In a new blog post, the team working on Mass Effect Legendary Edition has detailed changes they’ve made to next month’s anticipated release. There’s surprisingly a ton of things that the studio has added and changed and from the looks of it, is addressing concerns and quality of life updates across all three games.
Firstly, combat has been changed and improved in the original Mass Effect as well as changed to the Mako vehicle, which I’ve always been at odds with using.
Starting with combat, BioWare has spent time rejiggering how the original game handles combat. The first Mass Effect is different than the second and third games, as the first was influenced by traditional RPG mechanics, “like the randomness of a dice roll and pen-and-paper stat building.”
Taking in feedback, the developers have tuned mechanics to provide better handling while maintaining the feel of the original game. Every weapon has received tuning and now feels more consistent while having to manage the shot count and overheat meter. The ADS camera is now tighter and more accurate, and aim assist has been given an adjustment, too.
Abilities have also been rebalanced, an example being the “Immunity” ability now grants a powerful defensive buff that lasts a brief period of time instead of being a small buff that lasts indefinitely.
Other changes that you’ll find in Mass Effect include:
- Shepard can now sprint out of combat
- Melee attacks are now mapped to a button press rather than automatically occurring based on proximity to an enemy
- Weapon accuracy and handling has been significantly improved
- Reticle bloom is more controlled
- Weapon sway removed from sniper rifles
- Aiming down sights/”tight aim” camera view has been improved
- Improved aim assist for target acquisition
- All relevant enemies now take headshot damage in the first game
- Previously some did not, including humanoid enemies
- Ammo mods (Anti-Organic, Anti-Synthetic, etc.) can now drop throughout the whole game
- Previously, these stopped dropping at higher player levels
- They are now also available to purchase from merchants
- All weapons can be used by any class without penalty
- Specializations (the ability to train/upgrade certain weapons) are still class-specific
- Weapons cool down much faster
- Medi-gel usage has been improved
- Base cooldown reduced
- Levelling benefits increased
- Increased Liara’s bonus to cooldowns
- Inventory management improvements
- Items can now be flagged as “Junk”
- All Junk items can be converted into Omni-gel or sold to merchants at once
- Inventory and stores now have sorting functionality
- Some abilities have been rebalanced
- Weapon powers (i.e., those that are unlocked on each weapon type’s skill tree) have been improved:
- Effectiveness/strength is increased (duration reduced in some cases)
- Heat now resets on power activation
Further additions have been made outside of gunplay, namely in encounters, enemies, and how combat works. By doing these things, the developers bring the first game closer to par with the second and third games. Without delving into spoilers, BioWare mentions a boss encounter on Noveria, this encounter has been reworked, making it “less cramped,” and “less prone to being thrown around.”
Other adjustments in combat include:
- Squadmates can now be commanded independently of each other in the first Mass Effect, the same way you can command them individually in Mass Effect 2 and 3
- Some boss fights and enemies in the first game have been tweaked to be fairer for players but still challenging
- Cover has been improved across the trilogy
- Additional cover added to some encounters
- Entering and exiting cover is now more reliable
- XP has been rebalanced in the first game (details below)
Experience points have also been retooled and are now better balanced, allowing for consistency as players finish the first game. “Players who complete most aspects of the game should be able to more reliably get to higher levels on a single playthrough rather than needing to play through a second time to do so.” There’s also no longer a level cap on your first playthrough.
The last change in regards to gunplay is focused on ammo consumption in Mass Effect 2. Previously, ammo spawns were scarce in the original game, so in Mass Effect 2, when using a sniper rifle since that had a reduced ammo drop rate in the original release.
Speaking about using the Mako, the vehicle from the first game has seen updates, too. It now performs better than ever, according to developers and while in the original game the Mako drove and felt light and bouncy, it is now a much smoother ride that is more enjoyable to drive. Functionally, shields regenerate faster and there are now rear thrusters on the vehicle, giving you an added speed boost when trying to scale cliffs.
There is no longer an experience penalty when driving the Mako and touching lava will longer result in an instant mission failure.
Speaking on Shepard, the goal when working on Legendary Edition was clear: tune up the trilogy and make the experience consistent across all three games. Now, BioWare has unified Shepard’s customization options in the character creator, even adding new options like skin tons and hairstyles. “You can use the same character creator code across all three games, meaning your Shepard can now have a consistent appearance across the trilogy, or you can choose to change their appearance at the start of each title.”
What about miscellaneous updates and improvements?
- New unified launcher for all three games
- Includes trilogy-wide settings for subtitles and languages
- Saves are still unique to each game and can be managed independently of each other
- Updated character creator options, as mentioned above
- FemShep from Mass Effect 3 is the new default female option in all three games (the original FemShep design is still available as a preset option)
- Achievements across the trilogy have been updated
- New achievements have been added to the trilogy
- Progress for some achievements now carries over across all three games (e.g. Kill 250 enemies across all games)
- Achievements that were streamlined into one and made redundant were removed
- A number of achievements have had their objectives/descriptions and/or names updated
- Integrated weapons and armour DLC packs
- Weapons and armour DLC packs are now integrated naturally into the game; they’re obtainable via research or by purchasing them from merchants as you progress through the game, rather than being immediately unlocked from the start. This ensures overall balance and progression across ME2 and ME3
- Recon Hood (ME2) and Cerberus Ajax Armor (ME3) are available at the start of each game
- Additional gameplay & Quality of life improvements
- Audio is remixed and enhanced across all games
- Hundreds of legacy bugs from the original releases are fixed
- Native controller and 21:9 display support on PC, with DirectX 11 compatibility
Here’s a comparison video showcasing changes made across all three games: