"You'll want more from it, but by no means does it hold the experience back."
I don't understand how Reiner can express so many of Mass Effect's gameplay shortcomings and then make this statement. Is he really trying to say that disappointing gameplay doesn't negatively affect the gaming experience? Reiner goes on to say how "captivating" the story is. If Mass Effect represents a "new age of interactive storytelling" they why would any reviewer discount the "interactive" part of the gaming experinece. Even when the story/experience isn't privileged over the gameplay, it's still an integral part of the game's narrative.
The Second Opinion written by Ben shares many of Reiner's sentiments. Ben also comments on the game's balance.
"Problem is, certain powers/weapon combos allow you to steamroll waves of enemies, making the game feel easy until the dice rolls turn against you and you find yourself dead within seconds."
Ben goes on to say "I want to call this a balancing issue." Shouldn't the game reviewer be able to discern if this problem is a balance issue or not? "Wanting" to call it a balance issue exposes Ben's lack of understanding of the issue.
"Still, Mass Effect could very well represent the future of entertainment, and its few flaws shouldn't' stop anyone from enjoying that experience."
What about people who enjoy solid gameplay?
In closing, according to these reviews, Mass Effect is all about story. However, neither Reiner nor Ben could explain what makes the story so good or "captivating." What is clear are the issues with the combat/action portion of the game. As an antecedent to my hands-on time with the game, my impressions of Mass Effect are disjointed and spotty.
It's hard to justify such high review scores based on the two articles. In the end, readers should realize that these reviews communicated very little about what makes Mass Effect (potentially) so good. And with a double score of 9.75, we have to start judging whether these reviews are bias or even worth considering.