Metareview: Mass Effect (Xbox 360)

Sure, some of you lucky bastards readers already plopped a whole heap of time into Mass Effect thanks to K-Mart's inability to, you know, read. Others of us, however, don't get to play "Jack Bauer in Space" until tomorrow. Yeah, that's right, we're jealous individuals (sans those on staff who took advantage of the "blue light special") who know that Bioware determines its release schedule with a formula more complex than how the NFL calculates a QB's passer rating.

We here at Joystiq are all primed and ready to save the universe, use our Force special powers on enemy combatants, knock boots with some genderless aliens, and finally move past Jade Empire. However, maybe you're not convinced as we are -- that's okay because the Metareview is here to help.
  • GameSpy (100/100): "Mass Effect's greatest strength is the quality of the narrative. BioWare has a track record of producing amazingly engrossing storylines, but never before have you been presented with this level of meaningful interaction. You'll experience difficult and thought-provoking situations, including moral and ethical questions without a clear right or wrong answer. The Commander Shepard character is thus defined by player involvement, sublimely capturing the essence of role-playing."
  • IGN (94/100): "Mass Effect is game that is greater than the sum of its parts. Technical issues abound, but the majority of Mass Effect is so expertly delivered that it can transcend its weaknesses. Applying number ratings to a game like this doesn't do it justice because there is no way you can ignore its technical flaws. Simply put, Mass Effect is a game that must be played. Then it must be played again. Don't pass this one up."
  • Eurogamer (80/100): "Forced to stumble towards a conclusion, I'd say that despite the niggles, Mass Effect is most definitely a great game with an awful lot going for it - but one that doesn't quite deserve unquestioning praise. For what it achieves in delivering a compelling narrative and wonderful atmosphere, BioWare deserves a huge amount of credit, as there are few games that come anywhere near it in this regard. The dialogue system, and the impact it has on individual missions and the game as a whole is exceptional, adding greatly to the potential replay value. Where it doesn't quite hit the mark for me is in the action stakes. Although it underpins the game with all sorts of excellent ideas that ought to make it a deeper, more intelligent and immersive experience, the simple truth is that the minute-to-minute combat simply isn't as intense and involving as you'd expect from a game in 2007. Throw in some grumbles about the somewhat unoptimised state of the frame-rate, texture pop-in and v-syncing terrors, and it's a game that just falls short of our expectations. An eight, then, but a good one..."

This article was originally published on Joystiq.