New Game Plus is a great way for players to take advantage of previous playthroughs to get a leg up the next time around saving the galaxy.
For many gamers, playing through the Mass Effect trilogy over and over again is a treasured pastime. With the release of Mass Effect Legendary Edition last year, EA and BioWare remastered the original trilogy and introduced Commander Shepard to a whole new generation of players who’ll likely be saving the galaxy for years to come. The thing is, they will probably want to explore all their options and make different choices than those made the first time around.
Going back to the start of the trilogy to launch a new effort against Cerberus and the Reapers takes a lot of work (and gameplay hours). Fortunately, with a feature like New Game Plus (NG+), players don’t have to march back into the fray empty-handed against the greatest threat the Milky Way has ever known.
In previous editions of the original trilogy, NG+ was only available in the second two games, making it difficult for a player to go back and explore the whole trilogy with the same character and upgrades from the entire game experience. One of its original purposes was to grant Shepard the maximum level required to launch into the game in Insanity Mode.
Legendary Edition now provides the NG+ experience for all three games, meaning a Shepard who worked through the entire trilogy can launch into the first game again with the same character and all the perk points, levels, mods and upgrades they acquired on their first playthrough. There is no longer a minimum level requirement to play the game on Insanity Mode, but that doesn’t mean NG+ is any less useful.
In order to launch an NG+ for the trilogy in its entirety, players need to have completed all three games and reached the ending sequence. Launching into another play with NG+ will present players with the same Commander Shepard they used in the original playthrough. They will begin at the last level they completed before finishing the game and carry over level points, squad points, weapon and armor upgrades and stats. Weapon mods will be available, but they will need to be reequipped.
It is important to recognize that NG+ increases Shepard’s level right out of the gate, granting them more experience to prepare for big battles. This also means enemies previously faced may also scale in level, making them more difficult than they were the first time around. Fortunately, Shepard will have the maximized tools and skills needed to take them out, but players may need to strategize certain battle encounters in order to successfully complete them.
There are things, however, that don’t carry over because NG+ is a new opportunity to explore the game by making different choices if desired. That means Paragon & Renegade points, as well as Shepard’s earned credits, reset, allowing them to go a different route than the one they originally took. A Renegade can launch into things with a fresh new perspective, making Paragon choices instead and experiences relationships differently because of their new personality options and vice-versa. Players may decide to keep Ashley over Kaiden on Virmire or sabotage the Genophage when it comes time to cure the Krogan.
They may also choose different relationships, including a new romance option than the one previously chosen. It’s important to remember that things like personal squad missions do not carry over and will also need to be completed again in ME2 in order to regain their loyalty before the suicide mission. The suicide mission can be done differently as well, allowing the survival of members who may have died in the previous game so they can go on to appear in the third game.
NG+ is a great chance for players to revisit Commander Shepard without starting the game over entirely from scratch. Having those extra supplies, mods and experience points will make Shepard an even more powerful galactic force, ready to put the fear of humanity into anyone who dares to cross them.
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