We still have 8 months to work on our definitive Shepards, but it's hard to resist sculpting our personal stories. For those who are working on Shepard's campaign against the Collectors, the illusive "No One Left Behind" achievement carries more weight now than a gamerscore. Check out Part One of our guide below the break to learn how to prepare your team for the point of no return.
Now, I know that Mass Effect 2 is a nearly 2-year-old game. However, people are still looking for guides on how to walk out of this mission with all of their friends in tow. I'll be breaking this up into two main parts. The first part will focus on what you'll need to do to prepare for the mission. The second will guide you through the decisions Shepard must make during his suicide run.
Jacob puts it best - People will die if you don't upgrade. When you speak with your companions, excluding Zaeed and Kasumi, they will have ideas on how you can spend your resources. Some are convenience-based upgrades, some are individual stat-boosts. However, three companions will have upgrade ideas that you'll need to get, or else you will lose companions before you even land. To get these upgrades available, you'll need to talk to these three teammates:
- Jacob - Talking with Jacob will unlock heavy ship armor.
- Garrus - Garrus will help build a powerful long-range cannon.
- Tali - Tali will unlock a stronger kinetic barrier.
Yes, mining. Talking with your buddies will unlock the upgrades you need, but you'll still have to gather the resources to build them. The best way to get these resources is to scan and mine planets.
You'll need a total of 15,000 Platinum and 30,000 Palladium to build the three critical upgrades. Rock and Brown Dwarf planets seem to have these minerals in abundance.
What I do is simply orbit every planet in a system as I arrive for a mission - skipping all the planets but those rich in resources to mine. This helps to minimize the insanely vapid time consumption involved with mining, while getting you the minerals you need to strengthen the Normandy.
The Reaper IFF Mission
During the course of your campaign, The Illusive Man will notify you of a derelict Reaper that holds the key to safely reaching the Collector Base. Though there's no warning, completing the mission will kick-start the endgame - you'll have one more mission to complete before the Collectors force your hand. Now, you'll have the option to tie up any loose ends before responding to the Collectors - but this will effectively doom some or all of the Normandy's crew, depending on how long you dally.
Keep in mind that this decision will not enter into the achievement, so you can keep doing missions without worrying about it. However, for the "perfect ending" sticklers, such as myself, this is an important factor to note. If you want to make sure everyone survives, save the Reaper IFF mission until you've recruited all companions (except for Legion, who is recruited in this quest) and have secured everyone's loyalty.
Throughout the game, your teammates will ask you to help them out with personal sidequests. While completely optional, you should take these jobs on, as completing them will earn their loyalty - unlocking new powers and increasing their chances of surviving the endgame.
For the most part, these missions are rather straightforward - get to the end of the level and Shepard has a new BFF. However, a few missions can fail - which will result in your losing a companion's loyalty. These are the companion quests you should watch out for:
- Zaeed - Zaeed accompanies you to a mining planet, where his old cohort-turned-foe has established a stronghold. The mission takes a split halfway through, where you must choose to follow Zaeed's target or change the plan and rescue trapped plant workers. If you're going for a Renegade playthrough, just follow Zaeed to his foe. If you're going for a Paragon playthrough, hold onto the mission until you have at least a 75% Paragon rating - because saving the plant workers will lose his loyalty unless you can pass a speech check.
- Tali - This mission involves you defending the Quarian techie against charges of treason. However, as you gather evidence, Tali realizes that she can't be exonerated without sullying her father's name, and asks you to stay silent. There are a total of five ways you can resolve this trial. Two ways involve Paragon or Renegade speech checks, and another requires a specific set of decisions involving other Quarians throughout the game. However, for the purposes of this guide, just know that you will lose Tali's loyalty if you decide to show the evidence at trial.
- Thane- Thane will ask you to help find his son and prevent him from carrying out an assassination. This mission will require you to tail a corrupt politician, periodically updating Thane on the mark's actions. Failure to update Thane within the alloted time will cause the mission to fail. While not too difficult, it's important to save when you start this section, or else you'd have to restart the entire mission on failure.
- Samara - The Justicar will ask you to hunt down a serial killer in Omega. You'll be playing the role of "manbait" - convincing the murderer to invite you back to her place for coffee and fatally awesome sex.
I'll go ahead and link a thorough walkthrough of the mission here. For this guide, however, I'll give you a couple of pointers. First off, save right before you enter the Afterlife VIP Club. This will make retries much easier in case you make a mistake. Secondly, a thorough playthrough will give you conversation options that will make the mission much easier. Namely, fully investigate Nef's room and talk to the human male on your left when you enter the club, and you'll get the best shot at wooing the darling psychopath.
The conversation check is the only part of this mission you need to worry about. Once you've succeeded, you can help kill Morinth for Samara's loyalty, or choose to kill Samara instead, which recruits an already loyal Morinth.
As you help your companions deal with their issues, a few will come into conflict. And, of course, your friends don't realize that a spaceship is a precarious place to have a fight and you must diffuse the tension before Jack rips the ship apart with her biotic rage.
While Shepard can pass a Paragon or Renegade speech check and calm the situation for both parties, lacking the required scores will force Shepard to pick sides, losing the loyalty of one of his shipmates. Therefore, when preparing for your suicide run, you should keep an eye out for these moments.
There are two conflicts to keep an eye on - Jack/Miranda and Tali/Legion. Completing both loyalty missions for these respective companions will trigger the argument, so the best way to handle this is to wait on one mission until you have a high Paragon or Renegade score. Since Tali and Legion are recruitable later in the game, you won't have to worry too much over them. However, since Miranda and Jack are early characters and both open their loyalty missions quickly, you should hold off on one of them until you progress further in the game.
Tune In Tomorrow For Part 2
So, hopefully with this guide you'll be ready to jump into your run on the Collector Base and begin the fight at full strength. Tune in tomorrow, and I'll walk you through the tough decisions Shepard must face to keep everybody alive.