Our second most anticipated game of 2007 has been given an official release date. Microsoft announced today that on November 20, 2007 fans will get their hands on BioWare’s latest opus, Mass Effect. After two months of Halo 3 nightly marathon runs, it’ll be time to embark on the epic RPG and tactical action journey. Any doubts you may have about the pedigree of Mass Effect should be put to rest, the good Doctors at BioWare have yet to let us down. KOTOR still stands as the best RPG to grace the OG Xbox.

“The best games bring players into an immersive, realistic world that is fun to explore from beginning to end. We’ve achieved that in Mass Effect by putting the player at the center of a compelling, cinematic storyline full of realistic characters and hundreds of exciting locations,” said Greg Zeschuk, president of BioWare. Huge cinematic story? Yes please! Mass Effect takes the epic story structure of games like KOTOR and Jade Empire, and expands them into what promises to be the most engaging title gamers will play in 2007. Sorry BioShock, we love you today, but our hearts are already betrothed to another.

You take on the role of Commander Shepard, an elite human Spectre agent, who is the keeper of the law in the galaxy. You’ll traverse a vast galaxy, discovering secrets, and trying to convince other alien races to believe that a huge threat looms. It appears, on the surface, to be a reenvisioning of the classic Star Wars story BioWare told in KOTOR. But this time around players will employ real-time, squad-based, tactics to take on enemies. Then there’s the wealth of NPC characters throughout the world, who look and feel like living creatures. The branching dialogue system has been upgraded to feel far more natural than ever before. As you travel the galaxy you’ll also attain new weapons, equipment and armor. You know, all that RPG stuff. Which is exactly what BioWare does best with their games. The classic RPG elements are integrated into BioWare titles seamlessly, all while they completely twist and reinvent what gamers expect from RPGs.

Plans for my birthday are set, so you can expect to not see me around when Mass Effect ships November 20th. I’ll be busy saving, or possibly destroying, the entire galaxy. There’s nothing like having the fate of billions in the palm of your hand.

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