Almost every RPG lover in existence has heard by now that the illustrious Mass Effect trilogy is getting a special, remastered edition of sorts. In a recent presentation, BioWare did us all the favor of highlighting exactly what those changes are going to be. Several members of the BioWare team provided details regarding what types of enhancements and quality of life improvements gamers could look forward to. Such improvements include but are not limited to: gameplay adjustments, performance upgrades, Integrating downloadable content, a revamped character creator, and other quality of life improvements. The reveal trailer for all of this debuted on February 2nd while also announcing the Legendary Edition is not terribly far off the release date of May 14th.
We’d be remiss not to start with Mass Effect 1, seeing as how it started everything. It’s also the roughest of the bunch as far as mechanics are concerned, so some improvements in the Legendary edition would be most welcome. One of the first big changes to gameplay is combat. The combat system has removed the class restrictions for weapons so players can use any weapon without tedious and frustrating penalties to effectiveness. While this change might be welcome, it doesn’t mean the player can now master every weapon: while they can use any weapon without a penalty, they can still only learn skills for weapons dictated by their chosen class. The aim assist has also been improved, with a sticker lock-on which is designed to help to aim while targets move and hide. There will also be a dedicated melee button now, and many of the weapons have been rebalanced. While the inventory system is still undergoing some tweaks, the HUD is a bit smaller and repositioned so it can fit a variety of TV screens more efficiently.
The last major change for Mass Effect 1 specifically is improvements to the Mako, that charming brick of a vehicle that fans remember fondly despite the objectively bad controls and maneuverability. The Mako will be easier to maneuver now, which makes the many visited planets throughout the game easier and more enjoyable to explore without getting stuck. Other honorable mentions for changes include: adding cover to cover movement options in combat segments, an exp rebalance so players won’t feel obligated to do a new game plus, more consistent autosave points, better boss fights, and cooldowns for first-aid use.
For the other games, there is also a major story change with Mass effect 3’s conclusion, which was, as any fan will tell you, a point of great contention when the trilogy ended. With no added story content coming since developers couldn’t add anything without altering the entire plot of the story, the Extended cut for the last game is now the official canon ending. When players get to the conclusion of the 3rd game, instead of an option to choose between the original ending and the extended cut they will just get the latter. Some people may be upset about this, as the choice is a major part of the Mass Effect series: but let’s be honest, the choice at the end of the trilogy wasn’t worth the trouble.
While each game has its own improvements, certain things and going to be improved across the board, one of which is the way commands are issued to squadmates. The entire trilogy will fall more in line with the way Mass Effect 2 did things, and AI programming has been touched up as well. This means your teammates may actually behave as you order them for once, but it also means the bad guys will be more competent as well. As best as can be discerned by the public, animations haven’t been reworked, but they are being ironed out to make the visuals smoother. The various minigames present throughout the franchise will also become more consistent across all three titles.
One of the most prominent improvements is a consistent character creator: as in, the various character creation options from all three games will be available in each of them. If there was a hairstyle you really liked in 3, Shepard can access it in 1. On top of that, BioWare is adding some new customization options, mostly expanding the available ethnic diversity via more skin tones and hairstyles.
A brand-new game launcher will allow players to launch all the games from one location. It will essentially be a hub from which all three games can be launched, without having to close a game and open a new one and the usual that you would expect from three separate titles. You can even choose to only have certain entries downloaded, in case storage space is an issue.
Also of note is the vast amount of DLC the Mass Effect trilogy had. The good news is that the Legendary Edition will come with 40 pieces of DLC for all three games. This includes expansions, armor, weapons, and extra outfits. Much of the DLC will be available at the start of their respective games, but any DLC that is plot-related will be unlocked when you’ve made appropriate progress through the story. Pretty much every DLC for the trilogy is part of this edition, with the exception of “Pinnacle Station” from Mass Effect 1. Apparently, some issues with data corruption have caused that issue.
The multiplayer aspect of Mass Effect 3 will not be included in this package overall, which is unfortunate. The companion app that came with the game won’t be a part of things either, though it only had a hand in Galactic Readiness. Speaking of which, that’s being rebalanced too, giving players a bit more leeway in whether or not they can achieve the best ending by the trilogy’s conclusion.
The Legendary Edition will be playable across Xbox One X, Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4 Pro, PlayStation 5, and of course, PC. The consoles will be running at 60 FPS and loading times will be faster for all platforms than they used to be. A skip button was added that lets players speed into destinations once loading is over if they don’t want to sit through animations. Certain visuals specific to characters have been fine-tuned and ambient occlusion is now present in more than just Mass Effect 3. On the PC side of things, controllers are getting support for the first time and there will be DirectX 11 support.