Game: Mass Effect (series)
Culture Background: Western
Mass effect is described as an "Action/Role-Playing" game. Because of the nature of the content found in the game and that it's played from the third perspective I've included it in my list.
In the sci-fi epic, Mass Effect the player takes control of Commander Shepard, who with a team of various allies both human and alien travels the galaxy solving problems and ultimately uncovering a huge conspiracy that could lead to the galaxy's destruction.
The game has three main areas of focus, player interaction with NPCs (Non-player characters), character development and combat. In the game combat works like a mix of a FPS and an RPG, you character has stats that can be upgraded along with their weapons but attack by using guns in non-turn based combat. This gives combat all the tactical side of improving a character's stats from an RPG but with the fast paced action from an FPS.
The player interaction also plays a huge part in the Mass Effect series. When conversing with NPCs you are often given at least two choices for Commander Shepard's response, sometimes the answer you give can have a huge effect on the future events of the game or if you import your character from Mass Effect 1 to Mass Effect 2, the choices you made in the previous game effects the world Shepard experiences in the sequel. What this does is gives players a really unique experience that they can discuss with other players and compare how their playthroughs unwrapped due to the choices they made. Below is a video of the game play From Mass Effect 2.
Another great aspect of Mass Effect is that when you first start up your Mass Effect Adventure you're given the choice to create how your Commander Shepard will look. Male, female? Short Hair, Long Hair? Big Nose, Small Nose? This further adds to the unique experience players get out of the series. So It's not hard to imagine why this game is so popular, with this backed up by a range of alien species each with their own personalities and a vast galaxy to explore. The game is extremely well received by critics averaging 9/10 from most reviews.
Mass Effect managed to blend two types of game play into one seamlessly and this was built upon in the sequel to make it flow even better, along with the level of character interaction the play can have with NPCs also makes it even more memorable as players will grow attachments to their party members. The main plot is nothing new when it's broken down to it's bare bones but the way that it's delivered truly separates it from other games and in terms of action/adventure games, Mass Effect is all about an over arching story rather than a series of levels so as a designer it may be good to keep a note that there are various types of handling a story.