Let's see if I can make my point clear. I love stories, good stories as much as audiophiles love listening to music. So I read a lot of books.
Saying that X game has good story, characters, etc is like claiming you like music and you listen it on Youtube. Simply no. With Mass Effect and any other game for that matter, story is just a half-baked rehash or just plain rip-off of a better story, probably written 30+ years ago. Just go read it!
To me the only thing that makes a game story good (more like pasable) is the way it's fed to me. ME does it as if it was a movie, a bad movie and movies themselves are already bad enough.
HL2, Skyrim and a bunch of others don't feed you the story as if it was a movie, they let you be part of it and learn about the lore and story like you would in real life, by interacting with the world.