Mass Effect review

Few games deserve the word "epic". This fantastic sci-fi, role-playing shooter is one that does.

Why you can trust GamesRadar+ Our experts review games, movies and tech over countless hours, so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about our reviews policy.

It's worth mentioning that this is a beautifully realized game universe. No, it's not quite as colorful and dynamic as Star Wars - honestly, nobody's ever going to beat light sabers, wookiees, and Leia's slave-girl genie bikini. But Mass Effect's version of the galaxy is still captivating. It looks graphically stunning, andthough tech-heads will notice that textures sometimes pop in asplit-second late, nobody will really care.

The game world isn't quite as wide open as we'ddreamed - you can't land on every single planet (and those you can visit are often a bit barren), and you can't randomly steal things or kill civilians and get arrested like some kind of sci-fi Oblivion. But the staggering amount of attention paid to details and backstory - how hyperspace works, why the elcor aliens talk funny, what each planet is made of - makes the overall experience feel much more rich, realistic and satisfying.

The main critical path is 20-30 hours long, though it feels a bit shorter - probably because the main missions are quite long, so there aren't as many as you'd imagine. Optional side quests should supply you another 20 hours or so, and gave us a fun, Star Trek-like sense of wonder and exploration. They usually take place on different planets and you often have absolutely no idea what you're going to see or do. You might find yourself ambushed by a giant worm on a desert planet, trying to defuse a nuclear warhead in an abandoned mine shaft, or frisking space monkeys on a lush-but-poisonous paradise world as you search for a lost data module.

More info

GenreRole Playing
DescriptionThe first entry in BioWare's space opera, detailing the rise of Commando Shepard in the face of a mysterious enemy.
Franchise nameMass Effect
UK franchise nameMass Effect
Platform"Xbox 360","PC"
US censor rating"Mature","Mature"
UK censor rating"",""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)
Eric Bratcher
I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.