If you own a Microsoft Xbox 360 and you haven’t yet purchased Mass Effect get out there and get it. The game has all the RPG elements you’ve come to expect from anything BioWare puts out, including the ability to have your character be the upstanding, do-gooding hero that everyone expects (called a Paragon in this game), or be a complete jerk to everyone and shooting before asking questions and other such ill-regarded actions (a Renegade). There are 3 full classes and 3 mixed-classes making it a total of 6 for you to choose from. Soldier (Combat Specialist), Adept (Biotic Specialist, like a mage), and Engineer (Tech Specialist, is strong against robot enemies), and then a half Soldier-Biotic called a Vanguard, a half Biotic-Engineer called a Sentinel, and a half Soldier-Engineer called an Infiltrator. There are 4 different weapons you can train in, Pistols, Shotguns, Assault Rifles, and Sniper Rifles. You also get a melee attack, grenades, and a plethora of special abilities.
The one thing that sets this game apart from past BioWare fare is the combat system and simply the size of the galaxy you get to explore. The combat is more akin to Gears of War than it is to other RPGs. It is 3rd person perspective, you have to use cover, you get different ranged weapons, and you have to aim with a reticle like a true shooter rather than an RPG. You can hold the right bumper in to pause combat and issue any of your squadmates to use a special attack, but unlike in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic you can’t set a queue of abilities to be used in succession (unless I’m an idiot and can’t figure it out).
You explore the Milky Way galaxy and they let you go to a bunch of different nebula and star systems and whatnot (as you can tell I’m no astrologist). You survey planets for useful gases, metals, minerals, and ancient artifacts of old alien races. There are tons of uncharted planets that you can land on and explore for yourself and there is an abundance of side missions on many of the different systems.
All in all, this is a great game. If you are a fan of shooters I’m sure you can enjoy this, and anyone who is an RPG player or lover of BioWare games is bound to love this. The graphics are top-notch (go in the menu and turn off motion blur and film grain… why they made those on by default I will never know, they’re horrendous), the sound is amazing, and the story so far is compelling. You have no reason not to get it unless of course, you don’t have an Xbox 360. Everyone else should get it.