This mission is acquired as part of the Race Against Time mission, once the objectives on Therum, Feros, Noveria and Virmire have been completed and after Shepard frees the SSV Normandy from lockdown on the Citadel.
Preparation EditWarning: Once you head to Ilos the rest of the game proceeds in locked progression and you will no longer be able to complete assignments, access the Galaxy Map, shop, or walk around the Normandy. So before heading to Ilos finish up any outstanding assignments and make sure you've done any final shopping you want to do on Noveria, Feros, and on the Normandy itself.
Select your squad carefully as this is the squad you will have for the remainder of the game. You will be fighting mostly geth of all sizes with a side-helping of krogan. Once you find the Conduit you will be operating in a zero-g environment where physics-based attacks such as biotics will be even more powerful than usual.
Abilities that can knock charging krogan and large geth units off their feet are at a premium if you're trying to survive the rest of the game. Liara, and Kaidan if he survived Virmire, make outstanding companions for their biotic talents. As your group's expert Prothean researcher Liara also adds additional color commentary to your story; Kaidan on the other hand brings a larger suite of tech powers in addition to his biotics. Durable squadmates such as Ashley and Wrex, provided they're still alive at this point, also make good choices since more often than not the enemies encountered will have high level opponents with strong attacks present. Tech teammates, such as Garrus and Tali, are also useful since the amount of incoming fire tends to focus on chokepoints, and silencing opposing weaponry through their tech talents will be a great way to stay alive. Tali also brings along the Hacking ability, which, when fully leveled, allows her to turn geth against each other, and since basically every type of geth is trying to kill you at this point, Tali causing a high-level opponent to suddenly start killing other enemies will be invaluable.
On an additional note, equip yourself and your team chosen with the absolute best gear and combinations you have available -- as this is the endgame, Saren will be throwing his whole playbook at Shepard, and there is no reason to hold back.
When the Galaxy Map is accessed and travel to Ilos has begun, Kaidan, Ashley, or Liara will visit Shepard in the Captain's Quarters if a relationship with them was pursued.Mu Relay, Joker calls Shepard up to the bridge. The Normandy passes through the relay and Ilos comes into view. There are quite a few Geth Dropships in orbit. The scene shifts to the bridge as Joker points out the problem. Whichever squadmate wasn't killed on Virmire stresses that they will be spotted. However, with the stealth systems engaged they can't be seen unless someone looks out a window.
Navigator Pressly is picking up some strange reading from the surface and Shepard orders Joker to drop the squad on top of Saren. According to Pressly, the nearest landing zone is two clicks away -- too far to get to Saren in time. Shepard orders a Mako drop, but Pressly again points out a problem: there are only twenty meters near Saren, and the Mako needs 100 meters for a drop like that.
After an order to find another landing zone, Pressly says that there isn't one. Joker interrupts and asserts he can perform the drop, silencing the protests. Shepard orders the squad into the Mako in preparation for a hard landing. Now all you have to do is select your squad.
Note: There are no checkpoints throughout the entire Ilos segment of the game, so make sure you save your progress often.
Upper Ruins Edit
Shepard and the squad exit the Mako and make comments that they aren’t getting through the doors even with the heaviest weapons they have. So find the way that Saren opened them and use it to get to him.Geth Troopers so make sure they don’t get to give the warm welcome that they intended. Moving up, you reach an open plaza with little cover. Watch your left and right because there are plenty of geth here.
Coming up from the stairs to the right are Troopers, Geth Shock Troopers, and Geth Rocket Troopers. To your left are two Geth Armatures. Use the limited cover to take out the foot soldiers first before focusing on the walking tanks. The Armatures won't activate until you come within a certain range, so if you stay well back you can finish the other geth before they wake up.Note: Before engaging the Armatures, be aware that there is a "Hard Decryption" console on the lower level that can disable the Armatures (at the cost of the experience that killing them would provide, but on higher difficulty levels you may be more interested in survival than experience by this point). If you wish to pursue this method of progress, head directly to the right and down the stairs.
If you choose to fight the Armatures, there is more cover available when dealing with them so use it and only step out to shoot or use powers. Keep your squadmates in cover as well. By now, at least if you're not playing on Insanity level, you may well survive a direct hit, but don’t tempt fate. Use overload, warp, throw, and any other powers to keep them off balance and from shooting back. When the Armatures are down head to the staircase to your right, but grab the crate near the door before moving on.Geth Hoppers in it but fortunately none of the dangerous Geth Ghost variety. You can use Lift or Throw if you have them to get the Hoppers to calm down a bit so you can better aim at them. When you have the Hoppers down, grab the crate that is in the room and then head out along the trench.
In the trench is the Armature Control station that for disabling the Armatures upstairs. You can still hack the console for some experience points even if you already killed the Armatures.
Keep heading along the trench and climb the ramps at the end to head deeper into the complex. When you head deeper into the complex grab the crate and eventually you come across a corner where you can proceed forward or follow the path to the left. This gives you a good sniping point on the enemies below in the courtyard, however if you go too far then you will drop into the courtyard where there is little cover.
The Courtyard EditGeth Destroyer and its escorting Shock Troopers before they can overwhelm you. Well at least then you can fight them from cover as they come up and around from the path. If you have the AI Hacking skill to at least Advanced (the middle) skill level, then use it on the Destroyer because it makes short work of the Shock Troopers. Also even if they escape and attack, then you have cover in order to deal with them. When you're ready to take out the Destroyer you can Lift it to make it easy to shoot and keeping it from attacking you at the same time. When they have been dealt with head down the path, DO NOT drop down into the courtyard.
As you round the corner at the end of the path there are two more Shock Troopers on an elevated platform. There is little cover here, but these aren't tough enemies at this point in your career. When they are down head into the courtyard and head left into an elevator that takes you up to where the Shock Troopers were. DO NOT do this if there are other geth still in the courtyard because they have a habit of going under the platform and are waiting when you come out to overwhelm you. Before heading back down grab the crate on the platform and then head back down and across the courtyard to grab that one. Take cover near the walls of the courtyard heading south because there are yet more geth.
Security Station EditGeth Juggernauts or Destroyers (difficulty dependent), Troopers, Rocket Troopers, Shock Troopers, and a Geth Prime.
This can be a difficult battle especially on higher levels, so approach with caution. There are four "Armature Control" panels, and if you have sufficient ability you can use them to activate Armatures which are of great value in distracting and destroying the geth. Trying to activate all four right away can prove problematic, but even on Insanity level it is fairly simple to quickly hack the one at near right and then retreat rapidly down the hallway you entered from - be sure to activate Shepard's Immunity or Barrier abilities if available, and/or use Sabotage on the Geth Prime. Once you get a single Armature active, it often proves quite distracting to the geth, allowing you breathing space to get a second Armature online, and so forth. Note: You get full experience for any geth the Armatures kill.
There are ramps on either side which you can dart up to get to an upper platform that gives you a lot of cover and a great firing position. Retreating back down the entry hall towards the elevator is also viable, as it tends to result in the smaller geth moving out ahead of the larger ones making them easier to thin out.
When you're done you can hack any remaining Armature panels for additional experience.Cipher must have transferred some of the Prothean language to Shepard. The communication is basically a warning against the Reapers and Shepard explains to the squad that it must have came too late. The communication then changes to a more serious tone, however it becomes completely scrambled and untranslatable.
Head back down the stairs and up the other elevator. When you exit at the plaza there is a crate next the elevator, grab it if you didn’t before, and head back to the Mako. When you get close one of your squadmates comments “Who votes we take the vehicle into the creepy underground bunker.” The other replies “Good idea, the firepower will come in handy.”
Get in the Mako before continuing on: not only is the next area very long, you won't be able to enter the Conduit without it.
The Archives EditProtheans probably were trying to stay alive that way.
When you reach the next ramp down you encounter the first sign of enemy presence in the bunker, some of Saren’s rear guard, mainly Geth Rocket Troopers. There are only three of them, so when you get close just jump out and shoot them on foot, increasing your experience reward. When the geth are destroyed, keep heading down the ramps. When you reach the next landing, you'll see a shimmering at the far end, and a twist from the generic Mako run.
When you get close, the Mako becomes trapped by another forcefield that comes up behind the vehicle. Don’t try to shoot your way out because you can’t. One of your squadmates will comment about it being a trap, however the other will counter that it probably isn’t Saren or the geth. Exit the Mako and head into the elevator that is along the right wall.
The Watcher Edithologram.
It comments that while you aren’t Prothean or machine, you were "expected". It talks about the warnings from the beacons. One of your squadmates will comment that it is a badly damaged VI. The program counters that it doesn’t sense the taint of indoctrination upon any of the squad, unlike the other, Saren, who also passed recently, so there is still hope. The other squadmate will ask why they can understand it even though it is Prothean. The hologram says that it was monitoring communications and translated its output so it could communicate. It introduces itself as Vigil and comments that while you are currently safe, nowhere will be for long.Ksad Ishan the chief researcher at the Ilos facility. When you ask why it stopped the Mako, Vigil will say that the cycle must be broken, as it has gone on for millions of years. Vigil however needs the squad to understand so they can avoid making the same mistakes. It tells how the Citadel is really an enormous Mass Relay and a huge trap. When the relay is activated the Reapers come through from Dark Space and destroy all organic civilization in the galaxy before disappearing again. If you investigate then you will get some guesses on why the Reapers operate the way they do however no one knows why.
After responding, Vigil will confirm the fears about the Citadel Fleet and the Council and that is what happened with the Protheans. Their leaders were dead before anyone knew what was happening. Because the Reapers had access to all the maps and census data on the Protheans, they went systematically and wiped out their civilization. Colonies were isolated and picked off one by one and indoctrinated “refugees” were taken in by other Protheans only to have them turn on their own people when the Reapers showed up.Conduit is a prototype mass relay and that it links to the Citadel, bypassing defenses. The Protheans were on the verge of unlocking the technology when the Reapers invaded. When you ask, Vigil will give the story behind how Ilos survived because all records of the project were destroyed in the initial attack so the Reapers had no knowledge of the planet. They went into cryostasis and eventually the facility went dark. However as the power failed, Vigil eventually had to deactivate the pods and even when the Reapers finally retreated, only the top researchers were still alive, all twelve of them. You can comment about that, but Vigil defends its actions.
Further investigation reveals the scientists knew their race was doomed however they labored for years to stop the cycle. They found a way to alter the signals from the Citadel to the keepers to prevent them from activating the relay. They used the Conduit to travel to the Citadel and thus preventing Sovereign from signaling the keepers. Vigil, if asked describes that their fate, trapped on the station, probably wasn’t pleasant.
Before you leave, Vigil gives you a file that temporarily will give full access to the Citadel and its resources. However you must find the Master Control Terminal to get that access. Vigil says to follow Saren as he knows where to go. As you leave, if Liara is in your party she will ask to stay because they will probably never have another chance like this. You can either stay and ask Vigil more questions or you can go; she will understand either way. When you do leave, Vigil gives you one last beacon of hope: Saren hasn’t reached the conduit yet and therefore Shepard still has time. This is a good time to save if you haven't recently, the last auto save will bring you back to the beginning.
When this mission is marked complete, the Race Against Time: Sovereign entry updates to Race Against Time: Conduit.
- Geth Armature
- Geth Assault Drone
- Geth Destroyer
- Geth Hopper
- Geth Juggernaut
- Geth Prime
- Geth Rocket Trooper
- Geth Shock Trooper
- Geth Trooper
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