The wet dream of every fan of the "old" BioWare role-playing games comes true: The "Mass Effect" trilogy is getting a remaster. But what's in the fresh cell treatment for the Commander?
Last week, the trade audience was allowed to take a closer look at the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition and at a preview event learned what is actually in it. And as always important when sprucing up older games, what it looks like.
Visually a remaster – no more and no less
If you ever get into the situation of explaining the difference between a remaster and a remake, your example of a remaster could be Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Of course, the optical improvements can be clearly seen, but here was just beautified the existing game and not made anything from scratch. That the radiant beauty of these games will rob you of your eyesight, as can be seen, for example, on the PS5 with the remake of Demon's Souls, will not happen. But that is by definition not what a remaster should expect.
During a presentation all kinds of before and after pictures were shown and, even if it was already clear beforehand, the graphical improvements are of course the most noticeable in Mass Effect 1. Overall everything is more detailed, sharper, by volumetric light and depth of field such as coherent light reflections cut scenes look a lot better right now.
In the case of Mass Effect 1, too various locations heavily revised, the sometimes barren levels gain only conditionally through high-resolution textures. These locations have been filled in with various elements to make them appear livelier and more believable, for example with smoking buildings in the background or smoldering fires on your way as you move through a theater of war.
Almost (!) All content is included
In the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition you get almost all of the content from the old trilogy, and that unites in a single launcher. It's basically easier to explain what's not included in the Legendary Edition because the remaster is coming out with all single-player DLCs, the weapons and armor packages, as well as the promotional content.
However, there will be no multiplayer. Project Director Mac Walters said the team had considered it but decided against it. The effort would have been too great and would have taken the focus too much from the single player. And that was the main goal of the remaster. In addition, other questions were difficult to answer: What happens to the players who are currently still playing multiplayer? How can crossplay be implemented? The bottom line was that it was decided to use the available resources differently.
More than enough content for another 600 hours of Mass Effect:
Classes, guns, bouncy ball – through the trilogy have yourself Some of the gameplay elements have changed significantly and Mass Effect 1 in particular felt like a break in hindsight. In the Legendary Edition, the three games are a little more aligned with each other. So there is for example a unified character editorwhich even offers a little more customization options.
In addition, the Standard look of the female Commander Shepard aligned across all parts. Also in the list of many smaller improvements more useful autosave points, more uniform key assignment and the minigames have also been aligned across the trilogy, and they are less common. They caused a stir Improvements to the physical behavior of the Mako (the legendary, poorly controllable mobile base for planetary use). The metal bouncy ball has so far had little to do with physics.
The Weapon restrictions for classes have been repealed, just like that Malus on the accuracy. One important improvement concerns the extremely long elevator rides in the Citadel in Mass Effect 1During the waiting period, legend has it, some players were able to graduate from college. The trips can now be skipped as soon as the charging process has ended. A sample video showed a reduction of 52 seconds to 14 seconds. But if the minutes in the elevator are part of the game experience for you: Skipping is optional.
"I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite role-playing game"
From the landing on Eden Prime to the inner control chamber on the Citadel, fans of the “Mass Effect” trilogy get everything their (single player) heart could wish for in terms of content. In addition, there are various improvements that bring all three games together into a single unit. However, if you liked the multiplayer, you have to stick to the original games.
Technically the Legendary Edition remains in Unreal Engine 3. These, as well as the code of the old games, are the framework on which the remaster was built. Graphically, no miracles are to be expected here. However, the improvements are clearly visible and are still okay today so as not to obscure the main focus for players. The characters, what players experience with them and the worlds they visit are still the same as they were able to cast their spell over 13, eleven and nine years ago.
A personal conclusion
Since I have only attended one presentation so far and have not yet been able to play the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, I of course forego a concrete judgment as to how good or how bad the remaster will be. A remaster or remake is in some ways a much more ungrateful task than a completely new game. A number like Mass Effect have a ton of die-hard fans who know the games very well and very precise expectations to have a remaster.
BioWare can actually rely on the content of the game. Nevertheless, there are certain discrepancies between the individual parts as far as the gameplay elements are concerned and thus the potential to choose the wrong variant. As far as the visual redesign is concerned, it depends even more on the What players expect and what they want from a remaster – As I said, it shouldn't be a miracle.
One aspect that was frequently discussed in the presentation was the distribution of resources for working on the remaster. For example, the decision was made against multiplayer in order to be able to invest time and money in other things. That begs the question, without questioning any developer's commitment, how much was invested in the remaster through BioWare or Electronic Arts and whether it could have been a little more?
On the other hand, there is of course the target price of the Legendary Edition. Redesigning all three games was certainly an immense project. If a lot had been done from scratch, significantly more resources would have been required. You could ask yourself up to what price you would call the Legendary Edition. 70 euros? 100 euros? 150 euros?
How many fans will return to the Normandy Bridge will be decided on May 14, 2021 on the PS, PS4 and Xbox One platforms. The remaster can also be played on the PS5 and Xbox One X via backward compatibility. The PC version at Origin costs 60 euros, the console versions are 70 euros. The nostalgic journey called Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is not a short trip. The players have great memories of the obese role-playing game, and expectations should be accordingly. It remains to be seen whether reality also fulfills this.