Even though it felt like I had a pretty full gaming plate at the time Mass Effect Legendary Edition released, of course I had to dive in as soon as decent window of opportunity presented itself. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the “legendary” version of ME1 with my renegade engineer Lynn Shepard, and I’m pretty much having the best time. With as many times as I’ve played this game, I still love its characters, general story, meeting the Reapers and learning of the extreme threat they pose to the galaxy, and being there to save the universe all over again. While I could be fine with playing the un-remastered trilogy until the end of days, there are a number of things in the Legendary Edition that absolutely make it, well…legendary…or at least loads more enjoyable to play. If I only had to top five of those very special “things,” what would they be? So glad you asked!
#5 – The Mako is…better?
Long my least favorite part of ME1 was dealing with the Mako, a janky battle rover that had as many fans as detractors. Going into the Legendary Edition, I was not at all looking forward to being at its helm once again, but, my fears were put to rest upon my first mission with the rover. I will admit that I remain a terrible Mako driver, as I still can’t help but careen into objects willy-nilly, but at least the careening feels a tad more controlled, and I’m able to get back on track more quickly than in the original game. It’s also much nimbler on the ground during battle, which is great, especially when you’re facing the quick-moving enemies like Thresher Maws.
#4 – Much scarier Thresher Maws
Speaking of which, Thresher Maws are among the trilogy’s most formidable land-based enemies. These underground, oversized centipede-like creatures were always unpleasant to encounter in ME1, and BioWare made them even more daunting in the Legendary Edition. Rendered with glowing eyes and mottled reptilian skin, these “new” Thresher Maws are a sight to behold, and fighting them while in the Mako requires a bit more maneuvering than it did previously. They have much-improved animations, allowing for better tracking when they revert to traversing underground, and deadlier attacks. As headach-y as these giants can be, given the role Thresher Maws play in the sequels, I honestly can’t wait to see what comes of them.
#3 – All-around improved combat
It’s generally understood that of the three Mass Effect games, the first one had the least pleasant combat. I never found its systems all that annoying, however, since I did just finish Mass Effect: Andromeda, ME1’s unfriendly combat ways are a little jarring. (For instance, I had forgotten that using/mapping powers required extra button pushes during battle.) But it was good to see that BioWare fixed perennial problems of weapon accuracy and stability. As well, my companions are much more ready to SHOOT ALL THE THINGS…even if some of the things were walls…but at least they’re fighting! (I recall so many moments in the original game where my teammates would just stand around doing nothing, even when I tried to prompt them.) The fact that weapons are no longer class-gated is great, too. As an engineer, I went in expecting to only have access to pistols, but I can now carry a whole arsenal!
#2 – Junk in the trunk
If there was one thing in which the original Mass Effect was not lacking, it was upgrades and modifications. Found in containers, gathered up after enemy encounters, and salvaged from anything salvageable, weapon and armor upgrades and mods could easily bog down even the most organized commander’s inventory. Things are no different in the Legendary Edition, and in fact, upgrades and mods seems more plentiful than ever. within the first few hours of play, I had far more of both than I could ever use or need. In the past, I had two options: convert the unwanted stuff into omni-gel (which I could then use to get more stuff, ha!) or sell it. Well, the remaster added an extremely welcome third option – mark all that junk as “junk,” and then sell it all at once! This small change has made the nuisance of inventory management a thing of the past, and I can focus on bigger things, like saving the galaxy and all.
#1 – Those re-beautified planets
Despite the fact that I had no love for the Mako, one of my favorite things to do in the original ME1 was visit planets. Granted, each visit was limited in scope, but I still had loads of fun exploring each unique place, from those that involved main mission to those that only held sidequests. I came into Mass Effect Legendary Edition fully aware of its graphical enhancements, but much like with the Thresher Maw, witnessing first-hand the game’s newly-rendered planet surfaces was something special. It felt like being in Mass Effect: Andromeda, only with more planetary variety. Upon touching down on each new “surface,” I was taken aback by the stunning scenery, from one planet that was menacingly bathed in red from its neighboring sun, to another that was filled with green meadows, snow-tipped mountains, and wide canyons. It’s not that the planet surfaces in the original looked bad, but they certainly didn’t look as complex or alive.
If you’re in the midst of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, what are some of your favorite changes/additions?
All images, including lede, were taking by author during PS4 gameplay of Mass Effect Legendary Edition (© BioWare).