In 2007, we were treated to a worldwide phenomenon that shattered the realms of RPG. Mass Effect was released and became one of the most popular action-adventure space operas in the world.
The story follows Commander Shepard as he begins a quest to stop an alien race known as the Reapers from ending life in the galaxy. Mass Effect received praise from critics and fans. The game was always meant to be a trilogy with the third one closing out the saga.
Almost 15 years after the first game was released, we are once again treated by BioWare, the creators of the game, to Mass Effect Legendary Edition of the trilogy. Let’s find out what’s new.
- Remastering a Beloved Series
- What Has Changed
- Stronger and Better Characters
- Putting the Spotlight
- The Morality System
- The Inventory System
Remastering a Beloved Series
It has been quite a while since we were treated with the adventures of Commander Shepard and his beloved crew aboard the SSV Normandy. Some might even think that the entire series did not need a remaster considering how well-received it was a decade ago.
However, the first Mass Effect game should be the focal point for the reasoning why remastering this beloved series is important.
The first Mass Effect showed a lot of signs of aging. Many of its features were clunky such as the combat and the enemy AI. Things were quite interesting and not in a good way.
Giving the Series a Second Chance
It was time to remaster this RPG game and improve upon it. It was around 2014 when BioWare was open to discussion about bringing the Mass Effect franchise from Unreal Engine 3 to Unreal Engine 4.
Work soon began in 2019 and a year and a half later, Mass Effect Legendary Edition was finally released.
The game was made available for console and was received with universal praise from different video game news outlets. Reviews of the Legendary Edition made rounds all over the world citing the game’s ultimate improvement from its original version.
What Has Changed
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a compilation of all three Mass Effect games. This edition was developed by BioWare with help from Blind Squirrel Games and Abstraction Games and was published by Electronic Arts.
All three games were remastered with different visual enhancements involved. However, the first Mass Effect game had the most intensive intervention out of all the three games due to its age.
There were updates on texture, models, effects, and other technical features that made the game playable in higher frame rates. This edition also has a launcher for all three games.
Better, More Diverse Features
One of the many changes made in this iteration of the series is the female Commander Shepard that was made available in the third game. It can now be played in the first game unlike before.
The first game suffered a lot of criticisms with its combat system. The Legendary Edition made some adjustments to the combat making it more consistent and at par with the sequel games.
Features like better aim assist, smarter enemy AI, and better weapons are now included in the first Mass Effect game.
Stronger and Better Characters
The characters have always been the center of the Mass Effect universe. In the original series, Commander Shepard and many of the characters in the game would make difficult decisions that would impact the entire universe.
This meant certain characters would be lost either through sheer sacrifice or by fate. The story and the characters were the heart of the game. The characters and the dialogues in this edition feel very natural.
Each character in the game feels earned and well-deserving of being a part of your crew. Rarely do you find a character that is out of place in this world.
What makes the crew of the Normandy very well written is the shared trauma they experience during their efforts in saving the galaxy. This experience is translated into the player playing Commander Shepard as you try your best to save every character in the game.
Connecting with the Characters
It is said that the ultimate victory is when all of your crew is alive at the end of the series. However, it is a feat that only a few have ever done. There is a reason why the ending of each game will always stick it to the player.
Every mission you play in the Legendary Edition feels like a test of loyalty for each of your crew. Every mission feels like a character study. It takes a deep dive into what makes a character tick.
Mass Effect makes every character matter which is why the entire series is one of the most successful video games of all time.
Putting the Spotlight
In this iteration, the personality of each character has improved a lot. Many of the characters who were not given the time to shine were put under the spotlight making their personality stronger.
The voice acting is still one of the key positive points in the game. Rarely does a game that stretches out into three games alongside many DLC to have a voice acting that’s as strong as Mass Effect.
The Story Remains Compelling
The universe within Mass Effect is another point of contention as to why this series will always remain successful. The time it spends building its characters, the universe, and the story is superb.
You can feel the interconnectivity of the species that interact within this universe. This makes the story very compelling. The universe is further fleshed out in the Legendary Edition especially in the first game.
The first Mass Effect starts with world-building, characterization, and pushes the story forward into the second game. This transitions perfectly into the final chapter that feels like a blockbuster movie waiting to be seen in cinemas all over the world.
The Morality System
The morality system is still one of Mass Effect’s strongest suits. It plays a huge role in the entire series. Many of your decisions as a player will haunt you for the rest of the series.
A minor decision from the first game will have repercussions in the second or third game. It could even mean the death of your favorite character.
The morality system in Mass Effect shifts the dynamics of the entire game. It makes the game replayable for hundreds of hours. You will carefully consider each choice and decision in your next go-round with the game knowing how impactful these are to your team.
Whether you want to be the justice-oriented hero with Paragon or the rogue-like Renegade, the game runs on your own rules and morality.
Probably the most convincing reason why the entire Mass Effect series needed a remaster was the clunky combat. The first game made a showcase of this when the game was released. However, the Legendary Edition makes a great effort in making a better experience for the player.
The smoother graphics allowed for better frame rates. A revamped interface makes navigation better. Players can now rely on their AI teammates with better companion AI.
While some enemy AI remains clunky with predictable movements, it is still an overall improvement to the clunkiness shown in the original series.
The Inventory System
Another thing that would have been better is the inventory system however, it is one of those things that can be overlooked since you don’t spend a lot of your time in the inventory. Builds still feel monotonous and at times, linear.
However, when you compare the first few stages of the game with the last few chapters as you build towards the finale, there is a major difference.
You can see and feel the spectacle of the battle and the expansive universe behind you with the improved visuals and combat system.
About the DLC
Mass Effect Legendary Edition includes all downloadable content. The DLCs are a fun addition to the remastered version but are ultimately an optional way to experience the series.
While the DLCs rarely get a lot of praise, these extended stories are worth making a full game over as well. It is vastly unique from each other with different missions, storylines, characters, and concepts that mesh well with the entire series.
The DLCs are a great way to augment the main storyline making minor characters feel like fully fleshed out characters in this universe with the potential to carry their own game. It is a great way to introduce some cool new stories into the series without touching the sacred main storyline.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a game that is worth looking into especially in this modern age where games are always expected to have polished features.
What was previously a very uneven series became much stronger this time around with a bunch of new additions. Some ironing out was done that gave Mass Effect Legendary Edition a massive boost of performance.