As this is being written, I am roughly five hours into Mass Effect and enjoying it tremendously. While five hours is enough time to get comfortable with the game, it is not quite long enough to acquire a feel for the story's flow. A few more hours of play should fix that, however, and from there it will be possible to start discussing what has happened thus far from Meriel's perspective. I have to hand it to Mass Effect for just dropping gamers into the middle of its story with little preliminary explanation. You can find out some things from talking with NPCs and asking the right questions, but overall it expects you to simply go with the flow and pick things up as it goes along.
It took me three tries, but have I finally created a character, background, and approach that feels right for ME1's environment. The game's combat style is also beginning to work its way out. Coming directly off a 2H ax wielding character, I've had an interesting time weening myself from melee and adjusting to ranged. Let's just say that *ahem* "Meriel" has made some stupid decisions in combat which have resulted in quite a few brushes with death. Apparently charging directly toward one's target with guns a blazing is not an awesome idea. It was all Meriel's idea I tell you. I had nothing to do with it ... nothing. The other thing that has taken some getting used to is ME1's love for timed events. I'm only five hours in and I've already run across two of these. To the game's credit, it doesn't have unrealistic expectations and actually gives you enough time to accomplish your goals. All the same, let's hope (in vain?) that these events are few and far between as the game progresses. There are few things I hate more then time limits since I don't game well under pressure. Now if ME1 gets the idea that quick time events are a good idea ... well we'll have to sit down and have a very serious talk.
Next week I shall introduce Meriel Shepard and ME1 gameplay guidelines in a rather detailed post. Playthrough diaries will resume very soon there after. In the meantime, Mass Effect's score will remain on heavy rotation during non-game time. If you haven't heard it before, I suggest popping over to youtube for a listen or picking it up from an online vendor. As one would expect a great deal of the soundtrack is atmospheric in nature, but there are a number of standout songs. My favorite is by far "Spectre Induction". Find it posted below for your listening pleasure.
Edited to Add - Meriel's Story is now in progress! You can find these entries by clicking on the "Meriel's Story" link at the top of the page. All the relevant blog posts are listed there in chronological order for your convenience.