RPG fans – especially older adults – will notice that Electronic Arts recently released a remake of the original Mass Effect trilogy. The story of Commander Shepard’s battle on behalf of all peace-loving races against the devastating Reapers is, if you’re fond of role-playing games, it’s actually mandatory. In that respect, it is very good that BioWare now releases a fresh version. For starters, it’s of course the best way to keep trying the classics, while for old fans, it can be a private encounter. But Mass Effect Legendary Edition is an interesting product for another reason. The package beautifully shows you what lessons BioWare learned after the games were released. As a player, you’ll notice in a very natural way, and right after each other, how Mass Effect has evolved. It’s still very interesting to see it after so many years.
Mass Effect 1 was and still is a very good game. It’s nice to start the review with, isn’t it? The first Mass Effect game was legendary in some ways. After all, the starting point for a trilogy was very convincing and it was really good in some ways. For example, the game has some strong story elements and it is the purest role-playing game among the three, because the focus in later versions has been more and more on movement. So you could claim that things like character development and the way the game’s world build are better for each other in Mass Effect 1, or at least: it was really good at the first game. Together, these elements ensure that players, even after fourteen years, think sadly about their built relationships and defined plot points from the first game.
If they choose to restart Mass Effect in this legendary version, all of these strengths will of course still be there. It is especially true for the first game as there are quite a few visual upgrades. Entire parts of the game have been redesigned and updated. If you are comparing the game with the original one, there is definitely a big difference that can be noticed in all aspects of the graphics. Whether you look at the character models, lighting effects, textures, or resolution and HDR presence: everything has been updated. However, all this work cannot hide the fact that the basis for Mass Effect 1 is very old. You cannot build a game on this old foundation that can keep up with current standards. When we attended a preview session on the Mass Effect Legendary Edition earlier this year, the designers had already indicated that bringing the game to Unreal Engine 4 wasn’t an option: it had to be made from scratch and Mass Effect would no longer be Mass Effect. Be influential. Everything will look and feel differently. BioWare wasn’t hungry for that risk – and the huge mountain of overtime.
Although the base is distinctly weaker, Mass Effect works well visually in the legendary version. The real problems of this game are in the gameplay. Even if you only play the game for an hour, you will immediately notice that you are dealing with a very old game here. Some changes have been made, such as the controls and interface, to make things more modern, and the “feel” of aiming and aiming has also been improved. However, it is not enough to prevent Mass Effect from feeling tight with any regularity. There is hardly any dynamics in how the characters move. The ledge, which is a few centimeters high, is really large and means you have to walk around. Additionally, there is a clear “trend indicator” that tells you where to go, so you often randomly walk in one direction in the hope that things will go well.
Then there are several planets to visit where you can sit behind the wheel of the Mako, a vehicle that Sheppard and his team can use to explore those planets. The Mako’s steering and physics have been modified, so the car does not lie flat on its back as much as it once did. This “flip-flop” still happens every now and then, but it’s not that easy anymore. This is not so bad. It’s annoying that the planets are united. They are pretty empty, unreasonably time-consuming to traverse them and the encounters that run through them become very monotonous. It is therefore advisable to leave these expeditions as they are, unless you enjoy driving with Mako and don’t care that every other planet you visit looks like the next. If you don’t make many unnecessary trips, the first diamond effect can be triggered in about ten hours. This is shorter than we remember, but it’s probably due to ourselves, or to the fact that almost all of the loading times are gone, so it evaporated some time of course.