So that's what's flashing through Commander Shepard's brain during that weird beacon sequence?

by: Randy -
More On: Mass Effect Mass Effect Legendary Edition

These 45 to 50 minutes of Mass Effect Legendary Edition playthrough go from having knocked out a bonkers scientist, to watching some hot Spectre-on-Spectre violence, to seeing the big bad guy's ship break atmo for the first time. That's all in the first couple minutes. After that, I go into yet another skirmish where I forget that the grenade is attached to the Square button on my PlayStation controller, which is the button any other sensible shooter simply uses for reloading guns. Oh well. It doesn't appear grenades are on friendly fire terms, because I accidentally chuck a sticky grenade to a larger explosive I'm supposed to defuse, and the grenade blows up in my face with no adverse effects. Everything's fine.

I don't need them, but threatening local farmers and dockworkers with a bullet to the brain is a good way to acquire some advanced technology. And by "I don't need them" I mean "I'm definitely going to equip them." Again, the best part of going against my natural tendencies by playing a Renegade instead of a Paragon? Is that I'm continually surprised by what this Commander Shepard is capable of. I mean, Shepard herself complains about how Spectres shouldn't be above the law. But I've gotten Shepard to the point where she doesn't like to end a conversation without at least pulling a gun on somebody. No, I don't like being a jerk. This is simply the best way for me to enjoy playing Mass Effect again, when replaying video games I finished 14 years ago isn't something I often get around to doing.

I also love seeing little changes the developers made from OG Mass Effect 1 to this Mass Effect 1 remake. Little things, like the shinier metal plates and accompanying reflections in floor tiles. Like a fire on the docks that's been reined in a bit so that you don't have to burn yourself in order to reach a piddly box of Medi-Gel. And even hearing how much more knockback the guns are packing is, dare I say, delightful. Listening to Renegade FemShep bust everybody's chops that she comes across is fun, too, but only because Kaidan Alenko is like whoa there in his smoky Casey Kasem (American Top 40) voice.

I still wish the images from the Beacon would register on the screen for one full second, rather than being something I have to go back to the video for. When I first played through Mass Effect—back in ought-seven, young 'un—the images flashed by so quickly they only registered on a subconscious level. I'm sure that's what the original devs, The BioWare Docs, were going for. For me, it was a nuisance knowing that Commander Shepard was able to describe images of war, whereas I only had vague notions of blurry orange things happening. But now, with the advent of recordable gameplay video, which is something I never had on Xbox 360, I can see that there are indeed some forward-looking images flashing through Shepard's brain when she gets the static shock of her life from the Prothean Beacon. There are orange shots of the Citadel. Orange shots of crusted over Protheans. I think I saw a motherboard. And possibly the inside of a character's skull when the camera accidentally zooms inside of a character's head. Shudder. See for yourself in the video below. Skip ahead to about the 23m 45s mark.

It's also hilarious to me that the person that gets sucked toward the Beacon at first, before Shepard can pull that person out of the gravity well, is based on who you can romance. If you're BroShep, you pull Ashley away. If you're FemShep, you pull Kaidan away. BioWare needed to throw a little life-and-death scenario at you to get you to start liking one of these two heterosexual romantic options. For the record, I'm neither for or against the argument that everybody should be able to romance everybody in Mass Effect. Does every single person need to be horny and bisexual in order to be assigned aboard the Normandy? Maybe. Why not? Is Mass Effect a wheelin' and dealin' dating simulator with a knockout sci-fi setting veneer or isn't it? Why yes it is. On my previous episode I hinted that I was going to be JerkShep and not romance anybody. Let 'em all go make out behind the bleachers on their own time. But now, only 45 more minutes in, I'm not committed to being noncommittal. Bad guys get lonely, too, sheesh.