Be warned: Out of all of the missions in the first third of the game this is arguably the most challenging, especially at higher difficulties. Delaying this mission can greatly reduce its difficulty by gaining more levels, higher level squadmates, more available squadmates, better weapons, more upgrades and research, and greater capacities of heavy weapon ammo/medi-gel.
If you want to do this mission early for story or other reasons, it's advisable to at least obtain the Emergency Shielding research from the Normandy Tech Lab first. This requires three Medi-gel Capacity Upgrades to unlock but these can be obtained fairly easily. This upgrade enables medi-gel to restore Shepard and the squad to full health and shields, a tremendous asset to have on this and all future missions.
This is the only mission in the game in which you will have to fight all three major mercenary groups (Eclipse, Blue Suns and Blood Pack). You'll be facing all three types of defenses (shields, armor, and a few barriers), enemies that regenerate health, and mechs, so pick your squad members and powers accordingly.
Grunt deserves special mention as a standout squadmate as his Krogan Berserker passive makes him by far and away the most durable team member at this stage in the game, and that durability as well as his close combat prowess come in handy particularly during the notorious "close the shutters" portion of this mission. Grunt, Jacob, and Zaeed all have useful ammo powers that once maxed out can be upgraded to be shared with the entire squad. This can be especially valuable if Shepard is a class that doesn't have its own native ammo power. Incendiary Ammo is recommended due to the prevalance of armored and regenerating foes throughout the mission.
Note: Both Grunt and Zaeed unlock opportunities for unique dialogue options during this mission.
In terms of bonus powers for Shepard, Stasis, if available, is a great option as there are several enemies in this mission that are tougher than the average foot soldier. Many of these "boss" type opponents have armor protection on top of shields or barriers, but as Stasis will freeze and disable most enemies regardless of protection, it's excellent for handling these hard targets. Also worth mentioning is Energy Drain – you'll be facing a lot of shielded enemies, and since this mission takes place early in the game, your own shield is quite fragile. Energy Drain helps tackle both of these challenges, enabling you to continuously wear down enemy shields while shoring up your own.
Taking the right heavy weapon and having a good amount of ammo available can be important for this mission on higher difficulties. The best option overall is the M-622 Avalanche, with the Arc Projector being a passable alternative. Both weapons are good at damaging and disabling enemies in a large area but the Avalanche has properties that make it uniquely useful for this mission.
Upon arriving on Omega, Shepard will be instructed to speak to Aria T'Loak, the station's ruler. She tells Shepard about Archangel, stating that he is a dangerous individual who has been killing large numbers of Omega's plentiful criminals. Three mercenary groups, (Blue Suns, Eclipse, and Blood Pack) are preparing to kill him.
Aria directs Shepard to a small side room on the upper level of Afterlife Club to sign up for the merc mission. Upon entering the small room, if Shepard is female, the merc recruiter speaks in a rather condescending and presumptuous manner to her, allowing for a Renegade interrupt to set things straight. In any case, Shepard signs up as a freelancer and can thus travel deeper into the station by talking to a merc at the transportation station. Just as you leave the room, you have a chance to earn a few morality points through dialogue options and a Paragon interrupt involving a young man who plans to sign up.
Upon exiting Afterlife, a small alcove with vehicles can be found down the promenade off to the right. A Blue Suns batarian driver is standing guard. When asked, he will take the team to Archangel's base, beginning the official mission. Warning: This is the "no turning back" point, so if you had any other preparation to do on Omega, get it done first.
The new arrivals at the merc base of operations on Kima District are greeted by Salkie, who gives a preliminary overview of the situation. Afterward, Shepard has the opportunity to learn about the groups by talking to the local leaders. EDI tells the Commander that she can find no other way to Archangel than the one the mercs plan to take on their assault, and that the mercs are using YMIR Mechs, LOKI Mechs and a gunship to pin him down. EDI recommends sabotaging them before leaving.
As you make your way through the merc base, you will find several items of interest. In the first room, you'll find the Eclipse mercs and their leader Jaroth as well as a datapad that triggers Omega: Archangel: Datapad Recovered.Note: Sabotaging the heavy mech will cause it to turn on its masters after it is unleashed on Archangel. The room also contains a crate with 500 units of eezo and a hackable datapad worth 4000 credits.
The next door brings you to another junction. The Blood Pack's room is ahead of you and if Grunt is in the squad, there are a few interesting options with the Blood Pack Leader Garm, a Krogan Battlemaster.
The other door continues the path to Archangel, along with another hackable datapad. After you grab it, turn left and there's a locked door to your right. Bypass it to find a Submachine Gun Damage upgrade as well as 4000 credits, Heavy Weapon ammo, and some medi-gel.
The next door on the right has a hall which contains some medi-gel and leads to the Blue Suns' meeting room; the conversation here is the only one of the group that has any moral decisions - all of the others are purely for story color. If Zaeed is in the group, there is some alternate dialogue with the Blue Suns leader Tarak.
Once Shepard enters the area with the A-61 Mantis Gunship and talks to Sergeant Cathka the player is locked into going beyond the barriers. It is not possible to go back to the previous areas after this so make sure you have everything before talking to Cathka. While traveling through the area open to Archangel's fire you can be hit by a single sniper round that will knock out your shields but do no other damage.
Switching Sides EditRenegade interrupt will involve Shepard taking a welder and sticking it in Cathka, thus rendering him unable to fully repair the gunship.
Shepard vaults over the barricade and can finally turn on the other mercs, though note that Shepard must fire first before they turn on the squad. It's probably best to wait till they're crowded around a convenient explosive canister before blowing it up. Clear out the other freelancers and make your way up to Archangel's sniping location. Once the freelancers are out of the way, Archangel removes his helmet and reveals himself to be none other than Garrus Vakarian. Warning: Do not shoot at the turian (Garrus) up on the balcony, as you will actually damage the "Archangel Vital Signs" bar, making the mission harder to accomplish.
Warning: For the upcoming battle and for most of the rest of the mission, you will need to defend Garrus against the three merc bands as they each attack his hideout in turn. A meter labeled "Garrus Vital Signs" will appear on your screen that shows Garrus' current level of health, and the meter level drops as he takes damage from enemies. If the meter runs out, Garrus will die and you receive a Critical Mission Failure screen. At certain discrete points during the mission, Garrus will recover an amount of his missing health. The amount of health he recovers can vary, but the bottom line is, as long as you reach one of these "checkpoints" with Garrus still alive, his life bar should recover enough going into the next fight that keeping him alive will remain feasible, even at the highest difficulty settings. The "checkpoints" where Garrus' health recovers are: meeting Garrus, defeating the Eclipse attack, and defeating the Blood Pack attack.
An M-15 Vindicator Battle Rifle can be picked up either before or after talking to Garrus. It is a sizable improvement over the M-8 Avenger in terms of damage and accuracy. If you want to acquire the weapon but you don't want it equipped fear not, there will be a weapons locker in the basement where weapons can be switched after the Eclipse attack. If you're on a repeat playthrough and have already unlocked a better weapon, you can safely ignore the Vindicator (though its position on the couch can make it difficult to avoid accidentally picking it up while running back and forth for clips during the battle).
The Eclipse Attack Edit
Jaroth is getting more frustrated by the second and sends in his own troopers and LOKI mechs against your fortified position. It is advantageous to stay on the second floor, but even with SMGs this fight is not very hard, as most of the enemies stream across the bridge without taking cover. Eclipse Heavies will take cover occasionally on the sides of the bridge to cover their comrades with rockets, so you should try to take them out before they reach cover. If any mercs get into the base, you can switch from the outer edge of the balcony window to the inner edge overlooking the atrium and take them out before they reach the second floor. Garrus will warn you if Eclipse mercs manage to reach the base and the rear stairs.
- Since the battle is much easier (and safer) when conducted from the window, time your ammo runs carefully so that you aren't absent from the window long enough for enemies to reach the other side of the bridge. There are two nearby pairs of respawning ammo cartridges - one on an end-table by the couch where you came in, and another on the floor by the couch opposite it; grabbing a single pair of cartridges (on alternating runs) will keep you topped up.
- Shooting an enemy, even a little bit, tends to slow its advance.
- If you are playing a class that is limited to only SMGs and heavy pistols, the M-4 Shuriken has very poor accuracy, making the pistol the better weapon option for dealing damage from the window (particularly the M-5 Phalanx with laser sight active). The M-12 Locust on the other hand has excellent accuracy at all ranges and is a superior SMG overall so you may want to consider obtaining it prior to this mission.
- Be sure to order your squadmates to switch to their most effective long range weapons such as sniper and assault rifles, and also activate any ammo powers. Incendiary Ammo is good at slowing down unprotected organic targets as it can induce panic by igniting them.
- If you hacked the YMIR earlier, then its arrival creates a good opportunity to grab a complete refill of ammunition as there will be no pressure on Garrus' health bar for a while.
- Shockwave, used by Shepard or Jack, can be very effective to use on the bridge. It is capable of hitting entire groups of enemies as they come across, throwing around unprotected enemies and staggering protected enemies, suppressing their fire and leaving them vulnerable to Garrus and your team.
Notes on the YMIR Sequence:
- Any downed squadmates will automatically revive after the cutscene where the YMIR shows up.
- The YMIR's large size makes it a "power magnet;" it tends to be harder to target smaller enemies around it with powers until they get closer than the YMIR. A zoomed sniper rifle makes targeting powers easier.
- If the YMIR stays alive for too long, it will revert to its original programming after a few waves. This usually isn't a problem on higher difficulties as it will die first.
- If the YMIR was hacked, more enemies spawn than if it was not hacked, but the fight overall remains much easier, particularly as it is usually possible to contain enemies on the bridge.
- If the YMIR is hostile, it will advance into the building, and if you're upstairs this means there will be a period during which it is obstructed from view and you can safely deal with other enemies. However be aware that the YMIR can and will come all the way upstairs into the balcony with you, so be prepared!
Jaroth, having lost a large number of mercs, enters the battle himself. If the salarian is kept on the bridge, he will be no trouble at all. He is armed with an M-6 Carnifex and also has armor protection in addition to shields, but Stasis can still freeze and then ragdoll him regardless. After he and the rest of the Eclipse mercs have been taken care of, Garrus will tell you to come and find him. Before talking to him, grab some thermal clips and perhaps a med pack or two from around the base. You can loot a foot locker in the room where Garrus is for 2000 credits, and also check the upstairs bedroom opposite the atrium for a wall safe.
Tip: If you're relying on an ammo power from one of your squadmates be sure it's activated for all of your weapons before talking to Garrus as you may not get another chance until after completing the next section of the mission. An ammo power effective against armor is recommended.
The Blood Pack Attack Edit
While talking with Garrus a distant explosion rocks the entire base. It appears that the bombs the merc leaders mentioned earlier (if Shepard talked with them) went off and breached the tunnels Garrus had closed off. Now you must make a decision: take the whole team down to the basement to deal with the breaches, or split up two and two. It is recommended to leave one squadmate behind with Garrus; his health will drop faster otherwise, increasing the time pressure you're under in the next fight.
The Blood Pack attackers consist primarily of krogan and vorcha with a few varren appearing as well. Neither krogan or vorcha have shields but both of them can regenerate health; on higher difficulties they both possess armor as well. Weapons and ammo powers should be chosen appropriately, with heavy pistols, sniper rifles, and powers such as Incinerate or Warp being effective.Omni-tool on the ground floor provides a Tech Damage (Multicore Amplifier) upgrade.
Once in the basement, Garrus will tell you that three shutters need to be closed in order to secure the lower level. When you first enter the basement, straight ahead is a Weapons Locker as well as a Medical Station. Change weapons now if you want to.
Notes on the Basement Sequence:
- If you left a squadmate with Garrus and you received an ammo power from that squadmate, you'll start this sequence with that power active (provided it was active before talking to Garrus), however you'll no longer be able to have that squadmate reapply the power for the duration of the fight in the basement. Using the Weapons Locker will reset your active ammo powers and so will loading a save, so keep that in mind.
- Garrus' life bar will not begin to take damage until you get close to the first shutter so you can take your time at the Weapons Locker.
- The shutters you will have to seal in this section require you to get right up to them and hit a button on the right side to close them. Each shutter will only close after ten seconds (a visible countdown will appear on your screen). If there are any enemies too close to the shutter or Shepard is past the shutter the countdown is immediately interrupted and the shutter will not close until you clear any obstructions and hit the button again for a fresh ten second countdown.
- Once a shutter closes and all enemies in the immediate area are dead any downed squadmates will automatically revive.
- The basement sequence ends immediately after closing the third shutter; after a brief cutscene you will be back on the ground floor of Garrus' hideout.
The first shutter is directly ahead of you down a short ramp after the Weapons Locker and can be closed without much effort if you run to it. Enemies consisting of a krogan and some vorcha will appear beyond the shutter as you get close to the shutter control; hit the button and take cover on either side of the door. Hitting the advancing enemies with a power or some weapon fire should slow them down enough to prevent them from interfering with the shutter and it closes.
The final two shutters are located in areas beyond the doors to the left and right of the shutter you just closed. One is in the "utility" area and the other is in the garage; both areas are helpfully labeled with signs on the walls. Doing the garage first is recommended as it takes less time to get from there back to the utility area to close the final shutter, and there are also some helpful pickups available in the garage once it is cleared.
Note: Opening the door to either the garage or the utility area causes the door leading to the other area to lock, meaning once you choose an area you must close the shutter in that area before you can proceed to the next.
Combat Strategy: The garage is arguably the hardest fight in an already difficult mission (especially on higher difficulties) because of the seemingly unending stream of enemies combined with the time pressure created by Garrus' steadily depleting health bar. On Insanity the safest method is to equip the M-622 Avalanche and freeze all of the enemies waiting for you in the garage while you get to the door and close it (do not kill them). The reason the Avalanche is the best choice here is because it can disable enemies for a very long time (about 30 seconds) without killing them; killing enemies causes them to be "replaced" by new enemies spawning from beyond the shutter where they can advance and interfere with closing it. Freezing all the enemies with the Avalanche makes it much easier to close the shutter without being interrupted by additional enemies. Note that your squadmate(s) will continue to attack frozen enemies so to prevent this manually order them to attack something else, or keep them in cover to deny them line of sight. The frozen enemies will eventually thaw, but by that time you should have closed the shutter and you can turn around and deal with them any way you like.
- Grunt is a powerful squadmate here for his sheer durability alone; he can take point for you admirably, and he's capable of dealing with varren at close quarters.
- Stasis is very handy to have for the garage as it can be used to instantly disable any enemy you meet even if it's protected by armor; this is especially useful against krogan.
- If you're hurt don't hesitate to use Unity to heal yourself up to full health (and shields if you've researched the necessary upgrades). It's faster and safer to use medi-gel than waiting to recharge health and shields normally, and it's very easy to take damage from unexpected quarters in the garage.
- Don't overestimate the time pressure – there's enough time to stand at the door of the garage and soften up the enemies a bit before you even enter; Garrus doesn't die that fast especially if you left backup with him.
As you exit the garage, straight ahead of you will be the door leading to the "utility" area and the final shutter. Pick up the med-kit to the left of the door before you proceed inside.
Caution: Kasumi's Shadow Strike power is extremely unreliable in the "utility" area likely due to the numerous obstacles impeding movement and its cramped nature. She will often report being unable to use the power if ordered to.
The way to the final shutter requires Shepard's group to climb over a series of obstacles with enemy vorcha using many of these obstacles as cover. Take them out as they pop up and advance. Caution: Around a corner when you reach a right turn in the passage there is a Blood Pack Pyro; don't turn the corner or you may be instantly fried. You'll need to use some clever tactics to get past. Teammates can be sent around the corner as decoys (Grunt is likely the only squadmate who might survive this), and Adrenaline Rush, Combat Drone, or Tactical Cloak can be useful if Shepard has them. The M-622 Avalanche makes this corner a breeze as its shots have a large enough area of effect that simply firing a few at the walls will take out the Pyro and any other vorcha around the corner without exposing yourself. Once you turn the corner take out any remaining vorcha and move over more obstacles to reach the final shutter straight ahead. As before, enemies will start appearing beyond the shutter and start moving towards you but it shouldn't be too hard to stall them before it closes.
Tip: Right at the start of this fight, Garm and several of the Blood Pack are in a group straight ahead near the base of the stairs. A volley of heavy weapon fire while they are still tightly clustered can be very effective at softening up or eliminating multiple enemies right away. Having your heavy weapon out after you hit the final basement shutter before the cutscene can save some time switching weapons.
Getting close to Garm should cause him to switch attention to you and prevent him from hurting Garrus; once he's down, refill on ammo and medi-gel as needed before talking to Garrus. Only the Blue Suns remain.
Notes on the fight with Garm:
- You will again have full access to both of your squadmates again if you had left one behind with Garrus, however any squadmate you left with Garrus will still be on the second floor balcony with him when you start after the cutscene with Garm, so be careful about using the squad command to recall squadmates to your position.
- You need to make Garrus' health bar last for the entire fight with the Blood Pack. This means if Garrus loses too much health while you're in the basement, you may have a tough time keeping him alive once you return to the hideout to face Garm.
- This is the last opportunity to pick up the M-15 Vindicator from the couch, and the last realistic opportunity to grab any of the medpacks or other items on the ground floor.
- A exploitable glitch has been reported with Garm: he will not have his weapon out until he reaches Garrus' room. If Shepard intercepts him, Garm can be killed before he has a chance to shoot at Shepard or Garrus. This is not recommended on higher difficulties as Garm will not be alone and the rest of the Blood Pack don't suffer from this glitch.
The Blue Suns Attack Edit
Talking to Garrus this time fills Shepard in on his history with Garm and both agree to fight past the Blue Suns to make it out. However, before they can make a break for it, they get ambushed by Tarak and his gunship. The gunship isn't yet a valid target and will fly around occasionally firing rockets at you all while dropping waves of Blue Suns infantry into the compound. The gunship will first drop Jentha, who has both shields and armor and is armed with a deadly M-76 Revenant; a Blue Suns Legionnaire; and several Troopers on the second floor through the far window. Once they are all down a second wave of Blue Suns mercs enters on the main level who must also be dealt with. During this battle Garrus will take positions that leave him vulnerable to both waves of enemies so once again you must do your best to keep the heat off of him. Thankfully this is the last part of the mission where you have to worry about defending him.
- The best way to prevent Garrus from taking damage is to position yourself or a squadmate closer to the attackers than Garrus is, as this will cause them to shift their attention away from Garrus. If Garrus is their closest target, he'll get mauled.
- Once again Grunt is an excellent squadmate here as his ability to absorb damage makes him ideal for drawing fire away from Garrus. For the second floor attack wave position him behind one of the white planters connected to the couches close to the far window where the first wave of Blue Suns will enter. Alternately, Shepard can take position there to be the bullet magnet, but this is risky for obvious reasons. The planters are better cover than the couches themselves, which you should avoid. Any fragile squadmates should be put in cover as far back out of the way as possible.
- For the ground floor attackers Garrus will reposition so he's able to shoot at them down in the atrium but this again makes him vulnerable. The best way to draw fire away from him is to reposition one squadmate next to him on the inner balcony and then take the second squadmate with Shepard to a position at the top of the stairs to hold it against all comers. This can be dangerous but use the corner and the high ground to your advantage and it's doable even on higher difficulties. The main danger will be Legionnaires and any Suns coming up the stairs at you but if you can remove their shields, force abilities such as Concussive Shot can knock them back down the stairs.
- If you're ever in danger of being overwhelmed or losing Garrus, don't hesitate to take out a heavy weapon and blast away. A few shots from the M-622 Avalanche will freeze an entire attack group.
Combat Strategy: The ideal cover position for Shepard during this fight is back behind a white crate connected to a planter closest to the near wall by the (now closed) door. Like many of the ideal cover spots in Mass Effect 2, this position is helpfully marked by respawning thermal clips, two in this case. This position is completely safe from the gunship as long as you're behind the crate or the planter though of course you still need to be careful when you pop out to shoot. It's still possible to shoot the gunship from this position even when it approaches the near window as the very tip of its left "wing" will still be visible. There is enough space behind this cover position to fit both squadmates, but to avoid crowding one should be kept in cover inside the balconette of the rearmost window to your left. Since you're on top of two respawning thermal clips there's no need to conserve ammo. Lay into the gunship whenever you can (i.e. between merc waves and rocket volleys) and eventually it will go down.
- Despite the tenseness of the situation, the major pressure of having to keep Garrus' health bar from dropping is now gone so there is no rush. As long as you take the right cover positions and don't get nailed by the gunship this fight is actually fairly easy compared to the rest of the mission.
- You start this fight with you and your squadmates out of cover, which—annoyingly—often results in one of your squadmates getting drilled to death by the gunship immediately. If this happens use a medi-gel and order them to safety as soon as they revive.
- If you took the time to zap Cathka earlier, the gunship will be at half its normal hitpoints. The gunship only has an armor bar so anti-armor weapons and powers are most effective against it.
- The gunship has two main weapons, a rapid fire mass accelerator cannon and rockets, both of which deal extreme damage if they catch you or your squadmates exposed. The rockets also have a fairly large area of effect so if the gunship starts spraying rockets all over the room it's best to hunker down until it's over.
Once the gunship and all other remaining hostiles are down a cutscene plays. It shows Shepard rushing over and kneeling beside Garrus, who is laying in a pool of his own blood. After a moment of silence his eyes open, he gasps for air, and he tightens his grip on his sniper rifle pulling it closer to him. A distraught Shepard orders a squadmate to radio Joker and tell him to be ready for them.
Having eliminated the third mercenary gang, Shepard, Garrus, and squad will return to the Normandy. Here, Garrus receives medical attention that includes reconstruction with cybernetics, but he will carry a wound on his face and damage to his armor for the rest of the game. Garrus will take up residence in the Normandy's main battery past the sleep pods on the crew deck.
Nalah Butler who lives on Omega, wrote an e-mail with subject header "Take care of Garrus", to Commander Shepard regarding Garrus' role as Archangel.
- Blood Pack
- Blue Suns
- LOKI Mech
- Mercenary Bomb Technician
- YMIR Mech
Mission Summary Edit
Extracted Archangel from mercenary siege and recruited him for the team. Unclear whether injury to Archangel will impair his ability to assist in the mission. Regardless, revelation of identity as Garrus Vakarian useful in keeping Shepard comfortable.
- Experience: 1,000 (1,250)
- Credits: 40,000
- Cerberus Funding: 20,000
- Credits Found: 20,000
- Element Zero: 500
- You can find bodies covered by orange shrouds lying in groups throughout Garrus' hideout. These are presumably the bodies of his slain team.
- If Grunt is part of the squad, Garm will sometimes taunt him and accuse him of fighting for the "wrong side."
- There is a small graphical bug during the mission. After the revelation that Archangel is Garrus, Garrus hands Shepard his sniper rifle, an M-92 Mantis. If Shepard has sniper-rifle training, and has any sniper rifle other than the Mantis equipped, the gun will switch to whatever rifle Shepard has equipped, and then switch back to a Mantis when Shepard hands it back to Garrus.
- A similar bug occurs earlier if Shepard takes the Paragon Interrupt to break the M-4 Shuriken of the young man trying to sign up as a freelancer. If Shepard has any submachine gun other than the Shuriken equipped, the interrupt shows Shepard breaking this submachine gun and handing it back to the man.
- Another slip-up appears after Eclipse's attack is repelled. When Shepard goes to speak with Garrus, he is no longer holding a Mantis, but a Viper instead.
- There is a graphical bug that exists when Shepard talks to Tarak and Zaeed is in your party. Zaeed and Tarak talk, saying that they know each other, and part of Tarak's face disappears when he smiles after Zaeed says, "Anything's possible."
- If you stand still behind the third barricade, in which two humans and Archangel exchange shots, Archangel will occasionally shoot Shepard with a bullet and drop Shepard's shields. A squadmate will then comment.
- After closing the second shutter, a writing error happens where Zaeed (if present and with Garrus) says that you need to open the shutters.