Guide:- Mass Effect 2 Insanity Difficulty

Welcome to the inaugural edition of a new feature we’re trying out on the site: ‘A Newb’s Guide To…’. The basic premise behind this is that The Newb Review offer you our expertise on various challenges in the world of gaming.

Unlike other sites, we will not be offering up plain old game guides – that’s what Game FAQs is for – instead we will offer advice and tips for some of the latest and hottest games as well as general issues in gaming.

Without further ado, we hand you over to Luke Mears for his Mass Effect 2 Insanity Difficulty tips.

Before getting started I feel there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Most sane people will likely be asking themselves ‘why would I even bother such a hideous task?’. Sure, there is a nice 75 point achievement for completing the game on insanity, but is it really worth the effort?

It is no secret that the choices you make in Mass Effect 2 will make an impact in your playthrough of Mass Effect 3. Just look at how completed save files from Mass Effect 1 affected your Mass Effect 2 game; as well as determining who lived or died, importing a previous character granted you added experience, extra resources and wealth, all of which went a long way towards helping you in your battle against the Reapers.

According to one of the loading screens, your Mass Effect 2 save file and completion stats will be uploaded to Mass Effect 3 and will presumably offer similar bonuses. However, while completing the game once is all very well and good, in order to get the most benefit from your save file you will need to complete Mass Effect 2 on the highest difficulty: Insanity.

As the name suggests, Insanity Difficulty is incredibly difficult. Anyone that has been a regular listener of The Newb Review Podcast will know that I have been struggling with Insanity difficulty for months now. After reaching the halfway point, I found myself trapped in a battle I could not possibly win. Despite trying strategy after strategy to overcome the odds, I simply could not progress any further.

It was at this point that I had an epiphany, and have subsequently beaten the game on Insanity Difficulty. Like a Preacher of old, I come here now to share the good word with you. Below are my observations and recommendations for creating the ideal character and squad to get you and your team mates through Mass Effect 2 on Insanity Difficulty.

Play the game

This may sound obvious, considering that you need to beat the game at least once before you can unlock Insanity Difficulty, but I recommend that you play the whole game on Normal Difficulty. Take the opportunity to experiment with squad members and their abilities, and find the most useful squad for the way you play.

Make sure that you recruit every possible team member and complete every single one of their loyalty missions. By earning the loyalty of a squad member you are able to teach yourself one of their unique moves as well as earning an achievement.

'Bloody Collectors, stealing our men folk!'

You may be the sort of person that does not care about achievements, but these achievements are important if you want to stand a chance at beating the game on Insanity.

Playing through the entire game also gives you the chance to become aware of what challenges you will face and help in choosing the ideal squad for each mission.

Start from scratch

I know this will sound stupid, but resist all temptations you have to import your completed Mass Effect 2 character into your new Insanity play through; it will only hold you back. You see, once you finish the game you can then import your Commander Shepard and continue using him/her in a new game. While all of your experience is carried over, none of your purchased weapons/ship upgrades/armour upgrades carry over, which will leave you at a strong disadvantage.

The Solider is an ideal class for your Insanity Playthrough

Enemy strength is linked to your own experience level, so even a fully maxed-out character may find that without the best weapon upgrades, the higher level enemies will pulverise you. Likewise, if you start at experience level 1 the enemies will be relatively weak and easy to kill.

When picking a new character I would recommend the Soldier Class, simply because their adrenaline rush ability is so useful as it slows down time and dramatically boosts damage. When coupled with the sniper riffle you can easily pick off even the strongest of enemies with a few well placed shots.

The Soldier also has Disruptor rounds, which are particularly effective at breaking down Shields and damaging synthetic enemies.

Once you start a new character, the game will scan your achievements and reward you with the special abilities of the characters you have made loyal. Unfortunately you can only use one of these abilities at a time – I would recommend something that boosts your defensive abilities, such as Legion’s Shield Boost.

Be Methodical

When playing missions, make sure to scan every possible item, hack every PDA and Safe, and pick up every resource you can find. As well as giving you more money to purchase upgrades and materials to manufacture upgrades, every mission has hidden weapon and armour upgrades that will significantly boost your performance, as well as the performance of the squad.

If you have the downloadable extra characters you should complete their loyalty missions as well

If you have the downloadable characters you should complete their loyalty missions as well

This also means recruiting every squad member, and completing every loyalty mission. I know you have already done it once, but if you skip out on one mission you can potentially miss that one vital upgrade that would make the difference between dominating your enemy and cowering from a laser beam enema.

Spend Spend Spend!

Make sure to scour the shops on each of the hub worlds: Illium, The Citadel, Omega, and Tuchunka, and buy as many upgrades as you can afford. Once you have cleared a shop out of their inventory it would be worth returning after completing a few missions as every now and then they get new stock in.

It is also worth noting that the shop keepers on The Citadel and Omega can be persuaded to offer you a discount, so long as you are charismatic enough.

Scanning planets has been made less tedious thanks to a recent patch.

Upgrades that should take priority include: Medigel Capacity, Damage Resistance and the upgrades for your weapon of choice.

Between missions unwind by exploring the galaxy, and scan planets for vital resources. Scanning Planets has been dramatically sped up thanks to a recent patch, so now there is no excuse for not mining planets for resources. By flying to unexplored sectors of space you can scan planets for minerals and elements that are vital in upgrade creation. A pro tip to avoid wasting your time is to only scan planets with moderate or high levels of resources.

Use Your Points Wisely

Prioritise spending your experience points on skills you really need. One of the best skills to max out first is the skill that dictates the health and damage stats. If you have followed my advice and picked a Solider, I would advise not spending any points on the Cryo Ammo, simply because it is not that useful.

Ignore useless abilities!

Focus on increasing your health, improving the Adrenaline Rush, making your Disruptor Ammo stronger, and improving the Shield Boost ability. Those will be your go-to skills.

The same goes for squad members; do not rely on auto point spend to save time, it will be the death of you.  Pick the skills that you feel are most useful for each squad mate and do not waste a single point on useless skills.

Carefully Select Your Squad

Armed with the knowledge of what awaits you, you should be able to choose the ideal squad mate for every mission. However, as you have to recruit most of your team, not everyone will be available to you from the start. Your initial team of Miranda and Jacob will be perfectly fine for the earlier missions, but Jacob in particular quickly displays his weaknesses.

If you recruit everyone you will be able to handle every possible situation

When presented with the choice on where to start, head to the Krogan recruitment mission, as Grunt is the most powerful member of your team. He is armed with incendiary ammo, which burns through armour and flesh. When teamed with Miranda who has the Overload ability, which destroys shields and machinery, and Warp power, which damages Biotic Barriers, you team can cover pretty much any combat situation.

Remember which squad members worked out well for you in your first play through, and try using them again.

Be Patient, Be Prepared

There is only really one noticeable difficulty spike on Insanity, the section in which you board the deserted Collector Vessel. Before accepting the mission make sure you have completed as many missions as possible, and purchased every upgrade you can. As most enemies will have either Armour or Biotic Barriers, a team consisting of Grunt and Miranda is pretty useful.

Get used to getting into this position...

When facing off against Harbinger and the Scions, your best bet is to activate the Soldier’s Adrenaline boost ability and pelt them with Sniper Riffle rounds to the head. The Scions should take no more than 4 shots using this tactic.

Armed with the Soldier’s Shield Boost bonus, you will have a much easier time. Remember to stay in cover and make sure that your team does the same; when popping out of cover be prepared to activate your Shield Boost, as you will likely get shot to ribbons. The added protection of the Shield Boost should give you enough time to fire off a few well placed shots and take your foes down one at a time.

So there you have it, everything you need to get through the toughest challenge Mass Effect 2 has to offer. If you have any of your own pro tips to contribute, be sure to post below or head over to the forum and let us know.

Thu, July 1 2010 » Guides & Tips

8 Responses

  1. September 24 2010 @ 8:31 am

    Save at every possible chance availible. Autosave is great and all, but saving everytime you clear a zone stops those very annoying room changes of death that make you play craphard parts after you’ve just cleared them.
    Seriously. Save. Save. Save. This should be a general rule with all gaming, and Mass Effect or Mass Effect 2 on Insanity gives the best example of why you need to save at every possible chance.

    Seriously. Make it a game. See if you can get 250+ saves in a playthrough. If you can without bsing, that’s a 100 point up on you shepscore;)

  2. Goodmongo February 11 2011 @ 4:36 pm

    The biggest problem comes in dealing with husks and doing the suicide mission part three where you have to leave Grunt and Miranda. If you take Tali have her use the exploding drones. The vindicator is great for killing all four arms in one long burst. This means a tough choice on the sniper rifle or vindicator.

  3. crofterz February 13 2011 @ 11:30 am

    Agreed! I found the husks in particular to be VERY annoying. Not sure about the suicide mission bits though, found them to be quite a breeze..but then again, I was playing it through on normal.

    Wouldn’t dream of playing through it on insanity difficulty.

  4. The_Abyss June 12 2011 @ 1:22 am

    Protip: The best abilities to have unlocked for this are Barrier and Geth Shield Boost – Both not only instantly restore your shield when it’s down, but reinforce it.

    If you have the cash to spend, buy dlc. The Geth shotgun has a low ammo capacity, but rapes nearly everything in about 2 hits solid hits… Plus, it’s VERY accurate regardless of range.

    If you get dlc, get the Collector Assault Rifle (Damn thing is crazy awesome against barriers, shields and armor). If not, do tali’s mission as soon as possible. and i know it’s a pain, but since it’s on insanity you’ll get the Geth Assault rifle, which is nearly invaluable for other assault-rifle toting minions to have with them (it’s great against shields).

    Get legion after you do both of tali’s missions (the recruiting one and the loyalty one), then do legion’s loyalty mission. the earlier you do it, the more of a chance you have to keep both legion and tali loyal.

    Protip: SCAN EVERY PLANET YOU CAN AND GET IT DOWN TO DEPLETED! You will run out of minerals VERY fast, and you can use the squadpoints from side missions to make the final battle easier. And believe me, it can be a real biz-itch.

    Protip: Use Adrenaline rush and spam your assault rifle when moving out of cover. really. It helps tremendously.


  5. forever_gone November 7 2011 @ 6:40 pm

    My tip for playing mass effect or any game with insanity difficulty is to start there on your first play through start as hard as possible cause once you get used to it, it will be easy and if you wish to get achievments for it go down to casual and it will be super easy on your second play through

  6. Athavan January 11 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    I’d say infiltrator is the best class on insane without a doubt. The ability to go invisible for a few seconds is a lifesaver on the husks mission. I actually made it through with relative ease since the husks mindlessly stay in one place the moment you go invisible, giving you plenty time to wipe out a whole clump. Also with teh widow sniper rifle, you could take down harbingers in seconds, even less when you have the invisible skill active.

  7. I_ February 26 2012 @ 5:19 pm

    I started playing insanity as a Sentinel(since I figured this would be the absolute hardest class to play) yesterday and finally after an hour on the end part of horizon got past it… #cain! …I used warp maxed and tech armor for extra shields along with Zaeed’s inferno grenade for armor and organic enemies and Grunt as a tank but without fortification being unlocked yet. If there’s going to be a lot of synthetics I use Miranda with max overload/warp + my overload/warp for shields and armor respectively and decide between Zaeed and Grunt as third. This setup has helped me maneuver through the game on this difficulty rather quickly I also have all the Cerberus Network DLC so collector rifle in use.

  8. Dredge March 15 2012 @ 6:18 am

    The best combo for any collector mission is Thane and Samantha. Area Reave is the most powerful ability out there, Warp is second. If guys are bunched up and one has only HP, use pull and hit that guy with Unstable Warp. This causes everyone to take damage, studder, and be thrown(if they only have HP). Reave and warp work great against barrier and armor(tolerable against HP) and no one uses shields on collector missions. Thane and Samara are also great cause they have throw and when husks have armor, best to use area reave and area throw. Kills them instantly(unless resist), pull does this as well. Use pistol on husks with splash inferno ammo to get their armor off and then pull(short cd) or throw(in that order). Always hate the end of the IFF mission. GL and save a lot!!!!! Do manual saves from time to time in case you screwed up and your quick save is too current(eg: suicide mission).

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