I somehow managed to miss the Mass Effect phenomenon first time around - this game bears a striking similarity - albeit rather more sophisticated - to Knights of the Old Republic. As it's a Bioware game, this is perhaps understandable.
They've taken the basic premise - lead a group of people around a bunch of locations completing quests and fighting bad guys - added a lot of extra details, and some remarkably good graphics - combined the whole lot with a detailed and fun sci-fi backstory, and have produced a game that is well worth playing.
The KOTR turn-based combat has been replaced with small squad level First Person Shooter mechanics, but it works nicely.
You play Shepard, XO on the spacecraft Normandy, as he tries to track down Saren, the enemy agent who is hell-bent on causing mayhem throughout the galaxy.
Graphically, it's beautiful. The audio is very good - but some of the quests are a bit irritating. Some of the descriptions of locations don't match up 100% with the names of locations on maps, leaving you wandering around wondering what's going on.
There's not much schlepping from A to B like there was in KOTR, and I'm very glad to report that you don't have to go back and forth from NPC to NPC delivering messages when they could comfortably just pick up a damn phone... a pet peeve of mine.
You can download the game from Steam now, and I'd recommend it. It's an awful lot of fun.
"Are you not entertained? Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?"