A Lexical Jungle
You'll spend a remarkable amount of time just reading journal and codex (think encyclopedia) entries about people, places, and creatures (like the one in this shot) as a kind of game-within-a-game reward for chatting up NPCs or clicking on random objects and computer stations. For all the lovely optional background detail, though, it's a great example of where Mass Effect violates its own grammar by telling instead of showing. Since when did reading flat scrolling text become its own gameplay mechanics? It's even more disappointing when you're scanning non-interactive planets that amount to little more than blocks of descriptive text. It all makes Mass Effect's universe feel more like something into which BioWare simply poured its design docs for a pencil and paper RPG, where the descriptions might have actually mattered.