Mass Effect: Legendary Edition’s photo setting gives you a reconstructed appreciation of beautiful realms like Eden Prime.

BioWare/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

I like revisiting incredible games right after my memories of all of them have faded. The feeling of familiarity coupled along with a renewed wonder because the sights and noises wash over me produces an endorphin rush such as little else. That’s specifically true of the Mass Effect universe, the video video game equivalent of the unique Star Wars trilogy.

The Mass Effect: Legendary Edition trailer offered me a preference of that feeling straight back in February. Seeing Liara, Garrus and the rest of the team again reminded me of all of the joy their adventures brought me as I played the trilogy in 2007, 2010 and 2012, and developer BioWare was going to let me do it again, in 4K Ultra HD.

Um, yes please.

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The remastered collection includes three games and all the downloadable content, bar the first game’s forgettable Pinnacle Station. It hit PS4, Xbox One and PC on Friday. It’s also playable on PS5 and Xbox Series X and S via backward compatibility, providing you even shorter loading times.

The original game guides you into a sci-fi universe in which humanity used faster-than-light travel to journey across the galaxy, allying itself with alien races along the way. 

As customizable hero Shepard, you gather a squad of memorable characters as they find out the horrifying threat of the Reapers, a machine race intent on purging the galaxy’s sentient life. Your choices determine the fates of the allies, enemies and billions across the galaxy, carrying between games in the trilogy and creating a unique narrative for every player — you can shape Shepard into a diplomatic Paragon, a brash Renegade or something in between.

A smoother 2007

You may possibly remember how janky the original Mass Effect was, even in 2007. The exemplary writing, engaging world-building and awesome character design constructed for some awkward gameplay and graphical quirks, with the sequels vastly improving those aspects.

Diving straight back with the Legendary Edition on PS5 this week, I had been caught in Mass Effect’s dramatic orbit all over again. I only got to play the first 6 hours, but was instantly struck by how smoothly BioWare had sanded the game’s rough edges off. Gone are the graphical glitches that plagued very nearly every step within the Xbox 360 version — between that and the shortened loading times, the friction of exploring space stations, ships and uncharted worlds is gone.

Meeting Liara T’Soni — my personal favorite squad mate from the trilogy — again is a thrill.

BioWare/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

However, it hasn’t been completely redone, like last year’s Final Fantasy 7 Remake or 2019’s Resident Evil 2, therefore it still feels like the same game you played in 2007. The movement is lovely and smooth in 60 frames per second, but controlling Shepard felt like steering a tank for those first few seconds of gameplay. 

The facial animation also triggered a significant sense of uncanny valley. Some characters (particularly Shepard’s mentor Captain Anderson) stare a tad too long, like they’re wanting to pierce your soul. The voice acting remains absolutely stellar though, even as characters overshare when you ask about their past and culture.

Captain Anderson is one of the trilogy’s most admirable characters, but that he will stare you down.

BioWare/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

That degree of detail is one of the keys to Mass Effect’s success — the world-building in the game’s first few hours drew me right straight back into the universe. Making dialogue choices as Shepard and Anderson negotiate the interspecies politics of Citadel Station is utterly engaging, as they attempt to carve out a place for humanity one of the more established alien races.

This sees Shepard being chosen as the first human to participate the Spectres, an elite number of Citadel agents, and tasked with hunting down rogue operative Saren. You learn more about another races as you gather your diverse squad, which will feel as if reuniting with old friends if you’ve played the series before. 

Shepard the explorer

As all this unfolded, the sense that I was playing a game from 2007 melted away and I drank within the glorious atmosphere of the ultra-clean Citadel as the sci-fi synth score set the mood. Setting out in the Normandy, this series’ Millennium Falcon, to learn the galaxy, the same sense of awe I got in 2007 set in.

Driving around in the Mako is easier than it used to be.

BioWare/Screenshot by Sean Keane/CNET

The game’s uncharted worlds are largely empty or feature similarly designed settlements, but driving the Mako — your six-wheeled tank — around them is blissful. The art direction and music makes them utterly believable and atmospheric, while the Mako controls have been refined to make making your way around more pleasant.

If you crave frustration or just want to party like it’s the noughties, you are able to toggle the original Mako controls on. But I guarantee you’ll immediately realize it’s like being in an outer-space version of the three-point turn scene from Austin Powers, switch to the new ones and your investment option exists.

The tweaks to the game’s combat system are pretty subtle, however the shooting mechanics feel nearer to the tighter ones within the second and third games. I must admit that, if BioWare hadn’t provided detailed notes on all the changes, I may not have realized anything was distinct because my memories associated with combat within the three video games have jumbled together more than the years. It undoubtedly didn’t feel too out dated or off-putting as I actually took down countless Geth along with other goons.

The remastered adventure continues

Playing the remastered version of the unique Mass Effect is a joy hence far. The developers include done an incredible career of bringing my a?oranza as much as modern standards even though keeping the core expertise intact. The universe I actually fell in love using in 2007 is really as powerful as ever.

I cannot wait to plow by means of the whole trilogy come july 1st, especially since downloadable information like Mass Effect 2’s Lair of the Shadow Broker — an enjoyable tale of underworld intrigue that remains amid my personal favorite pieces of DLC in any game — and the third game’s emotional Citadel is bundled within the Legendary Edition as in contrast to coming out afterwards. It’ll slot smoothly to the overall narrative and enhance the adventure.

And in the event you threw down the pad or slammed with your keyboard in dislike after seeing Mass Effect 3’s ending in 2012 together with never bothered with the extended version, which has been released a few a few months later, this collection can be the ideal time to be able to try it out. It still isn’t quite this ending we were wanting for, but it’s the vast improvement.

Roll with Mass Effect 4.

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