BioWare Edmonton has revealed an extensive look at many of the gameplay refinements it’s making in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, the remaster collection of its beloved original Mass Effect trilogy.
The original Mass Effect
In particular, the developer outlined a slew of tweaks to help modernize the nearly 15-year-old original Mass Effect.
Combat-wise, BioWare notes that the first game “was heavily influenced by traditional RPG mechanics, like the randomness of a dice roll and pen-and-paper stat building,” which led to weapons “often feel[ing] less accurate and reliable” than in the sequels.
With that in mind, BioWare has tuned accuracy across all weapons to allow for more consistent firepower, while the aiming down sights camera has been tightened to make it more in line with the later games. These changes, along with improved aim assist, will make combat much “snappier,” says BioWare.
Of course, the most infamous aspect of the original game was the Mako, player character Shepard’s clunky ATV-like vehicle that was used for exploring planets.
As BioWare itself notes, the physics of the Mako “made it feel too light and bouncy, even at times becoming uncontrollable.” However, handling has been improved this time around to make the vehicle feel heavier and slide around less, on top of smoother camera controls.
On top of that, the vehicle now sports faster shield recharging and new thrusters on the rear (separate from the jump jets) to get a speed boost when trying to ascend near-vertical cliffs.
Other quality-of-life improvements for the original Mass Effect include better inventory sorting options, Shepard being able to sprint out of combat, a dedicated melee button (rather than punches happening based on proximity to an enemy), all relevant enemies now taking headshot damage (this previously only applied to certain foes) and improved medi-gel usage.
Changes across the board
Meanwhile, BioWare detailed several changes coming to all three games, like additional cover spots being added to certain encounters alongside more seamless cover swapping mechanics, rebalanced and more consistent XP distribution and tweaked difficulty for some boss fights to be “fairer for players but still challenging.” Downloadable content weapons have also been integrated into the story so players acquire them naturally through progression rather than immediately.
For a more seamless progression between games, BioWare has also unified the character creator in the trilogy, in addition to improved customization options and character appearances with updated textures and hair models.
Finally, BioWare has tweaked the ‘Galaxy at War’ system in Mass Effect 3. Essentially, players had to complete enough quests to rally the galaxy’s various factions to fight the Reaper forces — an effort that was represented by a ‘Galactic Readiness’ number. The higher the figure, the better “prepared” Shepard would be going into the final battle and different endings would be unlocked accordingly.
In the original Mass Effect 3, multiplayer and a companion app were practically essential ways to boost your Galactic Readiness to get the “best” ending. However, since those are not supported in the Legendary Edition, BioWare has tweaked the Galactic Readiness system so that points are acquired solely through completed quests.
The developer is stressing that you’ll still need to put in a lot of work to acquire a sufficiently high Readiness score (i.e. by carrying over your completed quests and choices between games), but a combination of removing the multiplayer and app components and reconfiguring elements that were “notoriously difficult to achieve in ME2” will make the system overall more balanced.
BioWare says it will have more to share on the visual improvements made in the remaster next week. For now, the developer has provided IGN with exclusive gameplay footage from Legendary Edition, which you can view above.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on May 14th.