Forget the shiny new textures, 'iconic' Fem Shep model, and fixed-up Mako, the real hero of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition (opens in new tab) is the addition of ultrawide support. Yes, all three instalments of the classic trilogy now come with 21:9 baked in.
Sitting in front of a 34-inch, 3440x1440 gaming monitor (opens in new tab) right now, that's one of the promised features that has really caught my attention for this enhanced space opera, and means I might actually go back and play the original Mass Effect this time.
It had the best story in the trilogy, some genuinely iconic moments, and was a stunning experience when it first launched. But when it came to replaying the trilogy again a couple years back I couldn't face the clunky controls, dated graphics, and inability to take advantage of modern resolutions. I am, indeed, that shallow.
Sure, you could bring out Flawless Widescreen (opens in new tab)—an app that was a godsend at the inception of the ultrawide movement—but that barely worked, especially not with the original game's user interface. There are also mods (opens in new tab) you can hack in that will mostly fix the issue, but that can often just be one step too far for most of us.
With Mass Effect Legendary Edition, however, you won't need to do any messing around as the game has been brought almost up to date with 21:9 widescreen resolutions, controller support (seriously, how did that not get ported over from the Xbox 360 version?!), and DirectX 11 utilisation.
DX11? Yeah, like I said, almost up to date. Mac Walters, project director at Bioware, tells us that there was little hope of getting the old games updated to the Unreal Engine 4 from its UE3 origins.
"It quickly became clear," he says, " that that jump would really change fundamentally what the trilogy was, and how it felt, how it played."
Basically the Kismet scripting language in UE3 has no copy and paste equivalent, so every moment would effectively have to be created from scratch and they worried it would "take away the essence of what the trilogy was."
And, y'know, be a lot of work too. But hey, who needs a fully ray traced Mass Effect trilogy running on DirectX 12 Ultimate?
The Mass Effect Legendary Edition will materialize on May 14, 2021 here on PC, where it's obviously going to look its best. And widest.