I love Mass Effect, and by that, Mass Effect 2.
Apparently, Mass Effect 2 also really, really, loves my wife.
Bioware RPGs have become the 'gateway drug' into gaming with my wife and I. My spouse was never much into video games aside from Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, and whatever she can get her hands on with Facebook. She later moved on to Fable 2, liking that she could do pretty much whatever she liked, raise a family, and proclaim herself Empress. Yeah, she liked that a lot.
Once she started playing Dragon Age: Origins (at my request, seeing how she liked fantasy), she proclaimed herself a 'real' gamer. She considered her digital avatar in Dragon Age to be the best part of her days while playing, loving that she could be involved in such an epic story with a character that was essentially herself (with awesome rogue powers and dual blades).
What really got her into it the most was the relationship between her character and would-be-king Alistair, who it turns out, is the smarmiest chick magnet ever to be made outside of Japan. She loved Alistair, from his humourous outlook to his bashful, awkward interactions with her. Bioware had essentially created her ideal match!
Once I'd beaten Mass Effect 2, she wanted to give it a try. Almost immediately, she fell for the Turian bad ass Garrus Vakarian, who was exactly the bad boy she wanted. After she finsihed the game and completed her relationship with him, she replayed the game in order to woo the other alien hottie Thane.
I found myself watching her play games every night, becoming more and more intimidated by her infatuation with these digital space guys who were, by merit, way cooler than me. I'm a 22 year old nerdy screenwriter and editor, how can I compete with outer space assasins and heirs to the throne?!
Video Game sex became her primary measure of whether a game was good or not. In her words, "If I can't have sex with any of the characters, what's the point?"
And a good point it is, because of course she doesn't just mean sex, otherwise I'd be trotting out a number of dating sim games for her that I'm a bit ashamed to own. No, in a video game, she wants 'relationships' and narratives that allow for them to begin and end.
With this in mind, I don't think she's going to get into a lot of other games, until Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age 2, or another Bioware RPG.
In my mind, it seems Bioware is the only game company to produce games where the player is able to customized to suit one's tastes, and then lets the player have an adventure, whilst wooing/seducing NPCs.
It's been done in JRPGs and some American action games, but those tend to be linear with preassigned protagonists. She doesn't want to watch people have a relationship, she wants herself to have that relationship.
And so do I.
Love interests usually seem tacked on to most game narratives, but at least with Bioware's RPGs, the love interest is an option, and you have a variety of 'real' characters to choose from. This is something that really makes my wife (and me) care about gaming as a narritive.
So kudos to you, Bioware.
Just make sure not to make the characters in your sequels too hot and appealing...she might leave me for one.