Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is just around the corner (May 14th) and today Jay Ingram, the Community Manager for EA/BioWare, revealed a few new gameplay calibrations over at the PlayStation Blog.

Combat Tuning (Mass Effect)

In the first Mass Effect, accuracy(including reticle bloom and weapon sway) has been tuned across all weapons to allow players to maintain more consistent firepower while still managing their shots/overheat meter. We’ve also improved the aiming down sights (ADS) camera view to be tighter on combat so that ADS is more accurate(like the second and third games), and we’ve improved the aim assist to provide better precision. These small behind-the-scenes changes collectively make combat much “snappier,” putting more control into the player’s hands.

  • Shepard can now sprint out of combat
  • Melee attacks are now mapped to a button press rather than automatically occurring based on proximity to an enemy
  • Weapon accuracy and handling has been significantly improved
    • Reticle bloom is more controlled
    • Weapon sway removed from sniper rifles
    • Aiming down sights/”tight aim” camera view has been improved
    • Improved aim assist for target acquisition
  •  All relevant enemies now take headshot damage in the first game
    •  Previously some did not, including humanoid enemies
  • Ammo mods (Anti-Organic, Anti-Synthetic, etc.) can now drop throughout the whole game
    • Previously, these stopped dropping at higher player levels
    • They are now also available to purchase from merchants
  •  All weapons can be used by any class without penalty
    •  Specializations (the ability to train/upgrade certain weapons) are still class-specific
  • Weapons cool down much faster
  • Medi-gel usage has been improved
    •  Base cooldown reduced
    •  Levelling benefits increased
    •  Increased Liara’s bonus to cooldowns
  • Inventory management improvements
    • Items can now be flagged as “Junk”
    • All Junk items can be converted into Omni-gel or sold to merchants at once
    • Inventory and stores now have sorting functionality
  • Some abilities have been rebalanced
  • Weapon powers (i.e., those that are unlocked on each weapon type’s skill tree) have been improved:
    • Effectiveness/strength is increased (duration reduced in some cases)
    •  Heat now resets on power activation

Additional Gameplay Improvements (All)

Beyond general gunplay changes, we’ve made some specific changes to encounters, enemies, and how you engage in combat. We found a few opportunities to bring the first game in line with the second and third games, and we also found some systems across the whole trilogy that needed a tune up.

  • Squadmates can now be commanded independently of each other in the first Mass Effect, the same way you can command them individually in Mass Effect 2 and 3
  • Some boss fights and enemies in the first game have been tweaked to be fairer for players but still challenging
  • Cover has been improved across the trilogy
    • Additional cover added to some encounters
    • Entering and exiting cover is now more reliable
  • XP has been rebalanced in the first game (details below)
  • Ammo drops have been rebalanced in Mass Effect 2 (details below)

The Mako (Mass Effect)

This legendary vehicle from the first Mass Effect has been “calibrated” to perform better than ever. In the original game, the physics tuning for the Mako made it feel too light and bouncy, even at times becoming uncontrollable, but it’s now a much smoother ride while still being “loveable” like before. (Yes, you can still drive off cliffs to your heart’s content).

Its functionally has also been improved with faster shield recharging and new thrusters added to the rear, allowing for a speed boost when you’re inevitably trying to scale up the side of a near-vertical cliff. (We all do it.) This boost’s recharge is independent from the jump jets on the vehicle’s underside, so you can use both at once or separately.

  • Improved handling
    • Physics tuning improved to feel “weightier” and slide around less
  •  Improved camera controls
    •  Resolved issues preventing the Mako from accurately aiming at lower angles
  • Shields recharge faster
  • New thrusters added for a speed boost
    • Its cooldown is separate from the jump jets’
  • The XP penalty while in the Mako has been removed
  • Touching lava no longer results in an instant Mission Failure and instead deals damage over time

Unifying and Modernizing the Trilogy (All)

For the Legendary Edition, our goal was to tune up the trilogy and make it more consistent from game to game while honoring the things that made each unique. For example, we’ve unified Shepard’s customization options in the character creator and even added some new options, like additional skin tones and hairstyles. You can use the same character creator code (seen bottom-left in the image below) across all three games, meaning your Shepard can now have a consistent appearance across the trilogy, or you can choose to change their appearance at the start of each title. Customization options and character appearances have also been improved with updated textures and hair models.

  • New unified launcher for all three games
    • Includes trilogy-wide settings for subtitles and languages
    • Saves are still unique to each game and can be managed independently of each other
  •  Updated character creator options, as mentioned above
    • FemShep from Mass Effect 3 is the new default female option in all three games (the original FemShep design is still available as a preset option)
  • Trophies across the trilogy have been updated
    • New trophies have been added to the trilogy
    • Progress for some now carries over across all three games (e.g. Kill 250 enemies across all games)
      • Trophies that were streamlined into one and made redundant were removed
    •  A number of trophies have had their objectives/descriptions and/or names updated
  • Integrated weapons and armor DLC packs
    • Weapons and armor DLC packs are now integrated naturally into the game; they’re obtainable via research or by purchasing them from merchants as you progress through the game, rather than being immediately unlocked from the start. This ensures overall balance and progression across ME2 and ME3
    • Recon Hood (ME2) and Cerberus Ajax Armor (ME3) are available at the start of each game
  • Additional gameplay & Quality of life improvements
    •  Audio is remixed and enhanced across all games
    •  Hundreds of legacy bugs from the original releases are fixed

Galaxy at War Rebalancing (Mass Effect 3)

As Commander Shepard, you’re tasked with the hardest mission of all: defeating the Reapers and saving the galaxy from annihilation. This comes to a head inMass Effect 3 when the galaxy unites, but your choices from across the trilogy lead you there and determine who fights at your side. The Galaxy at War feature puts you in the heart of the Reaper War from the Normandy’s Combat Information Center, which has been rebalanced in the Legendary Edition. For example, Galactic Readiness is no longer impacted by external factors that aren’t part of the collection, like multiplayer or the old companion app for ME3. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean defeating the Reapers will be easy. 

The more content you complete across the entire trilogy, the more likely you’ll be prepared for the final fights in its conclusion. If you only play Mass Effect 3, you’ll have to do just about every option available in the game to be eligible for an ending that doesn’t result in massive galactic losses. Playing the first two games and carrying over your progress is the most reliable way to get good results in the final hours of the Reaper War. For comparison, if you previously played ME3 with the Extended Cut (which included Galactic Readiness rebalancing), fully preparing for the final fight will be more difficult to achieve in the Legendary Edition. And on that note: the Extended Cut ending is now the game’s default finale.

However, readying your intergalactic armies will be made a bit easier by a number of critical bug fixes and backend improvements made to the Paragon-Renegade system in ME2; we resolved some legacy issues that inhibited accurate reputation stats from being displayed and outright prevented certain dialogue options from being selectable when they should have been. Because of this, key moments that have been notoriously difficult to achieve in ME2 (and impacted ME3) can now be completed more reliably, leading to better results in the story’s final act.

Wow! That’s just some of the new and very hard work they are doing to bring us a better more complete Trilogy. This thing sounds awesome and is going to be well worth the price. Maybe now I’ll finally play Mass Effect and finally finish Mass Effect 3. Mass Effect 2 was the only one I ever spend much time in.

Mass Effect 2 was the first time I ever felt a game really be alive and in a real universe. For me, it was like real life Star Wars. I can’t wait to be able to create my character in the original and use him throughout the entire trilogy.

Now only if I can stop playing Outriders long enough to play this.

Be sure to follow us here as we continue to cover Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. Next week, the PlayStation Blog will provide an additional look at the remastering process and you know we’ll have you covered.