Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a shot-for-shot remake of the first three games in the franchise.
Since the special edition's announcement months ago, it's been hard to avoid the overwhelming hype surrounding the revival of BioWare's flagship sci-fi series. It's no secret that loyal fans have held fast to the hope that an updated version of the games would see a release in the future. Now, having finally got our wish, I can't shake the nagging voice in the back of my brain.
So, is this it?
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is Exactly As You Remember It
If you're a new fan looking to experience this franchise: do it. Mass Effect is one of the best-written games I've ever had the pleasure of sinking hours into. As a veteran player, however, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't slightly disappointed by the release.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is fine—but that's really it. There's nothing revolutionary about it in a way that would blow fans out of the water. It looks great, it performs smoothly, I've yet to encounter any bugs or serious detriments, and I've found my heart swelling at the nostalgia to the point of tears.
In a lot of ways, I've been able to step into the newly-shined boots of Commander Shepard on the Normandy as if I had never left. Unfortunately, that's kind of the problem. The only change is that they've been shined.
I can't help but look at this as a missed opportunity for BioWare and EA. Mass Effect already has a huge following of loyal fans who would be willing to purchase a remake, regardless. I was one, myself. So, it surprised me that there weren't any inconsequential changes to the collection—let alone exciting exclusives such as the restoration of cut content.
They were on the right track allowing all weapons to be used among all specializations and implementing Mass Effect 3's female Shepard as the complete default setting for female characters. Those choices, in and of themselves, were departures from the content released from 2007—2012. Would it have been too far of a reach to consolidate the armed combat in all three games instead of leaving Mass Effect 1 as the odd one out? Perhaps some updates to the character creation could have been made, as well, to provide a greater variety and control to Shepard's appearance.
Something to make the remake feel stronger than the same games I already own with a fresh coat of paint.
But is it still worth it?
Honestly? 100% yes.
Listen, my taking issue with the simplicity of the remake shouldn't be a solid mark against it. For all intents and purposes: Mass Effect Legendary Edition is the full story of Mass Effect consolidated under a single title. That's what it was supposed to be and that's the product that was released.
I love Mass Effect as a series, franchise, and story—so I enjoyed Legendary Edition, too. It's the same group of games from my childhood with all my favorite characters and quests. Not to mention, EA and BioWare put every inch of content into this one purchase—making it well worth the price tag, in my opinion.
I still recommend it, sure, but I can't help to wonder what significant improvements the "re-developers" could have made to truly bring the games into 2021.