After realizing that BioWare takes a formulaic approach to most of its games, IncGamers has penned an article voicing their concerns that the company's titles are starting to become "stale". But they still gave Mass Effect 2 a near-perfect review, of course:
Stop me when this sounds familiar. You do an opening tutorial section, and then are suddenly gifted with the ability to travel far and wide, with three or four main quests available to you. Every time you complete one of these, which will, if you're very lucky, reveal a little of the overarching story, you can return to your home base usually either a vehicle or a camp and chat to your party members to further their backstories and sidequests, and maybe open up some sexytime romance options. You finish those main quests, and then shock! - there's a plot twist and some major story development, before you continue down the endgame path. In the immortal words of Rolf Harris, can you tell what it is yet? That's right: it's a summary of the general pattern that BioWare games follow.
Initially, complaining about this seems to be as utterly ludicrous an argument as saying (Final Fantasy games are long and usually have random battles,) or (Nethack is randomised.) It's not a bad thing, it's the expected thing, and in this case it's a solid game structure: it provides players with an easy way to get into the game, a healthy dose of freedom, the ability to backtrack, the option to swap to a new area and still proceed down the main quest if things get tricky or you want to level, and plenty of time to focus on characters and subplots. It's great.
It's also really, really predictable. Ironically enough, the game that triggered this stream of prose Mass Effect 2 is the one that toys with this formula the most. It largely removes the (four-planets syndrome,) which appears to have become a bit of an online injoke which I can only assume really annoys the poor developers, and adds in more large city-based hubs than any other BioWare game I can think of. Even so, when I can predict the exact moment a plot twist is going to happen before I've even started the mission I've predicted it's going to appear in, it seems pretty clear to me that there's a problem.