A space opera with a devout and vocal fanbase, this release has stoked great interest but can it improve on an already high bar?
As a complete rookie to Mass Effect this was the perfect time to jump aboard. I had always heard the fanfare around their releases but had other big releases jockey for my attention. I imagine there will be many people in a similar situation to me and I will aim this review mostly towards them, as anyone who has already played these games needs nobody to tell them how good the series is. The premise is not unfamiliar, civilisation is under attack and the world is looking to you. How you peel that onion however is greatly satisfying and could probably bring a tear to the eyes of some.
Enter Commander Shepard and his merry band of guardians of the galaxy. Customise as best you can then look at your crewmates and wonder where you went wrong, next gen Mass Effect 1 is clearly a spa day rather than plastic surgery as graphics go. The remodelling in 4K on the Series X is clearly a loving and careful homage, the ray tracing really does add true moments of beauty even though it maintains its fairly flat and blocky general terrain. The textures on the landscape and sound scaping come together to impressively mitigate the sense of age of the game. This really does help you as a new player focus on the overall quality of what was created, now and of its time. The scope and ambition to create tangibly different settings and feel to disparate parts of the galaxy really does come through. Moving into Mass Effect 2, again for the unsuspecting newbies, the graphical step is phenomenal. Clearly even more polished by the 4K remaster the initial opening scenes blow you away with scale and detail, only to wow you all over again when you first fly to omega and see the docking cutscene. The intricate artwork for the characters supports the amazing writing and voice acting to make them jump out of the story in a memorable way. You will find yourself definitely wanting to find old acquaintances just to see how good they look. Mass Effect 3 however I have yet to be able to get to in time for this review as the scale of the first two is significant, however given what I have seen so far it only makes me more excited for what’s to come.
As I mentioned before, I am new to the series so for playability, menus and combat I can only testify to what I experience in the remaster. For ME1. all UI, movement and systems are simple and functional with no major detractors. For a light RPG I found no problems picking up the game from scratch and actually found the streamlined choices and menus a dream to use when I got used to them. The combat and movement is certainly not like Apex Legends but it’s always consistent and without frustration. The only exception being when traversing Mount Everest to find some bones in the MAKO – here there are major issues but I am led to believe there are even more so in the original. Once again stepping into ME2, there is a radical shift in the controls and combat, making you feel much more connected and satisfied with the gun feel and movement. The tweaks to hacking are a welcome revamp as the added difficulty does make the looting feel like a reward rather than a routine extra four button presses to open a box. I look forward to seeing how things get even better going forward.
The story so far is entrancing, the choices invigorating and the characters captivating, this is a huge must play for anyone. For those who are familiar even I can tell just how much attention has gone into highlighting the games greatness and make the journey easy to drop back into. It has a staged download so you can drop into any one of the three games from the outset to save download time and an interactive quick start comic to catch you up to date. While next-gen gaming currently wallows in past glories this is certainly a hugely gratifying addition which should remind us of what can and should be considered a triple A title.
Author: Joe, Bath store