Mass Effect is one of the best exclusives the Xbox 360 has to offer. It's a sci-fi action RPG with many side missions to keep your interest, and can take well over 20 hours to complete. The side missions are not mandatory, so you can quickly finish the main story within 6-10 hours if you prefer, although building XP will help you finish the story missions with greater ease. The fun just doesn't end there, as you can complete the game in different ways. The achievements act as guidelines to that effect, and highlight the possibilities during gameplay. The character customization allows you to change Shepard's appearance and abilities before you begin which opens up different options during combat, each class having its own weaknesses and strengths. The graphics are outstanding, but unfortunately the game shows a few technical glitches here and there. Most notably the texture pop and the occasional drop in framerate, which Bioware have rectified for the sequel. For that, it loses one star as I feel the developer could have done a better job, but overall it never really effects gameplay and I wouldn't let that put you off. The action element to Mass Effect is somewhat similar to tactical shooters such as Rainbow Six Vegas, as you control a squad of two which you can choose from a total of six characters you meet in the early stages of the story, each with their own abilities. The game has a realistic approach to combat as it features a cover system, with Shepard carrying four different types of firearms (Pistol, Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, & Assault Rifle) which are all upgradeable, and can be replaced with better versions as you progress. You can also select different types of ammo, all of which serve a different purpose, including armor-piercing, incendiary, and toxic rounds, etc. If using the force is your thing, then you can turn Shepard into a Biotic in the character customization menu. Choosing this class will give your character telekinesis powers, but the downside to that is that you will not be trained on certain firearms, making use of them pointless as you will be firing at enemies with little or no effect. I would highly recommend this if you liked other action RPG's such as Bioshock and Fallout 3. Another thing I liked about it, is that it often pays homage to other science fiction franchises, such as Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek. There's also the obvious Blade Runner influence in there, especially with the soundtrack which you'll love if 80's synth is your thing. The story is engaging, and it doesn't surprise me that a film adaptation is currently in the works. Let's hope that it does justice to the source material if it goes ahead. Another reason to buy this is that Mass Effect 2 will be released in January, 2010 and your actions from the first game can influence the story in the next so if you have it, don't delete your saved data!