Mass Effect Legendary Edition vs Original Mass Effect Trilogy: What's Changed?

It's been nearly 9 years since Shephard's story ended disappointingly with Mass Effect 3 and, understandingly, fans have been clamoring for a remake of the first three titles ever since. The calls grew even louder when 2017's Mass Effect: Andromeda failed spectacularly.

With that said, fans of the Shephard's motley crew of universe-saving space-farers finally got what they wanted with the announcement of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

A full-on remake complete with a number of differences and improvements, as well as a more intense focus on the single-player campaign -- there'll be no multiplayer this time around -- the announcement of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition was, no doubt, met with a lot of excitement.

However, it's so easy to get caught up in the moment and forget one important thing -- what's changed?

Lucky for you, we're here to help.

Scroll down below to find out more about the differences between the Mass Effect Legendary Edition and the Original Mass Effect trilogy.

Gameplay Changes to Mass Effect 1

Most players have a love-hate relationship with the M35 Mako and it's exciting to see if this will carry over to the remake.

One of the worst things about replaying the Mass Effect trilogy today, and to some extent, even way back then, was the fact that the first title wasn't exactly made for modern audiences.

Released way back in 2007 for the eighth-generation consoles, Mass Effect 1 was clunky, to say the least. Although later titles improved on this, especially when the series started getting more popular, this only served to make the first title seem like the odd one out.

Make no mistake. Most still gladly play through it, if only for the nostalgia alone. Not to mention, watching the ME35 Mako beat tough terrain was comical when it wasn't frustrating.

In any case, the Mass Effect Legendary Edition will change all of this by making a couple of improvements, including:

  • Aim assist with lock-on
  • Addition of a dedicated melee button
  • More balanced and properly-tuned weapons
  • Removal of class-based weapon restrictions and aim penalties
  • A unified control scheme between all three games
  • Improved squad AI
  • Cover pass
  • Rebalanced XP to account for the level 60 cap
  • A more consistent auto-save function
  • Improved first aid cooldown
  • Improved boss encounters
  • Unified minigames across all release platforms

Speaking of the ME35 Mako, everybody's favorite planet-traversing vehicle to hate will make a return in the remake but with numerous improvements to make it more playable and easier to drive.

It's also important to take note that BioWare is still making improvements to Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

Expect the final product to be a lot better and more polished.

The Extended Cut Ending Is Now Canon

While the Extended Cut did little to quell the anger of raging fans, it did, at the very least, make it a bit better.

Unfortunately, anyone expecting content cut from the original trilogy to make its way to the remake will find themselves disappointed. Although BioWare did mention that they considered it, they later decided against doing so due to it requiring to rebuild the game from scratch.

There are, however, a couple of changes to the story. Specifically, to the ending.

For example, the Extended Cut will now serve as the official canon ending for the trilogy.

Added later on to the series following fan backlash, the Extended Cut ending was a downloadable content pack that added more scenes to the end of the game that helped provide deeper inside to all the choices that the player made was Commander Shephard throughout their entire journey.

Improved Universal Character Creator

A subtle but very welcome improvement is the unified character creator across all three remade titles.

Because all three games are now essentially just one big journey, BioWare added a universal character creator that put in all the customization options added to the later titles, as well as a number of improvements, including a unified female Commander Shephard.

A Brand-New Game Launcher

When you boot up the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, you'll be able to start any one of the three titles from one place.

Also, even though the remake rolls all three titles into one, you don't automatically move on to playing Mass Effect 2 after finishing Mass Effect 1. Instead, you're brought back to the launcher so you can choose to replay the first game or play the third game or carry over your saved file to the next title in the trilogy.

An Xbox-specific function lets you uninstall a specific title in the trilogy if for some reason you don't want to install all three games at once on your console.

All the DLCs of the Original Trilogy (Almost)

A victim of data corruption, recreating the entire DLC would have taken the team six months, at most, which is why they decided to remove it instead.

With over 40 pieces of DLC content, the Mass Effect Legendary Edition will include everything that was made available to the first original trilogy, except for one exception.

While everything from story expansions to the Genesis comics, as well as the Dragon Age armor, will be included in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, the Pinnacle Station DLC from Mass Effect won't be available.

BioWare claims that the source data remains corrupted -- one of the original reasons why the DLC was available only on the PC and Xbox 360 -- so they decided not to include the DLC in the remake.

Rebalanced Galatic Readiness

Galactic Readiness was basically a measure of, well, how ready the forces you've amassed were for the final act of the game.

Raising this meter in Mass Effect 3 meant completing all of the main quests and side quests that the game had to offer, as well as dabble a bit into Mass Effect 3's surprisingly good multiplayer.

With the remake removing the multiplayer content completely though, BioWare has opted to tweak this so that players could amass enough Galatic Readiness and unlock the best ending possible provided that they started playing from Mass Effect 1.

Do note that it's still possible to get the best ending if you played Mass Effect 3 alone. It's just that it'll be far more difficult as you'll have to basically 100% the game.

Visual and Performance Improvements

Those playing the game on the Xbox One X, Xbox Series X or S, as well as the PS4 Pro and PS5, will be able to play the Mass Effect Legendary Edition in 4K HDR at 60 FPS with load times improved on all platforms with a new skip button added.

BioWare also used an AI up-res program to help keep the texture resolution up to date, improving up at least four times and up to sixteen times. Artists were also hired to make the game look prettier and add more detail.

Other improvements that will be included in the Mass Effect Legendary Edition are:

  • Anti-aliasing
  • Volumetrics and fog
  • Tonemapping
  • Depth of field and bloom
  • Bokeh depth of field
  • Ambient occlusion
  • Subsurface skin scattering

On the PC, the improvements are even more noticeable, with the frame rates being unlocked right from the get-go.

Also exclusive to the PC is controller support, DirectX 11 support, and 21:9 support.

Because BioWare will stick with the Unreal 3 engine for the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, there'll be no ray tracing across all platforms.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is a lifelong gamer with a nose for keeping up with the latest news in and out of the gaming industry. When he's not reading, writing, editing, and playing video games, he builds and repairs computers in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.
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