Mass Effect 3 Remastered | Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Overview
Legends being legendary.
GAME REVIEW /// Mass Effect 3 Remastered, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
Game summary: Earth is under attack by a monstrous race of gigantic living ships known as the Reapers. Even if Commander Shepard could unite all surviving species in the galaxy, only a miracle could save them. Then again, Shepard did come back from the dead. (IMDb)
If someone had asked me what my favourite game in the original Mass Effect trilogy was before I started on the Legendary Edition, I would've said Mass Effect 2 without hesitation. but playing through them all again and it's genuinely astonishing how much more I liked Mass Effect 3 this time around, elevating it to my favourite in the series.
That isn't to downplay the previous game, which is still great to play, but it's genuinely remarkable how modern this game feels in comparison to the first two - I'd expect that in comparison to the first game, which originally came out five years earlier, but this does make Mass Effect 2 feel retroactively weaker and makes me wonder just how much this trilogy-capping instalment in particular influenced game design going forward.
Ignoring the visual improvements from being a re-master, Mass Effect 3 plays the best of the trilogy thanks to the movement feeling far more fluid - and not just because I played as a Vanguard (basically a space superhero). It feels easier and more intuitive to keep moving and re-positioning while varying your tactics depending on how each fight is unfolding, something which didn't feel the case before now.
That enhanced manoeuvrability not only makes fights feel more dynamic, but even moving through the environments too. Maybe not so much in the non-combat areas, where you're restricted to a brisk jog at best - but climbing ledges, jumping gaps and sliding down ladders all combine to create an energetic sense of physicality and that Shepard possesses the athleticism needed to fight on.
There's also the fact that said energy carries over into all aspects of Mass Effect 3, where everything that was good about the previous two has been dialled up a lot. I think this just edges out Mass Effect 2 as the longest game in the trilogy, yet the sheer amount of things to do, incidental dialogue to overhear and conversations to get involved in are simply staggering for a ten-year old game.
Hell, if it wasn't for Guardians of the Galaxy blowing practically every other game ever made out of the water with its constant stream of dialogue, this would still reign supreme - and arguably might still do so in terms of dialogue quantity considering Mass Effect 3 is much, much longer than the Marvel game. It's genuinely remarkable how much you can experience in a single playthrough and then realise how much more there must be if you played the game a different way and had events unfold differently.
If anything, that feeling of modernity is Mass Effect 3 Remastered's crowning achievement and why it has become my favourite in the trilogy - if this was released today as a brand-new title, it would still definitely be worth the full price to go through, which I can't say about either of the others. It really is only the underlying technical limitations (some awkward animations and occasionally niggly controls) that come with being an older title that hold it back from feeling like a modern-day classic.
Mass Effect 3 Remastered works even better today than when it first released, helped by the 4K graphics and little adjustments to make the re-release worthwhile. It's easily the most modern feeling game in the original trilogy and is just so much more fun to play than the previous two entries, making you realise just how good a game it is considering it's nearly a decade old.
[9/10 - Great]
GAME REVIEW /// Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
Game summary: Take command of the Normandy, assemble your crew, and prepare for an unforgettable adventure in the highly acclaimed series. (EA)
Look, I'm going to put my hands up and admit to being more than a bit of a Mass Effect fan. I really like role-playing games and you rarely see science-fiction settings for them either, so this was perfect for me. That it was also a galaxy-spanning story told across three games was just the icing on the cake and this Legendary Edition just brought home how far ahead of its time this trilogy was - and, in many ways, still is.
The first game has by far the biggest changes and feels far more like a quasi-remake than a simple remaster. Before this version was released, there was always a slight trepidation at having to play through that first game again because of much of a chore it was to get through, with sluggish gameplay and an overly-busy inventory system saved by a great cast and excellent story-telling.
On the other hand, I do feel like Mass Effect 2 Remastered came off the worst of the bunch, with its age starting to show a little despite the visual upgrades of being available in 4K. It's still a great game to play through and better than almost every sci-fi RPG that has followed thanks its phenomenal art and sound direction coupled with an (arguably) even better cast than the first game.
Then there's Mass Effect 3 Remastered, which - as said above - feels like the most modern of the lot, with far more effort going into incidental details and background stories going on all around you, making the setting feel even more alive than it had before. Not wanting to repeat myself, but you wouldn't really need to change all that much for this to be considered an excellent game as a brand new title today.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is an outstanding example of how to do remasters right, updating little pieces here and there while updating the visuals as much as possible for current standards. It helps that this trilogy has one of the best stories in gaming, some of the best characters ever seen and moments of exhilaration and sadness that the industry as a whole still struggles to achieve today - a 100% recommended must play title. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition brings one of gaming's greats back in style, even if most of the work was done on the first game - to be fair, it was the one that needed the most attention. Collecting everything aside from the Pinnacle Station DLC, Legendary Edition is now the definitive way to experience the Mass Effect trilogy and remind many that stories of this scale have yet to be done better in the years since the last game was released.