Before we start, firstly let me say that I love this kind of RPG style game and therefore you do not need to take what I say in this review as gospel.
Mass Effect is an awesome game, so far. Firstly the graphics are outstandingly crisp and clear. The character design and animation is equally superb too. Ok, so occasionaly the texture mapping loads a fraction late and therefore 'pops' but that really is a minor quibble.
The action areas of the game really reminded me of Ghost Recon in the way the characters behave and operate. This is impressive, since this is only one part of the whole game experience in Mass Effect.
The squad commanding using the pop-up command wheel takes a little bit of getting used to but it becomes second nature after the 3rd or 4th hostile encounter.
Now, as is the nature with RPG games like this, there is a lot of the game spent having conversations and investigating which is what this game is really all about. The fact that the combat system is so effective is an added bonus and simply helps to make this game feel more complete.
Also, the Light/Dark side of your character as decided by decisions you make is more shades of grey than Knight Of The Old Republic was. You can build both Paragon points (light) and Renegade points (Dark), so your character is not as clear cut bad or good as they were in KOTOR. Could be interesting.
Now, you will know whether this style of game is something that you like or don't like, so I'm not going to try and persuade you to buy it based on it's Ghost Recon-esq fighting system or anything else for that matter.
If you liked KOTOR or Jade Empire then you will love this game. Another Space Opera sir? Yes please.