Everything we know about Mass Effect Legendary Edition

by on May 6, 2021

It’s just over a week until Mass Effect Legendary Edition releases, and fans are hyped. It’s been thirteen years since the first game in the trilogy came out. Two more titles followed, introducing the world to one of the greatest space operas of all time. Engrossing story, deep RPG elements, and choices that had huge ramifications. Regardless of how players felt about the ending, they’re still three phenomenal video games. Here is everything we know so far about Mass Effect Legendary Edition, all in one place.

When does it release?

Mass Effect Legendary Edition releases on May 14, 2021.

What consoles is it on?

When Mass Effect Legendary Edition releases, it will be available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Considering the visual and performance improvements, fans will at least need an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro to experience its true potential. There are no PS5 or Xbox Series X|S versions in the works, but it is backwards compatible, so these improvements will be more than noticeable on next-gen consoles.

What comes with it?

Along with the original Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 will be included. All DLC for the games apart from Pinnacle Station will come with the Legendary Edition. There is no multiplayer either, making it solely a single-player experience.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition: What are the big gameplay changes?

The original Mass Effect felt much differently to the following two entries. As a result, combat will be massively improved in the original. As detailed in EA’s blog on gameplay calibrations, accuracy has been improved “to allow players to maintain more consistent firepower while still managing their shots/overheat meter.” The aim-assist has seen an overhaul, and certain abilities like ‘immunity’ have been rebalanced. Here’s the main improvements to the original Mass Effect:

  • 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

What Else?

Firstly, squadmates can now be controlled independently like in ME2 and ME3, additional cover has been added and the ability to move in and out of it has been made easier. Also, XP has been made more available in the original, and ammo drops have been increased in ME2. The M-35 Mako has seen some big changes, too. It’s now much easier to handle, with “faster shield recharging” and “new thrusters” being added to the mix. Handling has been adjusted to make it feel “weightier,” and the camera angles have been adjusted to make it easier to see where the Mako is going.

The customisation for Shepherd will been unified across all three games. This will mean the same Character Creator menu can be accessed in every game, with additional options like new skin tones and and hairstyles can be selected. Bug fixes and back end improvements have been made to the Paragon-Renegade system in ME2, and other tweaks will play a big role in making Mass Effect Legendary Edition feel like a brand new game.

Additional enhancements

  • 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 armor DLC packs
    • Weapons and armor 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

Mass Effect Legendary Edition: What are the big visual changes?

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is set to feature some huge improvements to the way the game looks. EA released more details on the science behind the visual enhancements. It goes into detail about three phases for improving the visuals, therefore, textures have seen a big change; characters have been given a bigger sense of realism; VFX has been smoothed out; environments have been fleshed out; and lighting, shadows, and reflections have been improved. You can see how these have been altered in the images below:

Mass Effect Legendary Edition: What are the big performance changes?

PC players can expect up to 240 fps, supporting refresh rates up to 240 Hz. Also, players will be able to tweak graphical options to finetune performance and quality. EA has released a table to highlight the output resolution and expected framerate for Mass Effect Legendary Edition on all consoles. The option to toggle between quality and performance will be available. Favouring Quality will provide the highest visual fidelity in exchange for a lower target framerate. However, favouring Framerate prioritises the highest framerate by scaling native resolution and reducing some graphical features.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition Performance and Quality Table

We’ll have more content on Mass Effect Legendary Edition closer to launch.