'Mass Effect Legendary Edition' Reminds Me Why I Fell in Love With RPGs

Recapturing greatness

Key Takeaways

  • Mass Effect Legendary Edition brings all of the great parts of the original trilogy together in one package with a fresh coat of paint and some other changes.
  • The Legendary Edition makes it easier than ever for new and old fans to jump in and experience BioWare’s epic sci-fi tale from beginning to end.
  • BioWare has remastered the Mass Effect trilogy without changing the fundamental essence of what made the originals so great.
Mass Effect's commander shepard fighting enemies

BioWare

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a welcome retread of a brilliant sci-fi series that helped define the importance of player agency in video games.

Quake, Doom, Call of Duty. These are all games that had a lasting impact on how video games within their genres evolved. For fans of role playing games (RPGs), BioWare’s early action RPGs, like Mass Effect, helped show the impact players can have on a game when they’re actually given control to make meaningful decisions in the story. 

Mass Effect Legendary Edition captures the heart of the original titles perfectly, without ever stepping too far outside the box or trying to fix anything about the original experience—which is both good and bad.

Honoring a Legend

The original Mass Effect trilogy is a gem and something role playing fans shouldn’t miss out on. While the games have continued to be available as standalone titles, bundling them all in one package is especially helpful, as it's allowed BioWare to modernize a few things, while also making it easier for new—and old—fans to jump in and get lost in Commander Shepard’s epic journey.

It’s not a perfect remaster, and there are parts that show the game’s age, but BioWare has put a lot of time and effort into capturing the small details in the Legendary Edition. As the oldest game—and the roughest mechanically in its original release—the first Mass Effect has received a lot of love. 

A lot of it are small changes—like being able to skip the elevator conversations and announcements in places like the Citadel—but there are some big additions, as well. Combat is more streamlined like the sequels, and the class restrictions that made weapons unusable by certain classes have been removed. BioWare also updated the Mako’s controls, one of the biggest frustrations many people had with the original game. BioWare also has included all of the DLC from the games, making this the most complete collection of Mass Effect content ever released.

Lasting Impressions

Few games have had the kind of impact on my overall taste in games like the first Mass Effect. Originally released in 2007, the game introduced an entirely new universe of possibility for many. I didn’t play it until sometime in 2011, when a friend gifted me a copy to try out. Once I tried it, though, I was hooked.

It was one of the first games that made nonplayer characters (NPCs) feel like real people by giving them relatable personalities, traumas, and other definable traits. Each of the characters felt different, like they had a deep story for you to explore and dig into. Because the writers had done such a good job of making conversations seem meaningful, I often found myself spending hours late into the night exploring planets and just talking to the crewmates I picked up along the way.

garrus vakarian in Mass Effect

BioWare

Jumping into the Legendary Edition over the weekend, I couldn’t help but feel that same sense of awe and wonder at being able to explore and be a part of such a vast universe. The fact that the decisions I make actually could have an impact on the game’s story—even into the second and third game—is still something that’s hard to come to grips with. So many games have sequels, but few manage to let player decisions have lasting effects on the overall storyline of the entire series.

"The original Mass Effect trilogy is a gem and something role playing fans shouldn’t miss out on."

Mass Effect Legendary Edition isn’t perfect. Stiff animations from characters can show the trilogy’s age, and despite the modernized graphics, it doesn’t stand up to some of the visual displays we’re seeing in the latest releases. But the real meat of the game lies in the twisting stories the writers have weaved, and that’s something BioWare still captures perfectly in this remaster.

I’m happy I can jump back in and experience a game that helped define my young adult years with a fresh coat of paint, but I’m even more excited for new fans to see Commander Shepard’s story from beginning to end.

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