The Mass Effect Legendary Edition team at BioWare has outlined details on what to expect in the remaster.
These outlined changes to the Mass Effect Legendary Edition include gameplay tuning, rebalancing, and more.
Alongside the aforementioned, you can expect additional gameplay improvements to all three titles, the Mako for Mass Effect, and Galaxy at War rebalancing for Mass Effect 3.
With combat tuning, BioWare said it wanted to make the experience better across the board, but not change what fans have come to love about the games.
In the first Mass Effect, accuracy, including reticle bloom and weapon sway, has been tuned across all weapons to allow players to maintain more consistent firepower while still managing their shots/overheat meter. The team also improved the aiming down sights camera view to be tighter on combat so that ADS is more accurate. BioWare also improved the aim assist to provide better precision.
Abilities have also been rebalanced in the first game. For example, the “Immunity” ability now grants a defensive buff that lasts a brief period of time instead of being a small buff that lasts indefinitely.
Below you will find an overview that lists gameplay changes made specifically to the first 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
- Leveling 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
Additional gameplay improvements have also been made to encounters, enemies, and how you engage in combat. You can expect these to be more in line with the second and third games. One of these changes is the boss encounter on Noveria. The boss room has been slightly reworked, but still familiar although less cramped. You’ll also be much less prone to being thrown around by biotic abilities.
Other targeted combat updates include:
- Squadmates can now be commanded independently of each other in the first Mass Effect, the same way you can command them individually in Mass Effect 2 and 3
- Some boss fights and enemies in the first game have been tweaked to be fairer for players but still challenging
- Cover has been improved across the trilogy
- Additional cover added to some encounters
- Entering and exiting cover is now more reliable
- XP has been rebalanced in the first game
- Ammo drops have been rebalanced in Mass Effect 2
XP gained during the first game has also been rebalanced for better consistency, especially towards the end. Players who complete most of the game should be able to more reliably get to higher levels on a single playthrough. Additionally, there is no longer a level cap on a first playthrough.
As a final gunplay change, the team also tweaked ammunition in Mass Effect 2. They said that they found ammo was "spawning too scarcely in the original game," so they have increased the drop rate for ammo in ME2, particularly when using a sniper rifle.
The legendary M-35 Mako from the first Mass Effect has been “calibrated” to perform better than ever. In the original game, the physics tuning for the Mako made it feel too light and bouncy, but now it will be a smoother ride. Its functionality has also been improved with faster shield recharging and new thrusters will allow for a speed boost.
Here's more on the changes you can expect when driving the Mako:
- Improved handling
- Physics tuning improved to feel “weightier” and slide around less
- Improved camera controls
- Resolved issues preventing the Mako from accurately aiming at lower angles
- Shields recharge faster
- New thrusters added for a speed boost
- Its cooldown is separate from the jump jets
- The XP penalty while in the Mako has been removed
- Touching lava no longer results in an instant Mission Failure and instead deals damage over time
For the Legendary Edition, BioWare said its goal was to tune up the trilogy and make it more consistent. One of the things it did was to unify Shepard’s customization options in the character creator while also adding new options, like additional skin tones and hairstyles. You will be able to use the same character creator code across all three games, meaning your Shepard can now have a consistent appearance across the trilogy. You can also change the character's appearance with each game if you like. You can also expect better character appearances with updated textures and hair models.
BioWare also added the Mass Effect: Genesis comics by Dark Horse into the base experience before Mass Effect 2 and 3 as an optional experience so players can make choices from previous games no matter where they choose to start.
You can also expect additional enhancements such as:
- 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
The Galaxy at War feature has also been rebalanced. For example, Galactic Readiness is no longer impacted by external factors not part of the collection, like multiplayer or the old companion app for Mass Effect 3.
The more content you complete across the entire trilogy, the more likely you’ll be "prepared for the final fights in its conclusion." However, if you only play Mass Effect 3, you’ll have to do just about every option available in the game to be eligible for an ending that doesn’t result in massive galactic losses.
Playing the first two games and carrying over your progress is the most reliable way to get good results in the final hours of the Reaper War. The Extended Cut ending is also now the game’s default finale.
Along with all of these changes, you can also expect critical bug fixes and backend improvements made to the Paragon-Renegade system in Mass Effect 2. The team resolved some legacy issues that "inhibited accurate reputation stats" from being displayed and prevented certain dialogue options from being selectable. Because of this, key moments which were previously difficult to achieve in ME2, and subsequently impacted Mass Effect 3, can now be completed more reliably.
The Mass Effect Legendary Edition releases on May 14. For a deeper look at everything you can expect come May, check out Alex’s full preview. He also prepared a side-by-side comparison of classic and remastered.