The original Mass Effect trilogy saw millions of gamers spend dozens if not hundreds of hours through an adventure that spanned six years, three titles, and more than 40 DLCs. However, now that a remastered version of the original trilogy is available, the question on everyone's mind is, is it worth replaying the trilogy in 2021?
Much More Than Just a Fresh Coat of Paint
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is more than just a compilation of all the first three Mass Effect games. It's a visual overhaul that not even the best mods released for the PC version can rival. This is especially the case for the first Mass Effect game, which was made at a different time and on a different engine, with high-resolution assets the least of its worries.
With that said, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is more than just a mere graphical enhancement. Although it would have been easy enough for Electronic Arts to settle with just making Mass Effect prettier, the studio did more than what was asked for.
For Mass Effect Legendary Edition, other optional features were also added. This includes a unified character creator and improved controls for that dreaded Mako portion in the first Mass Effect game. AI behavior improvements, gameplay balance, as well as squad mechanics, were all implemented as well, all of which unified the gameplay experience across all three games.
Admittedly, the upgrades aren't enough to change the fact that the first Mass Effect trilogy was a product of its time, nor was that ever necessary in the first place. However, the changes extend far deeper than aesthetics.
At the very least, Mass Effect Legendary Edition makes what was already a timeless classic stand against the test of time better.
It’s an Adventure Worth Revisiting
What makes Mass Effect as a game so special isn't the gameplay nor the story, it's the characters or companions involved.
Now, developing some sort of attachment to the characters in a narrative-driven game is par for the course. It's what makes these games special. However, what separates the good narrative-driven games from the truly great ones is how it handles this.
In Mass Effect, the way that you build and develop the relationships with the rest of your squad and that with other NCPs feel organic and real. It's not too far off from how relationships in the real world work.
Make no mistake. The story and characters of Mass Effect aren't perfect, but so are our friends and families in real life. Perhaps this is what makes the adventures that you go through in Mass Effect well worth revisiting. Not to mention, with each choice you make, you close the doors to another path that you can then retake in the future if only to see what would have happened had you made a different choice.
Now, going back to the characters, the way that they are written is also something that you seldom see in a video game. The dialogues very rarely if at all feel forced. Just like in real life, each conversation is something that feels like you should never skip. Otherwise, you sometimes risk going through the needless and cumbersome process of having to win someone over. Worse still, if you don't play your cards right, you risk losing a potential character forever.
Then there are the loyalty missions for each character in Mass Effect, which are unique and help shape the way that you perceive the characters and the way that they see you in the game.
Ultimately, what we're trying to say is that, in Mass Effect, every decision you make and every action you take carries weight. What you do and who you are, as well as who you're with, these all matter, both to you and the rest of the in-game universe.
All the Content Under One Package
Perhaps the biggest reason why you should play Mass Effect Legendary Edition is that comes with all of the DLC content.
Mass Effect isn't the only game that has additional expansions available. It's also certainly not going to be the last. However, unlike in other games, where the DLC is fun but optional, Mass Effect has this way of making you feel like you're missing out on a lot if you didn't buy them. Sure, you could play through all three games with zero DLC, but is that really the "definitive experience"? Definitely not!
Unfortunately, getting your hands on all the DLC content for the first three Mass Effect games when the games first launched was neither easy nor affordable. Electronic Arts really made you work for it, which, admittedly, was scummy on their part.
Having said that, anyone who did finish the first three Mass Effect games that missed out on a DLC or two finally has a chance to see what the fuss was all about. Did you not get a chance to get face-to-face with the very same race that created the Reapers? Now you can. You'll even get a chance to recruit a living relic from the extinct Protheans race and make him a part of your squad.
The original Mass Effect trilogy had a total of 41 DLCs. The Legendary Edition comes with all but one.
The Bottom Line
Apologies if you were expecting this article to be a lot less vague than it is. It's difficult to put into words to encapsulate the experience of what it's like to play the original Mass Effect trilogy and trying to come up with reasons why it's worth replaying now that it's been released as Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is no less difficult.
At the end of the day, what we're trying to say here is that the first three Mass Effect games were some of the best games ever.
We know that it's a phrase thrown around carelessly by so many people, but for these games, it's the only way to describe it. The Mass Effect trilogy is a gem that's been given some very welcome polishing by way of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.
If you've already played through the original Mass Effect trilogy, we suggest that you make time to redo your adventure. If for some reason, you haven't had a chance to dive into the games yet, then you're missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime ride that few games can ever dream of matching.
TLDR; whether it's your first time playing Mass Effect or your nth time replaying it, the answer is yes.