Too a degree. But it is done gloriously. Proof that a formulaic/cliché story written well can be very good indeed. And the characters... <3 <3 Seriously, Mass Effect is really good. Mass Effect 2 is even better.
Mind you, that's my very subjective personal opinion and it deals mostly with story and characters, not gameplay. Though I liked the gameplay better in ME2 too, for the most part.
This is why Shepard has to survive in ME3. Cause if they DO kill Shepard off, everyone will be like "yeah yeah, very funny, you're gonna make us think Shepard's dead like you did in the first one." *nothing happens* Oh... shit".
Total agreement there! Would have been better to have Shepard die heroically at the end of ME1 and leave everybody wondering how they'll pull a sequel this way. Getting killed in the intro of ME2 and everyone knows this can't be the end.