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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition


Malaphax
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This is basically the entire trilogy and all the DLCs rolled into one game.  They also provide some benefits for importing characters so your decisions from game to game carry over a little bit easier. 

I just played through Mass Effect 1 and boy was that a trip.  Honestly I forgot large portions of the game so it was kinda neat. 
The ending mission on the citidel is still just as epic as when the game first came out.  It genuinely holds up as awesome. 
Some of the older mechanics, the constant loot, the convoluted abilities and skill points and upgrades is definitely more from the RPG side and frankly I don't think it adds to the game. 
I was also reminded that some skills like biotic charge aren't even in mass effect 1, and that most weapons feel pretty crap. 
The mako is still a giant dumpsterfire on wheels and that's after they made major improvements to it.  All the explorable planets are way to mountainous, every single structure is copy pasted with a few rooms missing or changed.  It's clear that the first entry had some great elements and some terrible ones. 

It took me about 20 hours to go through the first game.  I don't expect to power through the other games in the series, plus 2 and 3 had DLC, most of which I didn't buy or play through. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

This is moderately off-topic but still worth a watch.  It's basically a breakdown of elements present in season 1 of game of thrones and how mass effect could be turned into a big budget television series.
I think mass effect could certainly be a big budget television series, but as always, I think the writing would be the make or break elements.  There are some kludgy bits of writing in the series and it would be worthwhile to clean some things up or straight up change certain plot points around the reapers.  Also oddly enough both series had bad endings, I would hope if someone did try and adapt mass effect they completely rewrote the last act. 

 

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I played a decent bit of Mass Effect 2 over the last few days. 

  • I forgot how good some of the writing is.
  • There's tons of DLC that I didn't own or didn't play through back when this first released.  Some of it is decent some of it is trash.  The hover tank missions are straight garbage. 
  • There's plenty of time padding and useless gameplay elements. 
    • Why does the normandy SR2 have fuel now? Why do I need to buy more, what kind of shoestring budget is this crap?
    • Why do I need to point and click my ship around the starmap now? Oh because fuel, also why is it more effective to tap click instead of holding it down?
    • Every goddamn planet needs probes, and scanning feels incredibly tedious - you can't upgrade the number of probes you carry as far as I can tell. 
    • Some of the side missions feel really poorly done.  One was literally stuffing batteries into a mech, another was defending against waves of dogs while waiting for your ship to pick you up (the one that just dropped you off <1 minute ago). 
  • This game really hammers home the whole 'building a team' motif that you feel throughout the series.  Obviously 2 has more crew members but it feels like they hit their stride with the second entry.
  • There's much lower cooldowns on skills/powers and less options.  There are absolutely some enemies that force you into hiding behind cover, more so than mass effect 1.  The simplified skill tree doesn't bother me, also there's a respec option. 

I'm also reminded that mass effect andromeda had pretty solid gameplay, I enjoyed how it handled combat and the freedom to have different loadouts and different skills you can swap between.  Sadly everything else in andromeda was pretty bad. 

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I ended up finishing Mass Effect 2.  It's solid but the final mission is lackluster, I remember the marketing talking about how it was a suicide mission and you'd need to make hard choices and sacrifices, but none of that happens as long as you use your brain when selecting squadmates for assignments.  The final "boss" is also a joke. 

Some of the DLC was really good.  Lair of the Shadow Broker in particular was a highlight with multiple boss encounters and some cool set-pieces.  There were two other major pieces of DLC involving some experiments on an autistic dude to potentially control the geth and one involving blowing up an entire mass relay to delay the reapers.  This actually provides a much better segue into why Shepard is in military prison at the beginning of ME3, she literally sacrifices an entire system of batarians (just a small war crime). 

I've only briefly started up ME3 but again I'm reminded that they made substantial improvements to the controls and combat between each game.  Mass Effect 3 feels like a modern game, with ability combos, better movement and faster combat encounters.  Plus more enemy variety and specific enemies that require abilities to deal with.  I'll probably play this off and on when I'm in the mood for singleplayer.  Also it's nice that importing a save from ME2 allows you to start with a generous number of powers in the early game.  I wish more games gave out substantial skills near the beginning because while it might be a bit much to take in, it does allow for a much better combat experience to start with a more complete set of tools. 

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Finished up 3. 

The combat in 3 is really solid and still holds up.  I think andromeda has better combat but only because they gave you additional abilities and more mobility. 
The story of 3 is one of the weaker ones.  There's this whole "unite the galaxy" theme but it feels like you're fucking around dealing with nonsense for way too much of the game.  Also while I've seen some strong reviews for the citadel DLC, the leviathan DLC is absolute trash.  I feel like the writers genuinely went out of their way to overexplain the reapers and they did it in the worst way possible. 
The ending is just as bad as I remembered it, but this has the upgrades/changes they put in after I beat it many years ago.  The changes make it slightly better, but they're basically using Anderson and the Illusive man as an angel/devil on your shoulder regarding the choices you have.  I also found out there's an option where you don't choose - and it's genuinely terrible, it also makes zero sense from a writing standpoint. 

I know a ton of people hold up this trillogy as something truly grand and amazing, I think that there are some highlights but plenty of bad writing and gameplay as well.  I do think the Mass Effect universe is one of the bigger and more interesting ones that's been created by video games in recent memory, arguably one of the few AAA space operas ever created.  I'd like to see what they come up with for the upcoming sequel they're teasing, but I have zero faith in the Bioware development team, plus I'm concerned that the push from management to monetize with GaaS or microtransactions will seep in to some of the design and ruin it. 

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