Mass Effect 3 guide: 10 essential tips to help you save the galaxy
6th Mar 2012 | 08:00
The improved combat and new weapon mods in Mass Effect 3 give you much more scope for tactics. Here we've outlined some of our favourite combat tips and tricks, as well as some other things you might miss when you play the game. And don't worry - there are no story spoilers.
1. How to balance your weapon loadout
A new feature in Mass Effect 3 is that any class can use any weapon type. But it's a bad idea to go into battle with every slot filled, as the more weapons you carry, the slower your tech abilities and biotic powers will recharge. Ammo is so abundant, that you can comfortably only take one weapon into a mission with you. The benefit of this is that you'll get a dramatic increase in your recharge speeds - sometimes over 100%, depending on other upgrades.
As a rule, Adepts should only ever take a single weapon into combat. Their base powers are strong enough to deal with most enemies, and the boost in recharge speed will give them a serious edge. Only shields will cause them problems, which is where an upgraded lightweight SMG will come in handy.
2. How to be the ultimate sniper
Are you an Infiltrator? Then this character setup will make easy work of any battle. When it becomes available in the Citadel, buy the semi-automatic M-13 Raptor. Its damage is low, but it allows you to fire repeatedly without any need to reload. To balance out the rubbish damage, use Hahne-Kedar armour pieces, each of which has +10% weapon damage.
The sentry interface helmet also offers +5% weapon damage and +10% headshot. Also, the final upgrade in the Operational Mastery tree for Infiltrator enables you to pick increase sniper rifle and headshot damage by 15%. For mods, I'm using sniper barrel length - the version III one for example has +20% damage - and the Concentration module slows time when you aim.
Result: You have a slo-mo, decent damage, scoped rifle that kills most things quickly, and is easy to line up crazy high damage headshots with. Miss with the first shot and you'll probably ace the second. Bonus benefit: it's so flexible that we haven't found the need to take another gun into battle meaning powers recharge crazy quick. If anything gets to close either cloak and fall back (more on this in the next tip), or use Incinerate at close range.
3. How to boost your damage with Tactical Cloak
If you're playing as an Infiltrator, upgrade Tactical Cloak first, and particularly focus on reducing cooldown time and increasing duration. Cooldown time is proportional to how long you cloak for, and you get a huge damage bonus for attacking from cloaked.
So if you reduce the cooldown time, every time you take cover, you may as well cloak before peeking out and firing. With slower, powerful weapons like sniper rifles and shotguns, that's a huge dose of damage and you'll be ready to re-cloak inside of a second.
4. How to earn bonus upgrades and abilities
Between priority missions, make a habit of touring each deck of the Normandy and talking to your crew. Chances are they'll have details of a bonus mission, new dialogue, or in some cases, an upgrade. Same goes for the Citadel; after each mission, new NPCs will appear here and reveal new side-missions. Listen for a bleep as you wander around; this means someone has been marked on your map that you can interact with.
Talking to squad members between missions can also unlock a bonus power. So if you don't have a good anti-armour ability, talk to Liara a lot and you'll get Warp Ammo. Talk to James and you get Carnage, a good splash damage skill.
5. How to use the Spectre terminal
When the Council reinstate Commander Shepard as a Spectre, you'll be given access to a private office directly across from the human embassy (Udina's office). Check back here regularly; throughout the game you'll receive emails that you can respond to (square on PS3, X on Xbox 360) to get additional war assets, or side-missions, from.
6. How to throw like a pro
Throw is a biotic power that knocks enemies off their feet with a ball of energy. What you might not realise is that you can actually bend it around corners to hit enemies in cover.
The trick is to aim slightly above the edge of the object they're hiding behind and fire. Aim too high and you'll miss, but get it just right and the ball will actually curve around and home in on your target. This is a good way of flushing enemies out of cover.
7. How to make quick work of bosses
Around the time you start fighting the Brutes, start upgrading armour-destroying powers like Warp and Incinerate - particularly damage and cooldown time. They chew through Armour (the yellow health bar you see on powerful foes), and that's where most of the hit-points of boss enemies like Banshees and Ravagers are.
8. How to pull enemies out of cover
Singularity is an amazingly useful power. It pulls everyone nearby into the air, making cover almost useless. While they float, Warp or Throw will trigger a Biotic combo on them, and that trick is your main damage dealer. Upgrade it for bigger radius, and more combo damage.
9. How to deal with Cannibals and Marauders
When a Marauder connects a red beam to a Cannibal, he's bolting armour plates onto it. The armour plates don't just add HP, they totally block shots to those areas until they're knocked off. If you're accurate, you can still shoot the unarmoured parts for full damage.
Cannibals eat their fallen comrades' corpses, which is useful to draw them out and distract them. If they do this when they're on full health, eating actually puts armour plates on them. So in situations where there are Marauders and Cannibals fighting together, it makes tactical sense to sever their connection by destroying all of one or the other first.
10. How to shoot through cover
Armour piercing is one of the game's best weapon mods. With this equipped, not only can you shoot through enemies' armour, but through scenery too. If an enemy is crouching behind light cover, like a fence or planter, your bullets will go straight through and damage them. Having this mod equipped also makes short work of enemies with riot shields and bosses.
Need even more tips, cheats and guides? You need our Complete Mass Effect 3 Scanning Guide - and How To Get The Perfect Ending tips, our solution for Mastering Mass Effect 3's Class System and our tour of Mass Effect 3's Normandy.