Mass Effect 1 Legendary Edition review

There are two camps when it comes to the original Mass Effect. One admires its relatively old-school RPG sensibility (the bloated inventory and stats that affect how wobbly the sniper rifle is), and appreciates that it was slightly closer to classic sci-fi than the sequels—more Starship Troopers the novel than Starship Troopers the movie.

Why review Mass Effect 1?

Mass Effect Legendary Edition includes remastered versions of Mass Effect 1, 2, and 3, plus most of the DLC. It’s sold as a package, and you can’t buy the remasters individually. Despite that, we decided that reviewing just the first game, which got the biggest overhaul, would be more useful than reviewing all three at once. For a broader look, we’ve also published a technical analysis of the entire Legendary Edition

Over in camp two, ME1 is seen as a bit clumsy, both because of the controls—particularly the Mako, a tank that flips on its back like a turtle eager to be used in a Voight-Kampff test—and the way it clings to design elements that don’t fit the kind of story it’s telling. ME1 promises the full space captain experience, and then makes you regularly check in with a shopkeeper in your ship to make sure you don’t fall behind the gear curve. Kirk never had to deal with that.

I’m in camp two. ME1 is best when it’s about stepping off your spaceship into a sci-fi short story with a gun and a conveniently invisible tool for translating alien languages. Though you pick your face, class, and background, you’re always official space badass Commander Shepard of the Normandy—a ship conveniently sized for jogging around talking to NPCs between missions—and every questline planet you land on is another episode of your own TV show. 

(Image credit: EA)

The next generation 

Need to know

What is it? BioWare’s space opera RPG remastered.
Expect to pay: $60/£55
Electronic Arts
Reviewed on:
Windows 10, Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, Nvidia GTX 1060
Official site

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