Last update: 2022-10-27
Since the original Mass Effect at lot of time has passed and this modding guide will show, that the Legendary Edition Mass Effect 1 is much easier to modify than its predecessor.
- Mass Effect 1 Original Trilogy
- Mass Effect 2 Original Trilogy
- Mass Effect 3 Original Trilogy
- Mass Effect 1 Legendary Edition <– You Are Here
- Mass Effect 2 Legendary Edition
- Mass Effect 3 Legendary Edition
Before You Start
It is very important that your Mass Effect Legendary Edition installation is clean before you continue.
This means that nothing must be modded into your installation, and all files have to be in vanilla state.
If you have never edited and/or modded your Mass Effect Legendary Edition installation, then you can try the “Repair” functionality of your Origin client.
But this does only check files belonging to the official install, and does not remove added files.
Therefore it is safest to start your modding journey by doing a clean install.
Creating Your Master Backup
Modding Mass Effect has basically two parts: DLC Mods and Texture Mods.
While DLC Mods are just folders added to your installation, which you can rename, move and delete as you wish, Texture Mods have to actively change your installation to work.
It is also important that no new DLC Mods are added after you have applied your first Texture Mods, because such additions would break your installation.
So what do you do if you want to add or upgrade DLC Mods after you have applied some Texture Mods?
You could delete your Installation and start with a fresh one, of course. But the much faster option is to revert to a backup of a clean install.
The creation of such a backup is very simple:
You need some space where to put it, and only have to fire up the Mod Manager. The program will greet you with a list of installed Mass Effect titles for which you do not have a backup.
Open the Backup Manager, select your Mass Effect installation, and click “back up”. If you do not have the international version, but a localized one installed, you must add the correct language to back up. Finally choose a backup destination and let it roll.
Once you have reached this stage, only the rest of the Legendary Edition 1 Modding Guide will matter to you. If no bad things happen, you will not have to repeat any of the steps above.
Restore From Your Master Backup
Once you have installed Texture Mods, you have to revert to your Master Backup if you wish to add or upgrade DLC mods.
To restore your backup open ModManager and select Backup and restore in the top menu, then select “Restore”.
Select your Mass Effect installation folder and click on “Restore this Target.”
Once the restoration of your master backup is finished, you can move on with re-modding your installation.
The full process of
Restore → DLC Modding → Texture Modding
is shown in the video to the right.
There aren’t many rules, so this might be all you need.
The Very First Mod
Always install the LE1 Community Patch first, as many mods rely on it being installed.
Sometimes the Order Matters
Some mods install compatibility patches whenever certain other mods are installed.
But while some mods let you choose which compatibility patches to install, other mods do not let you unless the other mod is present.
You have to take care of the installation order in this case, for which I use a Modding Checklist, so I do not have to remember which mods need which other mods..
All mods I install and/or recommend are listed below, but in alphabetical order. In my Modding Checklist for LE1 the order is changed to honor prerequisites. You can use it as a starting point for your own modding journey
Extra Textures to be Scanned
Some mods install additional textures, which have to be linked into the main content folder, so Mass Effect Modder (MEM) can find them later. (See Texture Modding below.)
For this I use the “Link Shell Extension” by Hermann Schinagl, you can download it here: https://schinagl.priv.at/nt/hardlinkshellext/linkshellextension.html
If you have installed such a mod that needs action, go into the Mods DLC folder, right click on the textures tfc file, and select “Set as Link Source”.
Then go into the main content folder CookedPCConsole, right click anywhere, and select “Insert As” → “Symbolic Link”.
List Of DLC Mods Used
The following is my personal list of DLC Mods. Please read the description of each Mod before downloading and installing it. You can use my Modding Checklist for the correct order to install these mods and my own installation hints and advices.
LE1 Community Patch is a simple, unopinionated, bugfix mod for Mass Effect 1 Legendary Edition. A spiritual successor to ME1Recalibrated, this mod makes small edits to fix bugs, and fix bugs only.
An exhaustive and comprehensive 4K 60fps video overhaul project powered by AI and augmented with faithful in-game remakes, error corrections and other misc improvements.
Swaps Engineer Adams dress blues for crew fatigues in ME1LE.
Replaces each of the weapon models in LE1 with their counterparts in LE2 and LE3. Lancer modeled assault rifles now have the Lancer model from LE3.
This changes the uniforms of all Alliance personnel on the Normandy, Citadel, and Uncharted Worlds to the version worn in Mass Effect 3.
Gives natural in-game access to weapons, armors, and mods from the four hidden manufacturers. Also fixes and rebalances the corresponding weapons.
Allows Shepard and squadmates to wear casual clothes on the Citadel and on Noveria. Garrus and Wrex are given optional casual outfits as well.
Mineral deposits and other points of interest are now marked on the maps of the UNC worlds.
This mod modifies the appearance of Dr. Heart Experiments from Thorian Creepers to an original and unused Zombie model and textures from within the game files.
Note: Currently reverts Casual Hubs Prologue option to Armor.
This mod changes the Legendary Edition version of the Eden Prime’s sky back to the original color of red. This mod is for those who want the red version of the sky back but also like the new Legendary Edition changes to the game.
Evaluates and displays more accurate/relevant/informative weapon statistics, for easier comparisons.
This mod does not modify weapon stats in any way. It only changes the display and has no effect on balance.
Restored Original Trilogy bosses and Uncut cutscenes. Enhanced alternatives. Highly customizable and compatible with Saren Stages.
This is a very simple texture mod that retextures the skybox on the Citadel Wards to resemble the aesthetic of the original. It also includes an updated loading screen video for consistency.
A project designed to diversify LE1 through increased population count, better species’ population balancing, outfit/appearance diversification and overall breathing more life into the world.
Framework for Mass Effect 1 LE to allow sideloading of new package files without compatibility issues.
This mod is needed if you want to install and use the “Mako Squadmate Banter” mod.
Reduces the weapons each character has equipped on their person to the weapons they are proficient in using, similar to how weapon loadouts in LE2 and LE3 work.
Makes Liara’s facial appearance fully consistent within Mass Effect, by either choosing her Lair of the Shadow Broker look from Mass Effect 2, or her Mass Effect 3 appearance.
This mod takes the elevator banter between your squadmates and plays it periodically while riding in the Mako.
The mod needs “LE1 Sideloader Framework” to be installed.
Alters all instances of the Alliance Marines in LE1 to wear their armor from LE3. Helmet assets obtained from Audemus & Mellin from their ME3 N7 Armor mod.
Backports the iconic default N7 armour from Mass Effect 3 to Mass Effect 1 for both Male and Female Shepard.
Mutes Mira’s overhead announcements about the landlines and reactor in Peak 15.
This mod delays the Council’s message about Virmire until all three initial missions (Therum, Feros, and Noveria) are completed, rather than delivering the message after only two of the three are completed.
A store on the Citadel that stocks the “Iconic” look armors for the Normandy squad in LE1. “You will be pleased I think!“
Bunch of Hairstyles by AHarris00Britney, Okruee, RavenSim, SheaButtyr, Oakiyo, Simandy, Kamiiri, Wild Pixels, and AladdintheSimmer for FemShep in LE1.
Exclusive MAKO upgrades for N7 operatives. More powerful engine, and improved suspension system.
Casual outfit replacers for femshep in LE1.
This mod adds the Normandy to the list of available destinations on the Citadel Rapid Transit, allowing Shepard to be transported directly to the Normandy from any Rapid Transit terminal.
Test the limits of your combat prowess aboard a remote, top-secret Alliance space station. Enhanced port of the original Mass Effect DLC, which was not included in Legendary Edition due to lost source code.
Removes Feros’ yellow color filter and attempts to restore post-processing and fog from original ME1.
This mod removes the reticle hitmarkers that appear when you hit an enemy.
This mod adds an interactable locker on the Normandy, from which you can restock your grenades!
This mod allows Ashley and Kaidan to be romanced by both male and female Shepard, utilizing unused dialogue in the game files.
This mod aims to both resolve and add to Saren’s transformation throughout the game using hand created new meshes and HD textures. It introduces early forms of Saren before his heavy Geth implants.
About the next three Mods: Only install one of the three!
“Subtle Face for Tali” is very compatible with other mods, Talis Visor is semi-transparent and her facial animations are really good.
“Tali Remastered” has a very beautiful and well animated face, her Visor is not fully transparent, but the mod has some compatibility issues.
“Tali Zorah Overhaul” is very compatible with other mods, Talis Visor is always fully transparent but her facial animations are a bit weak.
Please read the mod descriptions on the mod pages carefully and have a good look at their image galleries.
More visible and detailed face for Tali’Zorah.
New textures and fully animated face mesh.
*** OR ***
This DLC add Creative Machinima’s 3D model of Tali Zorah to LE1
*** OR ***
Overhaul of Tali’s LE1 appearance with a completely new, fully animated face.
Again: Do *NOT* install more than one of the Tali mods, it would break your game!
Removes the ugly vignette effect in the corners of the screen, producing the same image as photo mode with vignette off!
If you really want to lift up your Mass Effect 1 experience, you will have to install texture mods.
Luckily it is very simple to install these mods, you do not even have to quit ModManager. Instead, open the Tools menu and select:
“Mass Effect Modder (for Legendary Edition)”.
Each of the three Mass Effect titles has its own section.
Click on “Mods Manager” under “Mass Effect” and select the “Mods Installer”
Here you click on “Add to list” and select all MEM files you wish to install.
I prefix my files with LE1, LE2 and LE3, so mods are grouped by game title and therefore easier to select.
Once you have selected all texture mods you want to install, click on “Install all mods” .
Now do something completely different, because this takes a long time, almost 30 minutes on my laptop.
List Of Texture Mods Used
The following is my personal list of Texture Mods. Please read the description of each Mod before downloading and installing it.
Vanilla-friendly, exhaustive and easy to install graphical overhaul mod for the Mass Effect Trilogy.
Eye textures. Replaces textures for male and female humans. I think it replaces asari eyes too. It makes the iris more detailed and the pupil smaller.
Fixes the lighter color issue on lips which is especially visible on darker lipstick colors.
New Lashes for FemShep
Fully nude textures for in-game female body meshes.
Important: This mod and it’s files are merely texture edits and can NOT make characters nude. Specifically, these only affect the vanilla nude mesh, NOT the underwear.
Many Thanks to all of you awesome mod authors! Without you the Mass Effect Journey would have ended many years ago for a lot of us, and would have never started for some of us. And this Legendary Edition 1 Modding Guide would have never been needed without you either. 😉
Special Thanks To:
55tumbl, Audemus, Catchrism, CreativeMachinima, CreeperLava, Herobrine24, Khaar Machinima, Kinkojiro, Knighthawk, LE1 Community Patch Team, ME3Tweaks, MorningAngel and Rondeeno
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