Although most of the game's expansions are included on the Blu-ray disc, you'll have to download and install the free comic from the PlayStation Store before starting the game. The comic is also not the first thing you experience in the game -- you'll have to play Mass Effect 2's impactful intro sequence first. The comic book sequence takes place in-between Shepard's first encounter with the enigmatic Collectors and his arrival at the Cerberus station. (If you opt not to download and install the comic DLC, the game will continue as it did in the original version.)
While its position is unexpected, the interlude offers a perfect place for Shepard's life to flash before his (or her) eyes. (Both voice actors of Shepard provide narration for the comic, so don't be afraid to create an Oprah Shepard of your own!) The pace of the comic is incredibly swift, jumping from one crucial event to the next.
I could follow along perfectly well -- but I've already played this game. Without any knowledge of the franchise, I wondered: "Would I be able to follow?" I think the answer would be: "Just barely."
Considering how lengthy the original's campaign was, it's unsurprising that much would be lost in the translation. Key moments of decision making are retained, but the format has a brevity that's seemingly inappropriate for these situations. With much of the context removed, it's hard to fully appreciate how delicate of a situation is when you simply have to choose "yes" or "no." Iconic moments of the first campaign are all reduced to simple options on the dialogue wheel.
I would've loved to see some of the less crucial decisions make an appearance in the story, as they add so much "flavor" to the Mass Effect universe. For example, what would you do to a fan that seemed a bit too obsessed with you?
Although it's disappointing the comic doesn't go into more detail than it does, it still sets the framework for Mass Effect 2, a game worth playing regardless of your experience with the franchise. With the PS3 version offering most of the DLC on-disc, and the added bonus of tech from Mass Effect 3, there's almost no excuse for PS3 owners to miss BioWare's hit. If you feel like the comic doesn't serve you well enough, might I suggest a helpful visit to the Mass Effect wiki?