Mass Effect Legendary Edition with Elysian Space Dust IPA – Beeps and Beers

Mass Effect Legendary Edition is developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. Space Dust IPA is made by Elysian Brewing Company. Article by Nick.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

I’ll begin this by pointing out the obvious to anyone who is familiar with the Mass Effect games: clearly this one beer did not come anywhere close to being the only one I drank during my time with this game. Why? Because it’s actually a collection of three games that each can take about forty hours to play through. I started to replay these back on Game Pass some months ago, and have been thoroughly enjoying my time with the trilogy again as I near the conclusion of the third game.

So, with a trio of games that have been getting played for months, I found myself trying to figure out which beer I wanted to associated with these games, and rather quickly settled on the Elysia Space Dust IPA for obvious thematic reasons. Simply put ‘space dust’ is a fun tie-in to a science fiction game set out in space. That being said? It’s also a damn tasty IPA that I had the fortune of drinking very recently.

Odds are if you’re a gamer, you’ve at least heard something about the Mass Effect games, both good and bad. The first game’s combination of action / shooter gameplay mixed with meaningful choices throughout the story thrilled fans. Mass Effect 2 was a critical and commercial success that ranks atop many ‘all time’ lists from that era. Mass Effect 3 brought the story to a head and combined it with the best visuals and action gameplay yet, but a conclusion that certainly raised controversy. Oh, and Andromeda was pretty meh, and I am not touching that spin-off title again any time soon.

Hard to believe that the first Mass Effect game came out over fifteen years ago now. It was a title I had a bit of trouble getting into originally (more on that in a future article). Conversely firing it up in the Legendary Edition, it fit like an old glove. Given how long ago I played it, I was surprised at how much I still remembered about the game. Not just the major plot points, but many of the smaller details along the way as well. It was comfortable and familiar. Along the way you make numerous choices that impact how the story plays out, and both those small nods and larger plot points serve the series well as it feels like it is your story.

I’ve had Elysian’s Space Dust IPA in the past several times. I think the first time was several years ago now. It’s not one I get my hands on regularly. IPAs aren’t my go-to year-round, but I certainly enjoy a good one. I wouldn’t say it is a great one – but better than average. To my nose it's sort of floral sweet scent that leads into the first sip. It’s an interesting IPA that has some citrus sweetness right off the back, but that piney, hoppy bitterness shows up on the backend and lingers on the back of the tongue. It’s not a hazy / New England IPA, but there’s a hint of haziness to the initial pour. It’s worth noting that at 8.2% ABV, it’s a little stronger than the average IPA, but not quite up there with a double IPA either. There is a bit of complexity where the malts come through as it warms a bit, but I still prefer this one cold. In general, I prefer my IPAs colder than not, unlike some of the heavier stouts and porters that I sip on as I allow them to draw closer to room temperatures.

I specifically had this beer while working through Mass Effect 2. In particular while I was on the Citadel. Fans of the game no doubt are familiar with the options that your protagonist (Shepard) can leverage to get discounts at shops if he does an advertisement with them. My brain couldn’t shake the idea of him walking around going: I’m Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite beer on the Citadel!

If you know, you know.

One of the really interesting things about playing these games through the Legendary Edition was the DLC. Because I was somewhat late to the game with the original Mass Effect, the DLC was already out. I picked it up and experienced it. Of note: the Pinnacle Station DLC from the first Mass Effect is not included in the Legendary Edition, because the source code was written by another developer who said it was now corrupted. That was not the case with Mass Effect 2 and 3. I played both games immediately upon release, and I never picked up and played the DLC that came later. As such, there were characters, missions and story elements that I missed out on the first time around. This of course includes the updated endings for Mass Effect 3, which just adds greater sense of completion and closure than the as-released ending had.

I mentioned above how one of the key elements to this series was how decisions I made along the way. Many of them quite difficult with no 'right answer' but more of a 'making the best of a bad situation' feel to them. There was a feeling that the choices Shepard made throughout the game really didn't have enough of an impact on the ending. I can see that perspective, I don't necessarily agree with it. I think in the end the writers for the series had a story to tell. They began it and ended it (with some variation in the end sequence based on a final choice made) the way they wanted, and allowed us as players a bit of room to color within those lines along the way. 

My only real grumble about this collection is the lack of multiplayer mode. It was a pretty big part of Mass Effect 3, and it was a survive multiple waves spin-off. I enjoyed the snot out of that mode back in the day. I played it almost every weekend for months. They regularly had weekend events that I kept track of and participated in as I tried to get the most out of the game's rewards. I get that not supporting an online mode likely made this rerelease faster and cheaper for EA, but I was still somewhat bummed by its omission.

The Legendary Edition of these games saw several improvements to visuals, gameplay mechanics, the aforementioned DLC – so it really is a fantastic collection of titles that will span many hours if you play them through from start to finish. While I had several other beers along the way, I felt like Space Dust IPA was probably the most thematically aligned, if not the best of the bunch I had along the way. It’s a good beer, but hardly one of the most memorable I’ve had to date. Conversely the Mass Effect trilogy is among my favorite video game series ever.

Score dropping time.

Mass Effect Legendary Edition: 9/10

Space Dust IPA: 7/10



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