"Bioware hasn't broken their streak of fantastic games, even if they have broken a few promises. Mass Effect is an amazing game, one that will be remembered for a long time to come. It is neither a perfect game, nor a genre-redefining game but it does make several important steps forward - not only for western RPGs, but for cinematic game design in general. Those that go into the experience without any preconceived notions of what the game will be are the ones who will get the most out of the title."
• Visuals: 9.5 - Fantastic art direction and gorgeous graphics are hurt by texture pop-in and harsh framerate drops.
• Sound: 10 - Some of the best voice acting ever done, complemented by a brilliant musical score that suits the game's themes perfectly.
• Control: 9.0 - The inventory is needlessly obtuse, and selecting special abilities breaks the pace of the action, but otherwise the controls are more than adequate.
• Gameplay: 9.0 - Not as revolutionary as promised, but still excellent. The new dialog and combat mechanics are both fresh and satisfying. Some balance issues hurt the overall experience.
• Lasting Appeal: 8.0 - The game is shorter than expected and the side-quests are nothing more than standard fare. Replay value comes from the ability to experience the same events differently.
• Verdict: 9.2 (not an average), Superb - Those that go into Mass Effect without any preconceived notions of what the game will be are the ones who will get the most out of the experience.