Frank Caron reviews Mass Effect for Ars Technica's Opposable Thumbs. His conclusion:
"I'm going to do something I rarely do and conclude with a personal message. I love Mass Effect; I'm a sucker for BioWare games, and this particular one won't leave my disc tray for very long over the next six months or so. Part of me loves this game to no end for providing such an immersive world, one that not only warrants multiple playthroughs but demands them. But part of me can't get over the many problems. I love it half the time; I hate it half the time.
Many people I've talked to regard this game with an unrealistic level of respect, and I feel the need to deflate that hype a bit. The game is unrivaled in so many capacities that the flaws are all the more apparent. Some have chosen to completely, perhaps irrationally, ignore these flaws. I still give a hearty recommendation that you buy this game, you need to go in with the right mindset: Mass Effect is a flawed gem."