The Five Biggest Changes Coming to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition

Next month sees the long-awaited release of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, a remaster of the entire Mass Effect trilogy that includes the vast majority of the DLC from each of the three games as well as a bevy of visual and performance upgrades. Originally announced on the series’ self-appointed holiday N7 Day last year, Bioware has also spent substantial time and effort to enhance the gameplay as well, particularly for the first game, transforming the trilogy into a singular, shared experience that will ideally be easy to access for newcomers and longtime fans alike. Last week, the acclaimed developer detailed many of the changes coming to the remaster, and there are five big updates in particular that stand out to help improve these beloved games.

Shepard Customization

Before you take your first steps into the world of Mass Effect, players are tasked with designing the look of their own Commander Shepard, with the customization options gradually evolving over the course of the series. With the Legendary Edition unifying saves across each of the three games, the character customization has also been consolidated into one system that can be carried across the whole trilogy, or changed at the beginning of each new game. Plus, Bioware has even added a handful of new options, including additional skin tones and hairstyles, to allow players to fully create the Shepard of their dreams.

Mass Effect 1 Weapons

As the original entry in the series that experimented with a ton of unique ideas, many of which were firsts for both the studio and genre, it’s fully understandable that the 2007 title may have aged less gracefully than the games that followed it. One of the key aspects that holds the first game back is its dated combat, with weapons that operated on frustrating cooldowns and felt rough and unsatisfying to shoot even at the time, let alone in 2021. Fortunately, alongside a handful of other changes to the first Mass Effect’s combat, weapon accuracy and handling has been “significantly improved,” with faster cooldowns in addition to improved ADS and aim assist. Additionally, all classes will be granted access to all weapons, although specializations will still remain class-specific, and weapon powers have been improved to be more effective overall.


Aside from the less-cherished Mass Effect: Andromeda, the original Mass Effect was the only other title in the series to allow you to explore planets through a land vehicle known as the Mako. While the original handling of the vehicle was undeniably clunky, the Mako has established a clear love-hate relationship with players over the years, with some enjoying its gravity-defying nature and others bemoaning its abysmal controls. For players that find themselves in the latter category, Bioware has fine-tuned the physics of the Mako to make it feel heavier and slide around less, while also providing it with thrusters and hastening the recharge time on the vehicle’s shields.

Galaxy at War

As the conclusion to Shepard’s storyline, Mass Effect 3 allowed players to unite the galaxy in the fight against the Reapers through its Galaxy at War system, which provided players with an overview on how their decisions and progress have affected your relationships with various civilizations and their willingness to fight alongside you. While this was originally intended as a way to unite all of the previous decisions you made across the entire trilogy, one key complaint about the Galaxy at War feature was how it primarily focused on the third game alone by encouraging players to use the companion app or complete multiplayer missions to increase your overall Galactic Readiness meter. In the Legendary Edition, the Galaxy at War will no longer be affected by anything outside of the three core games, and will better take into account key decisions made across the entire trilogy, including improvements for the Paragon-Renegade system in Mass Effect 2. All of these changes are geared towards making the final battle more challenging to prepare for, but all the more rewarding to successfully pull off.


Unlike the other enhancements which are largely tied to a specific game or feature, one of the biggest improvements coming to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is the trilogy’s approach to cover. As a cover-based third-person shooter, the cover system of Mass Effect has not always worked as dependably as other series within the genre, particularly in the first game. Thanks to the Legendary Edition, additional cover has been added to “some” encounters, while entering and exiting cover has been refined to be more reliable and work closer to how it was originally intended across each of the three games.

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is set to launch on May 14 for PS4, Xbox One and PC.