Mass Effect Legendary Edition Review

Do you realize why they are saying you cant ever truly go back home again? It’s not because you can’t revisit a classic place. It’s still there, and often not much has truly changed. And yet, whenever you revisit someplace that was important to the feeling that you associated with it is often absent. This is also the case whenever we replay older games we loved. We expect them to look, sound, and feel as epic and amazing as they did to us when we were younger, but often those feelings never appear. However, with a few upgrades and extra polish we can often get it as close as you possibly can towards the experience with playing for the first time those years ago. That’s what EA and Bioware have tried to use Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

This new group of enhanced, although not fully remade titles offers a chance for gamers all across the globe to visit home once again. To revisit the universe and characters that became this type of big a part of their lives those years ago. But a great deal has changed since then. Tastes and style philosophy have evolved. Standards happen to be raised, and most from the kids who plopped in front of their completely new HDTV, or remained as rocking a CRT much like me, are actually jaded and bitter adults (again, much like me) simply looking for a shot of nostalgia to remind them how gaming used to feel. The same is true Mass Effect Legendary Edition deliver that? Does it give gamers an opportunity to figuratively go home again? Sometimes. And when it will, it’s truly magical.

For those who’ve yet to savor the adventures of Commander Shepard and his ever changing crew of soldiers, mercenaries, terrorists, and scientists then you’re in luck. The first game offers a glimpse into an expansive universe that’s filled with background and intrigue. The 2nd game can feel similar to a black sheep, but ultimately comes across like a fantastic standalone adventure that sets happens for what’s arriving the finale. That finale was disappointing for many when it comes to how it handled the numerous choices that led to its abrupt and limited ending. However, when considered a whole with all of those massive expectations lifted from it, the ultimate experience is more enjoyable of computer was with years separating each entry.

Across three games with a large number of hours of gameplay a piece players will explore the galaxy, make new friends, combat fearsome enemies, and uncover the threat of the Reapers while cementing humanity’s place in the cosmos. Playing them back to back does enhance the sense of whiplash from a few of the overarching story decisions, however the series still seems like a cohesive whole overall whether you’re experiencing it for the first time or are returning once again. And it’s those returning players which will appreciate it the most thanks to how good Mass Effect Legendary Edition brings it well to that particular convenience of their first play through.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition combines all three of the original trilogy ME games, together with almost all of their DLC, and puts them into one newly made package. More than this though, the games happen to be upgraded to ensure they are more palatable to new and returning players. Better graphical fidelity, higher framerates, sharper controls, a cleaner interface and menu, and much more. The team didn’t simply take that old code, pop it on the new disc and call it a day. This was a labor of love, and one meant to represent the original spirit from the Mass Effect franchise. And it succeeds gloriously.

Playing with these three titles often does feel like going home again. You turn a large part to determine an Elcor and you’re right back in front of that old TV, giddy at the site of this fascinating alien. Or you meet among the series’ many iconic characters the very first time and all of those old memories come flooding back to you. It’s a great experience, and Mass Effect Legendary Edition is just full of them. Every moment feels both familiar and fresh while you note the subtle changes this enhanced re-release has taken, while still retaining the original spirit of the game.

Those enhancements are most centered on the very first game within the series, which was the main one needing probably the most attention Mass Effect 2 transitioned the franchise more toward an action focus, but that first game still required a lot of running and gunning regardless of the mechanics not supporting everything that well. It just wasn’t as smooth. And that's still the case, however the upgrades listed here are very much appreciated and obtain it close enough, for sure. Besides the rough AI and the still janky cover system, the game plays perfectly and fits better inside the overall trilogy. Some changes do come at a price though, with the game offering an infinitely more muted challenge since Shepard is really much more effective now.

Weapons are no longer locked behind classes and are more accurate, so sniper rifles, shotguns, and Biotics add intriguing and unintended ways. Shepard moves around much better, especially in combat, and while it’s not perfect the improved cover product is actually quite useful. Mass Effect 1’s notorious inventory system has also seen an upgrade, shifting from a nightmare to somewhat manageable. Not to mention the Mako has witnessed many improvements to the handling and controls, though it’s still not a joy they are driving and it is sections can drag on for too long.

But the biggest distinction between Mass Effect Legendary Edition and just loading among the old games in your newer console would be the visuals. These enhancements are dispersed out more among all three games, though once more it had been the very first that saw the most improvement. 4k resolution, 30-120hz framerate options (based on platform), improved lighting, and much more have all been applied over the trilogy. And you may view many of these enhancements with great attention and detail within the new Photo Mode, offered throughout the 3 games.

This is where the Mass Effect Legendary Edition takes the old games and makes them feel like how you remember them. It does this quite well, upgrading the games in subtle ways that enhance the previous experience instead of try to one-up it. There are some moments, such as dialogue scenes in Mass Effect 1, where it may feel a little odd. Visiting a clearly older character model with 4k resolution and high quality lighting takes some getting used to. However the enhancements are a huge improvement throughout despite these small nitpicks.

So does Mass Effect Legendary Edition carry out the impossible? Does playing it feel just like returning the place to find the initial games? Of course not. However it does something almost as good, and often better. It’s like returning the place to find discover that everyone has done well and is living happily. Playing it gives you all those nostalgia hits you expect, however it does so while also making them work for the more jaded and demanding modern audience. To stretch the metaphor one further time, playing Mass Effect Legendary Edition is much like returning home and discovering that everyone you really liked is satisfied, healthy, and living a good life. They may still show those old flaws you remember, however they weren’t held back by them and they seem more of a fun quirk rather than an impediment to happiness.

The Verdict

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a fan’s dream come true. With all of three games and almost all of their DLC included in one upgraded package there simply isn’t more to be asked for here other than a complete remake. The enhanced visuals are wonderful. The gameplay changes are for the better, specially in the first game. If you’ve played them before and also have been yearning for a return towards the Normandy then this is what you’ve been awaiting. If you never experienced the trilogy in the original form then this may be the definitive and ultimate way to do it. Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a fantastic collection of three of the best games available.

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