The original Mass Effect was a game I was quite late to the party with, picking it up a year or so after it launched in a bargain basement sale. However, I enjoyed it so much that the 2 and 3 became day one purchases for me.
When EA announced that they would be bringing out a remaster of all 3 titles, I was pretty excited as the original hasn’t held up that well and the only way to make the titles feel more modern was on PC but the lack of a controller support was a bit of a sticking point for me.
Enter Mass Effect Legendary Edition, all 3 games, 95% of the DLC which was made across the series (Pinnacle Station misses out as the original code has been damaged and unrecoverable), Ultrawide support on PC and… controller support. The graphics have had a nice update with 4K textures and includes updated shaders, models, effects, and technical features all in glorious HDR.
Although the game isn’t native on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles, it does run in their backwards compatibility modes. Being able to play here will provide some huge benefits. The Xbox Series X can run the title at up to 120FPS (at 1440p) or 60FPS (at 4K) while PS5 maxes out at 60FPS (at 4K). Across on PC (where I played), game performance is excellent with quick load times and FPS of up to 240, should your rig be capable.
First off, if you haven’t ever played a Mass Effect game, you are in for a treat. The changes made make the game feel a lot more modern than going back and playing the originals. Also, the sheer amount of content on offer is great and could easily keep you busy for the next few months till we get some more new games over the summer.
Even if you have played the game before, the updates make it worth another go. The story in both the 1 and 2 is excellent, and although I might get hit for saying this, I don’t mind the 3 either.
For Mass Effect (the first game), they’ve updated a number of the mechanics to make this feel a little more like the later games. It’s not the same as 2 but brings it more in line to feel similar. The shooting has been improved and will make it easier to tell when you score headshots and the grenade is no longer on the select button.
Although I’m a default Shepard kind of guy all the way, you can now also have the Femshep from Mass Effect 3 from the off, the character has also had somewhat of a visual update from her original outing and can offer a new way to play thru the trilogy. The option is still there to create your own custom character too.
This alongside some improvements for the Mako based vehicle sections of the game, really do add up. The Mako now has a boost feature, quite like the vehicle sections in Andromeda (Go try that game out, it’s not as bad as people say). The handling is also a lot less floaty and makes these parts of the games much better.
It’s a bad sign when a noted part of your remaster is faster load times in elevators. But if you had the horror of experiencing this at launch, you know why this is a much-needed update. Now they are short and sweet, but if you want to relax for a moment you can listen to the news reporter telling stories about what’s going on currently in the game.
However, the biggest reason to give the game a go is the world it creates and its stories. There is so much to do and people to talk to, with each giving you more insight into the world of Mass Effect. You could fly through the story missions and enjoy yourself but you would be missing so much of the game.
Spend your time with the game getting to know all your squadmates, maybe even take the time to have Shepard fall in love or go exploring the Citadel for side missions and maxing out your XP. The options are wild in this game, and each player’s differences could change quite drastically.
Both the 2nd and 3rd games haven’t had the same kind of overhaul as the first, they look better, but the margin that they do over the base games isn’t as big a leap as the first. Jumping back into the second game reminded me of how much better it feels to play than the original.
Shooting here feels meatier and better in your hands and the cover system works a lot better as well, changing to a button to enter cover and clear out your foes from safety. You also have better control of your squad and their abilities, this made it way more enjoyable to play than the first game.
That’s not to say that the story is worse than the first game. The loyalty missions for your crew give you a greater understanding of their character and backstories and without any spoilers here, you will want to make sure you’ve completed them all in time for the finale of the game. Your crew take centre stage here and are the real heart of the game, let me just add, who doesn’t love Garrus.
On that note, special shoutout for “Suicide mission” the final mission. Playing this when Mass Effect 2 first launched, I was blown away. Few games manage to give you such high stakes and a true feeling that your actions matter. Getting to do this all over again was both amazing and terrifying at the same time.
Onwards on our journey through space to Mass Effect 3. I mentioned earlier that I’m not as harsh on the ending as some might be. The game features more of the great story from the first game and the tighter combat and controls from the sequel and that admission to the finale right there for me. You’re also getting the extended cut ending on the legendary edition, which was only added to the original a few months after a wealth of fan backlash.
I was quite happy with the extended cut ending. It could have offered a little more but with the different story decisions players could have made up to that point in the series, I have no idea how the developers could have done much else. Don’t let the hate online cloud your judgement before you’ve experienced it first hand.
One of the few components of the original games missing in this package is that there is no multiplayer on offer. This had been part of the release of Mass Effect 3 and is quite well thought of by fans. The developers have recently teased this might be added at a later date, but it’s not here for now.
However this has forced an update to the base game, ME3 also featured a system called Galaxy at War (multiplayer game). Playing this side of the game increased your “Galactic Readiness” which was basically showing how ready you were for the final mission in the game. As this is no longer on offer, the completion of 1 and 2 will help you towards this. As Mass Effect has always been a 1st player game, this works great and is better suited than the system used before.
If you can’t tell already, I’m pretty happy with everything that’s on offer here. There are more than enough chances to merit giving it another go and if you haven’t tried it before it’s a great time to get up to speed before the next instalment is out. Bioware, more of this please going forward, less of Anthem…