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Jacob's DGB 02.2022 REVIEW

Mass Effect Legendary Edition collects the first three games in the series. Originally released in November of 2007, the Legendary Edition was released in May of 2021.


Story - On a brief mission, Commander Shepard and crew are betrayed by the regional badass, a Spectre called Saren. While on this mission, Shepard has a terrifying vision that doesn’t make sense. When they report back to the Citadel, the Council doesn’t believe that Saren is the bad guy, so Shepard takes it personally and sets out to prove them wrong. Mass Effect pulls a Halo and takes random obscure objects, makes them titles with religious connotations, and assumes you know what they’re talking about. Matriarch, Reapers, Conduit… Mass Effect makes it easier by adding a giant codex so you can try to look these titles up and understand them. I personally don’t like reading my video games.


Shepard then commands the Normandy across space doing random jobs, even though time is of the essence: find the bad guy before he succeeds in doing the bad thing.


Sound/Music - Glitches off often, probably due to leaving an area/entering the next area (made obvious with a loading box). Otherwise, solid space synths to set the mood.


Compressed Audio - especially in the menus, when a narrative voice will read the primary Codex entries to you. It sounds like it was squished through a tin can, not stonks.


Mako’s boost is so much louder than everything else. Besides that sound balance was mostly tolerable, with some small problems. Weapons sound amazing, despite weapons all sounding the same. A sniper rifle is a sniper rifle, a pistol sounds like a pistol. There’s an emphasis on finding/buying the Normandy’s quartermaster more licenses to sell Shepard more weapons from different vendors, but they don’t sound different from each other.


The Normandy uses some other ship to slingshot to different solar systems, and the slingshot sounds amazing. I was listening with nice headphones and it had an awesome bass rumble as the Normandy shot through space at light speed.


Visuals


Some cutscenes are eye poppingly great. I noticed them mostly at the end of the game, when there’s a great space battle, the lighting and graphics are fantastic. When the cutscene goes back to the characters in game, there’s a noticeable difference, but that’s just trying to make the best of repainting an old game.


Some EGGREGIOUS texture load in tricks, most noticeable on snowy planets while exploring in the Mako. Obviously diameters around the rover to load in textures, then shadows, etc.


Pluto!


Combat


Guns feel great, and are fun to shoot. Third person shooter. Sometimes I had a hard time letting go of a wall to reposition. Trophy hunting taught me how to use the biotic/tech special abilities and that knowledge made the final boss a cakewalk. Speaking of cakewalk…


I was OP most of the time. Near the end of game I chose combat over running a dumb repair mission to get an easy kill and avoid combat. And yet, melee is a joke. Short range even for a melee and it didn’t feel very effective.


Loot wasn’t important until I got my ass handed to me. Renewing everybody’s loadout made me OP again.


I also had an issue with space from collecting too much crap. I learned too late that mods for weapons and armor take up inventory space. You can sell all your crap for money, or break it down into biogel. I was pretty much swimming in so much coin it would have made Scrooge McDuck jealous, so about half way through the game I learned I should have been making more biogel, because…


Gameplay


I made a drinking game out of one of the gameplay mechanics - hack/survey. No Timer. Unlimited retries. Biogel makes it so you can skip hacking.


Collectibles don’t really have a reason, and it takes a lot of work, and a lot of unnecessary space in the Journal. There were four (?) optional missions for collecting crap. I came within 1 piece on two missions, less than 5 (out of 40) on another, and finished the 4th.


One of the collectibles was resources (metals, precious gasses) from planets, kinda like oil found anywhere but America. You could find them by surveying planets or as a hidden resource on planets. They don’t show up for the landing party on the map, you have to go out and find them. I thought that was cool until it got old… It would have been cool to have an upgrade that has them show up on the map so I can finish finding these useless rocks.


Clunky menus had me taking notes with pen and paper, marking down Solar System, Cluster, Planet and what mission it was related to.


Love being hailed by the 5th Fleet with “Random” missions/distress beacons. Pretty apparent end game how they programmed those calls.


Some buildings (Citadel, Novaria) are built so large they feel like playing an MMO with an almost empty server.



Weird sections of the game have looooooooong loading doors, especially the one trying to go downstairs in the Normandy. Also, loading boxes that freeze the game, most noticeably while exploring a planet in the Mako.


No way to increase Stamina/Running stats or improve the Mako


Dungeons are copy/pasted


Level up system was weird, 4 pts per level up to a point, and then only 2 per level. Unexplained level cap maybe?


Twice the Mako got caught on a flat surface for a solid 30 seconds. Random glitch.


Companions glitch often, get stuck in rooms or behind walls.


Some feel useless to use as a landing party. Shepard is strong in Combat, so it’s pointless to take someone who splits their stats over combat and tech or biotics. Better to take a companion that’s strong in tech, or strong in biotics, which is what I did most of the time.


It takes a lot of menu swapping to outfit crew members properly to their strengths (best shotgun goes to the person with maxed shotgun stats, etc.).


Companions mostly have interesting backstories & motives. I didn’t care at all about Kaidan, he seemed pretty flat, and Wrex and Garrus’ motives were a little muddled. They both didn’t have to be a part of my crew, it felt like they would have jumped ship any moment. There was really nothing keeping them there, until end game Wrex has a solid story arc.


Annoying not knowing when new dialog options are available - I got stuck on the same options for a very long time end game. Possibly because I had hit the end of their story lines, just by doing all the side missions before story missions?


WRAP UP:

Bought all three games together for $25. I finished the story and most of the game in about 25 hours, as a first playthrough. I have no idea if I’ll ever replay, especially if I play 2 and 3 in the future. It was a loveable, janky game that was probably mind blowing back in 2007. I can understand it appearing to be a highly polished experience then, with my little experience with Dragon Age 1 and 2. It took that formula, put it in space and was really enjoyable. I would recommend it for Star Trek fans, Halo fans maybe. A recommendation would come with a warning, there are long stretches of time where you are talking and paying attention to politics, or just out exploring, wrapping up optional missions. This isn’t really a fast paced game. The player must be patient.


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