Taking the hands on approach to the Reaper threat.

With the addition of the Aegis Pack melee has become more viable as an alternative to firearms in the game. A melee combat style allows one to break-up the monotony of firefights with brutal melee beatdowns. Coupled with a shotgun this tactic can prove very powerful, producing an immense amount of damage in a short amount of time.

Furthermore it was announced in a GameInformer article that melee would play a significantly larger role in Mass Effect 3. A player that familiarizes themselves with melee tactics for Mass Effect 2 may have a gentler learning curve than those who are surprised by the sudden inclusion of melee as a possible combat necessity (despite their best efforts) in Mass Effect 3.

General information

  • Consistent damage, as melee attacks deal the same damage against armor, barriers and shields as they do health.
  • A brief stun effect against enemies showing only a health bar.
  • They require no ammunition and have a quick attack speed.
  • Situational usage, unless forcing close-up encounters.
  • Relies on extremely efficient use of powers unless playing on the lower difficulties.

Most Effective Brawlers

These are the most effective classes for melee versions of Shepard. In terms of pure melee damage output the soldier is at the top of the class list. However this doesn't mean that in conjunction with other abilities or those of squadmates some players may not find the other classes to be more effective.

  • Soldier
    • Example: Hardened Adrenaline Rush, Heavy Bone Weave, Heavy Muscle Weave, Heavy Skin Weave, Shock Trooper, N7 Breather Helmet, Kestrel Torso Sheath, Strength Boost Pads, Kestrel Arm Sheathing, Life Support Webbing, Reave, Biotic Upgrades, Shield Upgrades and Shotgun Upgrades. In total this equals -50% melee health damage taken, -50% health damage in general (when adrenaline rush is active), +105% health bonus (temporary bonuses from Reave also apply to overall health and health regeneration), +50% time dilation, +170% melee damage bonus (when adrenaline rush is active, permanent +70% all other times), +58% shotgun damage (+158% using adrenaline rush) , +50% shotgun shield damage (before any weapon bonuses themselves or disruptor bonuses), +40% storm speed, +56% shield strength, -20% damage taken to shields, +35% biotic power duration (area reave lasts 5.4 seconds, heavy reave for 7.4), +15% power duration (adrenaline rush lasts for 5.75 seconds, disruptor ammo synthetic stun for 3.4, overheating lasts 6.9, cryo freeze for 5.7 or 8), -20% from reave recharge time (4.8 seconds), +50% biotic damage (60 damage every second for 5.4 or 7.4 seconds on reave) and a chance to fully restore shields when lost.

Close-Quarters Combat

There is an achievement for your typical melee and shotgun combination, increasing your melee damage will significantly increase the total damage generated by repeated blows or following 1-2 attacks up with a point blank shotgun blast. On lower difficulties (Casual, Normal, Veteran) excessive melee damage bonuses can actually cause this achievement to become harder to successfully attain as you will often kill the enemy in one to three quick punches (if they have been damaged or you accidentally throw more punches than you intended). Beyond these the melee attacks are self explanatory.

Tips For Closing On An Enemy

Storm speed is your friend, as are biotic powers such as Pull, Concussive Shot or others which can stun, knock down or bring Shepards enemies closer for melee attacks. Abilities such as combat drone, AI hacking, dominate, etc can be useful distractions for getting Shepard in position to start bashing away also. However the single most useful ability available in the basic version of the game is Overload Rank 3 (or higher), as it can cause enemy weapons to overheat (regardless of the enemies defenses), this allows you to get close or make a tactical withdrawl from melee.

Brawler Squad

Possibly the most complimentary squadmate for a brawler Shepard is the krogan Grunt, though it is ultimately up to the individual player. His krogan charge (replaces the normal melee attack) and durability are exceptionally useful if you get close to enemies, granted that he is kept near Shepard through use of squad commands such as regroup (down on the D-pad, or arrow keys by default). In order to maximize his potential as a distraction it is better to use Heavy Fortification, it doesn't last as long but that extra 25% armor strength can make the key difference in his survivability. The second member is entirely up to the player, but Garrus Vakarian is a good choice for the basic version of the game (due to filling a long range role and possession of the overload ability). Kasumi Goto is even better if you have the Kasumi - Stolen Memory content as she possesses overload and her flashbang grenades can cripple enemies even further while Shepard moves in for the melee kill. If you posses the downloadable content, then Grunt can very effectively be replaced to double up on weapon overheat abilities such as overload, since flashbangs are far more effective than Concussive Shot.

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