With a new generation of gaming hardware always comes a new crop of interesting games, many of which will be new IP. But with that will also come new capabilities for us to enjoy classics in new ways. Given that, and the fact that remasters are super popular these days, even when they are of games that aren’t even really that old, it should be no surprise that the original Mass Effect trilogy is getting the remastered treatment. While it’s true the Mass Effect games aren’t even really all that old and still generally look pretty good, Surely, there’s nothing inherently wrong with those games getting a new coat of paint and seeing official releases on more modern hardware. In fact, there’s a lot of good things about that which we’ll be going over, but considering that this is a remastered collection of a trilogy of games that are debatably some of the better games ever made, there is even more to be excited for. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that Mass Effect: Legendary Edition could very well be one of the bigger game releases of the year.
First and foremost, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition isn’t using the word “legendary” for no reason here. Mass Effect’s influence on adventure games, RPGs, and science fiction generally can be seen far and wide. These games have had a major impact on their genre, their medium, and even other creative works outside of video games, so it’s certainly a trilogy of games that deserves to be updated and preserved in more modern, easily-accessed formats. It’s unfortunately true many games that were hugely important to gaming as a medium will surely suffer the fate of being lost to time, or at least effectively so. Games like Hexen, Gex, and other great games with X’s in their titles that had a fair amount of influence on their genres, but weren’t quite as popular as Mario 64, will probably never get a remaster, limiting their appeal to a smaller and smaller group of players as time goes on. Those games’ antiquated graphics and control schemes will only become more so as time marches on, and despite how great they were (or are, depending on your perspective on that) they are basically frozen in time. Only enjoyable to those who can revert to their old-school expectations, or those who can just put their modern ones aside. Because of this, preservation of great games is always a good idea in my book. Whether that’s through a remaster, a port, or a full-on remake. Yes, to all of the above.
Secondly, while preservation is always great, this Legendary Edition will also, as all remasters do, give new players who might have missed out on the games a great chance to give them a real play. While those games are vastly well-known, there are still plenty of folks who might have missed them – especially console gamers. If you think about it, the PS4 and Xbox One are nearly a decade old. It’s now totally plausible that tons of younger folks who grew up with last gen consoles, or older folks who just got into gaming within the last few years, had never had a legitimate opportunity to play the Mass Effect games. Giving these folks a chance to play them on the only console they own is a wonderful thing no matter how you slice it, and giving them a chance to play these games with visuals that more-or-less meet their modern expectations in terms of resolution, lighting effects, frame-rates, etc, is even more of a no-brainer.
Purists can still play the OG versions, as they still exist, but people who might not have that nostalgic attachment can dive into the series blind and get a lot more out of it than they perhaps otherwise would. This is why there will always be a place for remasters in the gaming medium. While we certainly don’t want to see rehashed content get too out of control, and will always want to see more new IPs and new sequels come to the market, carefully executed remasters will always play an important role. They allow us to keep great experiences around, giving us a greater understanding of our hobby and more perspective on how quickly it can evolve – for better and for worse. With Mass Effect getting this treatment, it’s definitely an excellent opportunity for fans of all degrees, or new would-be fans to experience these great games in a way that doesn’t require nostalgia goggles or a setting aside our reasonable, modern standards.
Thirdly, this is a huge opportunity for Mass Effect as a franchise, and it speaks to just how big of a release the Legendary Edition could be. While Mass Effect: Andromeda – let’s say – left a bit to be desired, those original three games are still triumphs of their genre. So, the goodwill that was lost with Andromeda for new and old fans could be – at least somewhat – repaired with this legendary collection. The collection will include almost all of the DLC from the original games, including weapons and expansions, barring a couple things that apparently couldn’t make it over, so in that is yet another reason why this is a big deal; Mass Effect fans of all stripes will now have a way to experience that DLC and additional content that they may or may not have passed up with the original releases. That’s always a good way for a franchise like Mass Effect, who now has a much more debatable reputation, to do a little shoring up of support. People who were Mass Effect fans before Andromeda are mostly still fans today and would like nothing more than to see the series get back on its feet.
So, while Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is a remaster among a slew of other, actually new games that are sure to be hits, it still has a lot of reason to end up being one of the bigger and more important releases of the year. It’s got a lot going for it. Great games that stand on their own pretty well even today, combined with new visuals, combined with being a collection of three games makes it a pretty compelling product for the asking price. It’s certainly not a bad way to spend 60 bucks, and could very well help ensure the survival of the franchise well into the next console generation and beyond. It’s a series that deserves to be maintained and preserved, as well as made more playable to those with modern sensibilities, and while many other great games are also worthy of that, that’s no reason to not celebrate a series that deserves that treatment for getting it. Whether you are a long-time fan of the series looking to experience these games again in a new light, or if you’re just interested in game preservation as a general concept, or if you’re a new player who for whatever reason didn’t get to play these games in their original form, it’s likely a worthwhile experience for you to do so this year.
Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.