In Bioware's upcoming rpg / space opera Mass Effect, players will be able to zoom around the galaxy in their own spaceship and explore over 300 planets, satellites, bases, and derelict ships at their leisure. Only a small fraction of these locations will be used in the main story, so will the secondary locations be an afterthought or will it be worth your while to visit every nook and cranny in the Milky Way?

I was able to take a look at a few of these ancillary locales for myself, and I'm happy to report that you'll find something amazing on every planet, no matter how remote.

Location: Milky Way / Armstrong Nebula / Hong System

This planet is only recommended for serious adventurers!

Upon reaching Treagir, the first thing you will notice is a large outcropping of rocks. If you squint your eyes just right, they sort of look like really large pebbles. You can walk around on some dirt to get a better look at the rocks or sit down to think about them. The planet's gravity is slightly higher than normal, so sitting is a breeze.

Upon leaving Treagir, the last thing you will notice is the same outcropping of rocks.

Planet 42-518P-111
Location: Milky Way / Perseus Cluster / Caleston System

This fascinating planet has not been officially named because no explorers have dared to tread upon its superheated surface. Be the first to brave the harsh climate and you'll be rewarded for your efforts with a Treasure Box containing a Rock that can be sold on the open market for 1 space dollar.

Location: Milky Way / Sentry Omega / Hoc System

A fascinating race of invisible bird-like creatures reside on Virmire. Walk around on a twenty foot patch of rock surrounded by small bushes that you cannot step over and look toward the skies, imagining what these strange alien life forms must look like.

Location: Milky Way / Hades G Cluster / Hades CGA 12506

When you come in for a landing on Caleston, you'll probably notice that there is nowhere to land. This is because the "planet" is simply a ball of atmosphere with no solid mass.

Location: Milky Way / Skylian Verge

A territorial space crab the size of a dog lies in wait, ready to attack you with pincers made of plasma. If you can somehow defeat it with your long range death lasers, you will get 25xp. Characters with high charisma can talk the crab into giving you one of its eyes.

Location: Milky Way / Sentry Omega / Hoc System

Remember the rock outcrop on Treager? On Jarfar, you will find one just like it, only mirrored. Are the two planets connected in some way? Is it possible that an ancient civilization traversed the galaxy, leaving mundane rock formations behind as a calling card? I hope we find out in Mass Effect 2.

One Sentence Reviews

Nascar '08
There will be 496 more installments in this series, assuming they continue to mimic a typical Nascar race's setup of 500 identical laps. 6/10

Wing Commander Arena
Putting a space-based Wing Commander space game (in outer space) on a 2D plane is the most inspired use of a license since SOE's conscious decision to create a very bad MMO with the Star Wars license. 3/10

Alien Syndrome
Created by, and for, people with an entirely different type of Syndrome. 5/10

Mario Strikers Charged
If Mario got as pissed off at Peach's kidnappings as he does when he plays soccer, his platformers would make Gears Of War look like Animal Crossing in comparison. 8/10

Gods: Lands Of Infinity
The only career decision that Penthouse pet Kyla Cole (who plays the main character) has ever hidden from her parents out of shame. 1/10

Enemy Engaged 2
I have seen the face of the enemy, and it is an eight year old helicopter sim repackaged at full price. 4/10

Tales Of The World: Radiant Mythology
A cookie-cutter rpg that sets itself apart with in-jokes aimed at people who played other games in the series, although that probably wasn't a good idea since those people should know better than to buy another "Tales Of" game. 5/10

Glory Days 2
This bizarre mix of Advance Wars with real time strategy and side scrolling action actually works, but be sure to play the game with your DS on a flat surface so you don't drop it while laughing at the melodramatic "war is hell" presentation that takes itself way too seriously. 7/10

Deal Or No Deal
No deal. 0/10

– Dennis "Corin Tucker's Stalker" Farrell (@DennisFarrell)

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