Even in the Legendary Edition, Mass Effect 2 feels like a big step up

Most of the changes in Mass Effect Legendary Edition were about improving the first game. Significant stuff like the graphical overhaul and redesigned combat, and a huge list of smaller tweaks too. Now you can skip elevator rides in the Citadel, so if another news bulletin is blaring instead of some priceless Garrus/Tali banter you can spacebar right past it. The Mako has a boost button, which lets you zoom over those boring planets like Shepard’s souped it up for illegal street racing. The inventory limit is doubled, you can shoot any gun effectively no matter your class, and all the weapons have noticeable differences based on their manufacturer. This Mass Effect is absolutely a better game than the version we got on PC in 2008.

Which is why it was surprising to fire up the Legendary version of Mass Effect 2, which had a much more light-touch remaster, and experience a kind of full-body relief. It was like when you don’t realize you’re thirsty, then drink a glass of water and suddenly feel it revitalize every part of your body like a PSA for the benefits of hydration.

(Image credit: EA)

For starters, ME2’s combat is fluid and responsive. You can vault over obstacles to charge enemies while they reload rather than having to awkwardly detach yourself from cover and go round, and playing as a vanguard I zipped across every battlefield like a pinball—a bundle of biotic energy slamming into clueless mercs, following up with a shotgun blast to their goofy staggered faces. Meanwhile, in ME1 sometimes you have to press the button to go into cover twice just to get it to respond, and once you’re in you may as well stay there.

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