For a long time there was only hope, then rumors, then it became concrete. In the meantime, the remaster of the action RPG series Mass Effect has been released for PC and consoles with the subtitle "Legendary Edition". And the developers and publishers Electronic Arts keep what they promise with the naming: the remaster is legendary - it makes good games even better anyway.  

The Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is for everyone. If you don't know the action role-playing game series around Commander Shepard, you can't avoid the remaster. Anyone who only knows part of the series does not know either. And everyone who gambled through the trilogy at the time will also find plenty of motivators in the revamped version to embark on the space adventure again.  

Fear unfounded: Remaster rocks 

A remaster for Mass Effect is coming? Is that enough? The fears of the fans were there as well as anticipation. In the end it was unfounded because Bioware and Electronic Arts delivered. And how! 

It was in 2007 that the foundation stone for one of the best game series of all time was laid with the release of Mass Effect. Yes, the debut had some weaknesses. And no, even the remaster could not iron out all the frustrations by a long way - nevertheless, a journey began in November that was not supposed to end until 2021. The idea of ​​the series is more complex than one would initially assume: It's not just about a loosely narrated space adventure with some weird alien characters, but about action, packaged in a role-playing game, with script storytelling, freer plot alternatives, unique characters - with a narrative level more like a novel than a game. Mass Effect is a kind of egg-laying woolly swine of the games mechanisms - but almost perfectly balanced. 

Weird alien races with personality - that's what Mass Effect has stood for since 2007. Image: EA

Weird alien races with personality - that's what Mass Effect has stood for since 2007. Image: EA

And with the Remaster Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, EA and Bioware invite you again to experience the story and its countless twists - presented as grandiose as never before. The story of Commander Shepherd's campaign against the Reaper has aged well. Basically you don't notice anything, because what is being told is timeless. Intergalactic political entanglements, fighting between hostile alien races, characters with personality behind which there are real stories - Mass Effect is a collection of storytelling superlatives. 

The ravages of time gnaw at every classic

From the technical point of view, that cannot be said. The ravages of time gnawed at the Mass Effect series - far more on the debut title than on the successors. The developers now had the chance to correct that and they took advantage of it. At least as far as possible. Real fans didn't mind. Anyone who had not played the series before was faced with a hurdle, at least when it came to getting started: Mass Effect 1 was no longer particularly attractive in terms of graphics and play, but the series is only complete if you have actually played it from start to finish. You have to, because some story lines unfold in the course of the trilogy. With the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition there is no longer any reason for action RPG fans to not access it. 

Mass Effect looks modern and fresh as a remaster. Image: EA

Mass Effect looks modern and fresh as a remaster. Image: EA

The biggest innovation of the Mass Effect remaster lies in the visual presentation. This is particularly evident in the first part of the series. The Mass Effect 1 remaster is nothing short of impressive. The developers have invested a lot of sweat in order not only to bring the game to the screens with a higher resolution, but also in a more atmospheric way. You can see that in many places. The game environments have been modified here, more dynamics and lighting effects have been added there. And the character models no longer look old-fashioned, but modern, even if not "top notch". Mass Effect 1, as a remaaster, also looks like a game the developers released sometime in the past two years, rather than an action title that launched decades ago. 

The fact that the recently often criticized actors from Electronic Arts and Bioware have managed to do this must deserve respect. Above all, it's the work the developers put into the remaster that makes Mass Effect a better game. 

Gameplay: Well optimized, but not perfect 

Because optics alone do not make a game, a hand has also been made on the gameplay. Here, however, they have been far less effective in making improvements. There are still weaknesses, especially in Mass Effect 1. This becomes noticeable in the fights: they feel rounder than in the original, but are still far from the quality of the two successors. In hectic situations, it becomes clear that even the "remastered battles" cannot be mastered particularly intuitively. At times it's a struggle to use the skills of the hero and his squadmates - it's still choppy here and there. Nonetheless, progress is noticeable. At least you get through the combat passages a little rounder and smoother. 

One of the biggest strengths of the series connects all parts: the story. Image: EA

One of the biggest strengths of the series connects all parts: the story. Image: EA

The next pitfall is then the UI, in those situations that today are often referred to as "quality of life". Miserably long scrolling through menus or the cumbersome access to the map are two examples of factors that could have been improved. Some save points are also unfavorable and you often lose many minutes of progress if the player's virtual light is blown out in the fights. Because Mass Effect 1 has been completely improved, but is still the classic from 2007, the remaster impressively shows what the developers did back then: the game is a hit, then and now.

The debut set trends that were successfully continued with Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. The two successors then had a significantly higher level of quality, and the adjustments to the second and third series offshoots in the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition are correspondingly superficial. Here and there the developers worked on balancing, but on the whole optimized rather than deeply changed. It wasn't necessary anyway: Both parts played brilliantly, and the remaster is no different. 

Fans got exactly what they hoped for with Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. 


Number of players: single player
Age: USK from 16
Difficulty: medium to difficult
Long-term motivation: high
Genre: RPG
Sub-genre: Action-RPG

Developer: BioWare
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2021
Platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Xbox One
Language: German
Costs: from 59,99 euros 



Higher, faster, further, better - that is not infrequently considered a motto when fans think of a new edition of a classic game. With Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, however, it should only be a remaster. Not because the games couldn't have been improved differently and more profoundly, but because in the case of the Commander Shepherd trilogy it wasn't necessary at all. As great as the remaster is, it's only so good because the games were of above-average quality in their original state.

Because Mass Effect 1 has now become a thing of the past, the improvements are particularly noticeable there. The look is excellent, atmospheric and at least as atmospheric as in modern space role-playing games. The title fits like Commander Shepherd's fist on the Reaper's face: the remaster is legendary. Little need to be said about parts two and three: These are more in the details optimized, nothing more was necessary. 

The aim was to make one of the best game trilogies even better. It was not a given that this would be achieved automatically just because Mass Effect was launched again. This games project shows more clearly than seldom how valuable a development concept is for success. Electronic Arts had listened to the wishes of the fans: Even that is not a matter of course, but it shows how much the publisher tries to maintain its brand. 

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is also so terrific because for many players it is a kind of journey back into adolescence or young adulthood. Today's mid-forties were around 30 years old when the debut title was released, and quite a few of them have accompanied the series to this day. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is like coming home from a long journey: it just feels good.

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