I'm really excited for Mass Effect: Legendary Edition. BioWare's iconic sci-fi trilogy being gathered together in one package, taking advantage of the hardware in the newest systems (including a 120 FPS mode on Xbox Series X), and complete with all of the DLC? It's the kind of thing fans have dreamed of for years. The Mass Effect games are technically all playable on PC but the first game, in particular, is an infamously poor port. Backward compatibilty is a welcome option on Xbox but it doesn't help PS5 players, nor do the Xbox 360 versions of the game really hold up that well.
All together, Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is promising a complete story for multiple playthroughs where I fool myself into thinking I'll make different decisions than the last time. It's also set to complete the best Xbox games available catalog. With the Mass Effect trilogy seeing this kind of love and care, I'd like to see BioWare's other big role-playing franchise get the same kind of attention.
Why Dragon Age needs a remaster
I love the Dragon Age games. Even Dragon Age 2, for all its faults, has the classic BioWare banter and character building I find key to the studio's legacy. In years past, I've replayed Dragon Age: Origins more times than I can count. So it brings me absolutely no joy to admit a simple fact: Dragon Age games don't hold up well.
It brings me absolutely no joy to admit a simple fact: Dragon Age games don't hold up well.
The combat in Dragon Age: Origins is clunky at best on a modern PC. The game is riddled with bugs that require numerous mods and fan patches, especially the otherwise-great Awakening expansion. A remaster is the perfect excuse to make the game more enjoyable for long-time fans and intrigued newcomers alike. I can't count the number of friends I have who listen to me speak highly of the story and characters in Origins, only to bounce off of it when they try it and find out how it looks and, more importantly, plays in the modern age.
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition compiles all three games with almost of the DLC, but BioWare has been very upfront about most of the work going into the very first game. The character creator has been expanded, numerous glitches were fixed, visuals were improved, and the art direction across different planets is closer to the original concept art thanks to improvements made in the engine. These kinds of valuable lessons could and should be applied to Dragon Age: Origins.
Meanwhile, the more action-focused and almost anime-at-times Dragon Age 2 is more playable, though there are still some problems to fix. It introduces a major new issue, however: It doesn't look like it's in the same series as Dragon Age: Origins. For that matter, the problem continues with Dragon Age: Inquisition, which again changes the visual direction well beyond simple technological improvements. The simple fact is, the visual styles of Dragon Age games aren't even remotely consistent with each other. All three mainline games look wildly different!
Based on the tiny snippets and teasers we've seen so far, I assume that the next Dragon Age game will be similar in artistic tone and visual style to Dragon Age: Inquisition. If that's so, there's even more of a case to be made for bringing the former games in line with where the series is right now and is headed in the future.
A remaster doesn't just provide the opportunity to fix bigs and and tweak controls but to unify the three original Dragon Age games as a complete package, with visuals that look like the games all belong in the same franchise. While carrying decisions over to change the state of the world isn't quite as meaningful in the Dragon Age games as it is in the Mass Effect trilogy, since the lead characters change and former important players are usually recuded to smaller roles, it's still important for new players ahead of the next game. That's only going to happen if the games can easily be accessed in some kind of remaster.
I'm going to have a lot of fun revisiting the Mass Effect games very soon. I hope that sometime in the future, I'll be saying the same about Dragon Age.
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