Published on May 25th, 2021 | by James Wright
Mass Effect Legendary Edition Review #PS5
Summary: Mass Effect Legendary Edition is indeed a legendary experience as we visit this amazing sci-fi universe again
Reviewed on the PlayStation 5: One of the greatest science fiction RPG’s has returned on the PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, XSX that allows both fans and newcomers to once again revisit the diverse universe of Mass Effect in Mass Effect Legendary Edition. While Mass Effect Legendary Edition contains all three games, including all DLC, its developers Bioware have upgraded the gaming engine to bring it more akin to those games of today and adds a healthy dose of “epic-ness” into that mix. Given that the original game was launched in 2007, the graphics on the original consoles or the original PC version are very dated when compared to next-gen games but thankfully the increased resolution and textures helps considerably. And yes, some of those clunky mechanics have been fixed and refined, including super-fast load times.
Thankfully the story and characters behind the Mass Effect series are “legendary” in themselves and as a fan, it was fun revisiting this virtual universe that I held quite fondly back in the day. It was almost like going home again, more so on the SSV Normandy SR-1 starship that the protagonist (Commander Shepard) and his crew called home as they raced against all odds to stop an ancient and unstoppable foe that threatened all organic life. That is, the ancient alien race known as the Leviathans who created the Reapers with their sole purpose of eliminating anything living, so move over Thanos before you get “snapped”. Needless to say, the lore in Mass Effects is superbly created and written and as the series progresses, so do the main characters who are considerably fleshed our as the series progresses, including the ending of the last game which caused quite a bit of controversy.
Given the wealth of content in this release, where do you start?
The answer is in Mass Effect 1 and upon re-entering this universe, the first thing that you do notice is the improved graphics that not only look good but also a little dated at the same time, including its sometimes clunky gaming engine but during its heyday, Mass Effect was the leader in its genre. Another great element of the series is how large this gaming universe is and while it pales in comparison to No Man’s Sky in terms of exploration, the universe of Mass Effect still feels massive as you fly to various planets and starbases in order to complete missions that at a minimum will give you 100+ hours of enjoyment for all three games.
In terms of old meets new, the gameplay from Mass Effect 1 is considerably more refined than the original which was clunky at the best of times, particularly its use of weapons (which has now been fixed) and its cover system. Sure, it still feels like the original game but it is smoother without the stop starting, including the “introductory” squad mechanics. If you’re a Halo fan and played the remastered version of this title, this is what Mass Effect Legendary Edition feels like, a more refined and less buggy experience, although both the Warthog from the aforementioned game and also the Mako from Mass Effect are still ugh to drive in 2021… ok, maybe a little better now. Now the graphics of Mass Effect ‘remastered’ look great but at times, the head of 2007 comes into play, such as out of sync talking (I’m looking at you Captain Anderson) or textures (and I’m looking at your Jane Shepherd) that look a little strange. Fortunately the overall graphics get the tick of approval.
Mass Effect 2 also receives a makeover for its graphics and the characters look even better in the sequel, although there is still that element of male gaming eye-candy for the female characters in the game who at times look like they have just walked off a skimpy fashion shoot. Nonetheless, the character development is fun, particularly the relationships you build throughout the series, including the romantic ones. A special note should be made of the dialogue tree when you talk to characters in the game which also effects part of the story on what you say or don’t say to these NPC’s. The world building of Mass Effect 2 increased a fair bit in this revamped version that looks impressive on the PlayStation 5 as there is more attention to detail and special effects from Hollywood style explosions to realistic lighting. Like the first game, the exploration, combat and interaction with this world is more fluid and the squad mechanics are better as well, including sprinting and cover mechanics.
Then you have Mass Effect 3, my favourite game in the series that ramped up the story to a totally new level of awesomeness, including an ending that tore the internet in half with me desperately trying to do the Captain Kirk’s Kobayashi Maru move… and fans will know what I mean. In terms of upgrades, the third game is probably the least noticeable in terms of upgrades as the original still holds up relatively well but when compared side by side, there is a difference. Besides the engaging and emotional story of Mass Effect 3, it took everything that the sequel done well and added a gaming multiplier on it as the clumsiness of the original games are long gone and this is a slick experience from start to finish. However for some strange reason, the developers have removed multiplayer from this release which was indeed a highlight of the original version of Mass Effect 3.
Of course, it’s all about the story in this series and the start of Mass Effect 3 with the Reapers on Earth and the ending are still two of the best gaming moments of all time and visually, the third game in the series looks amazing, particularly with the character models (although faces a little a shoddy at times), backgrounds and special effects. The music of the third game is another wow moment. Speaking of audio, the game definitely evolved in terms of sound effects, voice acting which by the third game became on par with Hollywood acting to the immersive soundtrack which neatly brought it all together. There’s even a photo mode included in all three games to help showcase your love for the Mass Effect series as well. All in all, an impressive release from Bioware, so kudos to these developers and of course, EA Games.
Mass Effect Legendary Edition is almost a return to greatness and it’s hard competing with the memories of an awesome game with a younger you. Thankfully Bioware have successfully paid homage to the old and more importantly, have spun their technological magic to draw you back to this amazing universe that they have created with new features. Sure, it’s not a perfect release when you look at the current batch of next-gen titles, however it is a playable one and if you’ve missed this universe or you’re a newcomer, there’s some exceptional value for money in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition that will literally give you hours upon hours of enjoyment and yes, some frustration, depending on the difficulty level you play.
Recommended to all lovers of science fiction and RPG fans!
Title: Mass Effect Legendary Edition
Release date: May 14, 2021
Platform(s): PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Xbox One