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Mass Effect Legendary Edition gives every character a stunning visual makeover

Mass Effect Legendary Eden Prime
Mass Effect Legendary Eden Prime (Image credit: Electronic Arts)

What you need to know

  • Electronic Arts is releasing a remaster of the Mass Effect Trilogy, called the Legendary Edition, on May 14.
  • The Legendary Edition is getting a number of quality of life updates to fix problems and improve gameplay.
  • It's released a new trailer showing off the visual makeover it's given to the characters and environments.

EA and Bioware today released a new trailer showing off the updates to the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, along with a blog post detailing the visual and graphical overhaul coming with the remaster. From the looks of things, the update is very noticeable, and will make some of the locations and characters look almost unrecognizable.

Naturally, given its age, most of the examples of the improvements are shown with the original Mass Effect for the sake of contrast. And it is a big contrast — the character models from the first game look practically primitive by comparison. You can make out the hex pattern on Tali's environmental suit, the details in Liara's eyes, every one of Ashley's eyelashes.

Most of the character models appear to have been given subtle tweaks to look a little less odd — for example, Liara's aforementioned eyes are less wide and spaced slightly further apart, and her skin is bluer and more consistent with her character model in the third game. Commander Shepard's appearance has also been

There have also been updates to the world and lighting. Scenes are no longer lit so dimly you have to squint to see what's going on. The artists gave the game's environments a new look: "New environmental particle effects were added throughout the trilogy to better enhance the mood and a space's sense of life." Everything's been "beautified," as well — their word, not mine.

Mass Effect Anderson

Source: Electronic Arts (Image credit: Source: Electronic Arts)

The blog post gives full details on how this was done, including how much foundational work had to be done before the actual makeover could begin. Several of the changes were made not just for beauty, but in service to the lore — Eden Prime was reworked in the first game to look more like the "verdant paradise planet" it's intended to be.

The Mass Effect Legendary Edition launches on May 14 for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. It'll also be available on Xbox Series X/S and PS5 via those consoles' backwards compatibility.

Rachel Kaser is a Windows Central gaming contributor, who's been writing since 2013 and gaming since the age of five. She's covered everything from gaming news, reviews, and analysis -- if it exists in gaming, she knows about it. She also contributes to Future's other sites, iMore and Android Central. If you want to hear her opinions on games, pop culture, tech, and everything in between, follow her on Twitter @rachelkaser.

2 Comments
  • There's discourse on Twitter saying that it in fact looks *worse* because of the reduced shadow contrast and I'm just ?????????
  • Taste.
    What Bioware did was adjust lighting and elliminate black crush so things that were supposed to be gray now actually do. Of course, some see this as "washed-out".
    Other places, they raised the ambient light level because they no longer need to hide low res textures. By BioWare's public comments, they went back to the original concept art in many places to render the game as originally envisioned.