The Best Part Of Mass Effect Legendary Edition Is The Controller Support

All of the Mass Effect games are already available on PC, and that meant that it was incredibly easy to get into the classic trilogy even prior to the Legendary Edition, but there was one slight hurdle. The game, clearly designed for controllers, didn’t support them. It’s an intriguing oversight, and one that I couldn’t seem to find a fix to circumnavigate, and so I was strapped to mouse and keyboard. It was arduous, obtuse,  and unintuitive. Cue the Legendary Edition with its most underrated new feature – controller support.

Third-person shooters lend themselves to joy-sticks and bumpers. It just feels right having that weighted block of inputs in your hand when stumbling through them, but it’s not exactly necessary. I manage just fine in games like Fortnite with a mouse and keyboard because the key mapping is near-perfect from the get-go and the UI and UX are both designed with a cursor in mind. Mass Effect, on the other hand, is circular in nearly every area, with menus that are blatantly made to work with a joy-stick in mind, making it awkward to cycle through them with key-pressing. It’s like paddling in a boat with your own two hands instead of using an oar. Sure, you can do it, but it’s far more tedious.

That’s what the Legendary Edition truly brought to the table. Forget improved graphics, the J. J. Abrams-style lens flares, or slight UI changes in the first Mass Effect. Controller support was a paramount inclusion and makes this collection worth nabbing for alone, especially if you’re like me and struggle to get into clearly designed for console shooters with the PC’s native peripherals. Playing that original trilogy prior was akin to slugging through Dark Souls, Dead Space, or Resident Evil 4 without a controller. If you can hack it, all the more power to you, but the lack of choice was a little offputting.

Granted, it’s not quite perfect. It, unfortunately, doesn’t sport PlayStation buttons which means that, when plugging in a DualShock or DualSense, you’ll be met with Xbox prompts. It’s a small little hiccup that’ll no doubt be fixed by modders soon enough, but aside from that, it’s far easier to get into for PC users in its current state because of this newfound support. Now, I can slump back into my somewhat comfy black chair, stick my feet up, and kill Wrex in the most comfortable of positions. Sorry big guy, but you didn’t die in my first run, so you gotta go this time. All the while, I’ll be sitting here, chilling in a way you can’t a mouse and keyboard. Rather, that forces you into a perpetual front-leaning concentrated mode, and who wants to concentrate on krogan genocide?

To put it all into perspective, just take a quick glance at Mass Effect’s weapon and power swap wheels. To navigate them, you hold a button and it pops up. Then, with the analog stick, you swivel through to select your gun and your ability. Now, you can send people flying with a handy and mute Fus Roh Dah or unload plasma into some unsuspecting geth. Doing all of that with a mouse is a bit trickier – then you have the, dare I say it, dialogue wheels.

They’re a pain to use with a mouse and keyboard. They’re not designed to be easily clicked to tell people what you think, whether that’s an angry Renegade rant or a friendly, soothing Paragon sentiment of reassurance. They’re designed like a joystick – a circular icon that you orbit with your own, moving around to the various options. It’s an analogue stick visualized on screen. On PC, like with some other elements of Mass Effect’s UI, this doesn’t change into something more usable with mouse and keyboard – it stays the same. It’s all a little tedious and obtuse, so thank god BioWare just let me plug and play this time around, because last year, it was a headache and a chore.

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