Mass Effect 2 Final Mission Spoilers

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I'm pulling this off into its own thread because it's such a massive spoiler. It's so bad that I'll even be using spoiler tags in this first message, although subsequent messages probably won't be spoiler-tagged. If you don't want to ruin your game, stop reading now.

I suggest playing through the game without reading spoilers at all for the full experience, and then perhaps reading these tips for a second playthrough. If you know about and follow these strategies before you've finished the game once, your enjoyment will be seriously impaired.

Spoiler:

First, be aware that the "Reaper IFF" mission triggers a cascade to the final mission. For the 'best' result (no casualties, fully rescued crew), you will have to play in a precise sequence after Reaper IFF, so do all your mining and buy all your upgrades before starting that one. You'll also want some spare resources to research the last few things you get; I'm not sure if time taken mining affects the countdown, so do your mining first. I went into Reaper IFF with 50,000 of the #2 and #3 minerals, which was enough. If you happen to notice the exact amount you need for your final research items, post it below and I'll incorporate it here.

During Reaper IFF, you will get Legion, and you trigger either a 1- or 2-mission countdown until your crew is kidnapped. If you're going to use Legion, you need to wake him up and talk to him immediately to get his 'loyalty' mission. Also make sure to get his sniper rifle upgrade research; it's wickedly powerful. Run his mission, and do all the research you've recovered; that takes no game time.

You will then be forced to exit the ship the next time you visit the galactic map. Your crew will be kidnapped. During the subsequent conversation, tell Miranda and Jacob that you're going after the crew, and do so..... go straight to the Omega 4 relay and start the final assault. If you don't do this immediately, your crew will die. You may not even be able to visit planets; I haven't tried.

During the long, unskippable cutscenes, you will either lose team members or not, depending on whether you bought the three upgrades to armor, shields, and weapons. Each missing upgrade kills someone.... I don't know if it's random. You also have to fight a drone in the cargo hold twice; this is pretty straightforward. It's big and tough, but don't worry about using up heavy weapon ammo, because it will be restored when you land on the base. Blast away freely. Eventually, you will crash at the Collector base.

Now you have to choose someone to go on the suicide vent mission, and someone to lead the other team. I don't know if loyalty matters for these two characters. I do know, for sure, that the choice you make for the other leader is critical. I chose Samara because I liked her and she seemed steady, and that kept getting my vent person killed. You need someone with experience with leading troops in combat; Garrus worked well for me. Miranda will probably work. Samara, even loyal, is a bad choice. Rumor claims that only Legion and Tali are good choices for the vent; it's possible that others may work if your other squad leader is good. I used Tali, because Legion kicks so much ass in combat against Collectors.

Choose your team for the first section. I was playing a soldier, and I found that the combination of taking the Barrier power as the research bonus, at full strength, and combining it with Thane's Shredder ammo upgraded to squad level, combined with the various assault rifle upgrades, made the Collectors in this section extremely easy. One quick burst to the head and they die. I also used Legion, and we cut through those fights like those guys weren't even there. Pop Barrier when you need it, headshot the grunts with your assault rifle, and race Legion to the kill on the possessed guys. His researched sniper rifle is incredibly deadly. (you can get it too at midgame, it's one of the three choices for your special weapon on the Collector ship, and I found it to be absolutely devastating when sniper rifle damage and headshot bonuses are researched. With that research, it's better than heavy weapons most of the time.)

You have to flip a bunch of switches here, but I don't think speed matters very much, as long as you don't miss any. I was rushing rushing rushing because I thought my lack of speed was killing my vent squaddie, but I don't think it actually matters, as long as you release each switch before they die. They seem to be fully restored for the next switch, and again when you get all the way through.

After throwing the last switch, you go to a cutscene. Here, your vent tech is desperately trying to close the door. If you chose a bad leader for the other squad, your vent person will have his or her head in the door when a missile comes in, and will instantly die. A smart squad leader (possibly loyal, not sure) will have his team focus fire on the door, protecting your tech.

Now you find your crew; if you went right away, they will be alive. If you didn't go immediately after the kidnap, you get to watch Yeoman Chambers die, and all you save is the doctor. She's... not happy with you if that happens. If you send the crew back alone, they'll die; you need to detach someone to go with them. Mordin is a good choice here; he's apparently somewhat susceptible to getting killed later on. I don't think loyalty matters here; as long as they have an escort, I believe the crew (or just the doctor, if you were slow) will live no matter what.

Now you split again into two squads, once again choosing a second leader. I believe that loyalty and skill are both required here for them to survive. Samara, even loyal, dies. Miranda, fully loyal, lives.

You also choose a biotic to protect you from Seeker swarms. I chose Thane on my first playthrough, and lost Jack because he wasn't strong enough, and flagged by the end. On the second playthrough, choosing Samara saved everyone; she's strong enough to do a final large burst that drives away the seekers and saves your squad. Jack can apparently also do it. Miranda is confirmed as not working. I don't know if loyalty matters for the biotic; I believe it does matter for the squad leader.

You can tell, by the way, whether you've chosen good squad leaders, because if you choose badly, you'll keep getting 'we're in trouble!' radio messages; if you choose well, the radio messages will be encouraging.

In the third section, don't choose the 'we have to hurry' option... if you do, you'll lose people. Have everyone hold the door, and pick your final team. I believe these final two MUST be loyal or they will die. I again went with Legion and Thane; that combination is freaking devastating against Collectors. I did the full Paragon-style speech; I don't know if it matters, but I figured extra morale couldn't hurt. I don't know if loyalty matters back there, as my team was all loyal, and they all lived.

Fight your way to the platform, kill the tubes, make your decision on whether to keep or blow up the base. Me, I blew it up; there's no way I'd let the Illusive Man anywhere near it. But do whatever you like, it doesn't matter for outcomes in this game.

Once you decide and set the charges/radiation pulse, the Reaper shows back up. Kill him. On my first playthrough, I had gotten enough upgrades to get 200% on the M920 Cain device; two shots of that killed the Reaper in about ten seconds. On my second playthrough, I apparently missed something, because I had only 175% -- I could only fire once, which is about 50% damage. Peppering his eyes with the assault rifle did the rest. He moves so fast he's hard to snipe.

From there, it's all cutscenes. You will recover your two squadmates from the wreckage; I believe their loyalty determines life or death.

Interestingly, the only way to die yourself (other than in combat, the usual way) is to get everyone killed.... if absolutely everyone but you is dead, Joker alone isn't strong enough to pull you into the ship when you jump, and you die too.

Spoiler:

In the third section, don't choose the 'we have to hurry' option... if you do, you'll lose people. Have everyone hold the door, and pick your final team. I believe these final two MUST be loyal or they will die. I again went with Legion and Thane; that combination is freaking devastating against Collectors. I did the full Paragon-style speech; I don't know if it matters, but I figured extra morale couldn't hurt. I don't know if loyalty matters back there, as my team was all loyal, and they all lived.

I don't think this decision matters, I chose the hurry option and did not lose anyone afterwards. Actually, even choosing that option, everyone except the two you bring with you ends up staying anyway.

Malor wrote:

[spoiler]

You also choose a biotic to protect you from Seeker swarms. I chose Thane on my first playthrough, and lost Jack because he wasn't strong enough, and flagged by the end. On the second playthrough, choosing Samara saved everyone; she's strong enough to do a final large burst that drives away the seekers and saves your squad. Miranda may also work here, but I haven't tried her. I don't know if loyalty matters for the biotic; I believe it does matter for the squad leader.

[/spoiler]

I chose Miranda, and lost a guy.

I think Jack would probably work, since so much of her backstory is about how strong she is, but I haven't tried it.

I updated the original spoiler with the info that Miranda doesn't work.

Can't quite remember all my choices at the moment but (loyal) Tali DEFINATELY worked well with the vent and (loyal) Jack worked well as the bug-shield.

OK, updated with that too, thanks.

Since this is by definition a spoiler thread, I'm not going to use spoiler tags. Let me know if anyone wants me to.

Here's what I found, between my own efforts and research:

In order to save the NPC crew (Kelly, Chakwas, etc.) you must go immediately after you get the IFF working. It's OK if you don't pick the "let's go right now!" dialog option as long as you head right to the Omega 4 relay, first thing.

If you haven't done all the loyalty missions by that point, you're going to lose someone. Any crew member who is not loyal will die. You can also lose people if you haven't fully upgraded the Normandy's offensive and defensive capabilities (enhanced armor, shielding and weapons). I don't think any of the dialog options make a difference (I never picked the "we don't have time for this" option for the crew escort part, so that might unless Miranda inserts her goddamn opinion again and insists you give them an escort). I've also heard that there's a dialog option that gets the Illusive Man to order Miranda to stop you from blowing up the base, at which point she refuses and quits Cerberus. I took my usual calm and rational response and heard the Illusive Man out before blowing the thing up, so tempers never got that high.

The first specialist (in the ducts) should be a strong engineer. Tali is confirmed to work. Jason does not. If your engineer isn't up to the task they'll be unable to get the door to close and will get shot in the head while pushing it shut.

The first squad leader should be a good leader. Garrus and Zaeed work well.

Your biotic specialist should be one of your two strongest biotics: Jack or Samara. The others will be too weak for the final "burst" at the end, and as a result one of the two teammates you brought with you will be killed by swarmers (the biotic will survive). Even though Miranda so smugly says that "any" biotic should be able to do it, she herself is not up to the task.

Your second squad leader should also be a good leader. Miranda will suffice. Samara will not. At the end of that segment the squad leader gets shot in the stomach: if they're good enough they'll walk it off, if they're not they'll slump over dead.

I have yet to find anyone who fails at the escort part, but I'd recommend you send Mordin. If you don't, he has a tendency to turn up dead at the very end. You never find out why but he probably took a hit during the off-screen firefight. If he's safely back on the Normandy he can't get killed.

I've heard that other crew members can sometimes randomly die at the end so it might take a few tries.

If you lose a team member, the ending cutscene shows Shepard with a hand on a coffin (among others, if you lost multiple people). If you don't lose anyone, you instead get angles on crew members repairing damage to the Normandy. Then Shepard walks by the surviving crew, Joker shows him/her a diagram of the Harbinger reaper (where'd that come from?), and the credits roll.

It's fine, Lobster, I just wanted the very first post spoilered in case someone stumbled in by accident. I was sort of assuming that later posts would be plaintext.

If you ALL die, you get shots of Joker looking at lots and lots of coffins, and then him looking at the Reaper diagram.

I probably spent like 5-10 hours after IFF before going to the Omega relay, scanning planets for missions etc. Chakwas was indeed the only survivor of the crew. Such a shame.
Losing those crew members doesnt seem to affect the 'all members must survive' achievment however.
I cant be bothered to go back and fix those hours anyway, next time I want to kill everyone off except Garrus and Tali, if thats possible

After reading about all the stuff that can go wrong in Malor's post I'm pretty amazed all of my actual team-members survived. I must be such a good leader!
I picked Garrus as second leader first, and Legion for the vent. Samara as the biotic shield and Garrus as second leader again (after all we had 'let off some steam' right before, he should be fit for fight!).
Also sent Jacob back to the Normandy, never used him for anything, and while loyal, his conversation option had got stuck at the very beginning for some reason, so I didnt really had much faith in him

For the record I made damned certian Tali and Garrus were my team-mates for the final confrontation with 'Soylant Galactus' . For no other reason than it seemed fitting that the old comrades from ME1 were the ones to deal another fatal blow to the plans of the Reapers

Shadout wrote:

I cant be bothered to go back and fix those hours anyway, next time I want to kill everyone off except Garrus and Tali, if thats possible

I'm totally going to do the same for my renegade playthrough. Tali and Garrus are untouchable (and possibly the Geth, I like the cut of his gib)...the rest had better not start reading any long books

I was trying to go through the relay when the whole shuttle business happened so I saved everyone. Even if I wasn't, I would have gone straight there. Kelly was the only crew member that seemed to give a sh*t about me.

As for team survival, I think your alignment has as much to do with it as your character's loyalty. I may be wrong though.

...And for those doing multiple play throughs: If what I noticed about the transition from 1 to 2 hold true for the transition form 2 to 3, your first choice is the one that will count. Reloading may not be as helpful as you think.

The credits are rolling on my second shot at the endgame.

I picked Garrus as the leader both times, Samara as the biotic, and Tali for the tunnel, and made it. I also sent Morton back with the crew.

Considering that all of the Reapers that we've seen so far, Harbinger, the derelict, and Sovereign, as well as that last shot of the fleet, look similar, I think the human "Reaper" section is probably more of the brain of the operation and Reaper ships all look similar. Also, considering how large Sovereign was, and the fact that Soylent Galactus didn't look much larger than the Normandy 2, I don't think he was the whole Reaper.

Plus, the idea of a giant cybernetic organism controlling a Reaper ship appeals to me a lot more than a human-shaped ship flying through space. Images of Mega Maid come to mind.

Soylent Galactus was only a "larva" though. Not that it wasn't totally goofy anyway.

NSMike wrote:

Considering that all of the Reapers that we've seen so far, Harbinger, the derelict, and Sovereign, as well as that last shot of the fleet, look similar, I think the human "Reaper" section is probably more of the brain of the operation and Reaper ships all look similar. Also, considering how large Sovereign was, and the fact that Soylent Galactus didn't look much larger than the Normandy 2, I don't think he was the whole Reaper.

Plus, the idea of a giant cybernetic organism controlling a Reaper ship appeals to me a lot more than a human-shaped ship flying through space. Images of Mega Maid come to mind.

Someone should do a Space Balls version of the ME universe. I'd pay for that game.

Here's what I found on my first playthrough:
Don't send Thane into the vents. I figured he was my best infiltrator, but he apparently sucks at hacking doors and took a rocket in the face. Jack definitely works as the biotic, but I picked Zaeed as my second leader and he took a shot in the gut and died. I took Legion and Grunt into the final fight, Legion wasn't loyal for some reason (I did the loyalty quest, but I guess I did it wrong?) so he died. I didn't send Mordin back to the ship with the crew so he died.

Also, I tried to shoot Soylent Galactus in the face with Cain but the bugger ducked it! I ran out of sniper & heavy pistol ammo and had to slowly and inaccurately whittle him down with long-range submachine gun fire. What a goofy and anticlimactic final boss. The rest of the Collector base stuff was cool, but shooting a giant terminator in the eyes was surprisingly dull.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Soylent Galactus was only a "larva" though. Not that it wasn't totally goofy anyway.

When the larval Reaper begins to mature, it will encase itself in a hard metal cocoon where it will lay dormant throughout the cold winter months. When spring arrives the cocoon will crack open, revealing that a miraculous transformation has taken place: the ugly, humanoid Reaper larva is now a beautiful giant robot squid! Upon exiting the cocoon, the adult Reaper will spread its tentacles and take to the stars, scouring the galaxy clean of organic life. This remarkable process is one of Nature's greatest wonders.

TheCounselor wrote:

The credits are rolling on my second shot at the endgame.

I picked Garrus as the leader both times, Samara as the biotic, and Tali for the tunnel, and made it. I also sent Morton back with the crew.

Mordin's the one that got me. I made every decision right the first time as far as leaders and specialists go (Miranda, Legion, Samara), but Mordin ended up as fish food regardless. As Malor said, no explanation at all, he just must have caught a bullet off screen. Perhaps he was too busy singing Gilbert & Sullivan to duck...

Played the end through a second time making all the same decisions, except I sent Mordin back with the survivors, and ended up getting everyone out just fine.

Garrus and Miranda were my final team, as they honestly had been for pretty much the entire game except on the loyalty quests. I certainly hope they're both back and available in ME3.

Y'know, since anyone can successfully escort the survivors, I'm starting to think that it's not a matter of Mordin randomly dying. I think that maybe he's the one you're "supposed" to send, just like the other specialists, and if you don't you get punished with a death.

I completly ran out of ammo on my 1st run thru by the time I had to fight Soylent Galactus. Ended up whittling it down with warp and inferno attacks targeted at the eyes. Took forever!!!

LobsterMobster wrote:

Y'know, since anyone can successfully escort the survivors, I'm starting to think that it's not a matter of Mordin randomly dying. I think that maybe he's the one you're "supposed" to send, just like the other specialists, and if you don't you get punished with a death.

I'm wondering that too. But if so it's the weakest of the choices you have to make, gameplay wise. The rest are all fairly well supported by their backstories (Miranda and Garrus having leadership experience, Samara and Jack being strong biotics, Tali and Legion being strong in tech). Mordin however was a member of an elite special forces unit, how are we supposed to pick him out as the weak link that should be sent to handhold the survivors?

LobsterMobster wrote:

Y'know, since anyone can successfully escort the survivors, I'm starting to think that it's not a matter of Mordin randomly dying. I think that maybe he's the one you're "supposed" to send, just like the other specialists, and if you don't you get punished with a death.

On my first shot, I didn't send Mordin back with the survivors. They died, but he was alive and well at the end of the game.

I sent Jack back with the survivors, on the theory that her unstable attitude could be a problem during the final fights, and used Mordin/Miranda as my final squad. During the scene after the battle, Mordin fell but Shepard caught him, so having him on you squad can definitely save him.

If you don't have Miranda in your final squad, do you get the dialogue about her quitting Cerberus? Assuming you destroy the base.

Did anyone keep the base? I've got a feeling that this particular decision will play a rather important role in ME3.

LobsterMobster wrote:

Y'know, since anyone can successfully escort the survivors, I'm starting to think that it's not a matter of Mordin randomly dying. I think that maybe he's the one you're "supposed" to send, just like the other specialists, and if you don't you get punished with a death.

I sent Grunt back with the survivors while Mordin helped me with Galactus, and everyone survived. Just curious, for the people that had Mordin die, did you research his medic table upgrade for the Normandy? If you didn't maybe that is the reason he dies, although I don't see how that is possible since he never even needed the medical table in my ending.

Mr E.B. Slugworth wrote:
LobsterMobster wrote:

Y'know, since anyone can successfully escort the survivors, I'm starting to think that it's not a matter of Mordin randomly dying. I think that maybe he's the one you're "supposed" to send, just like the other specialists, and if you don't you get punished with a death.

I sent Grunt back with the survivors while Mordin helped me with Galactus, and everyone survived. Just curious, for the people that had Mordin die, did you research his medic table upgrade for the Normandy? If you didn't maybe that is the reason he dies, although I don't see how that is possible since he never even needed the medical table in my ending.

Medic table upgrade? I think I upgraded his omni-tool, but don't recall a medic table upgrade. And I spoke with him a lot, can't believe I missed that.

Its the upgrade that heals the scars on your face. Maybe that upgrade just showed up at the same time I got him so I assumed it appeared because I got him.

I researched the medic table and Mordin died.

Teneman wrote:

Did anyone keep the base? I've got a feeling that this particular decision will play a rather important role in ME3.

I kept it. I am still suspicious of the Illusive Man's cybernetic eyes (they remind me of Saren, and I said as much in catch-all before release), but I wanted to see how that plays out in ME3. I have a feeling that the Illusive Man would've done everything he could to salvage the station without Shepard, now that the Omega 4 relay can be used, even if had I destroyed it. So, who knows, you may not have a choice in ME3. I can see them being very different games with or without the station, so who knows. Maybe it means the difference between having your own, friendly Reaper to fight in the battle, or needing to build a massive fleet in the next game, or it could be entirely inconsequential. That's a pretty big decision, and either it doesn't significantly affect ME3's story, or it's so important that Cerberus will have rebuilt it.

Either that, or the Illusive Man has been subtly indoctrinated and plans to finish the Human Reaper.

Mr E.B. Slugworth wrote:

Its the upgrade that heals the scars on your face. Maybe that upgrade just showed up at the same time I got him so I assumed it appeared because I got him.

Ah that one. Yeah I got that before I picked up Mordin I believe. I think it was Dr. Chakwas that told me about it, but I could be misremembering.

NSMike wrote:

I kept it. I am still suspicious of the Illusive Man's cybernetic eyes (they remind me of Saren, and I said as much in catch-all before release), but I wanted to see how that plays out in ME3.

I pointed the eyes out to my wife as well and said the same thing. She thinks it's just an artistic thing in the way they drew him. They focus on his eyes so much, and they are so startlingly different than any other human's eyes that there must be some significance. Frankly when he appeared holographically on the collector station to tell me to keep the base I figured that was where he'd reveal that he wasn't entirely human after all.

So, I'm fishing here, but I played a Renegade Shepard, and her eyes started turning red as the game went on and she accumulated Renegade points. Could the Illusive Man's blue eyes mean that he's really a paragon, and that those of us who don't entirely trust him are off base?

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