|This article is about combat in Mass Effect 3. For combat in Mass Effect 2, see Combat (Mass Effect 2). For combat in Mass Effect, see Combat.|
Combat Controls Edit
Mass Effect 3 Controls Edit
Controls are mostly retained from Mass Effect 2 regardless of platform, but with some significant improvements in behavior.
- Fatigue is now removed; Shepard can sprint indefinitely if the button for sprinting is held. On PC, it is still the spacebar key, and is now shared with a wide variety of context-sensitive cues.
- Shepard can now perform a variety of actions with tapping the shared action button while holding a directional button, depending on context.
- If on open ground, combat rolls can be performed in whichever direction fancied.
- Getting into cover can be done in three different ways: moving into it and tapping the shared action button, via combat roll, or by sprinting into it.
- Shepard can dart from cover to adjacent cover, also known as a swat turn.
- Shepard can vault over low obstacles or cover. It can also be done while sprinting toward the obstacle for minimum loss of momentum.
- Shepard can now jump over gaps.
- Rounding cover turn is now possible. On PC, a middle mouse click must be performed if on the edge of an L-shaped cover feature.
- Shepard can traverse ladders simply by moving into it, automatically traveling to whichever elevation the ladder's end point is.
Power Wheel Edit
Hold the RB (on Xbox 360), Shift (by default on PC), R2 (PS3), or R (Wii U) to bring up the power wheel. This pauses the game, and allows you to access all the available powers that you and your teammates have at their disposal. Powers capable of usage are orange, powers in cooldown are greyed out, with a visual aid to show how close they are to cooling down, and powers currently ineffective are red with a down arrow on them. From the power wheel you can choose to use up to three powers (one per teammate, and one for you), and when you exit the power wheel, you and your teammates will use the selected powers.
HUD Screen Edit
If an enemy is within a certain range and in Shepard's present field of vision, a special reticule will appear telling you the type of enemy and indicating the relative strength of this enemy's health, armor, and shields or barrier (if any of these apply).
Combat Powers Edit
- Main article: Powers (Mass Effect 3)
Power Combos Edit
- Main article: Power Combos
Melee Combat Edit
Melee Combat is a more important feature than in previous games. Like with Mass Effect 2, pressing a specific button will trigger a melee attack which involves striking an enemy with whatever weapon is being held. This standard attack can be chained together with subsequent presses of the melee button to perform a melee combo. Different weapon classes produce different melee attack animations. Like Mass Effect 2, melee attacks with pistols and SMGs still provide the highest attack speed for regular melee attacks.
Heavy Melee Edit
All classes can not only increase their melee damage permanently, but they can also invest in rank evolutions that increase damage of subsequent melee hits, weapon damage or power uses for several seconds after a heavy melee kill is achieved. If close enough to an enemy, whilst having them in your crosshairs, you will effectively lock on to the target upon pressing the melee button, i.e. your attack will always connect even if the opponent moves. Also, as mentioned above, melee combos can be entered by repeatedly tapping the melee button; however, if a particularly clean rhythm is maintained throughout, (i.e., a tap as soon as you start swinging each time) the final 3rd blow in the combo is a heavy melee attack.
- Soldier - Produces an omni-blade from their omni-tool to stab enemies.
- Infiltrator - Produces a "forked" omni-blade with an electrical combat effect.
- Capable of attaining a single player bonus of 575% (690% with Shotgun Omni-Blade) to their melee damage. Ariake Technologies Armor, Death Mask, Shotgun Blade Attachment V or Pistol Melee Stunner V, Tactical Cloak (Rank 1, 4 and 5), Fortification (Rank 1, 3 and 4) and Fitness (Rank 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6).
- Sentinel - Produces dual omni-blades on both hands in an inward-to-outward swiping motion.
- Vanguard - Utilizes a biotically-charged punch, which is faster to execute than the other classes' equivalent. In addition, the class has a unique sprinting heavy melee attack; this attack is only available in the single-player portion of the game.
- Adept - Blasts a wave of biotic energy with a palm strike.
- Engineer - Charges their omni-tool with incendiary powers in a backfist attack.
Most enemies will move away or jump the cover fairly quickly when this opportunity occurs, unless they are unaware of the player.
Keep in mind that this tactic does not work against every enemy. Enemies with armor bars cannot be grabbed (including Geth Pyros as of Patch 4 and armored enemies new to the game with Mass Effect 3: Retaliation). Minor enemies like Swarmers, Seeker Swarms and their possessed counterparts, Combat Drones, Turrets, and Geth Turrets are likewise excluded. Finally, Phantoms cannot be grabbed.
Health, Armor, Shields, and Barriers Edit
Health EditRavagers and Atlases) possess armor in place of health), as well as Shepard and the squad. Several enemy types, such as Cannibals and Assault Troopers, only possess health and no other inherent defences.
Unlike Mass Effect 2, where Shepard's health bar was a continuous meter, Shepard's health bar in Mass Effect 3 is split into 5 segments. Rather than being able to fully regenerate your entire health bar, only the health of one partially depleted segment can be regenerated automatically if damaged; you must use medi-gel to replenish further segments. There is a Health Gate effect which prevents you from being killed by a single powerful shot if not down to your last health segment yet. Both health and shields can be increased through the Fitness power and various upgrades and armor pieces.
Most enemies cannot regenerate health. Cannibals can, however, after gaining armor plating from Marauders or by consuming other fallen enemies. Their regeneration can be easily halted by several ammunition types and powers, e.g. Incendiary Ammo, Warp and Cryo Blast.Throw, Pull and Shockwave, which will otherwise be of little use against defences. Exposed health also allows an enemy to be frozen (as opposed to simply "chilled") by powers like Cryo Blast and Cryo Ammo, or stunned/panicked by powers such as Overload and Incinerate (although note that several enemies are immune to panicking). Certain ammo powers such as Warp Ammo and Armor-Piercing Ammo produce a weapon damage bonus against health.
Note that the effects of powers on health can differ depending on whether the enemy is organic or synthetic. For example, Energy Drain will replenish shields when used against synthetic health, but not organic, though it will stun both enemies.
Represented by a yellow bar, armor is a common form of protection used by enemies. It replaces the health bar on most heavier enemies, making them immune to being fully affected by control-type powers such as Pull or Stasis.Shotgun or Sniper Rifle. Heavy Pistols, which are semi automatic and fire large bullets, are less effective at taking down armor than shotguns or sniper rifles but more effective at it than Assault Rifles or Submachine Guns.
Armor can be countered by a variety of powers. Combat powers are probably the least effective with the exception of Adrenaline Rush. One of the best tech powers against armor is Incinerate as fire is one of armor's greatest weaknesses. There are also Cryo Blast and Snap Freeze, which reduce the damage reduction enemy armor provides. Biotic powers are less useful against armor but Warp still presents an option for degrading the armor of an opponent. Furthermore, Incendiary Ammo, Warp Ammo, Cryo Ammo and Armor-Piercing Ammo are all also effective against armor. There are many power evolutions which can also further increase the damage the power does against armor.
Equipping Shredder or Piercing mods on your weapons reduces the damage reduction provided by armor, thus increasing the damage of every bullet. These mods help rapid firing weapons deal with armored targets.
Shields tend to be strong against slow-firing weapons like heavy pistols, sniper rifles, single-shot assault rifles, and shotguns. Powers like Overload, Energy Drain, and Disruptor Ammo are very effective at dealing with shields.
Enemy shields will replenish themselves if the enemy equipped with them isn't attacked for a period of time.
Barriers EditOverload and Energy Drain along with biotic powers Reave and Dark Channel can do massive damage to them. Concussive Shot can also be effective.
Barriers tend to be strong against slow-firing weapons like heavy pistols, sniper rifles, single-shot assault rifles, and shotguns. Ammo powers like Warp Ammo and Disruptor Ammo are very effective at dealing with them.
Enemy barriers will replenish themselves if the enemy equipped with them isn't attacked for a period of time.
Armored Plating EditBrutes, as well as upgraded Husks and Cannibals) with visible slabs of armor. Rather than being represented by a colored bar, armored plating exists on the physical model of the enemy.
Gunfire hitting armored plating will produce a distinct metallic impact sound, but deal no damage whatsoever to the target it is protecting. Instead, delivering enough damage to the piece of armored plating will eventually cause it to be destroyed, exposing that part of the target.
The most obvious way of dealing with an armor plated enemy is to hit it where the plates don't cover. In addition to that, all non-weapon sources of damage (such as melee attacks or powers such as Incinerate) ignore armored plating. Further, some attacks will cause a portion of their damage even when impacting armored plating; specifically:
- Shots from the Black Widow, M-98 Widow, Javelin, N7 Crusader, N7 Hurricane and N7 Typhoon.
- Any shots fired under the effects of Armor-Piercing Ammo.
- Any shots fired from a weapon equipped with High-Velocity, Piercing or Shredder Weapon Mods
Shield/Health Gate Edit
Shield Gate is a mechanic introduced in Mass Effect 3. When an enemy's shields or barriers are destroyed, excess damage from the shot that passes through to health or armor is reduced by a certain percentage according to the difficulty. The reductions are as follows:
- Normal/Bronze: 50%
- Hardcore/Silver/Gold/Platinum: 75%
- Insanity: 100%
For weapons that fire multiple pellets, such as most shotguns or the M-358 Talon, the shield gate will apply to the pellet that destroyed the shields/barriers, but the rest of the pellets will cause full damage.
Shepard, and player characters in multiplayer, receive a slightly different version of the Gate effect on both their Shield/Barrier and Health. Instead of a reduction in the "excess" damage that would have bypassed Barrier/Shield, players gain a temporary immunity to any damage once their shields/barrier is depleted ("Shield Gate") or they hit 5% remaining health ("Health Gate"). This invulnerability is dependent on difficulty and works as follows:
- Narrative: 1.0 seconds
- Casual: .75 seconds
- Normal/Bronze: .5 seconds
- Hardcore/Silver: .25 seconds
- Insanity/Gold: .1 seconds
- Platinum: .01 seconds
There is a further "cooldown" on each of the Gate effects to prevent players from being invulnerable too often (as would be theoretically possible with very low shield regen delays due to upgrades and gear). The Shield Gate has a cooldown of 4 seconds and the Health Gate has a cooldown of 3 seconds.
As an example: a player doing multiplayer on Bronze difficulty is being attacked by an Atlas. The player gets hit by one missile, which does more damage than the player has shields. The player is brought down to 0 Shields, and then Shield Gate kicks in and nullifies the rest of the damage. Another missile hits the player during this time, but the damage is cancelled out. The Shield Gate wears off after half a second, but the player uses an Ops Pack to regenerate all of their shields. Another missile hits the player, but this time the Shield Gate effect is on cooldown, so the players loses all of their shield and some of their health. Another missile hits the player and brings them to 5% health, at which point Health Gate kicks in and nullifies any further damage. After half a second wears off, another missile hits the player and this time there are no further Gate protections to the player and the player dies from the hit.
However, there are a few types of attacks that completely bypass all gate effects and can instantly kill the player from full health/barrier/shield:
- Any insta-kill attack from powerful enemies like the Banshee or Phantom.
- Any enemy grenade.
- Explosions from Possessed Abominations.
- See also: Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 3)
The squad in Mass Effect 3 is made up of, as in the rest of the Mass Effect trilogy, Commander Shepard and two NPCs who the player can select at the beginning of a Mission/Assignment. These NPCs may become available at certain points throughout the game, or may have to be unlocked by downloading DLC. In addition, after certain plot choices, certain members may become unavailable. In some missions, the squad can sometimes be reduced to two members (Shepard and a NPC) or just be Shepard alone.Ashley (pure Combat) and Tali (pure Tech) in order to fill out their areas of weakness. This allows them to be an all-round squad, able to tackle all foes. However, if it is known that the player is only going to be fighting the geth, a player might choose to have both Tali (pure Tech) and Garrus (Tech/Combat), as Tech powers are most effective against geth enemies and they would therefore have the upper hand when compared to a more 'balanced' team; similarly, one might choose a mix that can exploit powerful combos, such as EDI (Incinerate) + James (Carnage) or Liara (Singularity) + Javik (lift grenade)...etc.
Combat Difficulty Edit
This difficulty level is intended for players who are more interested in story than combat. Shepard and squadmates are stronger, weapons are easier to handle, and enemies are weaker and less aggressive. This is a nonrepresentative Mass Effect 3 combat experience.
This difficulty is intended for players inexperienced with shooters. Shepard is stronger and does more damage, weapons are easier to handle, and enemies are slightly weaker and less aggressive.
This difficulty is intended for players with experience playing shooters and RPGs. This is the baseline Mass Effect 3 combat experience.
This difficulty level is intended for players looking for a challenge. Enemies are powerful and aggressive. Advanced gameplay skills required.
This difficulty level is intended for players seeking the ultimate challenge. Enemies are tenacious, react quickly, have heavily upgraded weapons, and use their powers mercilessly.
Game Options Edit
- Off: Powers must be manually activated and evolved in the Mission Computer's Squad screen each time Shepard or a squadmate gains a level and earns points.
- Squad Only: Powers are automatically activated and evolved for squadmates as they gain levels and earn points. Shepard's powers must be manually assigned in the Mission Computer's Squad screen.
- Squad & Player: Powers are automatically activated and evolved for Shepard and squadmates as they gain levels and earn points.
Squadmate Power Use:
- On: Squadmates will automatically use their most effective powers in combat.
- Off: Squadmates will only use defensive and ammo powers automatically. All offensive powers must be manually ordered.
- On: In-game instructions and directions are displayed.
- Off: In-game instructions and directions are not displayed.
- On: Displays indicators when an action like exiting cover is possible.
- Off: Does not display indicators when an action like exiting cover is possible.
Shepard can equip all five weapon types at once if desired. Squad Members are restricted to two weapon types (for example, Garrus can equip Sniper Rifles and Assault Rifles, Liara SMGs and Pistols). Multiplayer characters can equip any weapon type, but only up to two at a time. However, they can also carry up to six Cobra Missile Launchers.
Weapons can be customized further in a manner similar to Mass Effect, although more streamlined using Weapon Mods. Each weapon has two slots for mods, with every weapon type having a different variety of mods that can be equipped once acquired. Each mod can be upgraded in a similar fashion to the weapons themselves and used in as many weapons as desired. Some mods exclude each other. Common types of mods include scopes (higher accuracy), barrel extensions (higher damage), ammo capacity upgrades (either a larger magazine or more total ammo depending on the weapon type), melee combat enhancements and piercing mods (allowing shots to penetrate cover). Other mods are only available for some weapon types, such as the Concentration Mod for Sniper Rifles.Mass Effect 2, players cannot carry Heavy Weapons in Singleplayer. However, they can be found in some places to help out with difficult fights. If the player switches weapons, the heavy weapon is automatically dropped and cannot be carried far from where it was found, especially not between missions.
In a few situations, special weapons that could be considered Heavy Weapons are available and Shepard will automatically equip them for those segments.
In Multiplayer, the only heavy weapon available is the Cobra Missile Launcher, of which every character carries a limited supply of into each mission. Because of these limitations, Heavy Weapons cannot be modded and are unaffected by ammo powers.
Weapons Heat and Thermal Clips Edit
Mass Effect 3 uses the same system as Mass Effect 2, where weapons fire a certain number of shots and then the current Thermal Clip must be ejected and a new one inserted. If you do not have any Thermal Clips for a specific weapon, then you cannot fire that weapon. Unlike in Mass Effect 2, there are more ways to increase reserve clip capacity and even increase the amount of rounds that a weapon can shoot before a replacement clip is needed through weapon mods. There are also ways of increasing reserve ammunition through Rank Evolutions in any ammo type, provided your character class has access to it. If you run out of spare clips, a loud beeping can be heard indicating the weapon has overheated, and cannot fire due to lack of thermal clips.
A few weapons use a heat system more like the Mass Effect system, recharging their "ammo" when they aren't being fired. However, they have no reserve clips and if depleted entirely, they have to be "reloaded" via lengthy cooling animation before they can fire again.
Weight Capacity Editclass can carry any weapon in Mass Effect 3 and use it with full effectiveness. Instead of limiting what kinds of weapons each class can carry, the game assigns a weight to each weapon, and imposes a weight capacity on the player. Each class can carry up to their weight capacity without penalty, with Soldiers possessing the highest capacity, and Adepts and Engineers the lowest.
Exceeding the weight capacity of the character will incur a penalty to powers' recharge speeds. Staying below the character's weight capacity provides a bonus to powers' recharge speeds of up to 200%, while vastly exceeding it may result in a penalty of up to -200%. The penalty is proportional to how far the player's weight capacity has been exceeded. Carrying below capacity greatly helps all power-reliant character builds, such as the power-focused Engineers and charge-heavy Vanguards.
Upgrading weapons also reduces the weapon's weight slightly, and it can be modified further with weapon mods—Ultralight Materials modifications decrease a weapon's weight, while some other mods increase a weapon's weight but have greater effects than standard mods.
In multiplayer, different classes have different default weights, and maximum weight capacities. Some classes also benefit more or less from their respective skill trees. For example, Alliance Training and Asari Justicar grant 10 weight capacity from rank 1 of said trees and 20 on rank 4 evolutions, whereas Turian Veteran grants 15 weight capacity with the first rank and 25 from the rank 4 evolution. Many classes also have a rank 6 evolution in their passive that decreases the weight of one, some, or all types of weapons by a certain amount. These weights have a significant impact on power recharge speeds.
While each character in multiplayer can equip two weapons, power-focused characters might prefer only having one or none at all (though it is possible to retain 200% and still equip a weapon or even two with Ultralight Materials).
In single player, weight does not affect the power cooldown times of squadmates.