Fans of blue aliens, space magic and really difficult decisions have plenty to look forward to with the release of the remastered Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
Bioware have remastered the original, much-loved trilogy in one complete package, which is due out on 14 May and will be available on PlayStation, Xbox consoles and PC (sorry Switch owners, there’s no version planned…yet).
So what can we expect from the remastered package? Here is everything we know about Mass Effect: Legendary Edition so far.
What is Mass Effect about?
It’s the 22nd century and mankind has explored the outer reaches of the Milky Way to uncover a “mass relay” that allows faster than light travel across the galaxy. Humanity co-exists with other, more advanced alien species under the control of the Council, who govern space from a giant station known as the Citadel.
It’s a world of war and dispute, with numerous species and their conflicting ideologies mixing in a volatile concoction. A larger threat looms, however, that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy, forcing these warring species to unite as one.
You play as the customisable Commander Shepherd, a Special Forces soldier, to form a diverse squad of teammates in a war to save the galaxy.
TL;DR, Mass Effect is a sci-fi space opera third-person action-RPG (phew) spread across three games originally released for the Xbox 360, later PS3 and PC. They’re developed by Bioware, who also created the Dragon Age series.
Mass Effect is known for delivering a strong narrative with high customisation. Not only do you create your own Commander Shepherd – their look and their class, from soldier or tech user, to space magic Biotics – but you can shift the story itself. Bioware aren’t afraid to throw difficult decisions at you in the midst of missions where not all of your squadmates can survive. And those decisions cause ripples that impact the story across the trilogy.
Those decisions also extend to romance options. The series has a rocky history with LGBT+ representation, with only the third game truly offering same-sex romances. But with its diverse cast of relatable teammates, the series has a managed to amass a huge LGBT+ following.
What’s in the remastered Legendary Edition?
The Legendary Edition gives you the complete original trilogy in one remastered package. That includes all DLC missions, weapon and armour packs that were originally extras.
The multiplayer mode from Mass Effect 3 has been removed, however, so this is now a completely single-player experience.
The Mass Effect: Genesis comics will also be included. These interactive comics originally re-told the stories of previous games for those who skipped them. That also means the games can be played individually, or as one unifying experience under a single save file.
Of course, the collection comes with enhanced graphics as you’d expect. All three games have received enhancements to character models, textures and lighting, as well as improved frame rates and with 4K and HDR capabilities.
There’s also a universal character creator across the three games (originally, improvements were made across each) so your Shepherd can look the same throughout. Additionally, there’s a single list of trophies/achievements.
What’s been changed?
If you’re already a fan of the series, you might be wondering what tweaks and changes have been made to the games.
Bioware have smoothed out the overall experience, removed bug fixes and polished up the visuals.
Beyond that, there have been a few major changes that will have a bigger impact on the experience.
Mass Effect, the first in the trilogy, will see the most changes in order to bring it more in-line with the proceeding two games, while maintaining its unique RPG twists. Weapon accuracy has been re-tuned, aiming has been improved, and other small tweaks like rebalanced abilities and headshot damage to relevant enemies have been made. This will all ensure the combat is snappier and more dynamic than it was previously.
Other changes have been made to specific encounters to ensure bosses are fair, XP is balanced, and cover can be used appropriately across all three games. Now it should feel like one continuous experience rather than three separate games.
The infamous Mako vehicle was a pain to control before, but it too has seen some tweaks. Handling is now better, shields recharge quicker, camera controls are improved, and new thrusters give the vehicle a speed boost.
Lastly, the Galaxy At War feature has been rebalanced. Without spoiling anything, this becomes a major element in the third game as a reflection of your progress. The more content in the game you complete, the more prepared you’ll be for the game’s final moments – now that’s been tweaked to reflect the content across the Legendary Edition.
For a complete list of all minor changes, check out Bioware’s blog.
When and where can I play it?
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is released on 14 May and is available to pre-order on Amazon here. It will be released on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, with forward compatibility with Xbox X/S and PS5.
But I want new Mass Effect!
Don’t we all? Fear not, Bioware are also hard at work on a brand new game in the series. Few details are yet known as the team are still in the early stages of development. But we do have some nice concept art to tide us over and keep us guessing…
And if none of that has whet your appetite, check out the announcement trailer below for Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
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