Mass Effect 1 Runs Faster, Smoother On Xbox One

Mass Effect 1 Runs Faster, Smoother On Xbox One

The first Mass Effect was a game that sometimes struggled to perform well on Microsoft’s last home console. But, it looks like BioWare’s sci-fi creation is a much better experience on the Xbox One.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that backwards compatibility will be coming to their latest home gaming machine and Mass Effect is among the first crop of games that will be available to play that way. Xbox One owners who are in the company’s features beta program are getting the early chance to try it out. One such player is YouTuber Mecha-Potato-Alex, who put up a side-by-side comparison of the Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions of the game.

Mecha-Potato-Alex lists a few observations on the performance upgrade:

-Some frequent stuttering points in the 360 version run perfectly smooth on X1, but not all

-Texture pop-in is vastly improved. While not perfect, there are many instances where it no longer happens at all

-Load times are shorter. In this video it was 4 seconds, but when replaying the same scene later, it was as low as 2

-Character lighting appears to be darker, except on their skin

-ME1’s somewhat clunky controls are less of an issue with the X1’s controller

-Some cutscenes appear to end slightly quicker, as a result of no momentary slowdowns when changing camera angles/animations/etc.

It’s still not clear exactly how the Xbox One backwards compatibility works from a technical standpoint, but it’s nice to see it improving at least one game that was finished being made years ago.


  • BREAKING NEWS: Last generation game runs quicker on current generation hardware


      • Interestingly a friend of mine has reported that Mass Effect does chug sometimes, but not in the same ways/places as the original did on the 360. So the more powerful hardware makes a huge difference but at this stage the emulation isn’t quite perfect.

        This is why they test these things in stages, I guess! Still very much looking forward to this once the feature goes live. I hope they intend to make ME2/3 available too, since those were published by EA isntead of Microsoft. It’d be a shame if I couldn’t replay the whole trilogy on the Xbone.

      • But it isn’t being emulated though. This system essentially lets you run ports of the 360 games on the new hardware for no added cost.

    • Except consoles aren’t like PC’s where games from 10 years ago run better on modern PC’s… Games for consoles are designed to work with the specific processor and RAM available to that specific console… It’s like trying to install Windows on an iPad, just because an iPad has a processor and RAM doesn’t mean the software is designed to support the architecture of the iPad.

      In theory, without an actual port of the game to new hardware a backwards compatibility for consoles should run exactly on the new hardware as it does on the old (look at the Wii games on Wii U, they still run in the native resolutions of the Wii)

      • Well given that these consoles are more akin to PCs than previous gens of consoles, I’d imagine it would be a lot easier to port/emulate the PC version of the game rather than the 360 version and hence being a lot smoother as a result. Not saying that that’s what happened, but as ME came out on PC as well, the game would also have been optimised to run on x86 architecture

      • Given the specific limited release list I still feel it’s not pure emulation and there’s definitely an aspect of porting/optimisation going on.

        • The size of the games is a bit bigger on Xbox One, so there’s some extra data for something.

          The download speed of the games is pathetic though. I had Mass Effect installing for about 5 hours last night, and it only made it to about 70% (of 7.6gb).

        • It’s sitll good news. The biggest downside of ME was all the loading time. If these are decreased it will really improve the experience. It’d be greater if it could run at higher specs the way a better PC can run a game at higher specs, but this is a good step in the right direction.

    • Fun fact: No matter how much faster other loading times might happen to be, the time it takes to go through one of ME1’s elevator sequences will be exactly the same as they would be on older hardware. Doing things like installing the game on the console that it’s being run on changes nothing.

  • im In the preview program and the BC they have added is pretty dam good a lot better than what we had on the 360 I had kinda expected some rushed clunky system but seems to run very well. It will be interesting to see how many games they add though Msoft could do very well if the amount of supported games increases as they are stating.

    • That’s been my concern. I remember with the 360 backwards compatibility was annoying. It was like dual booting to an original XBOX. I really want the XBOX One backwards compatibility to just treat XBOX 360 games like XBOX One games. Resuming, the controller, not having to mess with the inputs on the TV and not interrupting any of the XBOX One OS’s features are all it should take.

      • Definitely has 360 OS elements, achievements, etc. Gave it a go last night. Runs it all in an Xbox One “game” instance though, so snap, voice commands, twitch, etc, all still work.

        • Yeah, it’s really well done. Not only do the games run really well, but you can transfer saves using the cloud (although I couldn’t get some game saves to work), and being able to use other Xbone features like snapping and recording is fantastic.

          • The only reason I got a 360 was to run the original Xbox Buffy games. The emulation was not great, massive slowdowns all over the place.

          • You’ve got to move them into the cloud storage on Xbox 360, then it should automatically download them on Xbox One.

            Like I said though, I couldn’t get it to work on some games (Viva Pinata: TIP and Super Meat Boy).

  • I wonder if the game files are being cached to the Xbox One’s 8GB of RAM… Since any Xbox emulation should in theory only require an original allocation of 512mb of RAM to run… The only way I can imagine this working any differently to emulation is if they’ve somehow made it so the games designed for the previous consoles are treated as native games by the new ones… If that’s true that’s downright amazing and it would also explain why the list of games has to be approved as it’s pretty much on the fly porting…

  • Can you get the trilogy on PS4? Does anyone know? Whilst I would love an XB:One, I only have a PS4 at the moment. that and PC. I wonder what the load times would be like in a comparison with a decent PC?

    • That’s a no, unfortunately. ME 2 & 3 made it to PS3 though.
      If you’re desperate to play the series on the cheap it’s either on PC or investing in a cheap second hand 360.

    • I can’t remember for sure, but I think the original was published by Microsoft (it’s inclusion in the backwards compatibility list would suggest that’s the case). I think BioWare actually own the rights though, so a remake could make it to the PlayStation. Not 100% sure though so don’t quote me on that.

      [Edit; Nevermind, I forgot that Mass Effect actually did end up on the PS3 at one point. Still, doubt you’ll see it on the PS4 anytime soon.]

    • I have them on a decent PC. ME2 load times still seem average. 1 and 3 loaded super fast. Usually around 2-3 seconds on ME1.

    • Not yet. All three are on PC though so I’m sure EA will get around to releasing a current-gen port of the trilogy at some point to promote the new one.

    • They’ll be exactly the same length, since doing things intended to cut loading times, like installing a game on a console, doesn’t affect the elevator rides at all. ME1 probably isn’t the best game to promise faster load times on, since the loading screens everyone remembers will be just as slow as before.

  • The way it works is by mounting a virtual image of the 360 OS, just like mounting a vitrual pc

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