -playnovideo something in the shorcut target bar. but this only takes me a few mili seconds further where i see shepard staring into space for a few sec's nd same crash all over again.


    sm1 pls help me.

  35. as // 2/05/2010 08:09:00 AM  

    replace with blank.bik (from the single core fix):
    load_01.bik,
    load_05.bik,
    load_06.bik,
    load_f80_ESN.bik,
    load_f80_INT.bik
    NumberReel.bik

  36. unRheal // 3/26/2010 03:01:00 PM  

    Re: my "failed to initialize the physics system" problem...

    THANK YOU!! THAT WORKED! MUCH APPRECIATED!

    Somehow some other version got installed (newer, but not much, I think when I installed another game) - so uninstalling and reinstalling the one on the ME2 Disc got it working again and all is well! THANK YOU, thank you - very much appreciated! ;)

    Cheers!

  37. Zak // 4/17/2010 02:55:00 PM  

    My game chash's every time i got near the up-grade area on my ship. Everytime with out fail What can i do

  38. Brian // 6/01/2010 02:57:00 AM  

    i am realy quite hopeless now!
    i tried EVERYTHING you guys said in this topic, and i tried everyone people say when i google searched this problem
    the only thing i didn't do is replace all the load_xx files with empty files: this is a hell of alot work and i have the feeling this won't work either...

    i re-installed the game trice, tried every compatibility mode, i run it as admin, i updated my drivers, installed everything in the 'support' map (except physx: the 2nd load screen is bugged with only the word: text, but i think that is because i have a ATI videocard) and downloaded everything you guys suggested here.
    i also renamed some of the files in the 'movies'map.

    but still... no effect
    i start mass effect 2, and the game instantly crashes: i only see a black screen.

  39. Maciej // 6/13/2010 07:02:00 PM  

    If Your MASS EFFECT 2 skips frames regularly (PC Version - animation isn't fluent because it jumps in quite regular intervals although Your PC's performance is way better) disable all HID devices through control panel (it also helped me in MINI NINJAS)

  40. Matt // 6/25/2010 11:03:00 AM  

    ok honestly i am about to cry ive paid pretty much over 100 some dollars on games Dx and they arnt working because of all this shit with windows 7 >.<!!! i tired playing fallout 3 couldnt work because i couldnt start a game.. so i went back to walmart looked at me2 and saw on the back oh works for windows 7 :DDD big smiles yay! go home installs great :] woo! go to play... dun dun dun looks like its going to work then BAM! fail windows finds a error... idk wat is going on.. :[[[ need help to play pplease!

  41. Dillinger10 // 1/26/2011 10:01:00 AM  
    This comment has been removed by the author.
  42. Dillinger10 // 1/26/2011 10:03:00 AM  

    There's a lot of good information here. I've tried most of these but I'm still having a loading issue. When I'm at the citadel, I go to to the rapid transit. Then select presidium. It shows a loading screen and freezes. Tried updating graphics card, reparing, updating to v1.02, pretty much everything. Anyone have any ideas? It would be much appreciated.

  43. Matija // 4/01/2011 09:44:00 PM  

    can some 1 help me PLEASE.. it is likethis.. everything was working fine.. but then i got to abandon space station and my computer crashes in the same spot over and over again.. just in that room..
    and the thing is i cant get out cuz i have to engage the laser beams to get out.. as soon as i do that it crashes.. i try to reinstalling the game rapair but still the same problem.. PLEASE help

  44. Scarlett // 6/28/2011 09:36:00 PM  

    Simple post but great expression of thoughts.. how do you do that? i think your a veteran blogger! am i right?

    anyway I'm william
    mind if I put a link back to you?


    (clickable) ------> Cheap Suits