This page contains a walkthrough for the main missions of Mass Effect 2. Major changes in the gameplay from Mass Effect are listed in the main Mass Effect 2 page, while the effects of importing a saved game from Mass Effect are listed in the Save File Transfer page.
Prologue missions take place at the beginning of the game, in mandatory progression. At the end of the prologue Shepard receives command of the Normandy SR-2 and is free to explore both the ship and the galaxy.
Prologue: Save Joker - Story and setting
Prologue: Awakening - Create your Shepard, Tutorial
Stop the Collectors - Master mission for the rest of the game
Act 1 begins when Shepard receives the Stop the Collectors master mission along with command of the Normandy SR-2 and continues until the mission to Horizon, which is activated as soon as Shepard has recruited all four of Mordin, Garrus, Jack, and Grunt. Any other missions and assignments not completed during Act 1 can still be completed during Act 2. Note that the order in which squadmates are recruited during Act 1 is entirely up to Shepard and will not affect how events play out in any way.
You will also have the opportunity to perform various assignments -- some are available on Omega, some on the Citadel, and others you can discover during the process of Planet Scanning. Assignments described as N7 Assignments usually involve squad deployments and combat -- effectively small missions -- and provide experience, credits, and other rewards. All assignments are optional, but they help advance the story and provide the opportunity for additional rewards and items.
Act 1 Dossiers Edit
Perform dossier missions to recruit new squad members for your team. It is recommended that you recruit Mordin first so that you will be able to take advantage of upgrades in the Research Lab on the Normandy. When these four missions have all been completed, the Horizon mission will trigger and Act 2 will begin.
Act 1 DLC Edit
The following DLC missions and assignments can be performed during Act 1, or saved until Act 2 if desired.
Zaeed: The Price of Revenge - Loyalty
Kasumi: Stealing Memory - Loyalty
Act 1 Progression Edit
When all four of the original (non-DLC) dossier missions are complete, the Horizon mission will be activated and Act 2 will begin.
Act 2 begins upon successful completion of the Horizon mission. At this point the Normandy is able to travel to Illium and new dossiers and missions become available. New assignments also become available during the course of Act 2 - some at Illium, some on Tuchanka, and many new N7 Assignments open up through Planet Scanning in the new systems which open up for exploration. New merchants also become available, along with new items at some of the Act 1 merchants - see the Merchants Guide for a complete list of locations and wares.
Act 2 DossiersEdit
Four more squadmates can now be recruited, though Legion's mission works differently in that it does not become available until after the Collector Ship mission, and triggers additional act progression. You will need at least eight total crew members, not counting Legion, to advance the plot.
Act 2 Loyalty MissionsEdit
Starting in Act 2, speaking with squad members on the Normandy will elicit requests for you to perform Loyalty missions. Securing the loyalty of your squad will both unlock new powers for them and increase the likelihood that they, and indeed Shepard, will survive Act 3. All loyalty missions are optional -- they increase the power of your team but are not required to be completed for the game to progress.
Miranda's and Jacob's missions can be obtained immediately when Act 2 begins. Additional missions become available one at a time in the order listed; if the character whose loyalty mission would normally unlock is not yet present (e.g. Grunt is still in his tank, or Thane has not been recruited) then the mission of the next character present will unlock instead. Speaking with Kelly Chambers between missions will let you know which squad members you can talk to for new loyalty missions.
Gaining the loyalty of a squad member unlocks their "Bonus Power" for them to use. The first time a Bonus Power is ever unlocked, it is also added to the Advanced Training list for Shepard.
Each squad mate also has one Normandy Upgrade or research project to unlock in the research lab. Once Shepard has access to the research lab, these can be unlocked, even during Act 1, by talking to the squad members before they offer their loyalty missions and selecting the "[NORMANDY UPGRADES]" option under the Investigate heading; otherwise it unlocks automatically as each loyalty mission is complete.
Act 2 DLC Edit
The following DLC becomes available for the first time when Act 2 begins. These are both large, substantial, and challenging undertakings, and offer significant rewards.
Act 2 Progression MissionsEdit
Several key progression missions take place during the course of Act 2. Only the Reaper IFF mission may be done whenever you're ready; the other two trigger automatically.
Collector Ship - triggers a few missions after the events on Horizon. See the acquisition section on the mission page for specifics.
Reaper IFF - choose anytime after the Collector Ship mission. However, once undertaken a mission countdown activates, with the possibility of significant plot consequences if the player delays much before proceeding through the Omega 4 Relay and beginning Act 3.
Act 3, also known as the Suicide Mission, begins when the Normandy enters the Omega 4 Relay, which can be done freely any time after Await IFF Installation is complete. At this point the mission sequence is locked, and the game proceeds through to the Epilogue without any intervening break for Shepard to use the Galaxy Map, complete assignments, research upgrades, etc. If Shepard survives the suicide mission, however, additional missions and assignments (DLC or left over from Acts 1 and 2) can then be completed.
Before entering the Omega 4 Relay and thus launching Act 3, you will want to upgrade your ship. The important upgrades are the shields, the armor, and the cannon. Tali, Jacob, and Garrus, respectively, provide these upgrades. For each of these you do not upgrade, you will later lose one team member. Upgrades will also increase the Normandy's value as a War Asset in Mass Effect 3.
The following list shows, in order of preference, which crew member will die if you haven't upgraded a particular part:
- Heavy Ship Armor: Jack
- Multicore Shielding: Kasumi, Legion, Tali, Thane, Garrus, Zaeed, Grunt
- Thanix Cannon: Thane, Garrus, Zaeed, Grunt, Jack, Samara/Morinth
Note: This tier is sorted by the characters' order of dying in descending order. Squad members on the "Multicore Shielding" list will not die if they are in your party when you fight the Oculus. Bringing Jack to fight the Oculus will not protect her if you do not have Heavy Ship Armor, nor will bringing anyone on the "Thanix Cannon" list save them from their fate.
Act 3 ProgressionEdit
Collector Base: Infiltration - Help your tech specialist through the ventilation shaft.
Collector Base: The Long Walk - Your biotic specialist escorts you through the seeker swarms.
Final Battle - Face the truth behind the abductions and make your decisions.
Final Battle Edit
Note: While manual saving is not allowed from this point onwards, the game will auto-save at the beginning of each part. Loading an auto-save also gives you the opportunity to change the weapons loadout of your squad. If you die, you will have full ammo when you reload the game, even if you didn't have full ammo at the last save.
You will be facing numerous Collector footsoldiers, armored or barrier-protected are the lot of them (when Harbinger possesses one of them, they get both).
The team you select here will be with you for the remainder of the game.
- Ideal: Squad members who are loyal to you and are less suited for defensive tasks such as Mordin, Jack, Kasumi, and Tali.
- Non-Ideal: Squad members who are not loyal to you. They will die after the battle as the Collector station begins to fall apart.
The teammates you do not choose are automatically assigned to hold the line against the Collectors. A 'defensive skill' value is calculated for the 'hold the line' group as a whole, based on a defensive value inherent to each character. Loyal characters gain a bonus to this value. If the 'defensive skill' check is not high enough to ensure all characters' survival, squad members will be designated to die based on their vulnerability, with Mordin taking priority if he is present.
Leaving behind strong defenders, such as Grunt, Garrus, and Zaeed will increase the group's odds of survival. In contrast, certain characters such as Jack, Tali, and especially Mordin have less skill in holding their position and should be removed through escort duty or taken along. The entire group will survive as long as the combined defensive skill is high enough, otherwise the game selects a squad member to die based on the scenario of who was left behind and how loyal the group members are.
Squad members who are not loyal are most likely to survive here than anywhere else, provided the group's collective defense skill is high enough, although they will be the first to die if the skill is not. Leaving behind two strong defenders such as Garrus, Grunt, or Zaeed should suffice, provided you haven't lost too many people.
Note: The order in which squad members die is as follows: any non-loyal squad members, Mordin, Tali, Kasumi, Jack, Miranda, Jacob, Garrus, Samara/Morinth, Legion, Thane, Zaeed, Grunt.
When considering squadmates for the powers they bring, strongly orient your squad towards armor destruction first and then barrier second. Powers for quickly dealing massive amounts of damage on barriers and armor will be worth its weight in eezo here: Incinerate, Warp, Reave, Armor-Piercing Ammo, Incendiary Ammo, etc. Preempting Harbinger appearances by ejecting Collectors off platforms is another consideration, so Throw may be worth having on your squad.
You will have heavy ammo refills throughout the endgame in addition to the autosave refill perk. This is the time for no-nonsense weapons so novelties like the Blackstorm, Firestorm, or Avalanche should be considered least. You will focus on killing as fast as you can: the Arc Projector, Collector Particle Beam, or M-920 Cain will help you with that.
When choosing non-heavy weapons, consider equipping Shepard with at least one fast-firing weapon, such as the M-15 Vindicator, M-12 Locust, or M-76 Revenant. If Shepard uses sniper rifles, the M-92 Mantis and M-98 Widow have substantial anti-armor bonuses which will prove important in the final battle.
Reach the Central Chamber EditDrones, Guardians, and eventually Assassins. Harbinger will make repeat appearances as usual, so try to eliminate drones as quickly as possible to force him to "eat" his more powerful Guardians and Assassins when he wants to assume control.
Powers must be used efficiently as ammo is very scarce and must be scavenged whenever possible: watch for between-waves opportunities to advance and fill up. As in the similar battle on board the Collector Cruiser, using abilities that get enemies off their feet when the platforms are flying in can be invaluable as it prevents them from reaching you, and allows you to pick them off from a distance.
The sixth and final platform contains three Abominations and two Scions. After defeating them there will be a console to trigger the next section. Note: On all versions there is a glitch where the two Scions will not attack until you run up to the platform to engage them. If you have a sniper rifle or Warp you can kill them from 2 platforms away before they are aware you exist. In any event, the Scions will be obstructed from advancing more than one platform by the vertical placement of the platforms.
Destroy the Feeding Tubes EditHuman-Reaper Larva. When you regain control, quickly climb to the uppermost platform on your right - until the Reaper activates it is a safe location that will give you a height advantage over arriving enemies. More fly-in platforms with various types of Collectors will now arrive. After clearing each platform, the armor covering the four tubes of the inactive Human-Reaper will open for a short period of time and should be destroyed immediately.
It is possible to destroy at least two each round; for best results make sure you have a fast-firing weapon equipped before you start shooting. The M-15 Vindicator or M-12 Locust can both be used to destroy two at once without powers. With heightened Adrenaline Rush, the M-6 Carnifex or the M-5 Phalanx can destroy each tube with one shot. The Geth Plasma Shotgun can also take out two tubes, since its three plasma rounds move much more slowly than that of any other weapon, this will give you adequate time to line up your shot at the next tube. The M-76 Revenant has sufficient ammunition to destroy all tubes in one long burst, finishing the battle in one round.
The M-920 Cain can also take out two tubes simultaneously, but the fights in this section are generally easier than what's to come, so that's not a recommended use of your heavy ammo. The Collector Particle Beam can destroy all four tubes in just one go before the covers come down.
It is also possible to destroy the tubes or at least heavily damage them by using Warp, so having squad members with this ability can be useful. Alternatively, if all else fails, you can instruct squad members to attack the exposed tubes while attacking a different one yourself to take down 2 tubes with standard weapons.
Destroying the four tubes will cause the Reaper to fall into the chasm below. Shepard will open up the platform's core and prepare to plant a bomb, but will be contacted by the Illusive Man, who asks Shepard to preserve the facility both to use against the Reapers and to "secure humanity's future against the Reapers and beyond." Shepard will then need to make a choice -- destroying the facility is a Paragon action, while preserving the facility for Cerberus to use against the Reapers is a Renegade action.
Mass Effect 3 Consequences: Choosing to preserve or destroy the facility can in certain circumstances determine which final choices are available to Shepard at the end of Mass Effect 3. Preserving the facility also adds a Reaper Brain to Shepard's War Assets, which in turn slightly increases Shepard's chances to achieve a better ending if you choose the 'control' ending. Destroying the facility adds a Reaper Heart to the War Assets and facilitates the 'destroy' ending.
Note: During this conversation, Shepard might refer to team members giving their lives even if the entire team has survived up to this point (depending on the selected dialogue option). Also, if Miranda is in the party, a few extra lines of dialogue between her and the Illusive Man can be heard.
The Human-Reaper Larva Edit
You start behind a good barricade spot and you can begin shooting at the Reaper's weak spots: eyes (two in the left socket, one in the right) or the large weak point on its chest. The so-called weak spots are all armor, so if you want to change your loadouts via autosave do so.
Sniper rifles and shotguns are equally effective here: despite the shotgun's short range the size of the weak points make it possible to hit the Human-Reaper with reasonable accuracy. The Human-Reaper moves around a lot, however. If you are confident enough with your aiming skills then feel free to unload on the monstrosity with whatever weapon you're comfortable with.
All throughout your fight with the Human-Reaper, Collector soldiers will fly in and act as additional deterrent. This is one of the very few times you shouldn't kill them on sight before they transform into Harbinger: killing a Harbinger drone when it appears causes it to drop power cells that refill ammo for all of Shepard's weapons, including heavy weapons.
The Human-Reaper has a nasty charge up attack and it would be wise to not expose yourself until it is finished. If you are hit by it, your shield will be depleted and will take longer than usual to recharge. If you're feeling brave, you can also take advantage of the fact that it stays still while charging its attack to get in some reliable damage; listening to the charge-up sound will tell you when it's time to get back behind cover. Be aware that the Reaper's glowing mouth is vulnerable to your weapons while this attack is charging, and presents a very large target for gunfire.Warning: After your first engagement with the Reaper, it will disappear below the platform and return in a different location. It will sometimes destroy one of the side platforms when it does this, and if you are on the platform at the time you will be killed. A safer spot to camp out for this section is the barricade on the forward central platform, as it provides cover from all directions and a high wall that can be interposed between you and the Reaper when needed. Note that you can also fall off the platform you are on, so stay away from the edges.
Once you have damaged the Reaper enough, more Collector Drones will attack. During this section of the fight Harbinger will drop special Heavy Weapon ammo packs when killed. Also note that the Reaper's mouth weapon will injure or kill any enemies it hits.
When the Reaper's life is below 25%, it will begin dodging around and send more attacks at you. Continue shooting at its eyes or use the M-920 Cain, directed at its chest, and the fight should be over shortly, leading to the end of game cutscenes.
Cutscenes will variate depending on who survives the suicide mission. If at least two companions survive, one will pull up Shepard into the Normandy. Otherwise, Joker will vainly attempt to help the commander and ultimately cause his or her fall and subsequent death.
Note: At the end of the battle when you talk to Joker via comm link, he will tell you all "survivors" have made it back to the ship, even if you saved your entire team.
The Normandy rushes to escape the immense fireball emanating from the Collector base. If Shepard chose to destroy the base, it explodes in a massive blast that the Normandy barely manages to outrun. If the base was spared, the blast is blue as the radiation destroys all organic matter, leaving the base intact. After the mission ends, there are three possible endings:
- Shepard goes to speak with the Illusive Man. If the base was destroyed, the star behind the Illusive Man is colored blue. The Illusive Man is furious with Shepard; he tells the Commander that they still have to face the Reapers and that base's technology could have helped humanity.
- If the base was spared, the Illusive Man compliments Shepard's decision, the star behind the Illusive Man is colored red. When their discussion is finished, the Illusive Man grins in quiet contemplation at the hologram of the spared base.
- If your actions caused Shepard's death in the final cutscene, Joker is the one to speak with the Illusive Man. If the base was spared, the Illusive Man watches as salvage ships move towards the base.
After the conversation with the Illusive Man, another scene takes place aboard the Normandy.
- If any of the crew members died during the Suicide Mission, Shepard will be seen mourning over their casket(s). If Shepard died, Joker will be here instead standing over Shepard's casket (which will have an N7 symbol on it). The number of caskets varies depending on how many crew members were killed. The Normandy is shown flying through space, and Joker stares at a datapad displaying schematics of a Reaper.
- If everyone survived, the Normandy is shown flying through space. Various crew members are fixing the breaches in the Normandy. Kelly Chambers can be seen walking by in the distance. Shepard is very briefly greeted by Thane in passing, before walking by Legion, Jack, Grunt, and Garrus, who nod as the Commander walks past. Joker hands Shepard a datapad displaying schematics of a Reaper.
A Reaper is shown in Dark Space as lights appear within its superstructure. As it lights up, the dark void surrounding the Reaper is illuminated by numerous pinpoints of light, revealing hundreds, or even thousands, of other Reapers. The final shot shows the Reaper fleet flying towards the Milky Way galaxy, setting the stage for Mass Effect 3.
After completion of the last mission, cutscenes and closing credits you will be presented with two options: either go back and complete any missed side or loyalty missions, planet scans, free-roam, talk to your squad/crew members on the Normandy SR-2, etc., or start a new career using the same "Shepard" with the stats carried over. Despite how the choice is framed, the options are not mutually exclusive. If you choose to continue playing, you may still start a new career with an import of your completed Mass Effect 2 character from the main menu at any time. Similarly, if you choose to start a new career immediately after completing the last mission, you can still go back to that old career and continue post final mission play at any time. You will also keep any and all armor components that you purchased from your previous game.
- Starting a New Game+ will carry the character's upgraded Powers over. While weapons, armor, level and equipment are retained, any associated upgrades must be earned and/or purchased from scratch. The Paragon/Renegade morality bars will be completely empty, even if the character had a previous bonus carrying over from Mass Effect. No bonus credits or resources will be carried over from importing a Mass Effect character, though the bonus credits and resources that are given to all new Mass Effect 2 characters after completing the game will still be received.
- Choosing to go back and continue the game allows you to finish off any incomplete missions, scan planets for mineral extraction, play any downloadable content you haven't played – also, if you are romancing Kelly or other crew members, you may invite them up to the Commander's cabin as well as attempt to be seduced by Morinth if you recruited her (although that results in your death). Don't Miss: Even if you have no more missions or DLC to complete, you can speak to each of your surviving squad members and hear a one-time-only comment on the decision you made regarding the Collectors' base. If you chose to keep it and turn it over to the Illusive Man, your teammates will express skepticism – surprisingly, this includes Garrus, Grunt and Mordin, who all encouraged Shepard to preserve the base as a weapon against the Reapers if part of Shepard's squad on the final mission. On the other hand, if the base is destroyed, the entire party approves, even Cerberus loyalist Miranda. You will also hear your fellow crew members congratulating you on the mission, and Kelly, Dr. Chakwas, Joker, and Mess Sergeant Gardner all have something to say if you speak to them. Finally, the locks that blocked EDI's information databanks have been removed, and she will answer questions fully instead of telling you that information is restricted. It is possible to receive this information after the attack on the Normandy, but before launching the Suicide Mission.
You can also import your character into Mass Effect 3, assuming that Shepard survived. Shepard's experience level will carry over and many decisions, both major and minor, will carry over and may affect future events.
- See also: Save File Transfer
|Mass Effect 2 Guides|
|Completion||Walkthrough • Morality • Upgrades • Planet Scanning|
|Classes||Adept • Engineer • Infiltrator • Sentinel • Soldier • Vanguard|
|Other|| Squad Members • PC Tweaks • No One Left Behind • Data Hound • Merchants |
Research Guide • Interrupts