Even, perhaps, that behind the gloss and dazzling presentation and art style, the game really trades in clichés - the insectoid, extra-galactic threat is just one example. But these are all part of the warp and the weft of Mass Effect, and indeed Bioware's role-playing systems as a whole. Forgive the game its idiosyncrasies and what you'll find is a whole universe of possibilities and people, each of whom is rendered in astonishing detail.
Mass Effect 2 may not have quite the depth and consequences of Dragon Age - although it's impossible to tell, as both games contain so many variables - but it's the more polished and confident of the two. It is arguably the best RPG of recent years, and as a standalone game, a sequel, and a lead-in to the final part of the trilogy, it's an unqualified success. Get comfortable: the galaxy awaits.
A glorious RPG, polished until it shines - but it's not without its minor niggles.
- Magnificent characters
- Actual role-playing
- Main narrative takes its time