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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mass Effect's Insanity Mode

I've a had some fun getting back into Mass Effect over the past few days. I'm 85 hours into the game and getting close to grabbing 100% completion. It's been a long journey spanning a couple years but the end is finally in sight.

I was a little worried when starting my Insanity playthrough. Would the game be too difficult? Would I have to abandon my quest for 100% completion? I'm happy to say that Insanity mode is not that bad and I look forward to completing Mass Effect within the week.

I've identified a few differences between Hardcore mode and Insanity mode. The most obvious change is that most organic enemies have access to an immunity ability. Once an enemy has actived its immunity skill, I'm forced to juggle that particular opponent using biotic abilities until the immunity wears off. It's a pretty overpowered skill (much like Singularity and Lift) that makes Insanity mode more of a grind than a challenge.

Another major difference is that it can take a long time to kill off enemies. It's not uncommon for me to fire away with my pistol for well over a minute to kill off an enemy opponent. A room filled with mercernaries can take upwards of 5 minutes to clear thanks to increased enemy health and shields. Throw in that damned immunity and things can get a little tedious at times.

Finally, I've found that one shot from a sniper rifle is enough to stop Shepard in his tracks. Every battlefield must be quickly surveyed for incoming rockets or sniper fire. It can be pretty sick to come up against a flock of rocket assault drones: those little guys will take out my entire party in less than 3 seconds if I'm not careful.

Other than longer battles and devastating enemy attacks, Insanity mode is beatable using a lot of biotics and some well-timed Sabotage attacks. It'll be incredibly satisfying to put Saren down one last time at the end of this playthrough. I don't think I've ever worked so hard to get 100% completion. Hopefully Mass Effect 2 will prove a little easier.