Sunday, July 3, 2011

Mass Effect 2; Tips for the Insanity Difficulty Setting

Okay, I just got done with Mass Effect 2 for the XBOX 360 on the Insanity Difficulty setting. Here are general tips on how to complete it on Insanity which is the hardest difficulty setting. By doing so, you will get the Insanity Achievement which is worth 75 Gamer points. Even though this is for the XBOX, I believe tips outside of specific XBOX suggestions should work.

At the Insanity Difficulty Level, enemies unleash an accurate and massive amount of fire on one person. You. It's something that you must take into consideration when starting a mission. You cannot stay out in the open for any length of time. That's unlike playing the game on the Normal setting.

Enemies have extra health. Some come with an extra layer of protection. Husks for example have armor!

1. Things To Do Before You Start The Game On Insanity.

a. Finish the game on Normal difficulty; then import the character to Insanity.
Save your character from finishing the game on Normal difficult. Why? When you import your saved character or career to the Insanity difficulty, you get extra credits (220K) and minerals. (50K) But more importantly, you get weapons and the loyalty power you have earned by finishing the game on Normal. You also keep some of the armor upgrades you have obtained.

b. Download the Cerberus Network. If you buy the game new, you get the Cerberus Network and Zaeed for free. Yeah, it costs you fifteen dollars if you bought the game used. But you get extra missions, and Cerberus armor. But this is important. You get Zaeed and his loyalty mission (The Price of Revenge) right away.

c. Clear your XBOX Cache, if you've downloaded Mass Effect 2 patches. This may sound wrong but follow me. The patches "correct" a great cheat for Mass Effect 2 and also makes it easier to mine planets. Since you start out with extra minerals anyway, the easier mining is not a big deal. But the cheat which allows you to get unlimited talent points for you and all your characters is helpful. I've embedded a video for you below on how to get infinite talent points. Now play the game offline.

d. Manually choose to use a teammate's powers and manually level up. This is the usual way to play on any difficulty setting. This way you can direct your squad's powers against a particular foe.

e. Make Soldier your class. Why? As a Soldier, you get to use assault rifles AND sniper rifles. Assault rifles give you more punch and range than any submachine gun. Sniper rifles will allow you even on Insanity to take out enemies from a distance. You get the shotgun and heavy weapons too.

f. Choose Slam As Your Bonus Loyalty Power. Slam is quite effective once the enemy's shield or barrier or armor is down. It may not kill the bad guy right away, but it will give you time to recover if you need to. On husks without armor, Slam will kill them with one or two throws.

2. Things To Do Once You've Started The Insanity Setting.

a. Know Your Enemy. As stated before, enemies have extra health that may come in the form of Barriers, Shields or Armor. Knowing how to bring those down quickly will lead to success on Insanity. Specific Powers will bring them down more quickly.

For armor; Incinerate, Warp and Inferno Grenade are effective.

For barriers; Warp, and Concussive Shots are effective.

For shields; Overload and Combat Drones are effective.

For health (red bar); Throw, Warp, Pull, Shockwave, Slam, Incinerate, Combat Drone, Cryo Blast, Inferno Grenade; all ammo works but now Cryo and Incendiary are now effective

b. Recruit Mordin first, then do Zaeed's mission. Mordin opens up the lab for upgrades. Zaeed will give you the Inferno Grenade.

c. Your Default Squad. CHOOSE MIRANDA. Miranda is like a Swiss Army knife. She is effective at reducing all enemy defenses. No squad member is as all encompassing as Miranda. Her Overload power will take down shields. Her Warp power is effective against Barriers and Armor. In fact, I've left her behind on just one mission and that was Legion's Loyalty Mission, A House Divided. If you could clone her and she might be a clone, you would.

Zaeed should be your second member. Why? First, he uses an assault rifle. More punch than a submachine gun. And when you complete his one mission which is also a Loyalty mission, you get Inferno Grenade. Inferno Grenade works against Armor and unshielded enemies. It has a splash effect which will also damage nearby bad guys. It not very effective against shields but it does have some damaging effects. Zaeed also has Concussive Shot. That makes him effective against Barriers.

But what makes Zaeed more effective than Garrus is the Inferno Grenade. Garrus has no powers against Armor. You will see more enemies with Armor than Barriers. Barriers are used by organic captains and Harbringer. Armor is used by mechs, husks, scions, praetorians and gunships.

d. Use Your Team. Many times on the Normal setting, I've ignored the choice of squad and even placing them. On Insanity, you've got to be more strategic. Place them in positions behind cover. Make the positions to cover your flanks. Make the positions to give a nice crossfire at the enemies. Of course use their powers.

e. Exercise patience. As said before, you cannot survive for any reasonable amount of time in the open. And you will die a lot but these tips will keep the number down. Pause the game to use powers. This leads us to ...

f. Seek cover.

g. Keep your distance. There are times you may have to move but if you seek cover and keep your distance, you'll have an easier time surviving. The sniper rifle allows you to reach out and kill somebody.

h. Seek the high ground. If possible while maintaining cover use the high ground to rain fire down on the enemy.

i. Take out charging enemies first. Okay, on Normal you easily take out FENRIS Mechs, varren, and husks easily. On Insanity, these guys now have armor. Regular mechs have armor also. Add Krogen, Geth Destroyers, Hunters and Prime to the list. Anyway charging enemies will be on you in quickly and with added defenses and punch, they kill you quickly. Since they will negate your cover, take them out as soon as possible.

And if you're faced with the two charging enemies, take out the faster ones first. For example, Harbinger packs more punch than husks. But the husks get on you very fast. Take them out with your team. Inferno Grenade and Warp. Then a few shots from you and Slam finishes off the husks before Harbringer gets too close to really do a ton of damage. Assuming you are still undercover.

j. Save Medi-gel for Boss fights. If you've played the game once through, you know where the tough fights are. Most of them are the final missions with a Boss. If you preserve your Medi-gel for these fights, you can revive you squad members more often should they die. Note that when you clear an area and can save your game, "dead" squadmates are revivied automatically.

k. Save your game often. You are going to die often, so save often during missions. During a mission, when the opportunity allows you to save then save a game.

Even when you're on the Normandy, save your game often. Leave a save on the Normandy before you engage a mission. Why? The Collector Ship mission is one of the most difficult missions at Insanity. After the Horizon mission, you automatically get it after recruiting two more crewmates. (two missions) You might want to upgrade your assault rifle by purchasing upgrades before that happens.

l. You don't have to complete every mission to get the Insanity Achievement. Since I used an old save and had extra credits, I didn't have to do every side mission to get the Insanity Achievement. Once I completed the Suicide Mission or Endgame mission, I got the Achievement. For example, I still had side missions and Tali's Loyalty mission left.

m. What powers to evolve with Jack, Garrus, Tali and Legion. If you decide to evolve certain powers to the maximum with Jack, Garrus, Tali and Legion; you will be given a choice as to how to use that power. Here are my recommendations.

Jack- Her loyalty power is warp ammo. It does heavy damage against armor and biotic barriers. On Normal, you might want to choose heavy warp ammo. But on Insanity choose Suqad Warp Ammo. Now you and the squad get this powerful ammo when you take Jack on a mission.

Garrus- His loylaty power is armor piercing ammo. There is incrased damage to armor and health. Same thing as with Jack. Choose to Squad armor piercing ammo. The whole squad can use this ammo if Garrus is on a mission.

Tali and Legion- If you evolve the A.I. hacking to the maximum, choose Improved AI Hacking. The hack is longer causing the hacked enemy to engage the other enemies in a much longer period. Life saving during Tali's loyalty mission, "Tali Treason."

n. The first two missions, Awakening and Freedom's Progress. I've read online that players have been complaining about the first two missions on Insanity. That's because you've not upgraded your weapons.

But here are some quick suggestions. Remember to use the infinite talent points glitch or cheat. Your Shepard is now stronger. Save your heavy weapon for YMIR Mech at the end of Freedom's progress. If you follow the tips above, these first two missions shouldn't be a problem.

o. Miscellaneous. I haven't talked about your armor because I haven't found a best combination. The best armor I can say is to use the Cerberus armor. It gives you a little more shield protection. But if you use the regular armor, remember to wear a helmet. Yeah, you want it off when you're talking but the small protection that it gives you could be a life saver. UPDATE. I found that the Kestrel armor from the Aegis pack (DLC, 160 Microsoft Points) is slightly better than Cerberus armor. That's because Kestrel gives you 25% more shields when all its pieces are used together. The Cerberus armor gives a 10% boost in shields and 10 % boost in health. So the protection is improved a little by the Kestrel armor. Again, its about staying alive, so even a smalll amount may help.

Additionally, on Insanity, you can use the same tips for saving the entire crew and your team on the Suicide Mission or Endgame. Here are the tips to complete that objective.

3. Conclusion. The Insanity difficulty setting is not as hard as Legendary for Halo 3. Still, it can be a bear. There are times you get frustrated then there are times that it is fun because of the challenge. Follow the suggestions and you will beat the game on Insanity difficulty setting.

Check this blog for specific tips on the more difficult missions on the Insanity setting.

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