When Mass Effect 3 will come out in March, it look even worse than Mass Effect 2 - at least at the beginning. You say: Why? The answer is easy: The modding community changed Mass Effect 2's textures since the release in 2009 a lot. As for Mass Effect 3, this support will take some time.
Mass Effect mit Texturmods by EatChildren (5) [Source: view picture gallery]
Did you know that there are several texture mods for the PC versions of Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2? No? Don't bother, because this is not common kowledge. By chance we stumbled over some great texture mods, especially for the characters which look very dated in the Unreal Engine 3 powered Mass Effect games. Don't get me wrong: Unreal Engine 3 is great. Look at the PC version of Batman Arkham City under DX11 and you see what Unreal Engine 3 is capable of right now - but only if the developer uses new technologies like Shader Model 5 and takes care of the PC version. I don't say that Bioware doesn't do a great job for the PC community (look at the extra effort on Dragon Age 2), but as for the screenshots published for Mass Effect 3 there is no clue that the PC version is enhanced in any way.
If you take this information into account then it's easy to assume that ME3 won't look better than ME2. If you consider the great job fans did with texture mods, you even have to assume that ME3 will look worse than ME3. At least at the beginning because PC modding fans will probably enhance the graphics when ME3 is released. But this may take some time.
We show you some screenshots for Mass Effect 2 with a texture mod from the Bioware
forum. There is a lot more out there but this one work great as a stand alone mod, even for Steam versions. It replaces the standard size of textures (512 x 512 up to 1.024 x 1.024) with higher res ones (up to 4.096 x 4.096).