Mass Effect Legendary Edition from EA Games and Bioware is the perfect chance for those who missed out on Mass Effect back in the day to jump into the series. The trilogy from yesteryear that enthralled and enamoured gamers, and effectively changed the face of story-driven gameplay, has been spruced up.
Freshly modernised with a range of improvements to the gameplay and graphics, Mass Effect Legendary Edition is one heck of a ride.
An Iconic Saga
Before I get into why everyone should play this trilogy, a short history lesson is in order.
Mass Effect 1 released back in 2007 and was an exceptionally good game that captivated the Xbox 360 crowd. It was ported to PC a year later and attracted success on this platform too. A sequel was released on Xbox 360 and PC in 2010. This too was widely praised and quite successful. Fast forward to 2012 and the trilogy was complete. With the third game generating a significant amount of controversy due to its endings.
Now in 2021, all three titles have been upgraded for modern gamers to enjoy. The Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a really sweet package because it includes Mass Effect 1, 2, 3 and over 40 DLC including the major story-based scenarios that some gamers may have missed out on back in the day.
All of this content has been remastered and optimised for 4K Ultra HD. Bioware has completely revamped many aspects of the earlier Mass Effect 1 to be more in-line with the latter titles and the results speak for themselves.
Diving into the actual game, players are met with a launcher which lets you choose which title you would like to play. Of course, playing through each one in succession is recommended given the interwoven stories but if say for instance you want to load up Mass Effect 3 straight away, you can do this.
Mass Effect 1 lets you create your Commander Shepard using an updated character creator. This character creator has a large range of new features and players will definitely find themselves spending quite some time customising their Shepard. The Commander Shepard you create in Mass Effect 1 carries over across to the other games too if you choose to import your character.
Gameplay in Mass Effect 1 has been upgraded to feature better aiming and weapons balancing. The level cap has also been altered to allow players to reach the maximum level in one playthrough instead of 2. If you want to disable this though, you can in the game’s settings menu though I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you want to stay true to the game’s roots and play it multiple times for different outcomes.
Mass Effect 1 being the oldest, has received the largest set of upgrades. The entire game’s environments have been given a makeover to improve their visual fidelity with new lighting and other changes. If you directly compare the first game with its 2007 predecessor you’ll immediately notice quite a lot more detail in the Legendary Edition remaster.
Most notable is the game’s character models. Since Mass Effect is extremely story driven across all three titles, Bioware opting to rework skin, hair, lighting, textures and facial animations results in some truly massive upgrades to the original games.
With that said though, Mass Effect 1, at the time of review featured some “Uncanny valley” facial movements and expressions. This is the game’s old age showing through more than anything else since the original was like this too. Thankfully, it isn’t a game breaking problem and can easily be overlooked.
What is a game breaking problem though are the new bugs and glitches that have crept into the game.
For instance, in my playthrough, when aiming at an enemy with a sniper rifle, they’d instantly disappear. There have also been reports of progression bugs where certain enemies do not become hostile and thus stop your campaign progress right in its tracks. This hasn’t happened to me personally but Bioware and EA have released a rather large patch already which may have addressed this issue.
Some of the larger glitches such as the infinite paragon or renegade points glitch have been left untouched and remain in the game. This may have been done intentionally since the community backlash to fixing an iconic glitch might alienate some fans. Other things which negatively impacted gameplay have been tweaked though. EA and Bioware have put a lot of effort into all 3 titles bringing up to modern day standards and are still working on it post-launch with updates.
Strangely, all three titles have a fairly barebones graphics settings screen in the options menu. I would have personally liked to see far more graphics settings available. A field of view slider would have been appreciated too. There’s a “Calibration” menu where gamers can adjust their monitor settings and this was a nice reference to Garrus’s calibrations in-game.
Circling back to the gameplay across all three titles. Much of what set them apart has been brought more in-line with each other. Mass Effect 1 no longer feels clunky and rigid and movement is a lot smoother. Mass Effect 2 feels as great as it can be and may honestly be the best of the three games depending on your personal tastes. Mass Effect 3 plays just as well as it did back in 2012 and I’m sure people will be infuriated all over again at the game’s original endings.
There are a tonne of changes under the hood though. Across all three titles, there’s been numerous gameplay tweaks, balances and changes which make this an outstanding modernisation project. Playing the trilogy in 2021, you’ll feel right at home with the gameplay while gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for the immense amount of story available here.
Not many modern day games have had the amount of story that Mass Effect offers and this is a series that will captivate you for days on end.
Lastly, and this deserves special mention. Controlling the Mako has been revamped to allow far more control over it and the vehicle’s cannon can now actually hit things with greater accuracy than before. It’s still bouncy though and there’s an option to toggle on or off the new control mechanism. The soundtrack across all three titles is still as great as ever before and hearing Jennifer Hale’s stellar performance as the voice of FemShep once again is great.
Overall, the Mass Effect Legendary Edition delivers literal hundreds of hours of fantastic content to get through. The original title receiving the most love in terms of modernisation is great since it allows newcomers to experience the saga with upgraded visuals. If you missed out on Mass Effect back in the day or if you’re a fan of the franchise, this is the definitive experience and a game collection that’s highly recommended.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is the definitive edition of the game and the best way to experience it in 2021.