Mass Effect is a sci-fi epic set in the year 2183, and centers on a war hero named Commander Shepard. Shepard become embroiled in a plot that involves an extinct race of aliens, mysterious beacons, an invasion of sentient robots known as the Geth, and a rogue black-ops agent called Saren. To make things worse, humans are third-class citizens in this future, so few want to help or trust Shepard. The main appeal of Mass Effect is how customized the play can be. Players can make their own Shepard, and design him or her down to the shape of his / her jaw and the scars on on their face. Every mission has a number of choices, and they run the scale of godly to fascist. The outcome of the final battle weighs on how you play them all. It's tricky. And it can come back to bite you in the sequel.
I lost many, many hours of my life to Mass Effect. It's a very cool world and a fairly gripping story. But the appeal of it is the participation, and choosing whether or not to pistol whip an Asari, not watching Gerard Butler or Angelina Jolie do it for you. I'm not sure I'd be into spending 2 hours with a Shepard who wasn't Elisabeth Shepard. What about you?