If you're as ready as I am to jump back into BioWare's space-faring trilogy, you'll surely want to know what shiny new enhancements and improvements are coming to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. You're about to reunite or meet (if you're new to the series) Commander Shepard and the crew with polished and enhanced graphics; from the textures on Garrus' armor to the pores on Shepard's face. It's not all about the looks, though. You can expect to see gameplay improvements, a reworked and uplifted Mass Effect 1, and a host of additions that make the experience of playing the trilogy more consistent across the board. We've gathered together all of the most notable and exciting tidbits from a recent peek at Mass Effect: Legendary Edition in action. So grab your N7 gear and pack your Cision Pro Mark 4 toothbrooth as we prepare you for your upcoming journey aboard the Normandy.
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Uplifting Mass Effect 1
Since the release of the first Mass Effect adventure, the team at BioWare has learnt a lot from the development of Mass Effect 2 and 3, and it's bringing this knowledge back to the first game to make it more polished and consistent with the rest of the trilogy. While you can still expect to experience the original game as you remember it, a host of improvements have been added to give you a smoother experience overall. Improvements and enhancements include reworked cameras, a modernized combat HUD that's more consistent with 2 and 3, weapon balancing and tuning, aim assist, and plenty of graphical enhancements. Legendary Edition project director Mac Walters said all of the work done to Mass Effect 1 makes it feel like you're "playing it for the first time again."
Making a more consistent experience
A lot of the work done to the original Mass Effect was done to bring it more in line with Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3, and to give you a more consistent experience throughout the trilogy. With a more unified control scheme across all platforms, the Legendary Edition on PC will also now have controller support. All of the content available in the Legendary Edition can also be accessed through a single launcher, so you can jump into all three games from the same place.
More character customization options
Another way the team is trying to harmonize the experience of playing the trilogy is through character designs and customization options in all three games. Mass Effect, in particular, has vastly improved in terms of its visual upgrades, so your Shepard will look more consistent throughout the trilogy. The character creator has been expanded with more skin tones and hairstyles to choose from to make it more inclusive, and all of the same options will be available in the whole trilogy, so you keep the same look from one game to the next.
Character codes will also be available in Mass Effect as well as 2 and 3. As you may already know, the character codes let you import customized Shepards created by the community, so you could easily get the kind of look you wanted. The default FemShep look from Mass Effect 3 is now also available in the previous games, so you can sport the default look in every game. Shepard has also been given some graphical enchantments, so you can see more fine details such as pores and wrinkle lines.
Includes all story content but nothing new
Mass Effect Legendary Edition will include all story content. That means you'll have access to all three games and 40 DLC, including all additional story missions, promo weapons, and armor packs, which will be available to you from the start. During the Q&A section of the preview, Walters was asked if any new content or previously excluded content would be included in the Legendary Edition, to which the director confirmed that no additional content has been added.
The single-player experience is the focus
When the Legendary Edition was first announced in a BioWare blog, there was no mention of bringing back Mass Effect 3's multiplayer to the remastered release. During the Q&A, Walters was asked whether multiplayer was ever on the table. While it was considered, Walters compared the effort of bringing back the multiplayer to the work BioWare put into uplifting Mass Effect 1. While Walters expressed a love for the multiplayer, there were concerns surrounding how to honor those still playing the multiplayer today and how to bring those players back in, and how crossplay could work. The director explained that a line eventually had to be drawn and the team decided to focus on the single-player experience.
Explore a visually improved galaxy
As a remaster of the trilogy, you can expect to experience the Mass Effect trilogy like never before with upgraded, enhanced graphics to make the most of modern consoles. The Legendary Edition has been remastered for 4K and HDR, and features 60FPS support on the Xbox One X, PS4 Pro, PS5, and Xbox Series X, along with a high refresh rate on PC and 21:9 display. With a host of improved textures on character designs, you can see your favourite crewmates again in HD, with shaper and more polished looks to their classic styles. Yes, Garrus looks even better, who would have thought that was possible?... Okay, I'll stop. Improvements have also been made to lighting, shaders, and environments, so you'll be able to appreciate the views of the galaxy even more.
Elevator skip… I should go
Ah, the elevators. Who can forget the time spent loading up a zone with an elevator ride in Mass Effect 1? As an alternative to your standard loading screen, Shepard would stand with your squadmates and listen to the classic hum of elevator music. Sometimes there'd be banter to make things more interesting, too. These elevator sequences are particularly memorable thanks to how long they felt as you waited to get back into the action.
Loading times have vastly improved since the release of Mass Effect, so naturally, you won't be stuck in an elevator for an overly long time in the Legendary Edition. As one of the many improvements made to the first Mass Effect adventure, elevator times are a lot faster. Despite the ire these elevator rides evoked from some, a lot of players have a soft spot for these loading sequences. Happily, BioWare is all about staying true to the original experience while making it more palatable for modern audiences, so to give the best of both worlds, the option to skip has been added so you can decide if you want to enjoy your time in the elevator or get back to playing as soon as possible.
Mako-ing some improvements
Much like the elevators, the Mako transport tank also lives in infamy in the world of Mass Effect thanks to its clunky controls. Driving the Mako played a big part in the experience of Mass Effect as you explored planets and progressed through the story missions. BioWare is all too aware of the vehicle's reputation, and work has been done to adjust the Mako to give you a smoother experience as you traverse through worlds.
When the remaster was first announced, fans began to speculate if the extended cut endings would be included or changed for Mass Effect 3. The BioWare team wanted to include as much of the content as possible as DLC and incorporate it into the experience. As such, Walters confirmed the Legendary Edition will include the Mass Effect 3 extended cut pack.
Welcome to N7
BioWare also paid a lot of thought to those who have never experienced the series before when it approached the remaster. As well as consulting with long-time players to see what improvements could be made, the Mass Effect Legendary Edition team got feedback from players who had never played the trilogy before to look at ways newcomers could be eased into the series by addressing issues in Mass Effect 1, for example, where it wasn't always clear where you had to go next to progress. The experience and knowledge gained from working on Mass Effect 2 and 3 have also been brought forward to give everyone a better experience overall.
If you're excited about BioWare's next space-faring adventure in the series, here's everything we know so far about Mass Effect 5. As for the here and now, you can get a Mass Effect Legendary Edition pre-order here.