It’s rare that we post news here at GameCritics, but once in a while something pops up that I’m sure our readers will want to know about. So, in preparation for the upcoming Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, we’re sharing the below info (in a condensed fashion) which was provided to us by EA/Bioware PR.

The Mass Effect Legendary Edition team at BioWare has just published a new blog post detailing the game’s development process, providing more details on what to expect in the remaster, from gameplay tuning to rebalancing and more. 

You can view all the details in the new blog post here:

The Mass Effect Legendary Edition is coming on May 14

Combat Tuning

The following overview lists gameplay changes made specifically to the first Mass Effect, with the goal of bringing it more in line with the rest of the trilogy:

●  Shepard can now sprint out of combat

●  Melee attacks are now mapped to a button press rather than automatically occurring based on proximity to an enemy

●  Weapon accuracy and handling has been significantly improved

○  Reticle bloom is more controlled

○  Weapon sway removed from sniper rifles

○  Aiming down sights/”tight aim” camera view has been improved

○  Improved aim assist for target acquisition

●  All relevant enemies now take headshot damage in the first game

○  Previously some did not, including humanoid enemies

●  Ammo mods (Anti-Organic, Anti-Synthetic, etc.) can now drop throughout the whole game

○  Previously, these stopped dropping at higher player levels

○  They are now also available to purchase from merchants

●  All weapons can be used by any class without penalty

○  Specializations (the ability to train/upgrade certain weapons) are still class-specific

●  Weapons cool down much faster

●  Medi-gel usage has been improved

○  Base cooldown reduced

○  Levelling benefits increased

○  Increased Liara’s bonus to cooldowns

●  Inventory management improvements

○  Items can now be flagged as “Junk”

○  All Junk items can be converted into Omni-gel or sold to merchants at once

○  Inventory and stores now have sorting functionality

●  Some abilities have been rebalanced

●  Weapon powers (i.e., those that are unlocked on each weapon type’s skill tree) have been improved:

○  Effectiveness/strength is increased (duration reduced in some cases)

○  Heat now resets on power activation

Additional Gameplay Improvements

●  Squadmates can now be commanded independently of each other in the first Mass Effect, the same way you can command them individually in Mass Effect 2 and 3

●  Some boss fights and enemies in the first game have been tweaked to be fairer for players but still challenging

●  Cover has been improved across the trilogy

○  Additional cover added to some encounters

○  Entering and exiting cover is now more reliable

●  XP has been rebalanced in the first game (details below)

●  Ammo drops have been rebalanced in Mass Effect 2 (details below)

XP gained during the first game has been rebalanced for better consistency, especially towards the game’s end. Players who complete most aspects of the game should be able to more reliably get to higher levels on a single playthrough rather than needing to play through a second time to do so. Additionally, there is no longer a level cap on a first playthrough.

As a final gunplay change, we also tweaked ammunition in Mass Effect 2. We found that ammo was spawning too scarcely in the original game, so we’ve increased the drop rate for ammo in ME2, particularly when using a sniper rifle since that had a reduced ammo drop rate in the original release.

The Mako

This legendary vehicle from the first Mass Effect has been “calibrated” to perform better than ever. In the original game, the physics tuning for the Mako made it feel too light and bouncy, even at times becoming uncontrollable, but it’s now a much smoother ride while still being “loveable” like before. (Yes, you can still drive off cliffs to your heart’s content).

Its functionally has also been improved with faster shield recharging and new thrusters added to the rear, allowing for a speed boost when you’re inevitably trying to scale up the side of a near-vertical cliff. (We all do it.) This boost’s recharge is independent from the jump jets on the vehicle’s underside, so you can use both at once or separately.

These are the calibrations you can expect to experience when driving the Mako:

●  Improved handling

○  Physics tuning improved to feel “weightier” and slide around less

●  Improved camera controls

○  Resolved issues preventing the Mako from accurately aiming at lower angles

●  Shields recharge faster

●  New thrusters added for a speed boost

○  Its cooldown is separate from the jump jets’

●  The XP penalty while in the Mako has been removed

●  Touching lava no longer results in an instant Mission Failure and instead deals damage over time

Unifying & Modernizing the Trilogy

For the Legendary Edition, our goal was to tune up the trilogy and make it more consistent from game to game while honoring the things that made each unique.

For example, we’ve unified Shepard’s customization options in the character creator and even added some new options, like additional skin tones and hairstyles. You can use the same character creator code across all three games, meaning your Shepard can now have a consistent appearance across the trilogy, or you can choose to change their appearance at the start of each title. Customization options and character appearances have also been improved with updated textures and hair models.

We’ve also added the Mass Effect: Genesis comics by Dark Horse into the base experience before Mass Effect 2 and 3 as an optional experience so players can make choices from previous games no matter where they choose to start.

Of course, the Legendary Edition includes a variety of additional enhancements. Here are some of the things you can look forward to:

●  New unified launcher for all three games

○  Includes trilogy-wide settings for subtitles and languages

○  Saves are still unique to each game and can be managed independently of each other

●  Updated character creator options, as mentioned above

○  FemShep from Mass Effect 3 is the new default female option in all three games (the original FemShep design is still available as a preset option)

●  Achievements across the trilogy have been updated

○  New achievements have been added to the trilogy

○  Progress for some achievements now carries over across all three games (e.g. Kill 250 enemies across all games)

■  Achievements that were streamlined into one and made redundant were removed

○  A number of achievements have had their objectives/descriptions and/or names updated

●  Integrated weapons and armor DLC packs

○  Weapons and armor DLC packs are now integrated naturally into the game; they’re obtainable via research or by purchasing them from merchants as you progress through the game, rather than being immediately unlocked from the start. This ensures overall balance and progression across ME2 and ME3

○  Recon Hood (ME2) and Cerberus Ajax Armor (ME3) are available at the start of each game

●  Additional gameplay & Quality of life improvements

○  Audio is remixed and enhanced across all games

○  Hundreds of legacy bugs from the original releases are fixed

○  Native controller and 21:9 display support on PC, with DirectX 11 compatibility

Brad Gallaway
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