Mass Effect: Legendary Edition - Everything Returning Players Should Know

Mass Effect: Legendary Edition brings back the sci-fi RPG trilogy in one package, but not everything works exactly the way you may remember it.

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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition brings the first three games in the series together in one package, letting new players experience it for the first time with new visual enhancements. But if you're an experienced Spectre, you should know that playing the Legendary Edition won't feel exactly like you remember. BioWare has made some quality-of-life and balancing changes from the originals. If you're diving back in for your second trip through the galaxy (or third or fourth), read on for things you may need to know.

For more about how the collection stacks up, be sure to read our Mass Effect: Legendary Edition review in progress.

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DLC Is Sprinkled Throughout

In the original Mass Effect releases, DLC expansions were added post-launch as usual, so buying the extra stories would grant you immediate access to them. Sometimes there might be level restrictions, but in general, you wouldn't have to wait. The Legendary Edition includes almost all of the DLC across all three games from the start, but you can't just jump straight into the DLC. Instead, BioWare has spread out the DLC missions so that they'll appear more organically alongside regular missions. That makes it a single, unified experience, but it also means that you can't, for example, start up the Shadow Broker mission as soon as you start playing Mass Effect 2 (you can go recruit the two DLC squadmates, Zaeed and Kasumi).

But The Pinnacle Station DLC Is MIA

The one piece of DLC missing from the package is the Pinnacle Station add-on from the first Mass Effect. As BioWare has detailed before, the data was corrupted after the original Mass Effect was released. That led to the DLC being absent from the PS3 port for Mass Effect. Similarly, when BioWare went to remaster the game for this Legendary Edition, the same corrupted data problem prevented it from inclusion in the game. Pinnacle Station does still technically exist on the Xbox Store, for the original Xbox 360 release, but for obvious reasons, it isn't compatible with the Legendary Edition.

Use Weapons Without Penalties

The original Mass Effect included classes like the rest of the series, but more narrowly defined them by creating penalties for using certain weapons that weren't optimized for your class. The Legendary Edition removes these penalties to give you more flexibility in your class and weapon choices. However, certain classes will be able to allocate points into certain weapon types to improve their effectiveness.

Galactic Readiness Depends More On All Three Games

In the original Mass Effect 3, your Galactic Readiness level could be buffed by playing plenty of the multiplayer mode. In the Legendary Edition, that mode has been cut (though it could return), and the Galactic Readiness has pretty much been removed as well. The strength of your military forces in Mass Effect 3 is now determined by your actions throughout the other two games, as well as which main and side missions you complete. Check out our full breakdown of Mass Effect: Legendary Edition's changes to the Galactic Readiness system.

Respec at a Discount With Shadow Broker

You can respec your party's powers and upgrades in Mass Effect 2 by investing in the Retrain Powers upgrade from the Research Terminal on the Normandy. You can find it on the second deck. But if you can wait a little while until you complete the Shadow Broker mission, you can get a significant discount. The Normandy respec costs 2500 Element Zero, while the Shadow Broker respec is only 1000 EZ. Either way, don't worry too much about spending your upgrade points because you can always retrain.

FemShep Looks More Consistent

In the original Mass Effect releases, the male Shepard was the default in all marketing materials, and this was reflected in the games themselves. Though FemShep was always an option, her default look was inconsistent between games. That has been fixed for the Legendary Edition, so you can pick FemShep (expertly voiced by Jennifer Hale) without worrying about the consistency being broken by an ever-changing face. Naturally, if you make your own custom Shepard--male or female--that will carry through all three games too.

Trophies And Achievements Are Easier, Thankfully

Some of the Trophies and Achievements were extremely tricky, or even required multiple playthroughs to claim them all, and Legendary Edition makes some much-needed adjustments. One, for example, rewards you for playing with certain squadmates in the first Mass Effect. While it used to require you to play most of the game with squadmates--which effectively restricted you from swapping out squad members and only let you get a couple per playthrough--now you can claim the equivalent Trophy or Achievement by playing a handful of missions with a squadmate. Others that make a cumulative count will stack through different playthroughs. All these changes make getting a Platinum trophy much more attainable.

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