Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mass Effect 3; Tips for the Insanity Difficulty Setting

I've just finished Mass Effect 3 on the Insanity difficulty setting. I did it on the XBOX and I'm pretty sure these tips will probably cross all platforms. By doing so, I got the Insanity Achievement and 75 gamer points.


a. Class Warfare

When you import a Mass Effect 2 (that's two) game or start the game without importing one, you are given the choice of selecting a class. This is important because you cannot import a prior Mass Effect 3 (that's three) game and change the class. Another factor that you must consider is that now you can use any weapon. For example, in previous games, an Adept could not use a sniper rifle. Now an Adept class can. It only affects weight and your ability to use Biotic-Tech powers consecutively.

And the class you should choose is Engineer. First, you have two powers effective against shielded and armored enemies. Overload takes on shields and barriers. Incinerate is effective against armor and health.

But there's more. You have one of the most useful powers in the game. Combat Drone. It's like having an additional squad member. It will attack a target. After that target is dead, it will roam the battlefield looking for other enemies. This is a power that you should upgrade to the maximum level.

But there's much more. You can deploy a gun turret. And it can be deployed while your drone is wrecking havoc. And get this. At the highest upgrade level, it can fire rockets. Finally, you get Sabotage. It can hack Geth, even with shields, and turn them into your ally. What about those pesky enemy gun turrets? Use this power and turn those gun turrets against your foes. It also can mess with organics' guns. Getting nailed by an Atlas? Freeze his guns. The Engineer may not be as flashy and fun as say an Adept, but because he's effective against all enemies, he's the best choice.

b. Play Mass Effect 3 at least once, preferably twice on Normal before starting Insanity. When you complete Mass Effect 3 once and import that save, you get distinct advantages. The second play through gives you the credits, talent points and powers obtained from the first time going through the game. You also get all the weapons, mods and upgrades you've earned from the first play through. So you can start out the second play through with the M-99 Saber, i.e. once you get to a weapons bench. You also get the amount of Medi-gel that you earned from the previous play through for each mission.

But the playing through gives you other advantages. After the second play through, you're probably going to be at level sixty in terms of talent points. That's the maximum. On this third play through at Insanity, your weapons can be upgraded to level 10, from the start of the game. Level 10 is the maximum You'll notice during the second play through, you could only get up to level seven until you picked up the same weapon during the game. So, the M-99 Saber cannot get to level 10 until late in the game since that's when it was recovered. Still, it's is worthwhile to use the Saber even at level seven.

c. 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.

d. Enable the Auto Save feature. The Auto Save feature saves your games at points where you manually can't. I mean you can still manually save your game but there are points where it preserves the game saving you from having to play through a difficult stretch again.


a. Weapons. With Mass Effect 3, you can carry any weapon. The downside is that it effects the speed of which you can use consecutive powers. I try to stay on the positive end of the spectrum with the power recharge speed.

That being said, the weapons I usually pack are the M-99 Saber assault rifle and the M-97 Viper sniper rifle. The Saber packs a lot of punch and is semi-automatic. On lower difficulty levels, it demolishes targets. On Insanity, it may not but it causes a lot of damage on enemies. The Viper is a light sniper rifle that may not deal as much damage as other sniper rifles but it won't send your power recharge speed into negative numbers.

b. Armor. Yeah, I know some of you like a clean look when you see your character. Well, you want to live, don't you? So, upgrade your armor from the stores at the Citadel. Or buy armor suits. My Shepard looked like he had stuff growing on him.

c. Default Squads. There are some that say Liara and Garrus should be the default squad but I differ because of powers and weapons. I have two sets. Remember you can upgrade their weapons and they have unlimited ammo.

i. Garrus and James. Garrus can overload shields and barriers. He has unlimited amount of proximity mines and armor piercing ammo. James best power is Carnage which is big ol'biotic blast.

But why these two? Both can carry assault rifles. That means they can carry the M-37 Falcon. It's a grenade launcher with a lot of punch. When you have a squad firing these babies, bad guys start falling. Other choices other than James are Ashley and Javik. But Ashley is gone for half of the game, and you might not have bought the DLC, "From Ashes." I give Garrus, the Black Widow sniper rifle as his second weapon.

ii. Garrus and Tali. Once Tali becomes available, I choose her to pair with Garrus. I give her two kick ass weapons. The Graal Spike Thrower shotgun. It's a vicious weapon with maximum damage up close. And for distance, she gets the Scorpion pistol which fires sticky grenades.

But Tali's biggest asset is the Combat Drone. Now with your Combat drone and hers you can have two extra squad members. She can also sabotage turrets. You can kill enemies without having to fire a shot.


a. Know your enemies. On Insanity, enemies have stronger shields, armor and health. The are more aggressive in flanking you. And they rain down a torrent of fire. Staying out in the open is suicide.

b. Fools rush in. Do not rush into the middle of the battlefield. The enemy will kill you in seconds. There might be exception but I can't think of any right now. You should do the following.

c. Seek cover. And fire from cover.

d. If possible take the high ground. Firing from an elevated position gives you an advantage.

e. Move and fall back if you have to. If you're about to get overrun, move. Fall back if you have to. Going toe to toe in a melee battle usually gets you killed since the other bad guys will shoot you dead once exposed.

f. Take out Engineers and charging enemies first. During a fight with Cerberus troops, take out Engineers first. They deploy those annoying gun turrets which can kill you in a few seconds. Charging enemies are also a priority. Yes, husks are easier to dispatch but they can flush you from cover. Bosses like the Atlas, Brutes and Banshees can get on you in a hurry. Banshees have a biotic dash so they deserve most of the attention.


I'm an average player. And I've completed Mass Effect 2 and 3 on Insanity. I found Mass Effect 3 on the Normal difficulty setting to be hard. So, I wasn't feeling up t the task to try it on Insanity. But I played Mass Effect 3 on Insanity and did all of the above. Because you're starting with better weapons and powers, it's actually easier on Insanity than Mass Effect 2 on Insanity. Though there are a couple missions where I almost threw my controller at the TV. That's going to happen with any videogame at the highest level.

Anyway, follow my tips. I'm confident that you will beat the game on Insanity like I did.

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