In order to reach the main control chamber, the assault on the Collector Base has been divided into three teams. One team member is proceeding through a ventilation shaft while two teams distract Collector forces.
Shepard and the crew gather in the Normandy's briefing room, while EDI projects a scan of the Collector Base and comments that the station's weak spot is likely in the main control center in the center of the station. EDI also says that this is the likely location of the Normandy crew and any remaining colonists. There are two ways to get to the center of the station, but a tech specialist must pass through a thermal vent in order to get the two squads through to the next area of the station.
- Non ideal: Anyone else, as well as non-loyal Legion/Tali/Kasumi, as they will be shot attempting to close the doors.
Once the choice is made, Miranda will say that while Shepard will lead one squad, someone else must lead a second squad to serve as a diversion. She volunteers to do so, but you can choose any other squad member.
- Non Ideal: Anyone else or non-loyal Garrus/Miranda/Jacob, as that will also cause the specialist to die.
Once that choice is made, you have the opportunity to make a rousing speech to your troops. Select your own squad from the remaining members. You will be facing waves of Collectors with repeated appearances by Harbinger, and you will be under time pressure to advance quickly enough to keep your specialist alive. Bring squadmates and powers to help you knock down barriers and strip armor quickly: Heavy Warp being a particularly well-suited tool for both, as well as Warp Ammo or Armor-Piercing Ammo.
If everything is in order, the team then disembarks from the Normandy and enters the station.
Thermal Vent Gates Edit
The initial area is clear of Collectors but once you reach a fork in the road the Collectors swoop in, so take cover and prepare for a fight. Your tech specialist will move through the thermal vent, but will inform you that there are obstructions in the way preventing them from proceeding. These obstructions are valves which can be opened by pressing green buttons found throughout the level.
After removing the first obstruction, a bar will appear in the lower right of the screen showing how much time the specialist has. If the bar runs out then the mission ends in a critical mission failure as the specialist gets fried. On higher difficulties, it is hard to take the Collectors out fast enough to prevent a heat buildup, so on some occasions you will have to activate the gate controls while under fire. Using a defensive power, like Barrier or Fortification, can be a good asset in this situation. Tip: If you reach a gate control with plenty of time to spare, and there are enemies about, hold off activating the gate control while you kill more enemies. Since activating the gate control will reset to the full length of the next timer no matter how low you've let the bar drop, you'll be gaining extra time.
The next two valves are guarded by two sets of three Collectors, one of which will always be immediately possessed by Harbinger. Once you activate the fourth gate move fast and you will emerge onto more platforms. More Collectors will swoop in and attack. Take out the Collectors and move to activate the fifth gate. The sixth gate is down the hall and requires no fighting. Note that it may be worthwhile to leave this valve until you've killed a few more Collectors, since it will save time that you'll sorely need in the next area. There will be three Collectors around the corner; eliminate them quickly while they are clustered, then climb into the final room.
This next area is the hardest of this mission. There are two gates, a time limit, and two waves of Collector Drones, Assassins and Harbinger between you and finishing this mission. The seventh gate is easier to get to so if you are having problems taking out the Collectors then you will be best to leave your specialist there until the last minute – take cover next to the seventh gate and keep shooting enemies until the timer reaches a dangerously low level. The initial group of Collectors will be replaced by a second wave that flies in, so if you're strained for time make a break for the final valve release while the Collectors fly in. Once the final gate is open, regardless of any remaining enemies, the mission will end.
The diversion team will charge into the safe area and attempt to hold their ground while the tech specialist opens the door to let in Shepard's squad. Once Shepard and the squad get in, the specialist will attempt to close the door again. If you chose an ideal specialist, the door will close. If not, the specialist will manage to close the door but will be shot dead before finishing the task. Also, if you chose a non-ideal second fire team leader, the specialist will still be shot, even if loyal and ideal. The room you enter holds a secret.
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