Hello, my name is Matt and I am a BioWare addict. Does that fact make Mass Effect any less of a great game? Of course it doesn't. Commander Shepard's first outing is still an epic action-RPG of huge proportions that puts a cracking storyline, rich characters, and third-person shooter action into one big pot and basically does for sci-fi games what JJ Abrams did for Star Trek.
Following the release of the sequel, there's really never been a better time to snap up a copy of the original game, and thankfully now that it's been absorbed into the Xbox 360's Classics line, it'll hopefully still be around for a little while longer. This version comes with two discs: one for the game, and one stuffed with behind the scenes movies, there's a premium theme in there, and also included is the DLC mission Bring Down The Sky - the awful Pinnacle Station didn't quite make it, but that's no loss. You can pick this up from Gamestation for £7.99, saving you £2 on the nearest competitor over at Game.
Mass Effect has, along with Fallout 3 and Oblivion, come to define the action-RPG genre of late. It's cinematic, immersive, and there's an unholy amount of fiddly customisation and character swapping, but it also balances itself out with machine guns and grenades and a cover system (a pretty poor one to be honest, but fixed for game no. 2) and all of the staples you might expect from a third-person shooter.
If the sequel could be accused of falling more heavily on the action side of the equation, then this is most certainly, more of an RPG. There are more things to fiddle with, more things to upgrade, and more walking and talking to do in the original than its more muscular brother. The combat here is not as good as it could be, and sort of lets the game down a bit, and the less said about the awful Mako sections and the cookie-cutter bland side missions the better.
But no one's really better at sucking you into a game than BioWare, and stating that they're good at storytelling is like saying that a pizza is cheesy, it's pretty much what they're best at. The combat is never off-putting, in fact at times it's a lot of fun and some of the battles (wait until you get to Noveria) can be pretty intense. The range of powers and armaments at your disposal is impressive, and the sheer number of different customisation options will please any RPG fan who likes to tinker. But it's the characters who really make a difference to the way you play and the choices you'll have to make, and you'll want to play through the game at least three times just to see what happens and how people react when you try something new.
Mass Effect has one or two flaws, but that doesn't stop it from being one of the best games of the last few years and one that you really need to try.
Thanks to killabyte at HUKD