Ships Ahoy - Mass Effect 2

As noted already, today is the North American launch day for Mass Effect 2, BioWare's sci-fi action/RPG sequel, and the digitally distributed editions on Direct2Drive and Steam have unlocked. Here's the official press release announcing the game's availability, which points to early reviews, saying the 97 rating on Metacritic for the Xbox 360 edition makes it the "second highest rated game for the platform of all time," and that the PC version has earned a 95 on Metacritic (actually 94 as of this moment). Here's the word on the game and the Cerberus Network DLC that's free to those who purchase the game new:
The Mass Effect trilogy is an epic science fiction adventure set in a vast universe filled with dangerous alien life and mysterious, uncharted planets. In Mass Effect 2, players will once again step into the role of the heroic Commander Shepard, commanding their crew of some of the most dangerous operatives from across the galaxy on a mission so challenging that it’s potentially suicidal. Featuring intense shooter action, a rich futuristic storyline, space exploration and emotionally engaging character interaction, the game delivers an unparalleled cinematic experience.

Gamers who purchase a new copy of Mass Effect 2 will also be able to activate the ‘Cerberus Network’, an in-game portal in Mass Effect 2 that will keep fans engaged with the Mass Effect universe through downloadable content (DLC) and news at no extra charge. The first piece of DLC is available today, featuring a new mission around the Normandy crash site. For players who do not buy the game new, the ‘Cerberus Network’ can be unlocked through a one-time, in-game purchase of an activation code for 1200 MS points on the Xbox 360 and $15 on the PC.** BioWare will release additional news on future ‘Cerberus Network’ content in the coming weeks.