Insanity in Mass Effect 3
This is not a complete strategy guide to the game, as far as what is where. I've only included the important things, not every single thing there is to do and find.
To begin, you might want to check out the Mass Effect Wiki for finding almost everything that is not a fuel drop (there are faqs that will help you find those, though flying around the system you're in and waiting for the beep works too) in the galaxy. I'll try to note when I notice new star systems opening up, every little bit you can get as early as possible helps.
You also get assets for offering your opinion in certain situations, being nice to certain people and for listening in on conversations that take several trips to the same area to hear (which result in a Spectre Terminal option when completed). Some of these are three or four visits long and some are longer, going up and down the elevator will trigger the next part of a conversation. It will also allow you to talk to someone to further a quest if you find them on your map but cannot target them for interaction. Your reputation should be maxed, so you can respond to situations as you feel like it. I suggest that you are nice to possible love interests and anyone you want to join you.
As many have found, the Infiltrator is still one of the best choices for this. I am assuming that you have played through once to do an ME3 import, because level 10 weapons are unlocked the 2nd time through and the more powerful weapons make a world of difference.
My build for the start of the game, at level 56, with 3 points saved for the next few levels:
Disruptor Ammo 6, Squad, Headshots, Damage
Cryo Ammo 5, Freeze Duration, Headshots
Incinerate 6, Damage, Burning Damage, Armor Damage
Tactical Cloak 6, Damage, Recharge Speed, Sniper Damage
Sticky Grenade 0
Sabotage 6, Duration, Explosive Hack, Berserk
Operational Mastery 6, Influence and Duration, Weight Capacity, Sniper Damage
Fitness 6, Durability, Shield Recharge, Durability
Warp Ammo (bonus power) 6, Damage, Headshots, Damage
Pretty much a tutorial, the cannibals hit a bit harder on Insanity but it goes pretty fast with a bit of duck and cover. Level 6 Incinerate takes them down a lot faster than shooting at them, especially since one shot from them takes most of your shields. Survival time. You'll get a 3 level free upgrade every time you get a weapon the second time through. Run yourself out of ammo (or spam Incinerate on them for a few minutes, they do count toward enemy killing achievements) and it's off to Mars.
Upon arriving on Mars, I leveled up to 57. I maxed out my Cryo Ammo and added a point into Sticky Grenade. I maxed Kaidan out on all of his skills but Cryo Blast and I maxed out James except for Frag Grenade. Upon picking up the Mantis, you will find that all of your weapons have carried over in the loadout screen. Get everyone equipped as you see fit, if you have a Spectre weapon (like the Black Widow) you should equip it on yourself. It's a good idea, due to weight issues, to only have your sniper rifle and one other weapon. I chose Black Widow (make sure to reload up to 3 shots after each kill, some enemies take more than one shot and it's better to stay zoomed if possible) and an auto-rifle. Your first encounter can teach you some hard lessons. Grenades will take your shields and at least half your health if you don't avoid the explosion all together. After the Mako, run for the nearest rock cover. Getting cut down before your squad mate can say “Look out!” is a bit annoying. You'll get used to rolling back and forth to avoid grenades and the enemies like to close in a lot more now than on the lower difficulties (making the shoulder button radar a real necessity). Using Quicksave (Back button) between battles becomes a cherished friend. Liara shows up right after the elevator, I maxed out all but Warp Ammo. In the dark vented area, wait until the troops finish talking and some of them will leave. You can take the rest by surprise. The first weapon mod may be in here (usually the mods only show up on the second play if you don't own a level V version), and it will go up to the next level based on what you have now. The weapon bench in the next room lets you reassign your weapons and all the mods you got from the previous game are here (I suggest putting the Spare Thermal Clip and Enhanced Scope mods on your sniper rifle for Cerberus troops and swapping the Scope one with the Extended Barrel facing any other enemy. With the exception of one mission later on, you don't see much mix and match among enemies.) It's a good time to save, if only to avoid losing your customization choices. Also be sure that the non sniper weapon you have equipped has more than three shots. Guardians will give you an opportunity to practice your Mail Slot achievement skills. I think the Black Widow penetrates their big shields in many cases, but I got credit toward the achievement a couple of times. In the room just past the first lab, you really can't kill the enemies very long before they fall back and let you continue for a bit unimpeded. The turret room is annoying but not too hard if you follow the directions. Next room goes fast with a few Singularities, and you may want to hold off on getting the med kit here until after the next room is cleared. The railing provides some cover in the next room but not much, height is an advantage in your favor though. The next couple of battles are basic, the conversation can affect the ending of the game if you use the persuasion from the left side option, and the chase scene is not tough if you sprint most of the way. The last few moments can be frustrating if you picked the wrong weapon loadout, you have to hit her three times. I originally thought it was just there to build tension, until I died on a later play because I picked the wrong weapons.
Priority: The Citadel
Visit your friend in the hospital every chance you get to come back here. Buy them a gift from the hospital terminal right now. You get the opportunity to get an old friend on the ship. You might want to wander around the few accessible areas to overhear things and talk to people.
Once on board, you'll notice that your quarters are the same as you left them. At your terminal, you'll get a message about an enemy base (and if you have the "From Ashes" DLC you get a message for that too), no harm in checking them out now. You may wish to go talk to people and make changes to your armor (equip armor or pieces of armor with bonuses to weapon and headshot damage) and upgrade weapons (a good idea between missions if you have the money, it only allows you to upgrade most weapons to level VII if you have not already acquired them again this playthrough) before you go, however. You keep your armor and armor pieces from before, and only some of the shops are open from here right now. If you turn around and dock with the Citadel again, you still can't go anywhere new. Feel free to go into the areas that are open right now and scan for stuff.
Kite's Nest (Harsa and Untrel only. Vular only opens (later on) if you need to find a mission item.)
Make sure you know where your disc 2 is, because it is time to switch now.
N7: Cerberus Lab (Sigurd's Cradle)
You can sneak upon the first group of enemies unaware pretty easily. Go explore the area before you trigger the terminal with the artifact near it. After you get the second artifact, the desk you are behind makes a good place to stay in cover until the grenades start flying. Once your goal is changed to “Defend the extraction zone” you can hide by the “sideways 3” box and wait. Once the shuttle lands, cloak and run.
Priority: Eden Prime (Exodus Cluster, scan all you want in Utopia without Reaper issues)
It's possible to get all the Asgard stuff in three scans, unfortunately the Reapers attack after the second scan. Scan between Borr and Tyr to get 3 of the 5, scan Loki and then quickly up to Terra Nova before retreating.
All right, on to the mission. Explore the building you pass as you enter the area before heading on. The two Nemesis enemies in the first wave like to work together, when you pop your head out to shoot at one the other will shoot at you. Explore a bit, but be aware when you enter the building to the right of the bridge. As soon as you open the closed door more enemies await you. This one is hard if you stay in the little room exclusively. You can access the same battle from the larger building down the north stairs from here, probably a better choice. Either way, you can flank the enemies by telling your squad to stay inside by the door and going to the stairs between the two buildings. The building north of the bridge left building also has enemies nearby, but you'll hear them before you see them and they are more easily handled. The cut-scenes play in the same order, I think, regardless of which lab you find first. But if you go after the one with the orange door first, the other one provides a much more defensible position when exiting. On the way back to the pod, you have your choice of cover. If you have not found 3 terminals with information, go explore some more. You get a nice War Asset for your trouble. During the Atlas battle, your squad may die. Take out the Atlas before you revive your squad. The best position is inside the building, the Atlas has more of a problem hitting you in there. After it is gone, the remaining enemies will come into the bigger part of the building (the room with the Medigel) after you.
Annos Basin opens up, but there is nothing to do there at the moment.
Back to disc 1.
Priority: Palaven (Apien Crest)
Javik was not available for me, maybe because I did the Eden Prime mission second or maybe he's just not playable until after this mission.
Every Husk you take down from the shuttle is one less you have to face on the ground. Explore the next area before or after you talk to the officer, but before you leave the area (in case you might want to use the Weapon Bench). Husks and the Scorpion pistol are a great combination. By the time they get to you, if you shoot them once, they are pretty much dead. Liara fixes the tower faster than James. Once she is done, take cover to the left of the tower and the squad does a good job of taking down the Husks before they get to you. I max leveled Garrus in everything except Proximity Mine, don't forget to run him over to the Weapon Bench while you are here. On the airfield, take cover behind the first rock on the right and snipe as you need to in order to help your squad. On the wall, not zooming with the turret works better. When the Brute attacks, cloak and back away. It should only take 4 or 5 sniper shots to take him down. In the last area, Brutes are just some of the enemies you face. You'll need to keep moving from one rock to the next to get all the enemies. There is a Blackstar (like a Cain with one shot) on the right, but it seems to be a bigger risk to retrieve than to fight without it.
Via email messages, you'll find out that there are a lot of things to do now on the Citadel. Using your map to see who is where is very helpful, but wandering about works too. There are opinions to be offered in the Hospital, Presidium Commons, and the Docks. There is a fairly long multi-part conversation for assets in the Hospital as you enter on the right. I suggest you ride the elevator up and down between Purgatory and the Hospital for the fastest resolution. “I'll see what I can do.” is the end.
Back to disc 2
Grissom Academy (Petra Nebula, but only this mission is there)
I maxed out Edi except for Overload and Javik except for Lift Grenade. If, for some reason, you decide not to do this mission then you will fight Jack in a later mission as a bad guy.
The first thing to remember is when you open a door, move to the side and get into cover as it opens. In the hallway with the two doors, you can surprise the enemies by going in the righthand door. An exam on a desk in the next room presents an interesting strategy using biotics that takes a little practice to do. In the room following the clogged hallway, watch for enemies at the far end once the conversation concludes. The next room with all the couches has no enemies, so explore at will. In the next area kill the enemies as fast as you can, if the student's Barrier fails you do too. Take the Atlas down first, it's the biggest threat. You may need to gel your squad back to life before it is down, but afterward the remainder of the enemies are pretty easy. The next two areas are better handled from the hallway you come in from, at least until the massive numbers are reduced. You don't need to protect anyone here. Sneak attack the next two guys and prepare for the last area. Kill the Engineer and take his sweet ride, even with the enemies dodging the missiles it helps a lot. Spam the missiles on the other Atlas when it shows up and you're about finished.
Head back to the Citadel in response to some more emails.
Back to disc 1 again.
Priority: Sur'kesh (Annos Basin, but only for this mission)
Don't go to meet the diplomats until you are ready to begin the mission.
You need a squad that can hit hard and kill fast. Garrus with the same sniper rifle you have and James with a decent shotgun are good choices. You can explore the room after Mordin leaves before you head out. In the first battle, the lab area is great for flanking. If you act quickly, the pod won't take much damage in the first protection battle. When you meet Kirrahe at the next area, the best cover is where he was standing. After the multilevel area is cleared, get ready for more protection. The enemies seem to ignore the pod once you start shooting at them, which is a good thing. In the final area, the enemies concentrate on the pod if you are not shooting at that enemy. When the Atlas shows up, the pod meter regenerates a little bit.
I reached level 60 early on and had 3 leftover points, that's annoying. It does make it unnecessary to collect Medigel if you already have 8.
Krogan DMZ (Don't bother flying to Nith unless you really want 300 units of fuel near Tula)
Horsehead Nebula (does not seem to be anything there right now)
Back on the Citadel, you'll find out that some missions don't give you anything as far as a reward if you're level 60. I'd still do them, if only to clear out the Journal.
Back to disc 2
I'm taking Garrus and James on every mission for a while pending new squad members later in the game.
Attican Traverse: Krogan Team (Ninmah Cluster (nothing there but the mission))
There seems to be a glitch. I killed the Rachni Queen in ME1, but the shuttle conversation reflects otherwise if you bring Garrus along.
Don't miss the Weapon Bench in the building, if you need it. I recommend using the Prothean Plasma Rifle as your second weapon, its auto-recharge saves you from wasting ammo on the pods. Use the Firestorm weapons as much as you want, there are a lot of them scattered around in here. Burn every pod (a too close pod explosion will deplete most of your shields) and every web you see. The first battle is a doozy. Cloak and run right, stopping at the pillar that the Ravager is next to. Kill the husks that are in this area and keep the pillar between you and the Ravager while your cloak recharges so you can cloak and roast it. The next battle (and most battles in here from now on) can be harder if you don't take down the Barrier Engine first. Drop the Firestorm and switch to your sniper rifle while you make sure your squad has their best weapon in use. Tell them to take cover on the two ridges and make sure they get there before you move forward any. Take down the Barrier Engine with your first cloaked shot then tell your squad to target the Ravager. You're not done yet, though you are allowed a quicksave here. As you advance you'll come into another battle zone to the left. If you take cover in the lake without the corpse, your squad can work on taking the enemies down while you peek out every once in a while to shoot something. You'll likely use most of your Firestorm ammo on the numerous pods between here and the next area. You can quicksave once you see the Krogan shooting ahead of you. Past the metal wall, getting in and out of the areas require battle but there is no Barrier Engine early on. Trying to figure out how to get back to the spot where you were boxed in, you will find an Engine with the troops in the next battle. Soon you'll enter a battle with two Ravagers. The next area is the last one, apparently the glitch only went as far as the shuttle conversation.
When you get back to the CIC area, you get a new N7 mission. Everything else is currently on Tuchanka, so it's up to you if you want to go to Benning now or later. I chose now.
N7: Cerberus Abductions (Arcturus Stream)
Go ahead and scan the planet while you're in the first system here, it's a useful personal upgrade. There's a small fuel spot just as you enter the Euler system not too far from the arrow.
The combat is pretty straightforward, despite all the talk about saving civilians there is no counter that keeps track one way or the other. There are lots of places to take cover and with the multilevel layout, you may have a height advantage in several situations. In the area with the two civilians talking, the Cerberus troops will come at you from all sides. You have to use your radar to keep track of them. Once they are all gone, the mission ends.
Don't do the mission to cure the Genophage until you've turned in every piece of scanned stuff you can to the people on the Citadel. Some people on the Citadel will vanish after that mission is completed.
N7: Cerberus Attack
The enemies start out unaware of you, use this to your advantage. There are a lot of Engineers in this first battle, so beware of that when targeting the turrets they lay down. If you leave the turrets for last it's a bit easier. In the next battle, beware the Nemesis and don't expect to stay in the top area the whole time or the bad guys will come after you. Once the power is back on, you have to fight your way back into the room. The new star in the sky to the right of the sun is almost reward enough.
Tuchanka: Downed Vessel
Most of enemies in this mission are unaware of you, which lets you sneak up on them. The first Harvester just needs to take about a quarter bar of damage to make it go away. You'll hear the second battle before you see it. The second Harvester is the same, you can almost kill it before it flies away. You finally get to kill one at the end of the third battle. When the next Harvester arrives in the fourth battle, stay in cover by hugging the right wall and get the Blackstar for an easy win (you can target over the broken wall, just make sure the targeting crosshair is red.)
This is a direct follow-up to the last mission. The consequences will be dire if you don't complete it, but it is up to you. If you do 3 missions without doing his one, you lose the chance and much more (not the least of which is the related Insanity based achievement that requires you to do all the missions).
The explosions you face upon landing are more annoying than anything, they really only interfere with your combat without any real danger from them. The battles are pretty straightforward, just take cover and kill as fast as possible. I'm unsure if the number of fleeing Cerberus you kill lessens the numbers to come, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Don't blindly rush ahead after the little drop off following the ladder, Cerberus set up turrets when they left. Killing the soldiers as they fly in is the best option. The wave with the Atlas is the last one.
Check the Spectre office to make sure you did not miss any mission items and then go find the people that you need to turn things into based on your Journal entries.
We're off to cure the Genophage...or are we? Your actions in this mission may impact more than just what happens during this mission.
Take out the Husks to advance. This mission is full of some pretty awesome cut-scenes After the first scene, explore the area before you talk to anyone. The tunnels can be a bit confusing, if you can find all 3 drawings you can make some nice cash in here. Once you find the dead Ravager, get ready for some living enemies ahead. There are lots of places for cover in here. After several small battles, you finally get a look at the cause of the tremors. And you thought the ones from the other two games were big? After the next battle you're on your way to the area pretty close to the end. Once you get to the top of the stairs it gets interesting. First, avoid the Reaper's laser and then, after a low wall you need to jump over, avoid getting stepped on (got hit once and it took me down to half health) while you avoid the enemies so you can get to the hammers. I think they are infinite, so hit one hammer then run across to the other to end this part of the mission. A is for awesome! You may lose someone here (if Wrex is alive you always lose them), and depending on your actions it may cause another death later.
N7: Cerberus Fighter Base
Interestingly enough, Garrus is still an option even though he is supposed to have been reassigned.
Clear the top area then proceed to the bottom area. The L shaped consoles make good cover areas. Split your squad between them. Once that area is clear, send your squad into cover outside that doorway and head up around the inside of the building to flank the enemies. Once again, the Atlas is little challenge.
Your Engineer might need something from you. If so, you can buy it from the Elkoss store on the Citadel console in the Shuttle Bay.
The Citadel is under attack, again, but this time you get the chance to kill one of the most annoying recurring characters in the series. If you've followed my recommendations and scanned the areas as they have opened, you probably have a few things to turn in. That will have to wait while you save the Citadel from a small army of Cerberus troops.
Once you land, get behind cover immediately and take down the enemies. After the short hallway following C-Sec you can take down the enemies quickly if you surprise one of them. The couches make pretty good cover positions. If you did not take down the Cerberus shields, they make good cover at the top of the stairs from the last few enemies. The sprinkler malfunction in the next room makes me wonder if you'd kill the enemies (and yourself) faster if you brought along the Arc weapon from your previous playthrough. I've never tried that. Surprise attack the lone guy who just locked the elevator and unlock it. Garrus is looking for his friends, but nobody answers. Explore the area and loot the rooms and bodies before you go through the green door that bypasses the malfunctioning one. Toss a grenade down the hall (targeting one with Sticky Grenade), it will take down one of the two enemies and you can get the other one a moment later if he rolled away. About the time you get to the room with the news broadcast you will be attacked again. The room with the broadcast is good for cover. You can't go down, so go on up. Enjoy the pretty cool combat scene to follow. Any landing you can walk away from is a good one, right? Meet your new worst enemy, the Phantoms can be annoying and can quick kill your squad members. Tell them to target one when it shows up and it should only have time to kill one member of your team. Two Nemesi are next, go up and down the stairs while targeting them to make it harder for them to target you. The next area is full of Phantoms, Nemesi and regular troops. It takes some effort to survive. Close combat makes the sniper rifle less effective, make sure you turn your Cryo Ammo on if you've been using Warp Ammo to make the combat more manageable. After you climb around the Citadel some, you come to the next area. The shop you start next to makes pretty good cover, just beware the missiles the Atlas shoots have a splash if he shoots through the window or the doorway. He's the major threat, the rest are minor. Switch to your other weapon now, the elevator sequence is no place for sniper rifles. The trip up can go very easily if you always shoot the targets on the elevators. The situation at the end of the mission can end several ways. I always use the interrupts, so I can't say if anyone extra dies if you don't use interrupts.
Cryo Ammo is my new favorite. Since the game seems to be turning up the heat, I need something to slow it down a bit.
You're still on the Citadel at the end of the mission, so you may as well go turn in anything that needs to be turned in and do anything else you want to do here before you head back to your ship. There is a shorter conversation (5 parts) for assets in the Docking Bay D24 area, but the people in question don't leave after you authorize the request like the other one did. When you do leave, you have another decision to make (if the mission ended on a good note). Do you need a new squad member? Emails and conversations on the Normandy open up a couple new missions.
Athena Nebula (Thessia is here, but no mission yet)
Nimbus Cluster, Kallini only has fuel in the lower left
New Squad Member
I asked Kaidan to rejoin the crew. His last 6 points were enough to get his Cryo Blast up to level 3.
This is the first battle I've noticed that the Cerberus troops take good advantage of those shield pylons, so make those your priority. The first little bit provides plenty of cover. Is it just me, or does Brynn look and sound a lot like Traynor on the ship? The enemies in the area after the ladder can be taken out from the hallway to begin with, and then from behind the central crate at the top of the incline for the rest of the enemies. Getting up to the roof is made more challenging by the gun turret. I found that Garrus' Concussive Shot power will hit the guy somehow if you target him from behind cover, it may be a combination of targeting Overload on him first to knock him away from the gun. In any case, there's a med kit in this area you may need after this part of the mission. Save before you turn on the second gun and take note of the turret. It's the same one you just ran from, and it will help you in a moment. But not for long, getting shot in the back by approaching enemies soon becomes an issue so you should move back toward the gun and take cover behind the vent to the left of the gun. The battle does go pretty fast, however. The rest is just basic cover combat, even the Phantom is not that bad when it shows up.
I went to talk to the Quarians at this point, not thinking about the fact that I might get stuck helping them before I got the other optional mission out of the way. That was not the case, however. I could have taken Tali along on the previous mission. I maxed out everything except Energy Drain, being sure to choose the rocket selection for her attack drone and the chain selection for her defense drone.
Beware the Banshees, nasty things that will teach you to fear the Reapers. There are a few things scattered around the rooms before the area with the spiral staircase. Once you get there, you won't be attacked until you get to the central path that leads to the next door. When you are attacked, the Banshee is alone making it a lot easier to get her down. Once she is down, take cover from the Cannibals that arrive. Beware a bug I found that blacks out the screen right after you open the next door. It also did not autosave for me when that happened. When I reloaded and did the battle again the autosave happened. After the conversation, explore both sides of the area before going down. Once the enemies appear, run back up to the top of the stairs. The Banshee will follow you, but you can take it down one on one. The glass wall at the bottom of the first set of steps, halfway down the staircase, makes a great sniping spot against the Cannibals. There is nothing in the next room to worry about, the final battle is beyond the unlocked door that leads to an elevator. Two Banshees and some Husks, whoa talk about a big battle in a little room. Unfortunately, it is possible to get caught in a corner and melees to death. Try not to take cover in here and forget the sniper rifle for a bit, your secondary weapon will have to do until the Husks are down. The biggest challenge, of course, are the Banshees. Their super biotic blast hurts a lot. They cannot see you cloaked, but they do tend to blast in your direction and will hit you if you run in a straight line. Run, weave, cloak and shoot. Your sniper rifle is useful again once the Husks are gone, switch to Warp Ammo to drop their Barriers then back to Cryo Ammo.
Priority: Perseus Veil (woo hoo, first Geth in the entire game)
Disruptor Ammo with level 4 set for your squad to have it too is a wonderful idea on this mission. You might want to pay your Arc Pistol up to level VII before you leave the Normandy. The Particle Rifle does little to nothing here, but the Chakram Launcher is very useful.
Keep Tali's Rocket Drone up at all times during the battles. For the first little bit, your major priority enemy is the Rocket Troopers. Once down the ladder, watch out for the mines. If you back away fast when you hear the noise you only take minor shield damage. It's a good idea to leave your reticle pointing at the floor a little in front of you. Even if the mine highlights too late for you to shoot it, you may see it before you hear it and move away faster. The Hunters show up in the next battle and they love sneak attacking you, so be aware of your radar to help track them. The pause, target, and use power strategy works well here. The best place to take cover is the wall just inside from where you enter. There are a few mines in this room, better triggered between combats. It gets harder once you trigger the console on the other end, the next wave seems more aggressive. Once you get into the gun chamber, you've got another threat to deal with from the ship itself. The most annoying thing is that the gunfire does not harm the Geth if they are standing up when it fires. You need to time your attacks to avoid damage, it could prove fatal when coupled with Geth attacking you. Yes, there are Hunters in here too. Afterward, I don't know of it is possible to get stuck in the tube and lose the mission, but run all the way to the end just in case. The next area is mostly about Rocket Troopers perched on walkways, but when I climbed the ramp to get up there a Hunter was waiting for me. As you advance down the tube, you'll be attacked by more enemies but the area widens allowing you more space to move around. I don't know if you can fall if you don't sprint toward Tali when the elevator goes down, but sprint anyway. You can take down most of the Geth from you initial cover position. When you can't see any more from there, proceed slowly around the room to take out the Prime. More will attack, including another Prime. The tension filled run to the exit is not too terribly dangerous.
Silean Nebula (but only the part of it on the map linked above)
N7: Fuel Reactor
Be very careful not to go down until you vent the area, death is pretty instant if you do. Combat includes two Barrier Engines this time. Quick save before you push the reactivation button. This time there are three Barrier Engines to take down. After the second reactivation button is pushed, there are two Barrier Engines inside the reactor. When that battle is done and the next button is pressed you can run through the reactor chamber to end the mission.
Rannoch: Geth Fighter Squadron
This one is interesting. There is no real combat, just shooting virtual infections and viewing Geth/Quarian history. It's easy to get lost in here.
Rannoch: Admiral Koris
The first few battles can be started from surprise. After you assign your squad member to the gun, get the Geth Spitfire against the wall just behind you to make the battle much faster. The turrets at the next two AA guns are useful, since the Geth come in the same way you did. The Primes fall pretty fast to the continuous fire, but you are not immune to damage yourself. There is a possibility that the shuttle can be shot down, but it is not likely.
You start off right away fighting, plenty of cover to clear the lower area. After climbing the pipes, climb the ladder on the right. There should only be one Geth to take down, follow the central pipe forward and take cover on the right. Once the area is clear go to the left and climb that ladder. The next area is nearly all Rocket Troopers, Sabotaging them is fun. In the area with the two consoles there are lots of places for cover. There are three Geth Spitfires in the area but they don't take Disruptor Ammo and that makes them pretty useless. The Chakram Launcher is a life saver, but even so three Geth Primes is a heck of a challenge. Go ahead and use up all of your Medigels, if you got the efficiency upgrade it is like you have 16 instead of 8.
Remember that video with Shepard shooting a Reaper from the back of a truck? That scene leads to one of the most challenging moments in the game followed by one of the most requirement-based conversations you will ever have. To survive the Reaper, you just have to avoid getting hit on your tiny little speck of land. The best thing to do is start on the far side and roll the other way to avoid getting hit. The blue walls on your gun stay where you left them so you can aim a little bit at a time. It takes some practice, but once the beam is above your head you can stand still for a moment and resume targeting.
Silean Nebula (the rest of it)
Nevos has Rings of Alune, Quirezia has credits and there is fuel on the right side of the area
Dekuuna has Code of the Ancients, Oltan has an Elcor Fleet and there is fuel on the right side but left of the red dust field
Hyetiana has Serrice Guard and fuel is on the left
Fuel is right of the wreckage zone and Yasilium has Armali Sniper Unit
Priority: Citadel into Priority:Thessia
The first part is very hard to complete successfully. It took me several tries. It's more a matter of shooting the enemies at the Barrier than keeping the bridge clear. With the exception of the need to take down the Barrier Engine and the two Brutes at the beginning, the Barrier should never be out of your sight. You can swing a little to the right the get the Husks coming over the wall and to try to hit the Brutes, but never swing totally away from the Barrier. From the bridge to the doorway that your squad comments on there is plenty of cover. A Banshee shows up near the end of the area, but she only brings two Marauders with her and there is plenty of cover. Once you reach Outpost Tykis, run past all the enemies until you reach the Husks. After you kill them, a gunship should come and take out most of the heavy enemies for you. Now you can clear out the rest. In the battle at the end, you cannot use the sniper rifle effectively due to the need to keep moving so Leng cannot one shot kill you. Too bad your squadmates are not as wise.
N7: Communication Hub
Small area, lots of cover. No real strategy here.
Remember way back at the beginning when I said there was a mission that had both Reapers and Cerberus enemies? This is the one.
In the first area, keep the Phantoms busy running away while you avoid getting hit by the Nemesis. The next battle is at the bottom of the steps, right after you see the dead bodies. The best way to survive this is to go back into the room with the shuttles and take cover on the left so you can shoot the enemies as they come out of the area behind the glass walls. There's nothing to fight between the two Miranda message terminals. Remember that room full of Husks you just freed? That's where the next door goes. Head back up the stairs as they come into the room. After that, the long hallway fills up with enemies as soon as you enter it. The Banshee is the big threat, the rest stay down the hall. Opening the door to the next office may seem like a good idea, but it just boxes you in even worse and lets the other enemies, who were doing fine where they were, have a better shot at you. The best idea is to run back up the steps and take cover behind the glass railing to begin with. With her teleporting around, you won't be able to stay there very long. I the next area, take cover on the top step next to the gold pipe. This allows you good cover from both sides and you can take out any enemies that come into the room. There is a Barrier Engine just inside the door on both levels. The doors will close when all of the enemies are down. After the ladder, there are two Barrier Engines in the area. One of them is easily taken out from the end where you start but the other one is on the center ceiling and it may be easier just to deal with the Barriers on the enemies until they get closer to your end (where I suggest you take cover and stay there) and out of range of that Engine. Once you get to the tram, put down your sniper rifle and get out whatever your second weapon is. You don't want to have to switch during the next battle. Cloak and run up to the top level, maybe I got lucky but the Brutes concentrated on my squad while I took them down and the Banshee did not show up until the 3rd Brute was nearly dead. I ran out of ammo, but by the time I was forced to switch back to my sniper rifle it was just the Banshee that was left. At the beginning of ME2, Miranda is with the Illusive Man and now she has to resort to other means to find him? Interesting.
You must do any explorations or Citadel visits you need to now (your Journal should only have one mission in it if you've done everything you can) because after this next mission you won't have a chance to go anywhere but Earth. If you want certain asset-related achievements you have to go do multiplayer to get your Galaxy At War percentage up. My total at this moment is 6707 (lost Rachni support unexpectedly) and you need 5000 effective, someone said, so your Galaxy percentage has to be about 75% to get that.
Priority: Cerberus Headquarters
The love scene is even more tame than it was before (I did not romance anyone in ME2 on this character, so I don't remember how it was there). Thanks a lot, Fox News.
Back to disc 1
Be careful of the spacecraft launching every once in a while, they can be a nuisance if you lose your shields in a bad moment. The fins of your shuttle make great cover. Don't hesitate to go left toward the ladder as soon as all the enemies are down. When the wave comes in after the console is triggered, go to the room at the other end of the hall for cover. The next wave is best taken out from the corner near where it says “Keep this area clear”. Once you launch the ship and blow up the door, try to take the two troopers down fast or you'll have 3 Atlas mechs to deal with at once. Even if you can only take down one of the troopers, it makes the fight easier because the other mech has to come in from the far side. In the basement, the various pipes and boxes make great cover. If you can get a red box, any enemy can be targeted with Concussive Shot. I took down a Nemesis on the other side of the room with Garrus' power and she never poked her head above her cover. The other red-tinged rooms are similar as far as cover, expect lots of enemies and lots of turrets. After you head down the blue path, take cover where you are. Make the enemies come to you. There is a Shield Pylon on the corner of the balcony to the far left, you can hit it from the left railing where you are. When you reach the next upper level area, stay around the corner from the enemies on the path. It's easier to pick them off as they have to come around the corner to get a good shot at you, there is a Pylon in the distance to take down. The next level up leads to the final battle between you and that annoying ninja guy, Kai Leng. Switch to your short range weapon and set it to Cryo Ammo, then cross your fingers for a moment before you open the door. I found that strafing back and forth along one side while constantly cloaking as often as possible keeps the enemies far enough away that the sniper rifle is pretty effective when your other weapon runs out of ammo. Leng eventually runs out of shield recharge actions and you can take him down, but not before a lot of troopers and at least one of each Nemesis and Phantom.
You can now only do shipboard things like have conversations and buy whatever is still useful to you in the Shuttle Bay. The cut-scenes that follow your order to head to Earth make this whole thing come together beautifully.
Priority: Earth (Interesting fact, the guy in Big Ben from the video is here. His name is Major Coats.)
This is all Reapers, so make sure you've got your best high damage weapons(Chakram Launcher or Scorpion each have explosive ammo) and mods equipped before you go. You will probably be using your sniper rifle mostly, but it's good to have the secondary weapon be a hard hitting one. I chose Kaidan and James, not only because it makes sense they would be fighting for their own planet but because they each can use the Chakram Launcher and they both have an armor power to keep them in the fight. Don't be afraid to use medigel and grenades, refills for both are plentiful during the longest and hardest mission yet (as it should be). I've divided this up by area to make it easier to read.
Your first battle is upon you as you land, look out for uneven ground. It's easy to get blown up by a grenade if you get caught on the uneven surface. There are lots of Reapers here, they certainly want to stop you from getting anywhere. The constant firing of the Hades Cannon gets annoying when it makes it hard to aim. Take cover at the bottom of the hill and your squad will position themselves partway up. This is a pretty effective arrangement, until you run out of targets. Once that happens, go up the hill and take cover behind a light post until the Brutes come out to play. Head back down the stairs to get some distance. Once the immediate area is clear, advance slowly past the shuttles and be prepared to retreat a bit for cover when the next group comes down the debris slope on the right. Once you reach the top take cover near the wall you are at and rejoice as your Cain takes down the annoying Hades Cannon. Your rejoicing is cut short by more enemies, including a surprise if you chose Morinth as your Asari in ME2. Once the Banshee is down, it's only a matter of time before the shuttle shows up. Cloak and weave and run toward the slanted rock.
In the next area, explore as much as you want to and talk to everybody you want to. There is even a holo-comm unit in a building to talk to squadmates that are not on Earth right now. After you talk to Garrus or not you end up in another turret fight, but this time there is no risk involved. You just kill enemies until the shuttle comes by to take out the ones you missed. A bit later, Wrex is making a nice speech if he survived up until now. You get to pick your squadmates and weapons again after your speech, I picked the same ones. The wall you find yourself taking cover against is a good place to stay, though you might want to do a cover roll to the right to get some of the enemies you cannot hit from the left side. Follow the Mako until it gets blown up and take cover immediately. The next Mako is fighting a Harvester that flies away when it gets damaged. After it goes, a Banshee shows up so retreat back to the previous Mako to get some distance. Once the area is mostly clear, you'll get a new goal to go clear out a building. Head that way after you kill the last of the enemies in the area.
When you first open the door, hang back and let your squad draw out the Husks so you can hit them easier. After a while two Brutes come in, just keep your distance and cloak as often as you can. On the next floor up, the enemies like the little room they are in and don't have any plans to leave it to come after you. Take down the Marauder on the turret so he does not turn it your way and then clear the rest, watching out for the Ravager. The next door is guarded by a few Husks trying to force their way through. Your next goal is the first Missile Battery, so head that way now. You'll find yourself falling back a few times before you can make it to the phone booth. Once you do, the shop on your right fills up with enemies and the phone booth makes a good place to start the battle. Inside the shop, as the battle goes on, the two tier crates make a good sniping perch as long as you are on the lookout for Cannibals trying to flank you. The shop across the big hole has a few enemies in it, but they don't come out in strength until you send a squadmate in to mop up the last one or two that you can't get to come to the window. The growling coming from the next room after you trigger the door is a good sign to take cover. The counter with the cash register makes a good place. After you've killed all you can, send your squad into the restaurant to trigger the next wave then follow them in. Once it is clear, exit right and keep an eye on the alley ahead. You can take down a Brute as it rounds the corner to come toward you. If you thought that was too easy, as you make your way down the alley two more break a wall to come after you. Fall back to the restaurant for the best cover opportunities. The next door leads to a cut-scene and the next area.
You start in an excellent cover position, it's a good idea to stay there to clear the immediate area. Once it's clear go trigger the button. You'll notice there is no progress bar, remember this for the future. The shop you just left has closed the door leaving you the street and a couple of shops for cover options. Send your squad up closer to the missile truck and stay parallel with the recently closed door for the first wave. The second wave has two Banshees and the wave after the missiles fire has four Brutes, and a Harvester that comes down near the end of the battle. There is a super-weapon called a Hydra Missile Launcher in the shop, go get it and shoot the big guy with it. You don't get time to rest before more enemies come along, including more Banshees. You only have to fight them long enough to make the missiles on the next truck come on line. If you are on the far right, it should be a straightforward shot to the truck and the button. Push it to complete this mission and be on your way to the end.
Ending (this counts as mission 27 if you're going for the Unwavering achievement too)
The Reaper beams won't hit you, but the enemies at the end will kill you fast since you have no shields or health (or abilities). Three Husks attack first, but your gun knocks them back to kill them, just make sure you kill them in order of which is closest. You stumble, and then a Marauder shows up and shoots you, if he gets a second shot off you're dead you must hit him continually (with a wavering reticle) to survive. The rest of the game is pretty much all conversations though there are still decisions to be made (remember I said the beginning affects the end?). You only get the full “best” ending if your effective strength is over 5000 and you choose to do what you came here to do. The transformation in the other two choices lends great support to a popular theory. Love it, hate it, or just confused, this is the end. Enjoy your achievement(s)!