Talk about great expectations. Bioware's titanic RPG Mass Effect has already scooped over 50 awards before it's even out. It's left journalists slack-jawed in amazement during carefully-controlled presentations. And the studio's pedigree speaks for itself.
But what will all that count for in the final analysis? At this very moment, Kristan is strapped in with Commander Shepard in his reviewing shuttle, and hasn't been seen for days. With the game out next week, Team Eurogamer is holding nightly vigils, praying for his safe return.
Before then, we figured you might like to view some exclusive gameplay videos taken directly from the finished article. There's a trio of teasers available right now, highlighting various aspects of this sci-fi spectacular.
On our very own EGTV, there's a three-minute compilation of running-and-gunning, highlighting real-time action, weapons and power upgrading via the menu system, and some Gears of War-style covering-and-firing. It culminates in a cutscene showing off the outstanding facial animation.
Over on Eurogamer.de, it's all about the details. How does the menu system work? What stats can you view and tinker with? How do you equip weapons and upgrades? What about fiddling around with your squad? It's all here, ending with a dramatic burst of action.
And finally, Eurogamer.fr takes a long, hard look at a selection of environments, Shepard first traipsing through a packed casino, chatting to NPCs, trying a quick game of low stakes Quasar and chinwagging with the barman (which highlights the much-hyped conversation system). The clip ends with a stirring cutscene championing the work of the Spectres.
Mass Effect is available on 360 in Europe from November 23rd.