Sniper rifles are arguably both the strongest and hardest weapons to use. Using them requires a bit more skill and strategy than other weapons, but it may be the most rewarding. The Sniper Rifle talent is inherent only to Soldiers and Infiltrators, but can be added as a bonus talent giving any class a potent long-range punch.
General Tips Edit
Most rifles are designed only to fire one shot at a time, or two in quick succession before needing to cool, with ratings typically between 1.1 and 1.5 shots before overheating. However, this can be taken advantage of by using High Explosive Rounds. The major drawback with this ammo type is the +500% heat generation, but given that sniper rifles almost invariably need to cool after every shot, this drawback is of little consequence. Otherwise, use Combat Optics to increase accuracy, if you plan to use the sniper rifle at all ranges, or use a Heat Sink.
Another method of dealing with overheating is to add Frictionless Materials upgrades. When players use Frictionless Materials of higher levels, such as VIII-X, overheating is no longer a factor. Players who add two level X Frictionless Materials upgrades have the ability to use level X Sledgehammer Rounds without having to worry about overheating.
Although the heat emission is much higher than for other weapons, the damage for each shot can easily make up for it in the right hands. Most of the time, a single shot can eliminate a typical threat, but tougher enemies such as krogan, Geth Primes / Geth Armatures, or turrets will likely take more shots depending on the difficulty setting.
Sniper Rifles are excellent in situations where the target(s) are further away than other weapons can accurately hit their marks. Most missions involving the Mako, for example, will often give you plenty of distance from the enemies so that their shots will rarely hit you at all, and give you time to leisurely dodge projectile attacks like rockets and Geth Armatures' Siege Pulse attacks.
Sniper Rifles have a unique weakness, in that when zoomed in, the crosshairs sway in an unpredictable, but generally circular pattern. This swaying is reduced with every point spent into the Sniper Rifle talent, by staying crouched, by staying still, and by using cover. It can also be temporarily nullified with the Assassination ability.
Assassination is a very useful ability for someone who regularly uses the weapon, and both Soldiers and Infiltrators can choose to augment the talent's recharge time by choosing Commando specialization. Activating the ability increases the weapon's damage substantially (up to +225%) as well as eliminates the weapon's swaying for twenty seconds, or until the shot is fired. At lower levels, this ability is primarily used to keep the sight still for exceedingly long range shots, but as more points are put into the Sniper Rifle talent, the drift is gradually reduced; this is also the case when Assassination is activated for its damage bonus, able to kill, or at least deal heavy damage to, nearly all infantry.
Close Quarters Combat Edit
Avoid, at all costs. If a target is too close, or charging you, it is advisable to switch to another weapon for better results. If, for whatever reason, other weapons are unavailable, or if you want to save time by not switching weapons, a quick melee attack will typically floor an enemy long enough to get a comfortable distance between you. It should also be noted, however, that when crouched and with full in sniper rifle/spectre training skill, the reticule becomes only a little larger than an untrained shotgun, allowing you to aim well at close range without using the scope. Also, when at this skill level, and when crouched, you do not need time to align the scope. This can be used to get a quick accurate shot- if you are aiming at someone unscoped, do a quick zoom-in and take the shot. If assassination is on, there is no drift when zoomed in, and unscoped shots gain amazing accuracy. If fully trained in accuracy, the unscoped reticule simply turns into a small dot.
Mid-Range Combat Edit
Oftentimes, the area you're in is not suitable for genuine sniping, but there is a simple way to make the sniper rifle shine: while maintaining a crouch, target an enemy, but don't zoom in. When the reticule turns red, take the shot, and you can usually nail middle-range threats. This is specially useful with tactical pause aiming after each shot.
Long Range Combat Edit
This is where sniper rifles truly shine. With few points spent into the skill, when zoomed in, the rifle drifts in unpredictable ways, but as more points are spent, the drift is reduced until the rifle only moves if you do, or if you're under fire. The immense damage and high heat generation generally inclines a sniper to find cover, peeking around / over an obstruction only long enough to take the shot. On lower difficulty settings, or against weaker targets, it may only take a single shot to neutralize a target.
|Mass Effect Guides|
|Completion||Walkthrough • Morality • Experience • Systems • Mako • Codex|
|Achievements|| Completionist • Rich Achievement • Party Member Achievements |
Scholar Achievement • Weapon and Ability Achievements
|Classes||Adept • Engineer • Infiltrator • Sentinel • Soldier • Vanguard|
|Weapons||Assault Rifles • Pistols • Shotguns • Sniper Rifles|
|Other||PC Tweaks • Merchants|