Mission 1: Prologue
The Action begins when a strange looking ship shows up and starts pounding the Normandy with particle beams and it takes major damage, As you gain control of Shepard for the first time a crew member (Liara in the PS3 version) will reach you and and inform you that Joker, the ship's pilot will not leave the bridge, your objective is to navigate your way through the burning ship and convince him to leave.
To get through to the upper deck where Joker is stay to the left or right of the ship and keep going straight until you reach the stairs, head up them to get to the destroyed command deck, now you must complete a short walk in zero gravity through the deck to get to the cockpit, you'll know you've reached your goal when you see a small walkway with seats floating around and an energy shield just beyond them, walk through it and talk to Joker to make him leave before it's too late, any conversation option polite or aggressive will get him to go for the escape pod, as you try to enter it an explosion will separate you and Shepard gets blown out into space with a damaged spacesuit and crashes on the planet below.
Mission 2: Awakening
When the opening credits have played you get the opportunity to shape your character, class and attributes, once you're finished with that, your new Commander Shepard will be rudely awakened by Miranda via intercom, she will give you your first objectives and introduce herself.
Your first action should be to go grab a pistol from the locker (though it doesn't yet have ammo) and when prompted you should take cover behind the wall before you get hurt from an explosion that's about to occur, and then make your way forward into the next room, here you'll encounter a hostile mech, get cover behind the nearby crates and quickly blast it, once you're done continue through the next couple of rooms dispatching mechs as you go, it's a good idea to try for headshots as mechs explode when you kill them in that manner, this will damage the others and make them easier to pick off.
As you progress keep an eye out for items that can be investigated like wall safes and recording as it will introduce you to a core gameplay element: Hacking, there are two different hacking minigames but both involve matching symbols.
When you reach a certain point you will come across Jacob Taylor, your first recruitable squadmate who is under fire from some mechs, you can talk to him or immediately help him kill them (take note that the mechs will respawn endlessly until you kill them using Jacob's powers), this introduces you to the power wheel and biotic abilities, once done you can gather more info from him or continue on.
As you move forward you'll eventually encounter a man named Wilson who has been injured after a brief talk he'll go ask you to get the nearby medigel to fix his leg, do this and you'll engage in dialogue once more, when finished he will accompany you and Jacob on your way to the escape shuttle, the first thing you'll need to do is use Wilson's overload power on the explosive crate blowing up the nearby hapless mechs, as you make your escape you'll encounter a few more mechs, take advantage of Wilson's overload to get the fights finished quickly and don't forget to hack the datapad for credits before you reach shuttlebay doors, once there a cutscene plays where Wilson is promptly shot in the face by Miranda who tells Shepard that Wilson was the one who unleashed the mechs, you all then board a shuttle to meet the Illusive man.
Mission 3: Freedom's Progress
After dialog with the Illusive man has ended you'll be sent off to investigate the colony of Freedom's Progress and try to find out why all of it's inhabitants have disappeared overnight.
First, make your way into the large hangar where you'll encounter regular mechs and some FENRIS mechs (essentially robot guard dogs), finish them off quickly and continue on your way, making sure to check all the the colony buildings for loot, there is one building with a locked wall safe that hides a dormant mech, get too close and it will reactivate but it's hardly a threat.
After you've passed by the buildings you'll encounter Tali who you may remember from the original game, and a squad of Quarians, after a brief chat (much of it about how they hate cerberus) Tali will tell you about Veetor and that she needs help finding him, once you agree to help Tali will depart and take a different route.
Soon after you head out the first door, a group of flying Assault drones will ambush you, seek cover quickly or you'll take big damage from the opening barrage of rockets, taking advantage of Miranda's overload skill is a big help here, once you put down the drones and continue on Tali will inform you that her squadmates rushed ahead in an effort to find Veetor first, go to the large blast door and position yourself behind the nearby barricade, the game also instructs you to place your squad members on either side of the door, once that's done the door will be opened to reveal much of the Quarian team being slaughtered by a YMIR Heavy mech.
The mech will be equipped with a chain gun and rockets so you need to stay in cover at all times, equip yourself with the Grenade Launcher and keep firing until you strip away it's shields and armor, then switch to conventional weapons to finish it off, the overload ability is also invaluable here, once it falls head over to it and scan it for a heavy weapons upgrade and some iridium, before you move on it's also worth checking the structures on either side for extra stuff then make your way to Veetor, a cutscene rolls showing him babbling incoherently whilst watching display monitors depicting the kidnapping of the colony's citizens, you'll have a brief argument with Tali who shows up demanding that Veetor go with them, choose either dialogue option and finish the mission.
Before you can progress the story any further you'll need to recruit a team, the order in which you do so doesn't affect anything but it's generally a good idea to get Mordin Solus first to unlock the ability to upgrade yourself, your ship and eventually the squad, each member also has a loyalty mission to do, it's also a very good idea to do these as soon as you can, completion of these enables their 4th special power to be used and increases their odds of survival in the endgame though they are entirely optional.
1. MORDIN SOLUS
To get Mordin Solus you'll need to go to Omega, the first "hub world" you'll encounter, Once you're there, head through the corridor in to the central plaza and enter Afterlife directly in front of you, as you pass through the corridor you'll be greeted by a few rather hostile club patrons, either conversation option sends them packing and you're free to move into the main section of the club, head up the stairs and speak to Aria T'loak, the Asari who runs Omega to gather info on Solus' whereabouts, after she tells you that he is located in the slums you can press her for info on various topics including another potential squad member (More on that later), when done head out the way you came back into the central plaza and to the market section on your right, look for the Turian guard talking to a woman and get him to let you in.
Depending on how you treat the guard there may be a group of mercenaries waiting to fight you when you enter the slums, even if you don't have to there are plenty more to deal with later so be ready, as you move deeper into the slums, you might stumble upon a dying but rude Batarian, you can either help him costing 1 dose of medigel or let him die allowing you to get 2000 credits, after dealing with this you'll encounter some Blue Suns mercs battling some Blood Pack mercs, it's worth dealing with the latter first though as they regenerate health when left alone for a bit, then pick off the Blue Suns goons and keep moving, on your way to the clinic where Mordin is you'll find several locked doors with goodies and random encounters beyond them, hack them and move forward to the clinic.
In the clinic you'll find Mordin Solus and some other goodies so take a moment to look around and pick everything up, then go back and talk to him, before he will join you, you will be asked to help distribute the cure for the plague that has swept through the slums via the ventilation system which Blood Pack mercs have shut off, you will also receive a pistol which helps greatly against foes that lie ahead, additionally he'll ask you to find his assistant Daniel on the way.
Daniel can be found in a room to the left after you depart from the clinic being threatened by some Batarians, either peacefully or aggressively deal with them then head to the ventilation area, on the way some vorcha and krogans will engage you providing an ideal opportunity to use your new toy, when you reach the ventilation area more Blood Pack mercs await, some are wielding flamethrowers too so take them out before they can overwhelm you, insert the cure into the console and fight your way to each fan control room on either side of the console, once done you will be returned to the clinic and Mordin Solus will come with you.
When you are notified that Mordin wants to speak to you by Kelly, go to the tech lab and hear him out, he wants to go to the Krogan homeworld to rescue one of his "kidnapped" old comrades who is supposedly being forced to conduct research on a Krogan genetic disease, once you reach the homeworld Tuchanka, find the Scout Chief and talk to him about getting transport to the area where Mordin's colleague is, fight your way past the blood pack mercs and Krogan, using heavy pistols and missiles to end them quickly, upon reaching the target you'll find out he was riddled with guilt and conducted the research willingly, during the latter half of the ensuing conversation a paragon option will appear, taking this will stop Mordin from shooting his pal and not taking it earns his pal a bullet, regardless of which option you choose the fate of the corrupt research is left to you, after this mission finishes you secure Mordin's loyalty.
The first thing you need to do is head back to the Afterlife club on Omega, and speak to Aria T'loak again about Archangel, she will tell you to go a private room where the mercs are hiring freelancers to take him down, once you reach that room speak to the recruiter and explain you are after Archangel, he will tell you to go meet a Batarian merc called Salkie who is waiting at the small transport station near the entrance to Omega, on your way out of the private room a young man will enter also looking to join up as you pass him a paragon action will appear and you'll show him his weapon is faulty if you should take it ,before you proceed it's strongly recommended you prepare yourself with whatever upgrades you can afford as taking the transport is a one way trip until you can reach Archangel, once you're prepared accordingly take the transport to the merc encampment.
When you reach the encampment you'll find that all three merc groups are working together, there is a number of things to do here which will help you achieve your goal, firstly it's worth talking to the three merc leaders, Garm, Jaroth and Tarek as they will tell you a little about their operations so you'll know what to expect, secondly there is a gunship and a heavy mech which can be sabotaged, doing this will help greatly with the battles ahead.
To sabotage the heavy mech go to the small room on the left just ahead of the gunship and hack the console to make it attack the mercs instead, when you've done this return to the gunship and speak to Sergeant Cathka who is repairing it, a renegade action soon appears onscreen which should be taken, doing this will electrocute him leaving the gunship weakened, After the mercs have a talk the assault will begin.
Now your next move should be to run across the bridge as the freelancers are being killed, you can also take out some of them if you wish, once you're safely on the other side a small cutscene will roll where the last freelancer is shot and Archangel appears, he takes off his helmet to reveal he's actually none other than Garrus, a squadmate from the original game, your next objective is to fend off waves of attackers and defend Garrus, this includes the heavy mech you encountered earlier, if you sabotaged it then it'll proceed to massacre some of the mercs allowing you to easily pick off any survivors, once you've defeated a few waves the mercs will enter through a previously sealed passage with Jaroth, now you'll have the option to either leave a squad member behind to defend Garrus or leave him to fight on his own, it's a good idea to do the former as it'll allow Garrus to last longer, when you've decided on what to do your next objective is to seal off 3 doors which the mercs are coming through use your heavy pistol to take any resistance quickly as each door requires 10 seconds to fully shut, once all three are taken care of report back to Garrus to learn that the mercs are preparing their final attack.
As soon as the attack begins get in range of Garm the second merc leader and take cover, use heavy weapons to strip him of defenses and switch to the pistol or shotgun to finish him, after you kill him the assault stops and Garrus will suggest a quick exit, as you attempt to leave however the third and final merc leader Tarek will show up in the gunship and mow down Garrus, if you sabotaged it earlier the gunship's armor will be much more fragile making the fight easier, once the fight begins immediately take cover and pound it with an automatic weapon, preferrably with incendiary or AP ammo, mid fight Tarek will disappear and shortly show up with more mercs, ignore these if possible and go straight for the gunship first, once it's done for a cutscene will play showing you reviving Garrus, then you'll get back to the ship and Garrus is at your disposal.
Once you are aware of his need to talk to you, hear him out and head to the Citadel, once you arrive seek out a volus nearby who's pretending to be a person called "fade" and talk with him, you'll learn that "Fade" is actually a security officer present in the original Mass Effect, go to the Rapid transport found on most levels of the station and take it to the previously inaccessible factory district after you've prepared accordingly, nearly as soon as you land you'll have to deal with a large group of Blue Suns mercs and a heavy mech, kill the mercs quickly with incendiary ammo and any powers you might have then finish the heavy mech with heavy weapons making sure to stay in cover, climb up the cargo platforms by briefly taking cover and vaulting onto them to reach a small control room where Fade is, a cutscene will play showing Garrus punching fade for information, a paragon action will soon appear while this happens, taking it results in you stopping Garrus from taking things too far, regardless Fade will set up a meeting between you and Garrus's target Sidonis when you return from the factory district, go find him while Garrus gets ready to shoot and talk with him, here you have two options, either let him live which gives you paragon points and an explanation of why Garrus's former pal betrayed him or let garrus shoot netting you a lot of renegade points, either option secures Garrus's loyalty and you can continue recruitment.
First you'll need to head over to the planet Korlus in the Imir system, once there a shuttle will take you down to the surface and the mission will begin, as soon as you land go around the corner and deal with the Mercenaries, once they fall continue on and you'll come across a wounded merc, talk to him and force him to tell his superior a pack of lies either peacefully or aggressively, both get the job done.
When the merc bugs off carry on down the small walkway ahead and take cover when six mercs decide to ambush you, kill them with heavy weapons or incendiary ammo and climb the stairs where more enemies are waiting to have a pop at you, these have missile launchers meaning you'll have to be extra cautious and only fire on them when they pause to reload, when they're look out for the medkit on your way forward.
Not far ahead you'll encounter a krogan who you can talk with, kill the group of enemies and a cutscene will play showing the krogan giving you info on the warlord, he's also kind enough to move a large obstruction out of your way, move forward making sure to nick some credits off a dead merc, not far ahead a couple of mercs will run away from some tough krogan beserkers, take cover and dig in as there'll be a lot more coming.
Burn through as many beserkers as you can with automatic weapons and incendiary ammo taking care to keep your distance before they get too close, if they do, pop out and move away suppressing them with heavy weapons and repeat until they all die, the pull abilities are also useful once their armor is stripped, go upstairs and hack the door to reveal some goodies, an upgrade and a few mercs, kill them and continue not forgetting to swipe the loot, a little ahead four more mercs will be waiting on a walkway, chip away with automatic weapons and finish them off with biotics whilst moving forward being sure to take cover if overwhelmed
A cutscene will play showing the person you're after, the Warlord Dr. Okeer and you talking with him, he shows you his new creation, a tank bred Krogan and tells you a bit about it when suddenly a merc leader shows up and fills the area with toxic gas, rather than come with you, Okeer demands you go and sort it out while he protects his creation, after heading out you'll have to face the merc leader, it's better to focus your efforts on killing her rather than the additional enemies she lets out as a distraction, a few heavy mechs will also be present but stay away from them for the time being.
Dealing with the leader is simply a case of taking cover and aiming for headshots when there's an opening (two or three should suffice from a sniper weapon), finish off the krogans and merc grunts with a automatic weapon and you can then shift your attention to the heavy mechs, stay in cover at all times and keep chipping away at them with combinations of overload and and incendiary attacks only breaking cover when they get too close for comfort, when done with them shut off the gas and head back to see if Okeer's okay, upon arrival you'll see that he has succumbed to the gas, fortunately you can take the cloned Krogan he was working on and return to the ship to activate him.
After you're told that your new Krogan squadmate (called "Grunt") wants a talk with you, hear him out and head to Tuchanka, before you land however pay a visit to your armory to get weapons you're comfortable with and the tech lab to get any upgrades that might be available, once you're satisfied go ahead and start the mission.
Your first objective is to find Urdnot Wreav and ask about Grunt's rite of passage, he'll tell you to go and find the Shaman who is located upstairs, before you go you might want to check around for the merchant and some upgrades, upon reaching Shaman he'll explain that you'll need to take a series of brutal tests, this involves dealing with a few albeit difficult waves of attackers after activating an object known as the "Keystone", get ready and activate it, the first press releases a group of creatures called Varren, these will rush and try to bite you but can be easily dispatched by keeping your distance and shooting them with a pistol.
The second time you press a group of Klixen will appear, these are just as fast and much tougher, keep back and use incendiary attacks to burn through their health keeping in mind they will explode upon death and spew flames at close range.
The third and final press awakens a giant Thresher Maw, this battle is unique because you need only survive for a short period of time, for those who want to take it down for the trophy/bragging rights, here's what to do, equip incendiary ammo and hide behind the outer concrete pillars, the monster's attacks will smash through anything else and is very damaging, pop out of cover when it pauses to blast it with automatic weapon fire and move to a different pillar whenever it burrows and changes place continuing to pump rounds into it when exposed, as it's health gets down to a quarter or so break out the heavy weapons and finish it off sticking to the tactics mentioned earlier.
If you defeated the Thresher Maw then Gatatog Uvenk will show up with a group of guards and ask Grunt to join him, after a rude rejection from Grunt another fight will begin, deal with them as you would with any other Krogan and keep your distance staying in cover and chipping away at them with bursts of incendiary attacks, after the fight the mission is completed.
To recruit the convict known as "Jack" head to the prison ship "Purgatory" and dock, a cutscene will play showing you having a chat with the warden, he will tell you to go wait in the admin room while he supposedly arranges Jack's release, on the way you will see a prisoner getting beaten brutally and you can tell the guard to stop this for paragon points, when you arrive you'll discover that the shady warden has decided to imprison you instead, your first step should be to head out of the room and deal with some mercs equipped with mechs, take cover and kill the mechs with headshots, this will damage any nearby mercs making them easier to pick off, overload works well here.
Not long afterward you'll be ambushed by more mercs and some FENRIS mechs, kill the latter first and pick off the mercs from behind cover, once you've crushed them head down the hallway on the left hand side and to the next room where you need to use a console to open Jack's cell, a cutscene will play showing a very angry Jack who then starts to ruin everyone's day, once the cutscene ends a riot will break out and you'll have to deal with the prisoners too, while they are a weak distraction the mercs and heavy mechs should not be taken lightly, just melee the prisoners, pick off the mercs from cover using incendiary bullets and the mechs with overload and disruptor ammo, as you move into the next block more of the same awaits, deal with the enemies exactly as you did before and continue keeping an eye out for anything helpful.
You'll now have to face the shady warden, who is atop a crate surrounded by shield powered by nearby generators, immediately scramble to cover and take out the generators when he pauses to reload, once you've done that you can open fire on him, use heavy weapons to relieve him of his defenses and finish him with conventional weapons, also watch out for his goons who also have shields and focus on them when they present a greater threat then kill the rest when the warden dies.
After a small cutscene plays (there are paragon or renegade points here)
Jack will be recruited.
When you've talked with Jack head to Pragia (it's marked on the galaxy map), where an old cerberus base sits in the middle of dense foliage, for a loyalty mission this is one of the easiest, with nothing more than a few varren and mercs to kill, so you can sit back and soak in the story.
Proceed along the walkways and into the derelict facility picking up any goodies you see, listening to what Jack has to say and activating any computers you see, pepper the varren you encounter with automatic fire and the mercs with incendiary ammo from behind cover, you won't get lost because the path is pretty much linear, your next objective will be to plant a bomb in Jack's old room, make your way there dispatching the mercs with the same tactics you used earlier, pass through the courtyard and past the mirrored window listening to Jack, when you reach her room you'll encounter another survivor who wants to reactivate the facility, understandably peeved Jack will point a gun at him prompting a paragon option which calms her down, if you take it, the survivor says he's already dead and leaves you be, before you leave Jack wants to have one last look at her room so investigate all the points of interest and she'll tell you what happened, do this and you will leave securing Jack's loyalty.
NOTE: Jack's loyalty mission will cause a clash between her and Miranda if you have also secured her loyalty, the only way to resolve this is to either take sides (losing someone's loyalty) or with a high enough score take a renegade or paragon option (taking these will resolve things with both member's loyalty intact).
Jacob is present from the beginning and does not need to be recruited.
When you've received a notice to talk to Jacob, hear him out as he tells you about his father and travel to the planet 2175 Aeia (It's marked on the galaxy map), upon arrival land and start by moving up the small path, swiping spare parts as you go, a bit further on activate the damaged computer and beacon to gather information and play the logs, there is also a PDA to get credits from, after you're done move forward to find a woman hiding, approach her to learn more about the situation taking the subsequent paragon option that appears if you wish, doing this saves the woman from a pack of feral male crew members and will net you some points, they're fairly easy to deal with but can do surprising damage if you're out of cover too long, use biotics to kill them and proceed to the encampment that is strangely only populated by females, examine everything around the camp including a PDA and salvage, moving on you'll be greeted by some mechs, head for cover and headshot them if possible, when done go and see the doctor to receive a datapad which will reveal a condensed account of events, as you move towards your next objective a barricade will block your path, to remove it walk up to the nearby broken mech and hack it to explode making sure to move away from the blast radius.
As you continue on a large group of mechs will open fire, take cover and use a combination of overload and automatic weapons to pick them off one by one, melee attacking any that try to flank you, scan the pistol for an upgrade and keep moving until you are greeted by another wave of enemies consisting of some feral hunters, a regular mech and a heavy mech, the hunters should be your first priority because they'll pin you down as the mechs advance, head for cover and hit them automatic weapons or incinerate, when they're dealt with hit the regular mech with overload to kill it quickly and use heavy weapons to crush the heavy mech.
Once you've killed everything/one the door will unlock at the farthest end of the area you're in, go through and Jacob will then confront his long lost father, who will explain why he let things turn pear shaped, Jacob who is understandably peeved will now pull out his weapon, after you calm him down you'll have three options which decides the fate of his father, the first is to take him to the Alliance (Paragon), second is to just leave him stranded, and the third option is to give him a weapon to kill himself (Renegade).
Miranda is present from the start of the game and does not need to be recruited.
After you are informed that Miranda wants to speak to you, hear what she has to say about saving her sister and head for Illium and land, you'll find out that she is under threat from mercs already and you'll need to fight them, all of the mercs aren't much of a threat if you stay in cover and can be finished easily with incendiary ammo and headshots.
Once you've killed all in your way move on to meet a contact of Miranda's who is in charge of her sister's safety, soon the team will find out that he betrayed Miranda's trust after he discovered that Miranda actually kidnapped her sister in order to keep her safe, the contact will also reveal that only he knows the true location of Miranda's sister and their evil father has not yet been told, at this point Miranda will shoot the contact unless you take the Paragon action that soon follows, after the argument you'll be attacked by mercs one last time, take cover and kill them using the same tactics as before, a cutscene will play showing the sister is safe and waiting for transport in the background, Miranda makes it clear she wants to leave but should you take the Paragon action that appears you will encourage her to introduce herself and reveal all to her sister.
NOTE: As explained earlier, doing both Miranda's and Jack's loyalty missions will cause a clash between the two, unless your Paragon/Renegade score is high enough you will be forced to take sides, doing this will mean the one you sided against is no longer loyal, to get their lost loyalty you'll need an even higher score to make your peace.
Mission 4: Over the Horizon
When you have recruited four squad members (non dlc), you will be summoned to the briefing room to speak to the Illusive man, he will order you to go to the colony of Horizon, when you land a cutscene will play showing Ashley Williams interacting with some other colonists, a little bit later a massive ship will appear and proceed to ambush the place.
Move forward past the frozen people and you'll be greeted by the sinister collectors, who are abducting every human they can find, take cover and make heavy use of incendiary ammo and biotics like reave to kill them, when they are dead make doubly sure to pick up the Collector Particle Weapon and move to the garage, an understandably nervous mechanic will let you in, inside there is a weapon locker and some goodies that should be swiped before you head out the door opposite (you won't be allowed back in).
Your objective now is to activate an uplink and defend it from four difficult waves of enemies composed of regular collectors, the collector master "Harbinger" (Basically a stronger collector), Husks (Zombies that rush and lunge at you) and Scions (Tough, slow moving and fires burrowing projectiles.
Kill the Collectors and "Harbinger" like you did before with biotics and incendiary ammo from behind cover, Husks will run towards you lunging and swiping at you making cover pretty much useless, to best them you need to spray them with automatic weapons whilst constantly falling back, the Scions only have one attack but it's powerful and will almost certainly hit you unless you are behind cover, incendiary ammo is a must or they will be a pain to kill, at the climax of the battle, a boss creature called a Praetorian will appear and slowly advance to your position attempting to flank you, it will also attack with a powerful beam that does big damage almost instantly so stay hidden and only break cover if flanked, if you wound it enough the Praetorian will slam the ground releasing a damaging shockwave as well erecting a shield when it gets back up, take note that you won't be able to hit it for a few seconds, once you get a chance unleash your newly found collector weapon, keep firing until it fires it's laser using the same strategy until it falls.
After the fight, a cutscene will play where you'll meet Ashley Williams from the original game and she'll show her distrust for the people you now work for, depending on which conversation options you choose a small amount of Paragon or Renegade points can be earned.
NOTE: After mission 4 you'll receive information on three more possible recruits, the Assassin, the Quarian and the Justicar, focusing on recruiting them first is a wise course of action, it's also worth doing their loyalty missions as soon as they are available.
Head to Illium and speak to Liara T'Soni for information on Thane, (It's also worth gathering info about the Justicar as she is also located here)
Liara will direct you to one of her associates located in the transport area, talk to her and she'll take you to the area where Thane is trying to assassinate someone.
When you get there, a few regular and FENRIS mechs will be waiting for you, however they will only attack if you break the pane of glass in front of them giving you one last opportunity to prepare, when ready break the glass and head for cover, use overload and automatic weapons to kill the FENRIS mechs before they rush you, and just kill the regular ones with headshots, move forward and enter the building making sure to swipe the goodies on the left, head down the passage to the right and you'll encounter an injured alien, help him for some Paragon points or leave him to die for Renegade points, move down the hallway and through the door taking cover as soon as you do, you'll have to face a large varied group of mercenaries and mechs that attack you in waves.
When the area's clear move towards the elevator and take a quick look around, you should notice a locked room containing some aliens (interact with them for some Paragon/Renegade points and a few goodies) and the Viper Sniper Rifle with some other goodies off to the left, when you're finished picking things up go to the elevator near where you entered and take cover after interacting with it, when it opens a Krogan and two engineers will attack you, focus on the engineers first so you won't have to deal with their annoying drones and then hit the Krogan with headshots (who'll be pretty close to flanking you by now).
Take the lift up and you'll encounter a merc chatting to his by now pretty angry boss (Thane's target), engage in conversation and you'll eventually have to decide whether to push him out of the window or convince him to give up what he knows, these actions earn you some Renegade or Paragon points respectively, on the ground there will be a Datapad you can give to a certain individual back in the main part of Illium (more on that later), move forward through the door and get behind cover to engage the mercs and mechs going through the left hand door when you're done, this room contains more aliens (one of whom can be struck for Renegade points), activate the comms terminal then head up the ramp to the roof, kill the mercs and continue moving being sure to get any goodies you spot and to use the weapons locker to change your weapons if needed, move along the walkway ahead and you'll find yourself at the other side of the towers, head down the next walkway and get behind cover, the enemies you have to fight can all be dealt with quickly using headshots or incendiary ammo, you'll also encounter some distant missile launcher wielding enemies as you press forward which you can take out with your shiny new sniper rifle (if you're the right class), there is also a shotgun wielding merc not far away who can kill you quickly unless you get to cover, shred her with automatic weapons and press on to the final door.
A cutscene will now play showing a nervous Asari making her last stand against Thane who will jump down from a vent and effortlessly dispatch her and the guards, after a quick chat with Thane he'll join your cause.
As soon as you're notified that Thane wants to talk head over to him and hear him out, he will ask you to travel to the Citadel and find his son who has started to follow in his Father's rather shady footsteps.
Make sure Thane is with you before you arrive and talk to Captain Bailey in the C-SEC office about Thane's son, he'll inform you that he was seen talking to a man named "Mouse", go to the Dark Star club and you'll see him outside the entrance, talk to him and find out that Thane's son is attempting to kill an anti human politician, once you've finished talking report back to Bailey who will bring in a crminal for you to interrogate, choose whether to be good cop or bad cop then enter the interrogation room (note things will run smoother if you choose which moral path you have the highest score with, Paragon being good and Renegade bad).
Once you've finished being Starsky & Hutch with Thane you'll find yourself on some maintenance walkways just above the politician, use the walkways to follow the route the politician takes and update Thane when you're prompted, if you don't do this in time the mission will fail and Thane will not be loyal so be sure to pay extra to what's going on, roughly halfway along the route a man will suddenly appear and demand to know who you are, you can either knock him out to get Renegade points or lie to him for Paragon points, after you do this, you will find the Politician is cornered in his apartment by Thane's son, either use the Paragon option to have Thane talk to his son or the Renegade option to execute the politician yourself (either option's good), now the mission is done and Thane is loyal.
Samara is also located on Illium like the Assassin so chances are you'll still be there, if not then head to Illium and talk to Liara T'Soni about her, you will again be directed to the transport area to talk to another Asari (the one sitting at the corner desk), she will then tell you to catch a cab and go to crime scene, talk the cop to gain access and spray the waiting mercs with automatic fire, once done a cutscene will play revealing the Justicar you want to recruit ruining the day of some hapless mercs, she will then ask what you want and tell you she is waiting for a suspicious ship when a cop shows up to take her into custody.
Before she will join you she asks that you find out the name of the ship so go and find a small alien called Pitne For, while hesitant to give anything up at first you can either persuade him (Paragon) or threaten him with a pistol (Renegade) either will get you the info, open the door which has just unlocked and there will be several groups of mercs waiting for you, take cover and crush them with automatic fire and biotics once their defences have been stripped.
Along the way there is a locked door on the right, if you go inside you'll catch a merc off guard and she'll plead with you to spare her and say she's a low level grunt, if the Renegade option that appears soon after is taken she will reveal her true colors and get put down by you, in this room there is an upgrade and heavy ammo to pick up, continuing on you'll find more mercs to dispatch and eventually a gunship, take out the mercs with automatic weapons and biotics first so you can devote your attention to the gunship, the area doesn't have much in the way of cover with only a few fragile crates scattered about and the ship regularly strafes from point to point so time is of the essence, warp and incendiary ammo prove invaluable here and heavy weapons will do just fine if you have ammo for them, a few FENRIS mechs will also attempt to flush you out of cover.
Moving on another alien will stumble across your team and demonstrate his pathetic powers (made even worse due to the fact he's off his face on drugs), he also reveals his goal to kill the merc leader who is in the next room, you can either stop him for Paragon points or allow him to try for renegade points.
As soon as you enter the next room you will be attacked by the merc leader, take cover and strive to kill her as fast as you can because as well as being a good shot and having powerful attacks she will also chuck toxic gas barrels at you which obstructs vision, forces you to break cover and move somewhere safer, use an accurate powerful weapon such as the heavy pistol or sniper rifle and chip away at her, once her defences are stripped use whatever biotics you like to finish her and take the nearby datapad.
Retrun to Cop and turn it in (you can also dob Pitne For in to the cops for extra reward) and speak with Samara she will swear an oath to you and be at your service.
To recruit Tali you'll need to go to the planet Haestrom, before you start moving bear in mind that open sunlight will damage you because of radiation making combat much more difficult.
Your first goal should be to head to the bunker, use the consoles to open the gates and continue into the next area avoiding any sunlight as you go, eventually a Geth ship will drop off some enemies to fight, kill them quickly from behind cover with combinations of overload and disruptor ammo or automatic fire, once they're defeated don't go for the sun showered bridge and use the shade to reach a nearby set of stairs where there is an upgrade to swipe as you move on, soon you'll reach a series of corridors littered with some upgrades, go through them and use the comms terminal to speak to Captain Kal'Reegar who will now provide you with info and updates, as you move on you'll see a group of quarians being slaughtered by a Geth ship which also destroys a pillar, obstructing your way forward.
You'll now need to find two demolition charges which are in the nearby bunkers, as you search 4 or 5 groups of Geth, take cover a safe distance away and pepper them with disruptor ammo or automatic weapons, the rocket troopers and cloaked Geth should be taken out quickly with heavy weapons before they flush you out of cover allowing the others to pick you off from afar, dealing with the regular Geth is as simple as putting a few heavy pistol rounds into them, when you're finished fighting place the charges on the pillar and back off before they explode, go into the now unblocked room, swipe any goodies you see and use the comms terminal to get Tali to open the way forward, as you continue you'll be set upon by a few Geth drones, they're tiny and have cloaking ability but weak, hitting them with overload will get rid of them quickly, a Geth prime will also be waiting, stay in cover at all times and pound it with heavy weapons and overload before it gets too close and move to open the shutters which will reveal the next area, a cutscene will show you taking cover next to captain you spoke to earlier and he will offer to distract your foes, taking the Paragon option that appears will stop him from doing so.
A Geth colossus will now arrive alongside a large group of regular, rocket and cloaked Geth which serve as a distraction, advance towards the colossus from the right hand side taking out any Geth in your way and ignore the others unless they become a threat.
When you reach the top right corner hide behind the pillar and start firing at the Colossus with disruptor ammo or heavy weapons (if you have ammo for them, if not regular weapons will suffice), as you damage it the Colossus will retreat into itself and bring it's shields back up for a short time, use it to fend off any advancing Geth and get back to killing the boss when it's finished repairing, keep following this strategy and it'll fall in no time.
Tali will now open the door and tell you about her mission, when the conversation is finished Tali will be recruited.
Not long after you recruit Tali her loyalty mission will be available, go talk to her when you find out she needs your help and hear her out, she will tell you she's been accused of treason and will be appearing before court.
Head to the Migrant Fleet (marked under "help Tali on the Galaxy map)
and dock, proceed through to the main area and the court will begin the trial, after a lot of arguing you will be allowed to clear Tali's name by searching her father's ship for evidence, now you'll need to head back to the entrance to be transported to the ship, talking to the Admirals for Paragon/Renegade points on your way.
The path through the Alarei is pretty linear, you'll face Geth of all kinds here but Disruptor ammo and Overload will make short work of all of them, the ship is also littered with various upgrades and goodies as well as personal logs which can be played to flesh out the story further, when you come to the end of the section you'll find the corpse of Tali's father, a cutscene will play where Tali scans his Omnitool, it reveals a personal message and the evidence you need, however Tali will ask you to not submit it to the court saying it will dirty her father's name, once you're finished talking you'll be transported back to the court.
Now you'll have two options, either submit the evidence to clear Tali which will not make her loyal or hide it to gain her loyalty which also exiles her, there are an additional number of options you can choose if certain conditions are met, if you talked to all the admirals earlier you can accuse them of corruption, or should Veetor and Captain Kal' Reegar be still alive they will stand up for Tali, taking any of these other options will prove her innocent also while still making her loyal.
At the end of the trial you can also advise the Quarians on dealing with the Geth, tell them to leave the Geth alone for Paragon points, tell them to settle another planet, or for Renegade points wish them well in their war with the Geth.
Mission 5: The Collector Ship
After you have two of the three recruits on your team, the Illusive man wants you to board a mysteriously dormant Collector ship which was supposedly crippled by a Turian patrol vessel.
Once you board the ship start to follow the path and you'll encounter a number of dead people in a pile, this will prompt a conversation about why the Collectors kidnap human beings, a little further ahead you'll see a dead collector, EDI will scan it and reveal it to be an altered member of a long forgotten race called the Protheans, made into the monsters they are after the Reapers decimated them, there is also a selection of special weapons next to it, pick one that suits you and move on.
Joker will try to find out more of the Collector ship when he realizes that the whole situation is a trap (who knew?), go to the console and activate it to give yourself some time to escape before the Colector ship awakens, after you do, prepare for multiple groups of Collectors and watch out for Harbinger when you off a couple of foes, remain in cover at all times and crush them with incendiary ammo and biotics, once they're all dead activate the console again and make your way to the waiting shuttle, on your way you'll face a variety of nasties including Collectors, Harbingers, Husks, Scions and the deadly Praetorian.
Mow the husks down with automatic weapons before they can flank and overwhelm you, taking cover when you encounter any other enemies, kill the drones and Harbinger in the same way as before and the Scions with incendiary attacks, when the Praetorian engages you head straight for cover and unleash your heavy weapons on it, moving away when it decides to slam the ground, if it fires it's laser hide until it stop and resume firing, when it falls you will be able to reach the shuttle without any more problems.
Mission 6: Acquire the Reaper IFF
Before you head to the derelict Reaper recruit any available squadmates, deal with their loyalty missions and get every upgrade you can lay your hands on, as later on you'll need all the help you can get.
Once you're confident that you've prepared thoroughly enough head over to the Reaper and dock, follow the path playing any logs and swiping any goodies you see, along the way you'll encounter massive swarms of Husks, Abominations (don't let the latter near you they'll explode once in range) and some Scions, mow down the Husks and Abominations with automatic weapons and incendiary attacks or they will quickly overwhelm and kill you, the Scions will appear at the end of the path alongside yet more Husks so your best option is to pick them off from afar with heavy weapons briefly taking cover if they attack and then popping back out to kill any approaching Husks, move on after dealing with them and fight your way to the Reaper's Mass Effect drive, the route is populated by more Husks and Abominations (they just don't quit do they?) deal with them like before and keep pressing forward until you reach your goal.
A cutscene will now play showing a Geth soldier wiping out a few enemies and then getting hit, your objective is now to destroy the Mass Effect drive while fighting endless waves of Husks (surprise!) in a small room, kill the Husks by constantly retreating and showering them with incendiary ammo, meleeing any that get too close and throw everything you've got at the drive when things are quiet, after a few seconds the core will shield itself and more enemies will pop out, repeat these tactics and you'll eventually destroy the drive, the place will now start to explode and a cutscene will play showing you and your team legging it back to the ship taking the junked Geth with them.
Mission 7: Activating the Reaper IFF
After you successfully retrieve the Reaper IFF, Joker tells you that the majority of the Ships systems are devoted to activating it and you'll need to use the shuttle while you wait for it to be integrated this (time should be used to do Legion's loyalty mission).
While you are away, EDI will inform Joker that a hidden signal is being transmitted from the IFF, shortly afterward, the Collectors will begin ransacking the ship and abducting it's crew, playing as Joker you'll now need to merge EDI to the ship's systems and reactivate the engine core to get rid of the attacking Collectors.
First make your way to the Tech lab following the red flashing lights on the floor, being sure to avoid any nearby Collectors (you can't fight back), once in the Tech Lab look for a maintenance shaft, go down it and you'll appear in the AI core, use the console and EDI will ask you to reboot the engine core, head out of the room and follow the red flashing lights to the stairs, wait until EDI gives the all clear and go up the stairs to reach the core, use the console and the engine will be working.
After his ordeal, Joker now has the unenviable task of explaining what happened to the team (who have conveniently just arrived back).
Now control will shift back to your character and you'll need to make a decision on whether to head straight for the Omega 4 relay or do more missions to prepare (if you take the latter option, roughly a third of the ship's crew will die with every additional mission you take on), also before you head there make sure you have all ship upgrades possible, if you fail to do this then team members will start dying once the final mission is started.
Mission 8: Suicide Mission
After you pass through the Omega 4 relay, the Collectors will attack and your team's lives will depend on how well you upgraded the ship.
Heavy Armor: If the ship doesn't have heavy Armor then Jack will die
Multicore Shields: Not installing these will kill either Legion, Garrus, Grunt, Tali or Thane.
Thanix Cannon: If you didn't get this upgrade then either Jack, Samara, Grunt, Garrus or Thane will die.
As the Collectors attack, some probes will join the fight, one will burst through the Cargo hold which you need to fight, the hold is unsurpisingly a pretty open area but there are plenty of crates to hide behind, when the fight begins get as far back from the attacking Probe as you can and take cover, get out an automatic weapon preferably with disruptor ammo and fire at it in short bursts to maintain accuracy, if it gets too close for comfort dash away from it and take cover again.
When you've taken off a significant portion of it's health a short cutscene will play and the fight will resume, if you want to finish it quickly then use the collector beam or missile launcher while still in cover, if you have no heavy ammo left then stick to the automatic weapon/disruptor ammo strategy and it'll be beaten in no time.
Now the main part of the Suicide mission will begin which is split into three parts, at the beginning of each you'll have to choose squadmates to do certain things, if they aren't a good choice for the task or they aren't loyal then it's likely they'll die.
To kick off the first section you'll need to pick a technician to open a secure door and let the rest of your team through, Tali, Legion or Kasumi (DLC) is an excellent choice, if they aren't loyal or you pick someone else then they will die, you'll also need to pick the leader of a second fire team, Miranda, Jacob or Garrus will do here provided they are loyal picking anyone else will get them killed.
As for your own team pick people who have access to Warp and Incinerate because most of the enemies you'll be fighting have biotic barriers and armor, once you've assigned everyone a job you'll have to fight through groups of Collectors and use eight vent terminals which can be identified by their green hexagonal screens, failure to activate them will cook your technician alive so you'll need to deal with foes quickly.
When each group engages you, use warp to get rid of barriers and incinerate to eat through armor using conventional weapons to finish weakened foes off, whenever Harbinger possesses a dead Collector focus on him first and then finish off the others, this strategy should leave you with well enough time to activate each console, when the last one is activated, the technician will open the secure door and let you through.
The second section is blocked by a massive swarm of bugs, so you're instructed to choose a biotic capable of holding a barrier to keep the bugs at bay, Samara or Jack are perfect choices if they are loyal, if someone else is picked or the biotic isn't loyal then someone will be dragged off by the bugs, you'll also need to pick a second fire team leader, again Miranda, Garrus or Jacob all fit the bill provided they're loyal, also an escort will need to be chosen to get any survivors to the ship, Mordin is an ideal choice here, your own team should consist of Legion and Tali.
The barrier holder will now begin to move through the swarm of bugs, stay inside the barrier at all times or you'll be killed, as you move forward several groups of Collectors will attack you and the Barrier holder will hide, get behind cover and use Warp to destroy enemy barriers along with incinerate to eat through armor switching to conventional weapons to finish enemies off, near the end the barrier holder will get tired and start to run, make sure you keep up and fend off any foes with incinerate or incendiary ammo.
Now the third and final part of the mission will begin, Jack and Tali will provide a balanced blend of biotic and tech powers for the fight ahead, the action starts with you taking a floating platform to your objective, as it ascends a number of other platforms filled with every kind of Collector will connect and you'll need to fend them off.
Take cover on the middle platform and use incinerate and automatic weapons against the Husks, Abominations and Scions before they overwhelm you and combat Drone to hound and flank the rest, this will allow you to whittle their health away while powers recharge, after you've killed around five or six groups your platform will reach the final battle with a Human Reaper hybrid (which is inactive for now).
In the first part of the battle, you need to destroy the hybrid's feeding tubes located above it, an endless wave of Collectors will engage you until they are all destroyed but ignore them and focus on the tubes, each time you destroy one the others will deploy a shield for a short time, remain in cover until the shields are down and keep firing at them until they are all destroyed.
A cutscene will now play showing you speaking to the Illusive man, he will ask you to keep the base intact for him and you'll now have to decide what to do, either keep it intact as the Illusive man asked (Renegade) or you can destroy it (Paragon).
Now the supposedly dead hybrid will appear very suddenly and you'll be forced to fight it, it's absolutely vital that you stay behind cover at all times, the hybrid has a devastating laser attack which will also stop health regeneration for roughly 20 seconds, also it can only be hurt by hitting the weak points in it's eyes which are hard to target.
You'll begin the battle behind a solid piece of cover on the central platform, it's a good idea to stay here as the hybrid destroys the other connecting ones during the fight, pepper the weak points with automatic fire and heavy weapons ordering Tali and Legion to send Combat Drones after any Collectors that become a nuisance, when the hybrid dips out of sight use the time to reload and you'll be able to do more damage when it pops back up, following these tactics the boss should fall in around five minutes.
Now the epilogue will play and the ending will differ depending on how well you prepared, if your character makes it back alive then you'll have two options either continue with your current game doing side missions and exploring or start a new game with your level and stats intact.