Rare chance for me to get a new game. Any suggestions?
Mass Effect 2 is a fantastic game and you should play it by any means. Mass Effect 1 is a good story and a great set up to the world, but it has a ton of framerate problems on the 360 and the mechanics and gameplay design are mostly clunky. It's still a game worth playing, but your concerns about it not holding up very well are ones you might find true. Mass Effect 3 is... well, it exists, and it's kinda all right, but my life would have not lost anything if I'd never played it.
If you don't feel like buying an entire trilogy for one (really, really good, I didn't stress that enough, ME2 is great) game and two that might not be so great, then go for Sleeping Dogs. It's also a fantastic game, my favorite of last year. If you're kind of short on time, then you should know that you can beat it in around ten or so hours if you just run through the story missions, most of which are pretty good on their own. There's plenty of other stuff to mess around with, too, so if you want to take your own sweet time then you'll find plenty to do. It's not as gargantuan as Grand Theft Auto V but it's tight and focused and pretty fun.
GTA V is a pretty good game but I don't think it's in the same league as Sleeping Dogs or Mass Effect 2. That opinion might make me unpopular, but GTA V has some bad mission design, Trevor is a little inconsistent, the mechanics are not all that great all-around, and the city is impressive but perhaps filled with a little too much driving. I'd call that a bad choice when placed next to Sleeping Dogs.
I thoroughly enjoyed Bioshock Infinite and Max Payne 3, but you can play through both once and see pretty much everything there is to see in around ten or fifteen hours. If you only occasionally get games, and really appreciate having a ton of content, then these probably aren't going to satisfy you. As a personal opinion, Max Payne 3 also has far too many cutscenes for a second playthrough to be all that fun.
Haven't played the rest.
Incase you just skimmed my post, the short of it is: Buy Mass Effect Trilogy for Mass Effect 2; if you don't want to buy a trilogy for one game, then buy Sleeping Dogs.
Don't let ME1's oldness defer you from playing the series. The combat mechanics feel dated but the story and lore is great. You should skip the ME trilogy because of ME3, where you find out every choice you made in throughout the entire series does not matter.
If you are short on playing time, go with Bioshock Infinite. The campaign isn't short, but it's not a time sink like open world games or RPGs. Between the two open world games you listed Sleeping Dogs is better if you can only play in short periods of time whereas GTA V is a game you need to sit down and spend some serious time with.
Mass effect is an exceptional franchise, I have played and enjoyed every single Mass effect game. But in your case I could see the length being an issue (your looking at around 80hrs to compete mass effect 1 through to 3 and that's not including the amazing side missions or DLC). So on that note I would recommend picking up Alan Wake, it blends atmosphere, gameplay and story to almost perfection, plus its 10hrs long. Alan Wake is my personal game of this generation (I have probably pit in around 100hrs into that game, just playing the campaign over and over again, picking up subtle story cues that increased my understanding of the complex/twisty narrative. Do your self a favour and pick up Alan Wake! :)
My vote is also for Mass Effect. As others have said, the gameplay of the original doesn't hold up as well as the second and third games, but it's also by far the shortest from a purely story standpoint. Each game has about 30-40 hours worth of total content, but if you ignore the (decent but repetitive) side content of the first game you can finish the story in like 12-15 hours. The side content is definitely worth doing if you find you enjoy the gameplay, but you can get away with skipping it if you just want to experience the story and get to the better playing games in the series.
The sequels have a much higher percentage of the total playtime taken up by story missions, but the gameplay is so much better in those games you won't want to rush through. ME2 and 3 also have what I like to call "main side quests", which are cinematic side story focused content that isn't technically part of the main story, but is of the same high quality as the story content.
I also must stress that you ignore some of these people advocating you skip ME3. It may not be as good as ME2, but it's still a great game (especially the way you'd experience it with all the DLC and the extended ending now available) and the conclusion of the story. Even if it fails to deliver on some of the payoff for decisions made in prior games, it still has some amazing moments and great resolution to some of the ongoing side stories and character arcs of the first two games. It is also the best game in the series from a pure gameplay perspective and the multiplayer is surprisingly great.
Finally, if you decide you don't want to undertake the Mass Effect trilogy (which I still advocate you should), you might want to consider Skyrim. You didn't list it on the poll, but if you enjoyed Fallout 3 and want something that will last you a hell of a long time, Skyrim might be a good choice.
Thank you for all your responses. To be honest my first choice would be Sleeping Dogs due to my ties with Hong Kong, however according to play-asia's list of compatible games, the US/CAN version of the game won't work on my Asian xbox which is a real shame, though i'm currently looking into any other methods I can get my hands on it.
My 2nd choice would either be Bioshock Infinite or GTA V, though I wonder if my current excitement is simply due to how current they are. I don't want the effect of them being "the hot topic" to overshadow some of the other older games. The games industry is a advertisement wizard afterall!
From what some of you have written the Mass Effect Trilogy seems to ALMOST be right up my alley. It's heavily story driven, with customisation being at the very core. However some people have voiced that Mass Effect 1 is relatively short, so shouldn't be much of an issue, though FYI i'm a person who likes diving deep into games, experiencing every nook and cranny, which is also the reason why I also most likely will not skip the first in the trilogy if i'm to experience any part of it at all.
To be really honest i'm thinking i'm maybe just being a bit anal about it right now. All the games in the list and the additional ones that you've suggested i'm sure are great and i'd enjoy thoroughly, but you know how it is. :D
Honestly the mass effect trilogy is hard for me to recommend. The first game is a very good rpg with its fair share of problems, the 2nd one fixes everything that was wrong with the first game (even though I wish didnt they go so drastically on cutting out the RPG elements) but the third game really is just a disappointment. I suppose with the extra DLC it does make the story feel more complete. But honestly the fact that original ending was so poor and the way they tact on endings to make it more solid ultimately just made me feel like all the choices I made in the first two games were completely pointless. That said, playing through mass effect was still a great experience, it was just disappointing to see how close they got to their original pitch.
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