The Mass Effect Legendary Edition is fast approaching and excited I am! The original offerings from the Mass Effect trilogy are some of my favourite games ever. With the 14th of May release date chugging closer, some new details have been released over on a blog post on the EA site.
You can watch IGN’s exclusive video as well, that featured some of the Bioware team and some commentary showcasing graphical differences like new assets, lighting, textures, and character customisation! Among other things. It’s well worth a watch.
Mass Effect 1
Mass Effect 1 has got the majority of the love in the Legendary Edition. Rightly so too. It’s definitely the game that needs the most love. Not particularly surprising for a game that came out in 2007 but there’s definitely some work to be done.
Although there seems to be a lot of changes, both graphically and mechanically, some are bigger than others. I’ll just focus on the ones that I personally think are the most important.
Let’s just get one out of the way here, you can now run outside of combat. Goddamn that will feel good, instead of just going at the same slow speed for 30 hours. That will definitely help improve the pacing for pretty much the whole game.
Let’s get probably the biggest issue with Mass Effect 1 out of the way first. The Mako.
Frankly speaking, the Mako was an absolute dumpster fire. It was floaty, controlled like a dead panda, the reticle didn’t work, and everything else. It was especially an issue on the higher difficulties as you could just insta-die. I would spend more time in the menu saving than actually attempting to drive the damn thing.
The calibrations to the Mako are pretty extensive, thank god. The big changes are to the handling, like all of it. Key points are the added weight of the Mako overall, the aim actually working, and rear boosters. Check out the IGN video I mentioned below, which is at the timestamp for the Mako talk.
Improvements to the weightiness of the drive are genuinely crazy, the difference is night and day. Instead of every hump making you fly through the air, your wheels drive over it like they should. It also improves control in general, hopefully making the whole experience of driving better.
Then there’s the aiming and accuracy improvements. Basically, it just actually works now. So that’s nice because the reticule did not work.
One cool addition, not just improvement, is the rear boosters. These don’t replace the bottom jets to jump about but supplement them. They also both recharge separately so you can activate both at the same time. Again, this really just speeds up some of the pacing lulls that you normally get; like on your way to the lab on Noveria, which I am here for.
Combat has had some real tightening up too, quite significantly. Some of the big changes are with guns, companions, abilities, and healing. Just really almost all of it has been fixed, tightened, and improved.
The guns did not feel good in the original release. There’s no way around it, they were floaty, inaccurate, and the reticles were messed up. All of that has been changed for the Legendary Edition.
Companions can now be ordered separately, just like they can be in ME2 & 3. Your melee attack isn’t automatic when an enemy gets close, there’s actually a button for it now. The cool down for each weapon is sped up, so there is less time just standing around doing nothing. Healing with medi-gel is improved, in levelling bonuses and in better cooldowns.
There are no penalties for a class using a certain type of weapon. In the original certain classes were “untrained” with certain types of weapons. This meant that it didn’t work well with that class. Like a Technician can pretty much only use a pistol. Now you don’t get a penalty but you will still be unable to put skill points into improving them. This is a fantastic change.
Unlike Mass Effect 2 & 3, Mass Effect 1 had some pretty major changes in the graphics department. It’s not gonna win any awards for the graphics, let’s not kid ourselves. It has been brought up to be more inline with ME3 with vastly improved resolutions.
Honestly, the things that I care about is just the clarity of the image. Like, ME1 on the Xbox 360 is the cloudiest, most blurry game I’ve maybe ever played. I really don’t think that many games look worse in this respect.
The changes into the Legendary Edition fix, literally, all of this. Clearing up the whole environment, adding a huge amount of improved lighting, and removing blur. Again, it won’t win an award for the best looking game but it’s such a huge improvement over the original. That, in and of itself, is enough for me.
Some decent changes have been made to the experience. They rebalanced the experience that you received during the campaign. If you do everything, you are quite likely to get to a much higher level than before. This could remove the requirement for multiple playthroughs to get to max level.
They also removed the level cap for the first playthrough so you might be able to get right up there. Maybe on your first playthrough you’ll just be able to get to max level. This is also a really fantastic change for me, I don’t wanna finish a campaign at level 50 for the 6th time yano.
Mass Effect 2 & 3
As I said, Mass Effect 2 & 3 were given way less attention in the remasters. Mostly because they didn’t need it, especially when compared with the first game. They did still get some changes though.
I’ll be honest, I’m not sure how much this was needed. I can’t really think of any time where there wasn’t enough cover or where it didn’t work for me. I’m sure that this is just rose tinted glasses. Anyway they have now added some extra cover for certain encounters across the trilogy. There are also some kind of reliability improvements when getting in and out of cover.
In Mass Effect 3, one of the main mechanics is the galactic readiness. Building up to the final assault, the amount of forces you amass changes the outcome. The main changes seem to be made to increase the impact of the first 2 games on this. Making it more difficult to get enough forces together playing just Mass Effect 3 on it’s own. Partly due to the removal of the online component that was used to affect this stat ingame.
All of the Effects
There are a bunch of changes to achievements for all 3 games. Adding new achievements that actually track across all 3 games for example.
There is now a single launcher for all 3 games which is neat. They do all keep separate save files for each game and can be managed separately.
Weapon and Armour DLC
The weapons and armour DLC are mostly not given to you at the start. Instead vendors and research is required to get them all for overall balance throughout the games. I’m actually really ok with this change, it makes them act just like any other part of the game which is nice.
I’m not sure how much but the audio is remixed and enhanced for all 3 games. My one hope here is that they don’t take out or change the best tracks too much. Well, tracks and sound effects, there are literally so many recognisable audio clips across the trilogy. I don’t mind them sounding better but don’t make them unrecognisable.
This is potentially, other than the Mass Effect 1 changes, the most important part. They claim that hundreds of bugs from the original trilogy were fixed. Which frankly is such a ridiculous number. Even in 3 games, it really feels like some serious work went into these remasters.
In the end…
The Mass Effect series is one of the single greatest series of games to ever grace my eyeballs. It is my favourite space opera bar none. Has 2 of my all time favourite fantasy species in the Turians and Krogan. It is a more packed and incredible lore than any other space related franchise. My literal favourite villain in all of gaming. To top it all off, it has Garrus.
The thing is, Mass Effect 1 is my favourite game of the series. I think the story, the introductions to everything, the team, and the villains are all pretty much perfect. I can however accept when people don’t play it. It looks dreadful at this point, combat is mostly awful, and the goddamn Mako. If there is one thing that this Legendary Edition looks to do, it’s make more people play ME1. That alone makes me excited for the collection.
I cannot express in words how excited I am for this collection to come out. I literally played THE ENTIRE SERIES LAST YEAR. That even includes Andromeda. I will still play the entire series, making the exact same choices and I’ll love it. For the first time in a very long time, I have taken more than a week off of work. I’m literally going to spend the entire week just finishing all 3 Mass Effect games.