Since the announcement of the Legendary Edition, I personally have suspected that the Legendary edition was going to be a remaster of the original Trilogy compilation – much in the same vein as the Mass Effect Trilogy compilation. At the time it made sense, it’s only been a couple of years since the project was formally announced. And with everything that’s happened in 2020, (and still going on, by the way) I fully expected the endeavor to be just an upscaling of the original trilogy in a neat little package.
As it turns out, I was only half right.
At a recent Bioware presentation, we were lucky enough to find out about the game in greater detail than ever before.
For starters, the Legendary edition will include all DLC ever released for the games. That includes the DLC missions and the additional weapon sets. Fingers crossed that the Dragon Age armor is still present in the game. Furthermore, the extended ending is the default ending. Although I really hope they take another look at it. I mean, we only got it because of the backlash. And despite looking as good as it did, it was certainly a rush job. Multiplayer has also been cut from the final game. The team wanted to focus solely on the adventure of Commander Shepard and their crew. It is also worth noting that the multiplayer game for ME3 is still alive and active. It’s something, I guess.
A lot of work went into Mass Effect 1. That was done in order for the game to play more closely to the second and third installments. The first game is more than 13 years old at this point and has not aged well at all. (This coming from a massive fan of the series, mind you.) Even I have to admit that playing it now in this day and age, has more in common in old school MMORPG’s than it does 3rd person shooters.
Many of the changes revolve around the gameplay and graphical improvements. Movement and shooting are more in line with the refinements introduced with the sequels. We don’t know yet if gunplay has been unified throughout all the games. Nor has there been any mention of replacing the first game’s cooling system with the limited ammo and thermal clips of the sequels. If they plan on unifying the whole experience, I can only assume so. What we do know is that class-based restrictions have been removed, allowing commanders to choose an arsenal that fits their playstyle.
Looking back, I really dislike the Mako segments the more I played it. I was blown away at first, of course. But as time went on, you really get a sense of how tiresome it really was. Aiming the cannon was annoying, especially when it came to fighting turrets and giant walkers. It wasn’t a paperweight like the Hammerhead was, but it was bouncy enough to get at my nerves at times. Thankfully, we going to get changes to how it plays. Hopefully, they’ll implement a system that allows you to skip entire Mako segments altogether, much like how elevator sequences can be skipped. (But why would I do that? Some of the most interesting conversations were held on that loading screen disguised as an elevator ride.)
Moving on to graphics – the dev team made it abundantly clear that the cosmetic changes are going to be more than surface-level touch-ups. Instead, we will get environments and character models that look straight out of new production. The side-by-side images in particular highlight everything from revamped visuals to further enhancements like foliage and clear smoke and fire.
The game still runs on Unreal Engine 3, for those of you who are still curious. It seems like porting the game to current the version of Unreal would have been a Herculean task, and I tend to agree with that sentiment. There have many iterations to the engine since the time of the trilogy. With the amount of time and effort needed to transfer everything over, they might as well have started from the ground up. At the very least the game will run at 4K/60 FPS when it comes out on all platforms.
The character creator’s been overhauled with far more options than ever before. In fact, female Shepard from ME3 is the default in one. And I can only assume the same applies to male Shepard as well. From what we can tell, the range of options in the character creator is very extensive.
The game will allow more options to change to further suit player preferences. The options will be unified as part of the game’s unified launcher. Additionally, controller support is now possible in the PC version of the game.
And that’s about it for now. There is a lot to look forward to with the game. Series veterans can compare and recollect aspects of the game they’ve fondly looked at for years. While newer players can find a new adventure waiting for them.
However. I’m still worried a bit about certain aspects of the game. The gameplay they showed us, while good in its own right, is still in the prototype stages. If they wish to hit that March 14th release date, they ought to be further along in development than was shown in the presentation.
Also, this raises questions about the Galactic Readiness mini-game for ME3. In the old days, players had to participate in online missions to bring up that readiness to 100%. If multiplayer has been removed, I am curious as to what they replaced it with. Only time with tell.