Tag Archives: bioware

Mass Effect Insanity review(ish) and pointers

First thing, this is not going to a blog purely about Mass Effect! Secondly, this was also the reason I have been delayed adding any more posts!

I have recently completed 100% of the ME achievements, and this was a task in itself. Bear in mind you need at least full 3 playthroughs to get all of the “ally” achievements, and this relies on you know about them before your first playthrough..

So! I had already completed the game once and got completionist the first time around and a couple of years ago done a Veteran play. Insanity..not so much.

I did it WRONG I will tell you now. I played as an Adept, and level 1-10 or so was a nightmare, being limited to light armour only is a very bad thing. Barrier (once you get it, and you should prioritise it.. I didn’t) makes a very big difference and makes things a LOT easier. The good advantage being however that once you hit about level 10-15 your biotic abilities start to be quite effective even just to slow things down or hold them. I went down the statis route and my speciality was the Bastion which gave improved durations on abilities and the big one – being able to hurt enemies in stasis! Something completely immobile that you can still plug away at? Great! Only problem being that the AI squad mates wont sadly attack a target in stasis. Singularity and lift were also very useful against practically everything and getting a lot of points into those made a big difference. Level 2 lift means you can lift a Geth Armature. and believe me that made things a lot smoother. On insanity their main weapon can kill you outright, and I’m pretty sure it did it to me through my barrier and full shields too. So anyway to stop them is a BIG help. On a side note, due to other achievements I already had I took the Assault Rifle specialist as my “perk” as it were. This meant I had a decent weapno I could fall back on for a bit more firepower when I needed it, and my biotics didn’t really need a boost. Again there could have been better abilities to have taken but due to my own foolishness I will explain later. In general the problem I found was large groups of pirates and mercenaries. They have the ability to use Immunity and make themselves immune to damage, medigel to heal AND shield restore. Along with there being snipers, who again are capable of killing you outright if your barrier isn’t up. There are what appeared to be engineers who will use tech powers to lock down your weapons, biotics and overload shields, they were not pleasant. However this is another point where I went wrong, at low levels do NOT go after human opponents, it nearly led to me jacking the whole thing in because the first assignment I did after leaving the citadel was a tiny little planet with 1 building on it.. full of pirates. It was terrible, it took me nearly 45 minutes just because I hadn’t got the damage to drop them before they started spamming abilities and I hadn’t got anything strong enough to give any real crowd control (ie. high enough levels of singularity or lift). Basically go after geth, they have much less hp and whittling away at their shields takes no time at all. In theory a good idea would be to go straight to Artemis Tau for Liara after leaving the Citadel because its quite a decent sized level and its all (bar 1 Krogan) geth. By mid game it became rather easy and I wondered what all the fuss had been about. There were only a couple of times I died and it was down to not making sure barrier was up, or thinking I was capable of running into a room full of people and gunning them all down. This was not the case. Only real issues were (no spoilers) the boss on Noveria, and to a lesser extent Feros. But again this was really down to my lower level on Noveria and the mechanics of the fight. Taking on 4 snipers at a time? Along with biotic commandos? That took a while I can tell you now… Otherwise the rest of the game past about level 15-18 or so was very noticeably easier, I wont say it was easy though!

The other challenge I stupidly set myself was to finish off other achievements I hadn’t done. I had 2 ally achievements left, along with the level 60 Extreme Power Gamer. This, if I had planned it, wouldn’t have been a problem. However the 2 allies I needed to use were Kaiden and Tali. This meant I was lacking in outright damage potential – hence me taking assault rifles. Kaiden was limited to pistols the entirety of the game and I had to specialise Tali into shotguns and maxing out her shield skill and electronics. The good thing was having these 2 together meant dropping any sort of mechanical enemy was even easier. 2 Overloads, 2 Sabotage, along with their then independent abilites (AI hacking for Tali and Neural Shock for Kaiden). So geth were very much a walk in the park! But it was very noticeable the small amount of brute force the group had, again especially at lower levels with poor ammunition types and weak weapons with low heat capabilities. Once I had everyone running around with the VII Spectre weapons with specialist ammunition it again helped. I tend to stick to a common formula, not saying it’s the best but it’s worked for me a lot! I use an assault rifle with chemical/polonium rounds and then switch to Hammerhead once they’re available. The damage over time and increased toxic hit damage does help, and stopping regeneration really helped. My weapon modifications vary from increased heat absorbers to accuracy depending on what class I am using. With one squad mate using Incendiary/Inferno rounds to set enemies alight which can cause damage over time again and reduce their accuracy! I then had my last person using Cryo/Snowblind rounds again for reduced enemy accuracy (and because it looks cool!) and shield pentration.

NOW, if I were to do it again. I would have possibly stayed with adept, once you are used to the play style of hiding a lot it works quite well once you get a few decent abilities. However squad mates I would’ve used Garrus for my tech along with assault rifles and sniper rifles. With maybe Liara for her biotics and team heal/med bonus abilities. This would mean possibly being able to use different bonus talents over assault rifles and meant whilst hiding and waiting for my cooldowns the others could be doing a reasonable amount of damage. I know Liara isn’t the best choice for a damage ally but she is capable and her other benefits make up for it. Wrex would be a good choice (and he’s awesome) but then you will be lacking the reduced cooldowns on medigel, which wont be a gamebreaker but will cause frustration when squadmates wander off and get themselves into trouble. Go find some nice squishy enemies to start with and do as much on the Citadel as you can before going anywhere else. Something I’d be careful of is going to Noveria and Feros with a low Charm/Intimidate because there are choices that can give you a BIG paragon/renegade boost if your skill is high enough on both planets. All in all just keep at it and persevere, yes you will die, yes it will frustrate you. But it’s not as insane as they make out!

With regards to my level 60 that was a bit more awkward believe it or not (and made things worse for me). I decided to start this with my insanity character. So going to every single planet available and doing every single assignment was my plan… and I did.. and it got me to level 55. The only thing I missed was parts of Pinnacle Station that just seemed impossible on insanity. This is higher than I had hoped but believe you me, level 59-60 is a nightmare. Luckily I had set myself a decent amount of time to get it. 55-60 took me nigh on another 15 hours. I was up to the point of having done Feros, Noveria, and all bar one cluster of planets on my second playthrough with the imported character (only on normal difficulty this time!) with keeping equipment it made it a much quicker process! But I literally hit level 60 with maybe 2-3 hours of the game left. That was a painful experience!
A VERY USEFUL TIP. Anything you kill whilst inside the Mako will give about 30% of the experience you get for killing them on foot. So driving up to enemies and jumping out to mow them down works a treat (doing this still only got me to level 55) however watch out for environmental hazards, that got me killed a couple of times shouting “There’s not even anything left alive!!” then I felt silly. This is where biotic lift for armatures comes in very handy, if you don’t have it you can ram them with the Mako to knock them down and then use tech abilities to try and keep them off you but it’s harder. Even killing a thresher maw on foot at level 35 isn’t hard! Once you have some decent ammo types if you stay just out of its claw range you can just keep dancing about to avoid the acid splash and even use abilities like neural shock and stasis on them!! Very rewarding to drop your first! And it’s actually easier than using the mako because it doesn’t move around and then have a chance to pop up right next to you!

But I did it. I now have 1200/1200 gamerscore for Mass Effect. However I have now imported this into Mass Effect 2 to do the same thing.. I’m up to disc 2 but now Gears of War 3 has arrived so there may be a delay on getting that finished.. but I will be writing a post on that too (and I know already I’m doing myself no favours by taking an even harder option there again). Hopefully this helps anyone who has managed to read the wall of text in front of them!



effecting mass

Ho ho ho, see what I did there?

With the announcement of Mass Effect 3 (what feels like forever ago) I decided I needed to play through both previous games to get myself a “Proper” save to carry over, making all my ramification choices well in advance of getting to them and being properly prepared. This obviously meant playing through 2 again first.. Arrival was the main reason for doing this and all the other DLC being on sale around the same time.

But let’s go back to where it all (to as much as I can remember) began!

********************** //SPOILERS

My original Mass Effect playthrough as a soldier, being genuinely shocked when Nihlus was killed, getting to the Citadel wanting to help EVERYONE. Not wanting to leave any squad mates behind for any reason. Garrus being an obvious favourite. Feros and watching the geth ship fall from the building, seeing my first armature unfold in front of my eyes, the THORIAN!? Noveria and being confronted by guards on landing and panicking, reaching Peak 15, the rachni bursting out of the floor tiles, the hotlabs, the betrayal, BENEZIA!? Virmire was the killer though, THAT choice. Didn’t see that coming at all, although luckily for me one of them had never been used since I had the choice (sorry Kaiden). It just went so well. Then Bring down the Skies came, and it was fantastic, but I skipped Pinnacle Station, no idea why, just felt like a good idea. But then obviously when 2 was going to be released I HAD TO play through one again for the sake of it all being fresh! so my launching of ME2 was delayed, because I totally misjudged how long the first game would take me :[ so it sat there in its shiny collectors edition tin staring at me.

Then ME2 began, luckily with lots of money and bonus XP from my imported save and it was so good, it was even better than what was a personal favourite game. The choices seemed even trickier, and the pleasant surprises of bumping into old faces again (yes I mean you rachni asari woman) and wondering what will pan out into the third game.. well.. its just mad. Suicide mission RUINED me, I lost some very good faces on my first attempt, people I had hoped would be with me forever.. let’s just say I wish I’d done more loyalty missions and paid more attention to what certain people were being asked to do :[

Then came the DLC, Katsumi was pleasant, nice change of pace for the most part and some good unlocks to go with. Good length (ooh err missus) and enjoyed. Overlord was..err weird, Overlord itself was OK but the Firewalker bits building up to it were more of an annoyance I found. Lair of the Shadowbroker was a good change again, and it was long, and by long I mean loooonnnnngg well worth the playthrough although the bits on the roof of the ship felt a bit dragged out.. nice twist at the end though! But then Arrival, how cool it was to do a stealth mission solo and then the ending of it, that clock.. it just felt finished. That meant I totally needed to play ME3 NOW. Which can’t happen :[

So I went back to 1 to 100% it, and got Pinnacle Station, it was.. short.. I don’t know if it’s because of the difficulty I was playing on or if it just wasn’t particularly challenging. But nevermind!

********************** //SPOILERS END

Mass Effect is one of my favourite series of games but I just hope 3 isn’t too “dumbed down”. The steps removed from 1 to 2, like upgrading weapons, changing weapon/armour mods, ammo types (don’t tell me about ammo types in ME2..) after going back enjoy to ME I really enjoy those tweaks, and the way certain characters can fill a role for you or just by changing a couple of bits here and there you can change a weapons functionality no end. But workbenches are back in ME3 that we’ve seen so that looks promising. And it’s not that ME2 was OVER simplified it was just more of a Gears of War with conversations, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing but it wasn’t what a lot of fans hoped for. The combat was slicker, the action was faster, the explosions were more frequent.. it was as if Michael Bay was involved in some way. Bah, I enjoy Michael Bay movies, I loved, LOVED ME2. I can’t really fault a game like that, even with the niggles and annoyances at things that were taken out because it was just at such a high standard.

Mass Effect 3 had better be THE BOMB because there’s no reason it shouldn’t or couldn’t be. The only problem I can forsee is cramming in too much new content, too many new faces, too many extra decisions. It’s a grand finale. It’s wrapping up the whole series (don’t do a Terminator on us with awful reboots). The events of this game LITERALLY will effect the entire galaxy. What I wonder though is how plot holes will be filled after the events from the last mission of ME2 it’s possible that.. well.. certain characters may have issues performing in the third. But you can’t just add a placeholder character.. so that could be interesting to say the least.

Roll on March is all I can say..