...which crashed on boot every time I tried to run it. So I went to the website and peevishly typed 'mass effect crashes on boot on vista' into the search field on EA's website. And got the tech support page about the 'mass effect crashes on boot on vista' bug in the PC version of the game.
Basically, there's a workaround, that involves temporarily disabling Vista security so that it can install its copy protection (well, it didn't put it that way, but that's obviously what it was doing). Because seriously, how do you miss 'crash on boot' long enough to ship with it?
So I followed the instructions and got it set up, and... well, it still crashes periodically, sort of like Half Life 2, but it lets you save a lot, like Half Life 2, so it's still playable.
The combat's pretty frustrating, though. The AI for your companions is really, really bad. REALLY bad. Like, if you tell them to attack an enemy, they'll complain that they don't have line of sight to it instead of, I don't know, moving two steps to the left. Oh, and if you tell them to take cover, they stop attacking. And they keep switching back to their pistols even though they're only trained in assault rifles and shotguns. And never use their special abilities unless you tell them to, but both you and them need to have line of sight on the target location because, totally braindead.
Making my main character a technician with limited combat skills may have been a poor choice.
Other than being really unpolished (the textures are terrible and don't line up well, it's really glitchy going through doors and elevators, trying to fire a weapon in combat is occasionally an exercise in frustrating because it'll somehow decide you don't have line of sight despite being in first person mode, and what's up with the 30-second elevator rides followed by a loading screen?), it does seem like a decent game.
Main character's an asshole, though. You have a choice between 'stick-up-the-asshole', 'backtalking pain-in-the-asshole', or both. Racism is, however, mandatory, and seems to be the game's obsession.