Great game ruined by DRM. If this is the future of EA copy prevention strategy, count me out.
Let it be perfectly clear that you cannot "buy" this game in the same sense in which you have bought nearly every other game you own. When you open the box, what you see might look like a DVD with a game on and you might assume that the physical possession of this DVD entitles you to play the game, but you would be horribly, horribly mistaken. Instead what you have is an installer for the Mass Effect online service. A service which EA can and will cancel at anytime. You might have heard that it's not a big deal that you just have to register the game online once and then you can play it forever and ever without even having the DVD in the drive. Well what you've heard is a magical tale of rainbows and unicorns, of a perfect world in which everything always goes exactly according the plan, as oppose the dirty truth of the matter. This is what actually happens with Mass Effect. You buy the game and happily install it on your laptop. The game runs horribly, and you come to the conclusion that Windows Vista is a terrible operating system and is to blame for your problems. Since you had been meaning to do it for awhile now anyways, you "down-grade" your laptop to Windows XP and try installing the game again. It still high seas levels of choppy, you decide that clearly the game needs to be played on your desktop instead. Well it runs a lot better now, but you couldn't turn all the graphics setting up all the way, and you've been looking for the game that justifies the purchase of a new graphics card anyways. So one new graphics card later you load up Mass Effect, you are greeted with the following message:
"The game can not start. For security reasons, only a limited number of machines can ever be licensed by a single purchase. This limit has been reached. Please purchase another registration code, reinstall, and then try again."
Since you installed the three times already EA clearly thinks you just need to buy another copy of the game. That's it your precious Mass Effect DVD is now completely worthless. Physical possession of it entitles you to absolutely nothing; still think you bought the game? It doesn't matter if this is the greatest game of all time, you cannot buy it, and I'm sure as hell not forking over my hard earned cash for a "licensee" that allows me to install the game or change my hardware 3 times before the game just quits working.
Gamespot needs a new "cons" icon for DRM, and a mandatory minimum 4 point deduction for any game that that behaves like this. Ignoring DRM is like ignoring bugs in a game; it doesn't accurately depict the experience of owning the game. So EA isn't getting my money, and I hope they don't get yours either.