Check out the Mass Effect Legendary Edition graphics compared to the original trilogy

The Mass Effect Legendary Edition trailer just dropped yesterday, but we've already got a side-by-side comparison to the original trilogy. Check out the video above, and read on for a breakdown.

We know that the Mass Effect Legendary Edition includes the original trilogy remastered for 4K and HDR with 60fps support on the Xbox One X, PS4 Pro, PS5, and Xbox Series X, while PC boasts a high refresh rate and 21:9 display. The Legendary Edition will also include improved character design textures, better lighting, shaders, and environment art. YouTuber Cycu1 pulled every scene from the Mass Effect Legendary Edition trailer and compared it to how they looked in the original Mass Effect trilogy. The first half of the video shows the shots back-to-back in order of their appearance in the trailer, while the second half uses sliders to go through each screengrab from the trailer.

The most notable differences I can spot in these side-by-side comparisons are the lighting and the added textures/depth. At around 00:29 you see a shot of Commander Shepard standing on a ledge overlooking a vast grid of lights with broken glass raining down in front of her. The Legendary Edition's graphics show countless more individual lights and there's more lighting in the foreground that makes the entire scene more legible. The massive, breathtaking shots of space that show off the Normandy, the Reapers, and the Citadel also benefit greatly from the graphical upgrades - there's just a better sense of scope and awesomeness. 

If you feel like you can't see that much of a visual difference, there is certainly a valid reason for that - Mass Effect Legendary Edition is running on the same Unreal Engine 3 as the original trilogy. That's because BioWare would have had to have rebuilt nearly every scene in the trilogy from scratch in order to transfer all three games to Unreal Engine 4. However, according to Gamespot (opens in new tab), BioWare put in a ton of extra effort to push the limits of Unreal Engine 3 - including forward rendering which is a lot like putting "another camera into every scene, rendering each one twice" which allows for "real-time dynamic reflections." 

Mass Effect Legendary Edition drops May 14, and I for one can't wait to get back into the Normandy. Here's 10 of the most interesting improvements in Mass Effect Legendary Edition to get you amped. You can also get your Mass Effect Legendary Edition pre-order here.

Mass Effect romance | Mass Effect keepers | Mass Effect endings | Mass Effect 2 romance | Mass Effect 2 loyalty | Mass Effect 2 weapons | Mass Effect 2 endings | Mass Effect 3 romance | Mass Effect 3 weapons | Mass Effect 3 armor | Mass Effect 3 planet scanning | Mass Effect 3 endings

Alyssa Mercante

Alyssa Mercante is an editor and features writer at GamesRadar based out of Brooklyn, NY. Prior to entering the industry, she got her Masters's degree in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University with a dissertation focusing on contemporary indie games. She spends most of her time playing competitive shooters and in-depth RPGs and was recently on a PAX Panel about the best bars in video games. In her spare time Alyssa rescues cats, practices her Italian, and plays soccer.