I’ve twice tried to get into the Mass Effect series and both times I’ve given up a few hours into the first game. ‘That’s where it starts to get good!’ my friends tell me, while also saying that Mass Effect 2 fixed a lot of the first game’s problems.
I’m therefore pleased to learn of how Mass Effect Legendary Edition will tweak the first game to make it more consistent with its sequels. A new blog post on the RPG remaster’s official site goes into detail on how they’re tuning combat, boss fights and the Mako “without outright scrapping the spirit of the original games.”
It seems that combat is where the biggest changes will lie. “Mass Effect was heavily influenced by traditional RPG mechanics, like the randomness of a dice roll and pen-and-paper stat building. As a result, weapons in Mass Effect often felt less accurate and reliable than the gunplay in Mass Effect 2 and 3,” reads the post.
Accuracy, including reticle bloom and weapom sway, has been tuned across all weapons to “allow players to maintain more consistent firepower while still managing their shots/overheat meter.” Aim Down Sights is also more accurate, as it is in the later games, and Shepard’s abilities have been re-balanced so that, for example, ‘Immunity’ grants a powerful but brief defensive buff rather than a small buff that lasts indefinitely.
There’s a long bulletpointed list of combat changes in the post, and it seems designed to make it more of the action game that the sequels are. Shepard can sprint out of combat, weapons cool down quicker, all relevant enemies take headshot damage, and weapon powers are more effective.
Beyond combat, there are a bunch of other tweaks, including the ability to command squadmates independently (which you could do in the sequels), “fairer” boss fights, and additional cover that’s more reliable to enter and exit from. The Mako – Mass Effect’s big, bouncy offroad vehicle – has been tweaked to be less bouncy, more easily controlled, but with new thrusters so you can speed up cliffs more easily.
Finally, character customisation has been made consistent across all three games. You’ll still be able to re-deisgn your character at the start of each game, but the options available are the same across all three – and there are some new textures and hair models, too.
As a newcomer to the series, these kinds of tweaks sound appealing to me, because modern quality-of-life features and lessons from the later games are going to make it easier for me to get into the trilogy, at last. Maybe if you’re an existing fan this sounds sacrilegious rather than sacrilicious, though, I dunno.