Here it how it is:
The first ME was fantasic – a modestly budgeted game with tons of heart comes out of nowhere and makes a huge impression. The story is compelling, and the role-playing aspect is fun (not perfect, but fun). The world and lore created around the game was very successful. All the originality of Star Wars, and just as in-depth. The score is wonderful and inspired. Plus, there’s this odd sort of atmospheric feeling, coming from such levels as Noveria and the moons, that only a non-blockbuster can pull off. The first ME is magic.
The second ME sucks. There is way too much emphasis on gun battles. They aren’t even fun, they are boring. The scenarios aren’t as innovative. The loading screens are phony. The soundtrack is incredibly boring, too, except for the Illusive Man theme. The story is still compelling, but I feel like ME:2 just took a really long detour from the plain, original plot. The game revolves completely around those dumb collectors… Their connection to the reaper story was a stretch, and I think it was only added just to make the series a solid trilogy, rather than just a duo. I really don’t like ME:2. One redeeming quality, though, was the Shadowbroker DLC. It added some pretty, new locations and more to the story of Liara, which I really was hoping for.
The third ME is decent. Yes, it is the most popularized of the three, and there is still a tone of combat. But, the combat is considerably improved and actually kind of fun. And there’s a nice reprise of a lot of good aspects of the first one. I think they really listened to fans when making it. The soundtrack captures a little bit of the magic from the first game, and the environments are well-thought-out. And it’s the most dramatic of the series. And I like drama. I like this game. It’s not a favorite, but I like it.
I am probably the minority, but epicness in games doesn’t really turn me on. I was more than happy with Mass Effect 1’s generally low key. If there are to be more MEs, I hope they are either prequels, or start with a completely new story, but with the same quietness and simplicity that the first game had.