Monday, January 23, 2012

Mass Effect: Vanguard Insane Level

I recently started a run through of Mass Effect 2 on Insane level.  I also switched up character classes to make this play through different than my previous ones.  Usually I play the Soldier class but for this Insane play through I went with a Vanguard class.
I haven’t found playing on insane level to be that much more difficult than some of the other levels.  I have noticed that enemies usually have both shields and armor.  They are also a bit smarter using cover better. Nothing a little patience can’t handle.   Also enemies such as Krogan that like to close on you don’t waste much time before they move in on you.
I’m not very far into the game at this point, just finishing the Horizon mission.  Perhaps it will get harder.  
M-12 Locust Submachine gun
The vanguard class is a bit of a different play than the soldier.  I do miss the all the assault rifles but have found an admirable substitute in the M-12 Locust submachine gun.  Although the Locust doesn’t do as much damage as assault rifles and other sub-machine guns it is highly accurate at long range, has little to no muzzle climb and burns through a thermal clip in a few seconds.  The end result is that you can get a lot or rounds down range on your target in a few seconds.  The low muzzle climb allows you get most of your rounds on target and the fast rate of fire makes up a bit for the lower damage of the Locust.
The Locust is found the Kasumi Stolen Memories DLC.  If you want it you’ll need to get the downloadable content if you don’t have it.  I just happened to do that assignment early in this play through so I picked up the Locust perhaps earlier than is usual for someone to get it.

Here is a short video of the Locust in action and biotic power charge..  Its easy to see the high rate of fire and lack of significant muzzle climb.

Besides usable weapons the big difference at the moment between being a Vanguard and a Soldier are the biotic powers Charge versus Adrenaline Rush.  Were Adrenaline Rush slowed opponents down so you could pump some extra rounds into them Charge allows you to propel yourself forward phasing through any obstacles and ramming your opponent causing considerable damage.  Usually knocking them down to allow your squaddies or yourself to finish them off.
Off course in my zest to use the new biotic power, which has a pretty cool animation, I found myself charging to kill an enemy only to find that I charged into a nest of enemies.  So now charging is becoming a finishing move.  I’d like to use charge as more than just a finishing move.  Does anybody who plays a vanguard class have any advice?
Otherwise both the insane level and vanguard class are going well.

Oh, the new Miranda video is done and added to the "I Like Miranda and Won’t Apologize For It" post.  You can watch there or on my Mass Effect YouTube channel.


  1. I don't play vanguard on Insanity, but I'm close to the Suicide Mission in a playthrough on Hardcore. I use charge as a panic-button. You still don't want to charge into a nest, but the shield-boost from the power can get you out of trouble fast. If you keep a good awareness of the battlefield, you can use it to zip around, picking off enemies on the outskirts. Pick someone isolated, then charge in, shotgun them to the face with the appropriate ammo power, and hit cover. When everyone starts coming for you, pick another straggler, rinse, and repeat.

  2. Thanks for the hints. The Vanguard class is going well. I have the IFF and Suicide missions left on insane and I really like the class now. I've been doing something similar where I charge and then back away firing.

  3. Insanity can be tricky as even with the Claymore SG, you may need to have a head shot to actually kill an opponent in one shot. If you charge and fine yourself surrounded by enemies you aren't using it to its full capacity. I use a "Ping Ball" effect to constantly flank enemies; all my fights 'start' with a charge. First, get you squad bunkered down so they down kill themselves trying to follow when you charge, then observe the battlefield for a few seconds, feel free to take a couple pot shots with your pistol in the meantime. Basically, map out where all the cover is and how you can get into cover from any position then charge the enemy furthest to the back and take him out with a SG blast to the face. This should kill him, if not you may have to do some quick thinking. Once complete, hop into the cover he was just in and pepper you enemies back with your SMG. The Tempest is especially useful here as you are likely close to your enemies. Once you cool down, charge to some other part of the map, and do the same thing. In this way, you are insured to constantly have enemies out of cover for either yourself or your allies and creating a deadly crossfire. The Charge is also defensive as it recharges your Barrier after charging and slows down time, buying you time for a SG headshot and time to find cover. If you plan on fighting like this, you can not just "wing it", the entire fight must be mapped out in your head in advance by the time you initiate your first charge.