Amazon makes ‘Mass Effect Legendary Edition’ and over 30 other games free for Prime Day

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Amazon’s free Prime Gaming downloads for Prime Day this year include some pretty well-known titles, though this round’s heavy hitter is BioWare’s Mass Effect Legendary Edition. The compilation bundles all the single-player base games of the original Mass Effect trilogy, remastered with improved graphics optimized for 4K Ultra HD and with adjusted gameplay. It also comes with over 40 items of downloadable content, such as promo weapons and armor. 

Free Amazon Prime Gaming titles for Prime Day 2022

BioWare tweaked the elements that made us not want to replay the original games, including their clunky gunplay and the Mako all-terrain vehicle that’s hard to navigate in certain terrains. As we noted in our review, the remastered games feature refined handling and aiming, as well as a less erratic cover mechanic. Levels and across-the-galaxy jumps also load more quickly than in the original games. 

In addition to Mass Effect Legendary Edition, the 30-plus free titles for Prime Day also include Grid Legends, the Grid franchise entry released in 2021. The racing game will give you access to more than 100 vehicles from the start and has over 250 events you can participate in. If you’re a racing game fan, you can also get Need for Speed Heat, which was released in 2019 and was the first EA title to offer cross-play between gaming systems. Finally, if you’re a shooting game fan, take note that the list also includes three Star Wars games, namely Jedi Knight — Jedi Academy, Jedi Knight II — Jedi Outcast and Republic Commando. You can download all the aforementioned games for free if you’re a Prime subscriber.

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Amazon is reportedly interested in developing a Mass Effect TV series

Amazon Studios is “nearing a deal” to develop a series based on Electronic Arts and BioWare’s Mass Effect franchise, according to Deadline. No particulars have been released, but Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke told Deadline that it’s “continuing to invest in fantasy genre of all kinds, we have a genre-focused team on the ground in Studios who work tirelessly with our creative partners on those slates, and you can look forward to more.”

The success of the fantasy series Wheel of Time shows why Amazon is going in that direction. Salke revealed that it was “one of the Top 5 series launches of all time for Prime Video,” adding that it saw “tens of millions of streams” and high completion rates, to boot. 

Mass Effect rumors have cropped up of late, with EA recently stating that it’s “not a matter of if, but when” a TV series based on the game will be made. Witcher star Henry Cavill also hinted at a Mass Effect series in a cryptic Instagram post with (easily deblurred) text, as The Verge noted. 

Mass Effect Legendary Edition arrived earlier this year with updated gameplay and graphics, to generally good reviews. The series first arrived in 2007 with the original Mass Effect, a third-party shooter and role playing game that pits Commander Shepherd and the Systems Alliance against the Reapers, an ancient machine race invading the Milky Way. That was followed by two sequels (2010 and 2012), along with a fourth game, Mass Effect: Andromeda (2017). BioWare and EA are currently developing a fifth, all-new installment.  

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Tetris Effect: Connected finally gets a Switch release date

There have been a lot of Tetris games released throughout the years, but one of the best is also one of the most recent: Tetris Effect. Tetris Effect is a trippy, colorful spin on the standard Tetris formula first that first launched on PlayStation 4 in 2018. In 2019, we saw the game re-released with a new multiplayer component as an Xbox One exclusive under the title of Tetris Effect: Connected. Today, we learned that Tetris Effect: Connected is finally making its way to other platforms, starting with the Switch in October.

Tetris Effect: Connected was announced for Nintendo Switch during today’s Indie World Showcase. There isn’t much to say about Tetris Effect that hasn’t already been said, but we did name the original one of the best games of 2018 if that tells you anything about its quality.

The Switch version of Tetris Effect: Connected will have the single-player Journey Mode that made the original game such a hit, along with new local and online multiplayer modes. Nintendo has confirmed that the Switch version will have cross-platform multiplayer, so you’ll be able to play with friends on different platforms.

The Switch version is actually lagging behind other versions of Tetris Effect: Connected. As announced earlier in the summer, Tetris Effect: Connected will be launching on Steam and PS4 on August 18th. The Switch version, on the other hand, won’t be arriving until October 8th.

Good news for Switch owners, though: for the first two weeks of availability, Tetris Effect: Connected will be on sale for 25% off. The Switch eShop listing for Tetris Effect: Connected is live now, so if you’re planning to pick it up, you can add it to your wish list now, so you don’t miss out on that launch discount.

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AI’s real effect on jobs? It’s complicated

This article is part of a VB special issue. Read the full series: Automation and jobs in the new normal.

To some, AI is a job killer. To others, it is a job enhancer. But like every other form of labor development since the first farmer hitched an ox to a plow and displaced a hundred field hands, AI’s impact on the modern job market will be mixed.

Without question, AI will take on many tasks that humans are doing now. But whether this will result in job losses or greater individual productivity, or both, will depend on a wide range of factors — primarily how both employers and employees react to this change.

Job Worries

According to a recent survey by software developer InRule, nearly two-thirds of enterprise decision-makers worry about job security as machine learning and other forms of AI become more prevalent. Oddly, this worry stems not just from losing to a robot, but from the fear that AI will drive them to make poor decisions due to bad data management, lack of critical tools, and other deficiencies that typically accompany a new working paradigm.

Indeed, the survey revealed that many top executives still harbor a number of myths about AI, like the belief that it can only be utilized by highly trained, highly paid data scientists and engineers. There also seems to be a continued focus on all the ways AI will replace human labor rather than the myriad ways it can help workers at all levels of the organization become more productive and thus more valuable.

Indeed, says SymphonyAI’s Pradyut Shah, it appears that the big problem with AI deployment in most industries will be a lack of employees, not too many. First, AI must be taught to do what needs to be done (another surprise for organizations accustomed to software working right out of the box), and that requires people. And while data scientists will take on much of this responsibility, it’s the lower level workers who will actually put the technology to use, primarily by automating all the rote, boring tasks that clutter up their days.

Ultimately, Shah said, successful AI deployment will deliver three key benefits. They will be easily explainable to whoever uses them. They will provide demonstrable gains to individuals and organizations. And, they will be fully interactive and flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of users.

History Repeating Itself

Still, it is highly likely that many low-skilled jobs will fade away as AI becomes more prevalent. In this way, however, it is exactly like all other forms of automation through the ages. You don’t see any elevator operators anymore, nor does anyone rush out to fill up your tank when you pull into the gas station. And as Eduardo Mace of IEC Partners notes, if the past is prologue, AI will improve the work that people do. Among workers already impacted by AI, 75% say it is helping them make better decisions, and many believe that humans and AI are empowering each other to improve the way work gets done.

For this and other reasons, Mace concluded that organizations that deploy AI simply to reduce their labor forces will ultimately lose out to those that leverage it to enhance workflows and processes.

If anything can be said about AI and jobs, it’s that the technology will change the nature of work, not the need for humans to perform. In a recent interview with Forbes, author and New York Times columnist Kevin Roose highlighted a number of ways people have adapted to technological change in the past and will do so in the AI-driven future. First off, he noted that few people would like to go back to the world of 200 years ago despite the incredible feats of automation that have taken place since then. Instead of resisting AI, today’s worker needs to embrace it to avoid the growing pains that usually accompany this kind of change.

Perhaps the key takeaway here is that the individual should not bear sole responsibility for acquiring the skills needed to thrive in the age of AI, but that employers have a vested interest in seeing this happen as well. In the end, the basic human equation does not change: employers need a vibrant, productive workforce just as much as workers need a stable, profitable enterprise.

One thing that we all should recognize at this point is that the AI genie is out of the bottle and it’s not going back in. That means people will need to adapt and adjust to whatever happens. If your idea of a job is to sit at a terminal all day and click/copy/paste your way through endless files, don’t expect to have that job much longer. But if you want to show off your creative talents and find new solutions to today’s seemingly intractable problems, AI can help you make that happen.

This article is part of a VB special issue. Read the full series: Automation and jobs in the new normal.

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Mass Effect Legendary Edition sold so well that it even surprised EA

Earlier this year, Electronic Arts and BioWare released Mass Effect Legendary Edition, a compilation that not only bundles the three games in the original Mass Effect trilogy together with (almost) all of their DLC, but also updated each game for modern platforms. There was a lot of excitement among Mass Effect fans for this release, and it looks like that meant big bucks for EA. In its most recent round of financials, EA revealed that the success of Mass Effect Legendary Edition has even surpassed its own expectations for the compilation.

Speaking to investors after EA’s Q1 FY 2022 financials dropped [PDF], EA CEO Andrew House indicated that Mass Effect Legendary Edition performed far better than the company was expecting it to. “There is enduring power to the franchises and IP that we are building,” House said. “The launch of Mass Effect Legendary Edition – the remaster of the first three Mass Effect games – reignited the passion of fans around the world, driving sales performance well above our expectations.”

House went onto say that the launch of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 became a jumping-off point for new players, noting that EA will continue to invest in both franchises. That sounds like confirmation that a sequel to Fallen Order is in the works, though of course, we already knew that EA has plans to continue the Mass Effect series.

Later in the call, EA CFO and COO Blake Jorgensen characterized Mass Effect Legendary Edition as one of the main drivers of EA’s success in the quarter. “We delivered a big beat this quarter, primarily driven by outperformance from two high quality new games: our Mass Effect Legendary Edition, and It Takes Two, the second title from our partnership with Hazelight Studios,” Jorgensen said. In addition, Jorgensen states that EA’s live service games did better than expected as well, with Apex Legends leading the way.

So, it seems EA has a mandate from the masses to make more Mass Effect following the success of Mass Effect Legendary Edition. Sadly, EA had nothing to say about the next Mass Effect game during EA Play Live in July, so we might be waiting a while for more details on that front.

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Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Gets Its First Price Cut

With the return of the Steam Summer Sale, players can get their hands on their favorite games on the PC at a fraction of their normal cost. One of the more major games on sale this year is the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition which is 17% off on Steam right now.

The Mass Effect: Legendary Edition is a collection of the Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3 that also includes over 40 DLC add-ons from the three games. Each game has been optimized for PC with 4K graphics and 60 frames per second. While each game has its original single-player intact, there is no multiplayer included in the collection.

The Steam Summer Sale takes 17% off the normal price for the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition from $60 to $450. This sale might be enticing for players who are interested in trying out these three iconic games for the first time, or for returning veterans of the series to play some of their favorite games once again.

This discount comes only about a month after the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition released, so this sale is just additional encouragement for players to try out these three fan-favorite games.

EA recently announced that it is working on the next installment in the Mass Effect series, which brings us back to the Milky Way Galaxy where the first three games take place. Playing the Legendary Edition will refresh players on the backstory and lore of this franchise.

The Steam Summer sale runs until July 8, so fans have plenty of time to grab these three classics for $50.

Editors’ Choice

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Steam Summer Sale in effect: Points Shop Too

It’s time again for a wide range of games to appear on Steam with prices slightly lower than usual. The Steam Summer Sale is one of several such events hosted by the game store in which gamers have the opportunity to spend massive amounts of cash on games they might never actually end up playing. It’s also a decent place to look if you’re hoping to find a game you’ve been waiting to buy for some months, but haven’t been able to pull the trigger on because of its original, still-at-launch pricing.

The top of the collection this week hits on major titles like Battlefield V, which has a considerable chop in price, from $50 to around $12.50. You’ll find Halo: The Master Chief Collection available for half its original price, at around $20 instead of $40. You’ll also find majorly popular games with TINY discounts, like Valheim, which might as well be full priced at $20 – but it has a 10% cut down to $18 anyway.

If you’re looking for points of interest, drop in on State of Decay 2 for around $20 instead of $30, and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, for a price of $30 instead of $60. I’d recommend you see Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order now for around $16 instead of $40, and Mortal Kombat 11 for $15 instead of $50.

If you’ve never played any Metal Gear Solid game, now’s the time to dive in. Phantom Pain can be had for $5 instead of $20, Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes can be had for $2 instead of $20 (that’s a 90% discount). Similarly massive discounts appear in the Half-Life franchise, where you can get Black Mesa for $8 instead of $20, and Half Life 2 for $2 instead of $10.

Far Cry 5 will cost you around $9 instead of its original $60, and the game INSIDE will cost you $5 instead of $20 USD. This is all over at the Steam Store right about now. Beware: you’re going to feel compelled to buy everything – make sure you remember how much free time you ACTUALLY have in life before you pull any triggers.

There’s a Points Shop update right this minute, too. It’s a good place to start if you play a whole lot of Steam-based games and want to figure out how to keep buying things after you’ve completely run out of money in the real world.

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Mass Effect is dated, but still worth playing today

Earlier this month, Electronic Arts and BioWare released Mass Effect Legendary Edition, a compilation that remasters the three games in the original Mass Effect trilogy and offers all of them – along with their DLC – in one package. It’s a rather ambitious release, particularly as it concerns the original Mass Effect. BioWare’s impressive efforts to update the first Mass Effect for the modern era haven’t completely saved the game from feeling dated, but despite the fact that even a remastered Mass Effect shows its age to some degree, it’s still worth playing today.

Mass Effect, after all, is a game from a different time. By the time Mass Effect came out in 2007, BioWare was already a big name in the industry thanks to games like Baldur’s Gate, Neverwinter Nights, Knights of the Old Republic, and the perhaps lesser known – but still very wonderful – Jade Empire. Expectations were high and it’s safe to say that BioWare delivered, as Mass Effect launched to rave reviews and spawned a trilogy that only got better with each new release (for the most part, at least, but there will be no talk of Mass Effect 3’s controversial ending here).

Playing through Mass Effect in the Legendary Edition, it’s clear that BioWare was still figuring out what it wanted Mass Effect to be with this first entry in the series. The two succeeding games in the trilogy are a lot more polished and fluid than the original. Combat in those latter two games felt a lot better, and of course, there’s also the fact that Mass Effect relied heavily on a vehicle called Mako for planetary exploration, which did not control very well in the original version of the game.

Thankfully, all of those who hated the Mako didn’t have to deal with it in subsequent Mass Effect games. It wasn’t in either Mass Effect 2 or 3, probably because of negative feedback it received following Mass Effect 1. Even in the Legendary Edition, BioWare has updated the vehicle’s controls to feel less awful. Since it’s been years and years since I last played Mass Effect, I don’t exactly remember what made the Mako so awful to drive, but I do remember thinking that the vehicle wasn’t as bad as people claimed once you got used to it.

Even with better Mako handling and updated combat, the first Mass Effect still manages to feel the most distinct among the games in the trilogy. There’s a certain rough-around-the-edges quality in the first game that isn’t present in the other two. Combat, while improved, still feels a bit clunky. Shepard – specifically the default male Shepard – frequently makes some weird faces during conversations. Sometimes NPCs can feel like exposition dispensers too, which can lead to discussions that don’t feel particularly realistic.

All of these things got better in Mass Effect 2 and 3, at least as far as my memory serves. It’s been years since I’ve played any of these games, but I can remember trying to start Mass Effect a number of times only to put it down because it didn’t feel great to play and didn’t look all that great – especially in comparison to its sequels. The Legendary Edition changes that, too, giving Mass Effect a fresh coat of paint that I think looks really good.

Even though there’s some degree of clunkiness still present in the original Mass Effect, it’s definitely worth playing today. It does a good job of kicking off the trilogy, and at times it feels more focused than either of its sequels. Perhaps that’s because the full threat of the Reapers won’t be realized until later games – in Mass Effect 1, players are mostly concerned with stopping Saren, while the looming return of the Reapers feels further off than it does in Mass Effect 2.

Saren is a fantastic antagonist, too. He’s smart, calculating, and violent, and like most good villains, his methods might be suspect but his goals aren’t entirely without merit. Saren knows that the Reapers are coming back eventually and believes that if the organic species of the galaxy can prove their worth to the machines, they’ll be spared from the purge the Reapers carry out whenever they reemerge.

For my money, Saren is the most compelling antagonist the Mass Effect series has. The Reapers and the Geth are intimidating foes, yes, but they’re both faceless hordes of enemies. With Saren, things get a lot more personal – he hates humans, for example, and since players are essentially donning the mantle of humanity’s representative on the galactic stage, it’s hard to not take that personally. In later games, I wanted to stop the Reapers because I wanted to be a hero and save the galaxy’s sentient life. In Mass Effect 1, I wanted to stop Saren because I just plain hated the guy by the end.

Don’t get me wrong, later games in the series are definitely easier to play and benefit from a lot of refinement, but for all of the blemishes it might still have, it’s been really great to revisit Mass Effect 1. I’ve been taking my time with the first Mass Effect as I attempt to complete everything the game has to offer, and while I’m definitely looking forward to playing through Mass Effect 2 and 3 again, I’ve really been enjoying this return to the Mass Effect series’ roots.

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Tech News

Sony Motion Sonic gesture-based music effect generator lands on Indiegogo

Crowdfunding continues to be a significant source of new product launches not only for the small independent developers that were initially envisioned to use the platforms but also for massive corporations such as Sony. Sony has revealed a new product called Motion Sonic aimed directly at musicians, DJs, and other performers. The product has landed on Indiegogo seeking support from those interested in it with the goal of raising a little over $79,000 with 31 days to go on the project.

So far, ten people have backed the project with pricing at around $218. The total money raised so far is $2220. The device is a bit difficult to explain and will be available in the US and Japan for iOS devices. It’s designed to help creators expand their creative reach with electronic musical instruments. Motion Sonic has a sensor that can tell when a performer gestures with their hand and can change the sound in pitch, vibrato, or modulation depending on the movement.

If a DJ uses Motion Sonic when the DJ raises their hand, a delay can be added to the music output. Motion Sonic is a system featuring a wearable motion sensor and a paired smartphone application. The sensor in the wearable device detects movement and transfers it to the smartphone app using Bluetooth. The Bluetooth signal connects to the instrument via an audio interface to actualize the desired sound effects.

Sony says the effects generator was developed to enable sound manipulation with body movements and to give artists a new creative dimension. Sony is offering the first 400 buyers the opportunity to purchase at $219. After the first 400 units are sold, the price for the Motion Sonic increases to $249. The funding campaign ends on June 28, and Sony expects to ship the Motion Sonic in March 2022. Sony is also working on new microphones under the Motion Sonic program that will amplify wind noise. The goal is to enable additional ways to harness body motion for sound.

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Far Cry 6 trailer shows Dani Rojas, Gameplay in effect

Today we get our first real look at Far Cry 6 and the contents of this visually spectacular line of video games. What we’re seeing here is a bit divisive, as some of the graphics look rough, and others look magnificent. In any case, given the track record of the game series, it’s difficult to imagine this won’t be a game worth the cash it’ll cost to own.

First take a peek at the Far Cry 6: Character Trailer for Dani Rojas. This is the North American version of the trailer and it’ll take you approximately 2 minutes to watch, without the extra bits at the end. Make sure your device is capable of displaying this device at its full 4K resolution – you might need a PC rather than a smartphone.

Next take a peek at the Far Cry 6 Worldwide Gameplay Reveal. This is a trailer, of sorts, with what Ubisoft suggests is a bit of final game gameplay action. Since this was originally a scheduled countdown-to-event video on YouTube, you may need to fast-forward.

The action begins at around 29:10. This video is slightly different than the last, as it’s not yet available in full 4K. Still, make sure you’re watching in 1080P Full HD, here, or you’ll be seeing a significantly lower-quality presentation than what’ll (hopefully) be minimal for the game this October.

The game Far Cry 6 is currently expected to be released on October 7, 2021. This game is set to be released on the PC through the standard Ubisoft means, as well as on Xbox One and Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. We SHOULD also see this game available at launch on Amazon Luna and Google Stadia – but we shall see!

Remember back in June of 2020 when the first leaks of this game were discovered? That first leak suggested we’d see this game on February 18, 2021. As it is with basically every major release scheduled for any time over the past year, things changed!

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