I know I'm behind the times - Mass Effect has been out almost TWO MONTHS, and here I am just starting to play it! The horror of a slow reviewer!
The game seems okay, save for the fact that I spend half my time on elevators. It's definitely KotOR in space... I mean, KotOR in... um... other space... but at least the combat doesn't suck as bad.
My big problem with KotOR wasn't the combat, but the dialog. As I mentioned before, your choices are to talk like a spoiled fourteen year old boy or a naive fourteen year old girl, with an occasional "go away" tossed in for kicks.
In Mass Effect, the dialog is a bit (a tiny bit) less idiotic, and I've discovered something. Because the dialog is better, I actually suffer from an uncanny valley problem with dialog. In KotOR, the conversational dialog was SO BAD that it didn't really come off as inhuman, it just came off as bad. But in Mass Effect, the dialog is unsettling in its failure to be human.
Because it's a static dialog tree, a given line of questioning will result in a given sound bite. Unfortunately, while this sound byte is always in character, it doesn't often follow conversationally. I frequently find myself giving a curt goodbye to people I was having a fun conversation with, or taking freakishly wide tangents at random moments. If you talked like that in real life, people would definitely think you were a bit... off the meds, yeah?
I understand the limitations, of course. I'm not saying they could have done a better job on any kind of reasonable budget. But it's an interesting side effect: improve the quality of the dialog, and suddenly it's uncanny.
The graphics, too, suffer from the uncanny valley.