Title: Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Reviewed On: PS4
Genre: Action RPG
When the Mass Effect Legendary Edition was announced back on N7 day or otherwise known as November 7, I couldn’t hold back my excitement. This is what I had wanted for quite a while: a way to play Mass Effect without needing to take out my older systems or deal with the PC port of the first game. However, when I heard there would be massive tweaks added to Mass Effect 1, my favorite in the series, I became more skeptical.
I will touch on Mass Effect 2 and 3 now as these remain mostly unchanged. There are some visual tweaks, but for the most part, everything feels exactly how I remember. I did notice some awkwardness to the visuals at first and a little texture pop-in, but on the PS5, the games didn’t crash and otherwise performed well except for random dips. Probably the most remarkable thing about the inclusion of these titles is that they include the Genesis interactive comic.
This comic was a way to let players customize their Shepard backstory in Mass Effect 2 as Mass Effect 1 wouldn’t release until a few years later. This includes Mass Effect 3, so if you really don’t want to play the previous games in the series, you could quickly jump into the final installment and just go through the comic and know everything you need to. Even though I would argue that you shouldn’t just skip to the last game, the fact that Bioware acknowledged that people would do it and gave them a choice is nice to see.
Something else that stood out to me is that the character creator now has an editable number sequence at the bottom for all games. This allows you to create a character, save the code and then have it for new characters or just share with friends. This simple change is excellent for the community and for people wanting to share their Shepards with everyone else, making a great experience that goes past just the game.
However, I know what’s on everyone’s mind and something that has been keeping me up at night is the camera angles. If you have been around any of the discourse surrounding this release, you would know about one in specific, and honestly, I don’t think it changes much about the character. The angle itself is pretty much the same; just zoomed in on Shepard more so that you are the focus of the scene. Other than these apparent changes, both games look great and are the best ways to play them today.
Mass Effect 1 is slightly more complicated for me, and I will start focusing on the significant changes the Legendary Edition adds. The UI looks much cleaner than it used to and visually brings it closer in line to the sequels. This is most apparent when using skills like Barrier that gives you extra shields, which now have a special effect to actually see that it has been activated.
There are also quite a few performance issues from the original release that have been fixed, the most noticeable being the intro scene. This scene initially chugged and made me fear that it would crash my console, but here it plays flawlessly. There are still minor hiccups elsewhere, though, like Shepard dropping into the world in specific areas, but I remember this from the original, and it doesn’t happen enough to really cause an issue. The character models from Mass Effect 1 have been upscaled to 4k, and lighting changed to try and make the game look more polished. This was improved with a day-one patch that made the models look significantly better.
Combat-wise, Mass Effect 1 has always been vastly different when compared to the sequels. This entry was made as an RPG and balanced around your gun, being a normal attack like a turn-based RPG. So most skills were on their own cooldown to avoid you from spamming them effectively being your turn. The only thing that has really changed has been that the game has an over-the-shoulder perspective, and the overheat function has been altered slightly. Guns still overheat, but they seem to cool down much faster. As long as I stop shooting shortly before I overheat, I can resume again no problem. A simple change that does make playing Soldier and other weapon-based classes much more fun to play.
Surprisingly, every difficulty is unlocked right up to Insanity at the start of a new game. This is a godsend to returning players since you don’t have to beat the game four times to unlock higher difficulties. Further, you can now either level up to 30 or 60 like in the original. However, the stat progression is no different in terms of which one you choose to max. It comes off as a way to make the game go by faster, as if you’re being pushed through Mass Effect 1 as quickly as possible to get to the sequels.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition has so much to offer fans and newcomers despite Mass Effect 1 showing its age in some areas. The collection does a great job of preserving these titles for future generations to create their own Shepards and experience this space adventure. Thankfully, there’s plenty of quality-of-life systems addressed in this remaster, making it one that is packed with exciting narratives and memorable action.
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