Mass Effect's visuals are excellent. Facial animations are among the best in gaming: Characters move their lips believably with the dialogue, further expressing themselves with subtle tilts of the head or with a slight raise of the eyebrows. Character models are beautifully detailed, such as with your Krogan teammate Wrex, whose every wrinkle and ridge is carefully textured and molded.
Mass Effect looks wonderful. From an artistic perspective, the game looks great, if not quite original. Planet outposts tend to use only one of two interior layouts, and environments owe a lot to games and films of the past (much of the game's look wouldn't be out of place in a Halo title). But even with the obvious inspirations, Mass Effect still conveys its vision clearly, thanks to meticulous character designs and dramatic set pieces, such as the Citadel itself.