I really liked Mass Effect. It's kind of like Dragon Age Origins in space. You recruit various people to help, get to pick some of them to go with you on missions (only 2 unlike the 3 in Dragon Age) and then you get to go back to your ship afterwards and talk with them (It's your camp in Dragon Age).
Mass Effect has an equally deep and rich story line and you also develop a real attachments to the characters. Well except for Wrex, the Krogan. He's kind of like Sten from Dragon Age. Wrex ended up getting shot by one of the other team mates at a big crucial stage. And I didn't even mind.
Like Dragon Age there are possibilities of love interests, although I think it's more cut and dry. In Dragon Age I could end up having sex with at least 4 characters right in a row half way through the game. In Mass Effect you seem to end up choosing one and like some brands of romance novels you get the pay off near the end. I had two characters almost get in a fight over my character and actually confronted me and said "Look, you need to choose." Being a guy I tried the cop out of "Why not both?" which didn't work. Like Dragon Age I'm guessing one character will be bisexual as her species can mate and have children with other species and gender does not matter. Her species is female only.
The combat is kind of fun and the cover system is pretty cool. So thumbs up.
Also you get plenty of chances to make hard moral choices.
Things I didn't like is the character creator. It's really hard to come up with a non ugly character. I tried my best and only came up with something that was barely above Meh. The noses are horrible and only one was acceptable. The female choices was only slightly better, but still too easy to come up with an unacceptable character. I made a female toon for the second run through and had to start over and remake my character. I just couldn't stand looking at her. This game needs much better options for how characters look. Seriously.
Also most of the planets you visit are bleak waste lands with tons of mountains. And the vehicle you drive is very hard to maneuver.
Still the ending was epic and you feel like a hero.
I then bought Mass Effect 2. The cool thing about this game is that you can import your character from Mass Effect 1 and the decisions you made in the first game carry over in the second.
I haven't gotten too far yet, but the planets you visit are better looking. The characters are a bit more intense as well, especially one person you break out of prison to join your team. She's very angry and violent.
The graphics in general seem better and the characters look better. I haven't had a chance to see if the character creator is better because I just imported my old character from the first game.
They made a few radical changes from the first game. You now have to worry about fuel as you move around the galaxy. Also you no longer have an inventory, but must actually mine planets for resources to make upgrades.
Over all, these are pretty cool games.