With Project Director Mac Walters announcing on Twitter that the game is ready to ship, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition has officially gone gold. Come May 14, players will once again be able to experience Commander Shepard’s fight against a galactic invasion. Only this time, things will be a little different. In addition to a general overhaul of the game’s graphics, many new additions, tweaks, and subtle other changes are being made to the trilogy. We’ve rounded up the major changes revealed so far for Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
Combat in Mass Effect games has changed considerably throughout the trilogy, and BioWare has decided that the battle systems in the original Mass Effect game are in need of a tune-up. Weapons in Mass Effect were designed with traditional RPG mechanics like dice rolls and pen-and-paper gameplay in mind. This choice left the original game’s guns feeling noticeably less accurate than those in the later titles.
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In Legendary Edition, accuracy in the first game has been adjusted for all weapons, with reticle bloom and weapon sway being altered to provide a more consistent feeling. The camera view while aiming down sights has also been improved, making it tighter during combat to match the second and third games. Aim assist has also received an upgrade to provide better precision.
Protagonist Shepard is also able to sprint outside of combat, melee attacks now have a dedicated button, and ammo mods can drop throughout the whole game. While these quality-of-life improvements can appear to make the game easier, players will still have to manage their weapon overheating — though they will cool down much faster now. Overall, the changes aim to make combat snappier without straying too far from the original vision.
Long-time Mass Effect fans will be glad to hear that squad mates in the first game can now be commanded individually, as in the later titles. Some boss fights and enemies have also been tweaked to be more fair to players while maintaining a level of challenge. The XP system has also been completely rebalanced for consistency, with a focus on the game’s ending. The level cap for the first playthrough has also been removed.
In addition, the much-maligned Mako in Mass Effect has also been completely revamped, with new physics that make the vehicle seem less light and bouncy. The Mako is now a smooth ride, with faster shield recharging and new thrusters on the rear.
It’s not just the first game that’s received the developers’ attention, all three titles in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition are receiving a number of gameplay improvements. Cover has been improved across each game, with additional instances being added to some encounters. Tweaks have also been made to make entering and exiting cover more reliable.
Character customization across the trilogy has been both modernized and streamlined, adding new options for skin tones and hairstyles. The character creator also features a code system now, allowing players to copy and paste their exact Commander Shepard from one game to another. That means no more desperately praying that our Shepards come out correctly in the generational jump.
BioWare has also said that “hundreds” of legacy bugs from the original releases have been fixed. You’ll also find all three games packed into a unified launcher which includes trilogy-wide settings for subtitles and languages. Saves for each game are still separate, and can be managed independently.
All of the trilogy’s weapons and armor DLC packs have now been organically integrated into the base games. Instead of simply receiving these packs at the beginning of a save, however, players will instead obtain them through research or by purchasing them from various merchants. The Recon Hood from Mass Effect 2 and the Ajax Armor from Mass Effect 3 are the only exceptions to this, and will be available at the start of each game.
One of the trilogy’s notable features, Galaxy at War, has been rebalanced in Legendary Edition. As in the original releases, players will be able to carry their progress from one game to the next, with the amount of progress in each game being directly tied to the ending of the third game. In Legendary Edition, the “Galactic Readiness” indicator is no longer impacted by factors external to the game like multiplayer or legacy applications.
The sci-fi trilogy set hearts aflutter with its breadth of romance options made available to the player. However, there was a noticeable lack of LGBT+ relationships. They were actually planned for the original games, but were scrapped due to concerns of backlash. Though not confirmed, these relationships may find their way into Legendary Edition, and fans have even started a petition to convince Bioware to make these changes canonical.
There’s a massive number of changes coming in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition (seriously, just check the official list), with quality-of-life improvements at the forefront. The revamped trilogy is set to release on May 14 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows systems. Naturally, the older-generation console versions will also be compatible with the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series systems.
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Nicolas Perez is a journalist who has played way too much Civilization 5. He’s rambling on Twitter @Nic_Perez_.