The Mass Effect trilogy is regarded as one of the greatest of all time for a reason. Despite the ending leaving a sour taste in many player’s mouths, there’s no denying its monumental impact on the world. The world-building was incredible; the characters were special; and the gameplay was a lot of fun. BioWare has had it rough over the last five years, but they’ll always have this trilogy. Returning to the Normandy and taking part in a huge war with the Reapers wasn’t something I thought I’d be doing in 2021, but the gaming Gods have shone down upon me. Mass Effect Legendary Edition brings all three games plus the 40 plus DLC together for one awesome package. If you have the time to invest in it, it still holds up on today’s consoles, although there are a few caveats.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition: The big changes
The original Mass Effect has seen the most amount of work done to it. Whilst all three look much better, ME’s textures are stunning. Stepping foot on Eden Prime again and seeing what BioWare has done to the environment is breath-taking. The lighting has been improved, and the animations of both your party and enemies alike look much better. It runs smoother, with gameplay sections intersecting with cutscenes more fluidly, but autosaving tends to hit at inappropriate times. When a conversation is about to start with an NPC, the game saves then jumps into the conversation.
Menus are still messy. Changing equipment and making sense of the various weapons isn’t as straightforward as it should be, and the missions aren’t as clear, relying on you to jump in your journal every time you forget what you’re doing. Despite these minor issues, Mass Effect has seen a much needed to change to its gameplay. Switching between weapons and having no restrictions to what weapons you want to use are gone. Getting behind cover is better. As long as your gun is out, simply moving behind a rock or a wall hides you from enemy fire, as opposed to pressing a button. Aim-assist helps pick out enemies easier, and the general gunplay feels like ME2 and ME3.
The little things
The HUD has been changed completely, giving it a modern look. Another big change to the original Mass Effect is the handling of the M35 Mako. Unlike before, it feels weightier when driving over uneven terrain, and the camera now allows you to view all around it. The targeting system looks sharper. You feel like you have a better handle on firing at enemies whilst driving it around. Despite all its changes, Mass Effect 1 still doesn’t feel quite right, and it isn’t until you jump into its two sequels that you realise just how different they are.
The biggest improvements to ME2 and ME3 in Mass Effect Legendary Edition are the visuals. They never looked particularly bad, but they just look so crisp. Textures have been tidied up and given more detail, as has the environments you explore. It felt so good jumping back into the second game, especially as it’s probably the best of the three. The biggest problem I have with the visuals is how wooden the characters move. Not only that, but it often feels like Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a video game adaption of Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet. Lips move out of sync, and the eyes behind every character are dead. It’s by no means a deciding factor for getting it or not, just an observation between the old or the new.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition: An almighty trilogy
Regardless of what improvements have been made, Mass Effect Legendary Edition is incredible. Getting to replay the same stories and travelling with those characters is an utter joy. My experiences in ME2 still haunt me to this day. Thankfully, I can right the wrongs of the past and keep characters alive. If you’re new to Mass Effect, this is a definite purchase. The crew of the Normandy will become your friends, and the adventures you go on will stick with you forever. It is just as much about the overall narrative as it is about the relationships you forge, and the companions you see perish.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition features three great games in one complete package. It’s obvious to say things like, “if you loved it then, you’ll love it now,” because this trilogy is timeless. It is emotional, action-packed, and a rollercoaster that you never want to end. Shepherd, Garrus, Wrex, Tali, Miranda. Whoever your favourite characters are, it’s so comforting to see them all again looking loads better than they ever did. New players have three great games to experience for the first time, and returning players get to play them with some definite improvements. Despite some problems still lingering in the original, this trilogy is well worth getting.
Gunplay feels better in the original
Visuals are stunning in each entry
Gameplay tweaks help ME feel like the sequels
Same awesome story
Mako handles so much better
Menus are cluttered
Wooden character movement
ME still has some gameplay issues