Mass Effect Legendary Edition: First Impressions of the Remastered Collection

While it’s hard to match up with the visuals that we’ve come to see from new games that release nowadays, the fresh coat of paint that has been given to Mass Effect makes this original trilogy feel fresh in a way that I wasn’t expecting. To see iconic locations, characters, and cutscenes from the first game in the series--which is the only one of the three that I have dabbled with so far--redone in this manner has been far more enjoyable than I would have thought.

Even though the touched-up graphics and higher performance with Mass Effect Legendary Edition make the original games look that much better, they aren’t without some niggles. Lighting seems to specifically be something that can vary quite a bit and has had some weird results for me. Depending on the area you might be located in, character models can start to look really funky at times based on the lighting that reflects off of them. I’m not sure what the reason for this might be but I’ve had a few conversations with my crewmates in darker locales that lead to their faces looking totally washed out. It’s not an incredibly common issue I’m having by any means, so I can’t complain too much.

Speaking of character faces, that’s been another thing I’ve had to get used to all over again. No matter how solid Mass Effect Legendary Collection might look in 4K, replaying this series has really shown me how far video game facial animations have come within the last decade. BioWare has done some good work with this remaster but the facial animations look quite dated at this point. Mouth movements don't match up with the voiceover all that well in a lot of instances and some of the predetermined hairstyles and other facial features look either unrealistic or ugly. It's something I had gotten used to fairly quickly once I had played for a few hours, though.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition - REAPERS
(Photo: BioWare)

Outside of pure visuals, the first Mass Effect also now feels generally better to play when compared to the initial 2007 release. That’s not to say that everything has been rectified, however. The cover system is perhaps the one thing that I’m getting the most annoyed by at this point. Maybe it’s just because I’m coming off of playing Outriders--which has a pretty great cover system--but I do wish that BioWare could have tweaked mechanical aspects like this a bit more to make the game feel more modern. The Mako controls, which were one of the most commonly hated aspects of the first game also aren't a ton better here in Legendary Edition. While BioWare did try to fix these controls just a bit, the whole driving system still just feels clunky at its core.

If there is another thing I’m a little let down by, it’s that there is nothing major in the way of additional features, extras, or even options with Mass Effect Legendary Edition. Some developers tend to go above and beyond when it comes to remastered collections of this nature, but BioWare has tended to just give us a very straightforward product. That’s absolutely fine by me for the most part, although I do wish there was something a bit more here to sink my teeth into. Mass Effect has such a storied history that it would’ve been cool for BioWare to fill the Legendary Collection with things like developer docs, concept art galleries, or really anything else that would interest hardcore fans.

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All in all, Mass Effect Legendary Edition is pretty much exactly what I have expected so far. While that’s not a bad thing, I wish there was a little more flash and substance with this revitalized trilogy. But when all is said and done, I am greatly having fun playing this series again and that’s what matters the most. Even if I do have some complaints, I imagine that my final verdict on this revamp will be far more positive than negative, unless I happen to come across even more problems.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is currently available to pick up on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s also forward compatible on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Stay tuned as our final review of this remastered collection should be going live on ComicBook.com within the coming days.