A Look Back At Classic Xbox 360 Video Games Through Backwards Compatibility – Mass Effect

Mass Effect

I asked our readers via Twitter what Backwards Compatible game they would like to see reviewed next and while it was a close race at first you ended up giving Mass Effect the edge.
Votes
It’s not such a big suprise, considering Mass Effect Andromeda had just been released. I have yet to play the 4th game so I can’t draw any comparisson, but I recall having greatly enjoyed my first playthrough of the original trilogy.

Since it’s such a popular and well known game, I feel I don’t need to cover the story and gameplay so much and the focus will be more on how different you can make a second playthrough and what influence the improved hardware has on the performance.

Going into this, I was pretty curious how much I could change the outcome with a different playstyle.
Here are some examples of different choices I was able to make:

Paragon (Good) Renegade (Evil-ish)
Male Shepard Female Shepard
38 hours playtime 20 hours playtime
Varied team members, choosing based on mission
(which screwed me out of getting achievements)
Went with Kaidan and Wrex for most of the game
Let the Rachni queen live Let her die
(genocide n°1)
Don’t recall seeing them Killed ALL the space monkeys on a certain planet
(genocide n°2?)
Romanced Liara Didn’t have time for romance: I had Aliens to shoot
Let Kaidan die Let Ashley die
Charm Wrex into agreeing with the destruction of the Genophage cure plant I shot Wrex
(and honestly felt terrible about it)
Saren killed himself I shot him myself
The council lives
Anderson becomes the human councelor
All Council members die,
Udina has humanity occupy the Citadel
Humans are the ruling species

I discovered that playing as a renegade really reduced my total playtime. Some of that was due to taking less sidequests as it didn’t make much sense for my badass Spectre to help every other citizen with their minor issues. Another aspect was that it takes considerably less time to punch/shoot an NPC in the face rather than trying to persuade them to agree with you.
I did feel that the game was very tolerant of my behaviour though: in this second playthrough I acted as an asshole space racist yet many NPC’s acted as if I was their Lord and Savior…

Morality

Want a Renegade ending? Just choose the bottom left or bottom right option each time.

I’ve heard that Mass Effect Andromeda leaves you more open regarding which kind of answer you choose for each conversation. I hope this is true, as ME1 makes it too easy to default to a specific answer based on its location in the dialog wheel. What bothered me most was the difference of tone between the short preview of what Shepard was going to say versus what she really ended up saying. In my first playthrough I was sometimes shocked if a paragon answer came out more mean or crude than intended, this time around I found the actual dialogs to be a bit too sheepy for my renegade Shepard. Though I did enjoy prank calling the Council a few times and then hang up on them as they pleaded me to hear them out.

Mako_2

The Mako

Another thing I’ve heard is that the Mako makes its spiritual return in the new game (though it’s called the Nomad there) – an on-wheels vehicle to explore planets with.

I raise this point because I recall many players having issues with how the Mako controlled. While it’s true that it isn’t the easiest vehicle to make a U-turn with, I found the controls pretty reactive and it made exploring various planets a joy. What did bother me though, was the gun aiming while driving the Mako. It seems as though it’s near impossible to hit something from up close even if the enemy is dead in your sights. Weirdly enough it seemed to be more accurate the further I was away from the target.
Halfway through my playthrough I recalled that using the Mako resulted in considerably less experience gained though. As I was going for a lvl 60 run, this quickly became a non-issue as I pelted the enemies with some cannonfire first and finished them off with regular weapons after exiting the vehicle.

Performance
One of the main reasons I’m revisiting these Xbox 360 games on Xbox One is to see how well their performance has increased. Mass Effect is well known for having annoyingly long loading times but they seem to have vanished like snow before the sun. Using fast travel on the citadel or flying the Normandy to another galaxy, all of it takes mere seconds.

ME_loading

I even had to be pretty quick to get the screenshot. That’s how fast it loads.

But I fear the dreaded elevator scenes are still as long as I recalled them (mostly because these are used to convey party conversations and news stories from accross the universe)
What I did notice was that the game still has some texture pop-in here and there and I had two instances where the gameplay was hampered because of framerate drops. I don’t recall if I had this issue on the 360 as well, but I assume playing it on Xbox One should still provide the better game experience.

Having played the game in a completely different style from the first time, I have to admit I’m really curious how many of these choices they were able to carry over into Mass Effect 2. I couldn’t have chosen a more different path for the galaxy.

ME2

My preferred Mass Effect entry (hope a 2nd playthrough doesn’t dissapoint)

Did you find Mass Effect Andromeda dissapointing? Why not give the Original trilogy a second go via Xbox One’s Backwards Compatability?
Let me know in the comments what choices you ended up making!

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Robby Bisschop
Belgian, male, born in 1987
I love videogames (mostly RPGs), anime, movies and Magic The Gathering.
About the author

Robby Bisschop

Belgian, male, born in 1987 I love videogames (mostly RPGs), anime, movies and Magic The Gathering.
  • Ponds 908

    To me personally i don’t find Mass Effect Andromeda dissapointing its good i allready played trough the whole trilogy only without any DLC’s though

    • Robby Bisschop

      I’m also still optimistic about Andromeda, even though some reviewed it pretty harshly. as for ME trilogy, I have some of the DLC but still have to play the From Ashes and Citadel ones in ME3 (will download those when I review it for an article)

  • JettSlayer

    Andromeda was great gameplay wise,loved the fact that you could:
    -Switch between profiles in battle
    -Make hybrid character builds (Soldier with biotic abilities etc.)

    In the original Trilogy I’ve always went for the paragon route, i tried going renegade but couldn’t get myself to act as the ‘bad guy’ so I just watched the renegade route on Youtube.
    ME2 will be my fav ME game in the series.

    • Robby Bisschop

      Yeah, I went for Renegade this time purely for the achievement. But it just didn’t click for me (I guess this is the case for 90% of the people, everyone likes to think of himself as “good”). curious if ME2 will make it easier on me :p