Mass Effect 2 is a looker. The influences are pure retro sci-fi. So think the minimalist look of Star Wars and Space Odyssey. Blade Runner and X-Files are hinted at as well. The soundtrack mirrors this with swooping Vangelis-style pads providing a suitably synthetic mood. The universe feels more alive this time round. Planetary exploration is vastly improved from the original game.
It may only be January, but Mass Effect 2 is already a serious contender for game of the year.