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Mass Effect 3 guide: 10 essential tips to help you save the galaxy

Become the ultimate sniper, dominate bosses, unlock bonus powers and more...

Want more Mass Effect 3 tips? We've got the Complete Mass Effect 3 Scanning Guide, including everything you need for the Best Possible Ending.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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