In comparison, $20 only bought me enough to open up 2-3 areas in LotRO, and they aren't done sucking money out of me.
So far Mass Effect (ME) has been an overproduced and overplotted game. When it comes to plot, I'm totally and completely on the sandbox side. I want my characters to SHUT UP. I want to walk off the map. This game is closer to Final Fantasy X in the way it's constructed. You have role-playing areas, cut-scenes, and combat areas. They intermix, but the design feels rather rigid. Call it an Americanization of the Japanese RPG. This RPG also feels more gamified than I prefer. Buy hey, it was $5, so I be tolerant. It really feels like an RPG from the late 90's, which again was an Americanized implementation of the Japanese console style of RPG.
I may sound heretical for me to bash ME, but I also bash Planescape for the same reason. As a player, I have a strong exploration enjoyment, and these games are poor in that component. I prefer making up my own story and my own reasoning for my characters, and even my companions. In fact, I prefer all characters under my control to shut up.
So, in any event, it looks like I'm set to game well into the winter.