Mithilfe der ME2 LE Combat Remastered Modifikation sollen die Feuergefechte in Mass Effect 2 (Legendary Edition) mehr an den ersten Titel angeglichen werden. Demnach sind die Waffen tödlicher und individueller, wodurch der Waffenauswahlbildschirm auch einen Mehrwert erlangt. Zudem ist die KI in der Bewegung nicht mehr wirklich treffsicher, da der Rückstoß und die Genauigkeit deutlich mehr Priorität erhalten. Das hat auch den Effekt, dass Gegner aus der Deckung deutlich gefährlicher werden. Weiterhin steht den einzelnen Spielerklassen eine umfangreichere Waffenauswahl zur Verfügung, damit jeder seinen eigenen Stil ausleben kann. Die Mod kann auch mit schweren Waffen gespielt werden (liegt als ausgekoppelte Version bei), allerdings wurden diese bisher nicht angepasst. Weitere Details können den Changelog entnommen werden.
- Weapon stats & progression overhaul. All weapons feel like deadly sci-fi weaponry, and are alternatives to each other, while having unique „personality“, giving the weapon selection screens an actual purpose.
- Enemy AI no longer unnaturally pin-point accurate. Enemy accuracy depends on their weapon’s recoil, their movement, and your movement.
This greatly changes the ways you can move around, and control the battlefield.
- Player class loadouts changed to add more choices of the weaponry that complement your playstyle (or the ones you simply like)
The core of the combat in vanilla ME2 and ME2:LE (sitting in cover) is primarily enforced by enemies‘ ability to deliver incredibly precise full-auto fire, regardless of distance or weapon used. In stark contrast, your own weapons do almost no damage (barring few exceptions) while having nowhere near the accuracy of AI enemies. This makes weapon-heavy classes such as Soldier feel very underwhelming to play, especially after the magnificent gunplay of ME1:LE – which is what inspired the creation of this mod.
This mod aims to fix this by:
1) Introducing enemy AI accuracy penalties for various in game actions
Enemy accuracy will suffer when they:
- Sustain automatic fire (their weapons also have recoil)
- Are moving
- Are trying to hit a moving target
This means that a moving enemy trying to hit a moving target with automatic fire will be about as accurate as you’d expect. You’ll catch a stray bullet here and there but they won’t shoot every round through the same hole in your armor anymore. As a counter-balance to enemies hitting less, their weapon damage and initial accuracy has been increased where appropriate.
This also means that an enemy who took their time to aim from a supported and covered position will be slightly more dangerous than normal.
Further, the enemy reaction time (time between spotting and starting shooting) has been increased from gamer-level reaction times, to something more fitting within the gameplay flow. The reaction time (aiming time) also now differs according to weapons the enemies are using – they will aim faster with lighter, smaller weapons.
2) Weapon Re-balancing
A detailed weapon catalogue with new stats and note-worthy changes can be found here. Please refer to this document instead of in-game flavor text, because in-game text cannot yet be changed!
- Nearly all weapons have re-balanced damage output to make them viable through entire game. The practical damaging ability (aka fieldtesting, aka reloading each weapon locker checkpoint 20 times) of each weapon has been thoroughly tested through entire game, and should feel fair and balanced throughout.
- Nearly all weapons’ recoil, accuracy and rate-of-fire values have been reworked, they should „feel“ much better to use.
- All weapons have much more clip capacity and spare ammo reserves, making thermal clip management (mostly) a non-issue, and enabling more sustained fire when you need it. Shotguns in particular have anywhere between 100-400% more clip capacity and spare ammo, where appropriate, making them a viable primary weapon.
- A crouch mechanic is enabled and gives a slight accuracy boost when used (currently hardcoded to Left Ctrl = make sure to unbound this key from any in-game binds to make it work). It’s also usable when in tall cover, benefitting from the cover accuracy bonus as well! (Make sure to not be actively aiming and firing for crouching to work in cover)
- On a more personal note, all burst-fire weapons have been converted into standard full-auto weapons. I don’t like burst-fire mode in video games.
3) Player’s loadout
In order to give all classes a diverse selection of weapons to use, following changes to player’s loadouts and classes have been made:
- SMG and Pistols have been merged into a single „Sidearm“ category, which is a slot in every class’s loadout. This means you can choose between a Shuriken and Carnifex as your sidearm, regardless of what class you play. (View Known Issues section)
- All player classes can now carry assault rifles as their primary weapon. This also means the Revenant machine gun is available to every class in the game.
- Because regular weapons are now much more reliable and dependable, for gameplay balance (and aesthetic) reasons, Heavy Weapons have been removed from all player classes. You cannot pick up and use the ones found in missions either.
- Squadmates that could only carry SMGs and Pistols (now the same slot) have been given a new appropriate weapon type.
An alternative version of the mod with Heavy Weapons present is available. Be warned, heavy weapons have not been modded or rebalanced in any way (yet).
Minor QOL Changes:
- Normandy fuel efficiency greatly improved. It’s not a space Lada. Full fuel reserve will last you roughly a dozen trips between systems, as opposed to, like, 2. I don’t think “running out of fuel” is really a thing that a Mass Effect game needs.
- Doubled the initial probe capacity of the Normady (60). The upgrade further stacks upon this (120), reducing the number of stops you have to make at a gas station.
- Shepard’s sprinting stamina increased both in (doubled) and out (tripled) of combat, for a total of 8 seconds of sprinting in both cases. Stamina regeneration and re-sprinting time is unchanged.
- Pistol/SMG merge class bug – sometimes when you change a sidearm into another, you will have both weapons available until the next loading screen (zone transition, or save game load/checkpoint load). This is currently the only notable bug produced by the modification and cannot be fixed without advanced tools. However, due to it’s temporary (and beneficial) nature, I decided to keep the Pistol/SMG class merge feature.
- Viper recoil visuals – this seems to be an engine bug from LE upgrade. The weird “jerk” in the scope recoil is triggered by releasing the mouse button. To get smooth recoil when shooting (ala old ME2), try to click and release the trigger as fast as you can. After 2 hours of fiddling around I cannot seem to fix this on my end. Note: this is actually present on all weapons in the game, it’s just most easily noticed on Viper.
- As of the time of writing, there is no Legendary Edition version of TLK editors. This means that all in-game text is unchanged and is generally wrong for nearly all weapon-related stuff. As soon as the tooling becomes available, I will address the in-game text strings. For the moment, just ignore all weapon flavor text. Instead, refer to this Google Doc for a quick overview of weapon changes.
- Crouching is hardcoded to my preferred key, Left Ctrl. I’m investigating options how to make it a normal bindable key within game options, but tools to do so are limited. A viable alternative might be to bind it to the “Walk” action in the control binding, if it’s possible. For now, just make sure to unbind Left Ctrl from any in-game keybinds for it to function normally.
- Due to heavy weapons being removed, all heavy weapon research and purchases are a waste of resources for now. Avoid buying or researching Heavy Weapon upgrades in the game, until I can properly remove them. In addition, trying to pick up a heavy weapon will bring up a text saying that no squadmates can use this.
Roadmap (aka Wishlist)
- 0.9 alpha : All present weapons in the game re-balanced to be viable and fun to use in the new combat system with changed AI. Initial public release. < – We are here
- 0.95 beta : Tweaks and tuning according to community feedback and see how people like it (this is where you come in! Feel free to participate using the Nexus comments.)
- 1.0 full release – When the advanced tools become available, rework the audio effects and muzzle flashes to bring the weapons MUCH closer to the ME1 counterparts in their look and feel, as well as text descriptions and loading hints in the game to match what’s actually in the game. At this point I will consider the mod “complete”.
- Future ?: Introduce new weapons in the game as modding tooling matures, greatly increasing the choice of your arsenal. I would like to see this happen but depending on the state of tooling and community interest, might or might not happen.
Note on difficulty
The game been balanced for a tough-but-fair experience on Insanity difficulty, but due to the nature of weapon and AI changes, the overall difficulty of the game is somewhat lowered, especially after acquiring most of the weapon damage upgrades. If you think the game is difficult enough, or even too easy at Insanity, this is probably not the mod for you.
If however, you think that higher game difficulties are not more „difficult“ per se, just more artificially frustrating, (or you simply believe that things should die when shot) this might be the mod for you.
Note on balancing
Almost 10 years ago, I made my first publicly released modification – Mass Effect 2 mod called „Hybrid Combat“. I have since not only gotten a job in video game development, but also made a ginormous modification for ME: Andromeda, „Hardcore Weapons“ which involved over 100 hours of tuning and balance. I take my balancing work more seriously than most – but, this being said, I do have my personal preferences and favorites in the game’s weapons, classes, and playstyle. Some amount of bias is unavoidable. If you think anything is obviously out of balance or needs additional tuning, feel free to reach out with suggestions!
Credits and thankyous:
- d00telemental for LECoal.exe tools