It really is a testament to the quality of Bioware's Knights of the Old Republic when, years after its release, we still want to compare it to some of the best parts of Mass Effect. The game clearly represents Bioware's desire to create involving and highly cinematic story-driven games, as it features some of the most lifelike characters we've yet seen in a video game. Upon entering a futuristic seedy bar with two of your squad mates, you strike up some conversations with patrons in the nearby vicinity. Much like KOTOR and some of Bioware's past games, the conversations are written in such a way so as to prompt the player for frequent input. Your potential responses are now mapped to different directions on the analogue stick and, because they appear on-screen before the NPC has even finished his or her (or its) line of dialogue, the exchanges between the game characters come off as extremely fluid and cinematic.
Bioware really went to town with the facial animations, something which immediately becomes obvious when you start whipping out your gun and shoving it in people's faces in your efforts to get information. NPCs become visibly frightened when threatened, their eyes widening in terror and their brows crumpling up. There's a certain sadistic quality to it, though your squad mates will quickly share their opinions on your behavior, sometimes even squabbling amongst themselves about how well or poorly you handled a given situation. Unlike many RPGs which require you to navigate large chunks of cutscenes in-between dungeons, the character interaction and plot advancement in Mass Effect appears to be really natural, cinematic and above all, fun.