After months, if not years of rumours of its existence, BioWare have finally given us a much closer look at the most anticipated remaster of 2021. During a Mass Effect Legendary Edition media event, the developer showed off their spruced up RPG trilogy, touting a number of technical and gameplay improvements ME can expect.
To avoid any confusion, this is a remaster in the traditional sense and not a full-blown remake. Although BioWare have made some extensive changes here to modernise all three games, don’t expect Mass Effect Legendary Edition to introduce new or revised content. If you were looking for more dialogue, romance options, or perhaps a different ending, you won’t find it here. You won’t find any online multiplayer either.
So, what exactly do you get in this definitive Mass Effect bundle? Every purchase includes Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3, along with a raft of DLC expansion. That’s more than 40 pieces of DLC in total with all major side stories unlocked as well as some neat bonus armour sets. All oft this has been remastered in 4K with an option for HDR. On PS5 and Xbox Series X it will also offer a silkier frame rate at 60fps via a backwards compatibility upgrade.
Specifically, BioWare have dialled up the detail on all character models and textures while improving shaders, effects, and lighting. Characters appear more organic thanks to improvements in hair and skin. Armour, weapons, and ships are the best they’ve ever looked with environments having more ambience, something which is especially noticeable when looking back at the first Mass Effect. Without being capped by dated hardware, BioWare are able to include “tens of thousands” of higher resolution textures said to pack in 10-16 times more detail.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition comparison screenshots
To demonstrate the difference, BioWare showed us side by side comparisons as well as video reel depicting some familiar squad mates. We spied close ups of Tali, Garrus, Thane, Legion, Liara, Jacob, and Jack, all suited and booted for Mass Effect Legendary Edition.
As we mentioned before, this isn’t a top-to-bottom remake. Project Director, Mac Walters, compared BioWare’s work on Legendary Edition to restoring a classic car buried in concrete – there are some aspects that couldn’t be changed without completely taking the games apart and rebuilding them. That’s why some of character animations can still look a little jarring.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition doesn’t just offer a visual upgrade, there have been some gameplay improvements as well. Some highlights include tightening the cover responsiveness across all three games, a dedicated melee button, better enemy combat AI, and boss battle refinements. You can also expect a modernised HUD and a dedicated melee attack button with class-based weapon restrictions now removed, allowing you to tweak squad loadouts to your preference.
BioWare specifically mentioned the Mako sections which have been addressed. In general, all three games will now be on par in terms of traversal and combat gameplay.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition provides the three games through one launcher, allowing you to select which game to play from a main menu. You will also be able to import your custom character from one game to the next, using the much improved character creation tool. This has been tweaked with loads of additional hair and skin options, allowing everyone to create a Shepard that better reflects them.
The Mass Effect Legendary Edition will be released on May 14th 2021.