I recently completed what will surely be the first of many playthoughs of Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and let me just say, I am impressed. Granted, while its upgrades are notable (mostly within the first game), this remaster isn’t far flung from the original Mass Effect trilogy. Players still get to navigate their own Commander Shepards through thick and thin in multiple fast-paced, narrative-rich environments in an attempt to save the galaxy from total annihilation. For my first outing, I completed my first ever FemShep full renegade run, which, while emotionally exhausting at points (seriously, there were times when she was really mean), was no less exhilarating from beginning to end.
Beyond revisiting distant galaxies in Commander Shepard’s boots once again, the primary reason I chose to purchase the Legendary Edition was for the DLC. In all my years with the trilogy, other than the tacked-on ending BioWare added free to the third game, I had never played any of its DLC. With the remaster, I could now right this terrible wrong. My experience with the new/old content varied; some of it hardly made a difference, some of it made all the difference in the universe. My rundown of all the extra stuff – gameplay not gear — made available in Mass Effect Legendary Edition went something like this:
Mass Effect: Bring Down the Sky
An interesting mission on an asteroid called X57 that’s on an unfortunate course to crash into a nearby planet. Shepard’s goal is to figure out what’s going on, save (or not) some trapped scientists, and decide what to do about the asteroid itself. As I had no idea that the Batarians figured into the trilogy so early, it was a nice surprise to see them. Other than the Batarians (renegade choices made me let the main “villain,” Balak, go free), bonking around the asteroid on the MAKO, and getting some cool gear at the end, I don’t remember much about the particulars of the mission. Of said cool gear, in the next playthrough, I’ll have to remember to do this mission earlier. It was the absolute last thing I did this time around, so the gear, while neat, wasn’t all that helpful.
Mass Effect 2: Normandy Site Crash
I must admit that visiting the Normandy’s crash site after the events that kick off Mass Effect 2 never once crossed my mind. Given the chance here to do just that, it was…cool? I guess. I did like that the detour gave a respite from combat, and that it contained some great visual and audio callbacks to the first game.
Mass Effect 2: Zaeed – The Price of Revenge
Zaeed was absolutely my new best friend in Mass Effect 2! Well, inasmuch as Zaeed was friendly, anyway. I had heard lots about him beforehand, so I was really looking forward to finally spending some quality time with him. His loyalty mission was fast-paced and seemed to fly by quickly as renegade options pretty much led to us disposing of Zaeed’s particular target – a mercenary named Vido who founded the Blue Suns with Zaeed – and leveling everything in sight.
Mass Effect 2: Firewalker
My biggest takeaway from the Firewalker missions is that I won’t bother doing them in future playthroughs. Was it neat getting to traverse to far-flung worlds in the M-44 Hammerhead — a janky, tanky hover craft — in search of resources? No, no it was not. I’ll take the contrary MAKO any day.
Mass Effect 2: Kasumi – Stolen Memory
Kasumi became my second new best friend in Mass Effect 2, and I adored her loyalty mission! Not only did it get Commander Shepard out and about, but included something of a mini-heist, which was simply fun to see come to fruition. She was also an incredible teammate, one who deftly and stealthily took down even the most massive enemies. (I couldn’t get enough of her gleeful “Haha!” cry upon many a successful attack.) Devastatingly, I lost Kasumi during the game’s suicide run, so I never got to hang out with her in ME3. Will definitely try to do right by her next time.
Mass Effect 2: Overlord
Mass Effect 2 contains several notable emotional beats, but I was nowhere near prepared for the outcome of Overlord, a mission that took Commander Shepard to investigate a Cerberus base that had suddenly gone silent. Upon finding that the base had but one survivor who was seemingly at the mercy of a rogue virtual intelligence, the solution seemed clear. However, once Shepard discovered what was really going on, the experiment that was being run and the sacrifice that was made, all answers flew out the window. I was floored by what I saw, a feeling that was made that much worse upon learning what Shepard had to do. This mission was truly unforgettable.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition‘s DLC is so nice, I’m doing it twice! Come back next week for part 2 of this post.