This page contains a walkthrough for the main missions of Mass Effect 2. Major changes in the gameplay from Mass Effect are listed in the main Mass Effect 2 page, while the effects of importing a saved game from Mass Effect are listed in the Save File Transfer page.

Prologue[edit | edit source]

Prologue missions take place at the beginning of the game, in mandatory progression. At the end of the prologue Shepard receives command of the Normandy SR-2 and is free to explore both the ship and the galaxy.

Prologue: Save Joker - Story and setting

Prologue: Awakening - Create your Shepard, Tutorial

Freedom's Progress - First mission with Miranda and Jacob

Stop the Collectors - Master mission for the rest of the game

Act 1[edit | edit source]

Act 1 begins when Shepard receives the Stop the Collectors master mission along with command of the Normandy SR-2 and continues until the mission to Horizon, which is activated as soon as Shepard has recruited all four of Mordin, Garrus, Jack, and Grunt. Any other missions and assignments not completed during Act 1 can still be completed during Act 2. Note that the order in which squadmates are recruited during Act 1 is entirely up to Shepard and will not affect how events play out in any way.

You will also have the opportunity to perform various assignments -- some are available on Omega, some on the Citadel, and others you can discover during the process of Planet Scanning. Assignments described as N7 Assignments usually involve squad deployments and combat -- effectively small missions -- and provide experience, credits, and other rewards. All assignments are optional, but they help advance the story and provide the opportunity for additional rewards and items.

Act 1 Dossiers[edit | edit source]

Perform dossier missions to recruit new squad members for your team. It is recommended that you recruit Mordin first so that you will be able to take advantage of upgrades in the Research Lab on the Normandy. When these four missions have all been completed, the Horizon mission will trigger and Act 2 will begin.

Dossier: The Professor - Mordin

Dossier: Archangel - Garrus

Dossier: The Convict - Jack

Dossier: The Warlord - Grunt

Act 1 DLC[edit | edit source]

The following DLC missions and assignments can be performed during Act 1, or saved until Act 2 if desired.

Dossier: The Veteran - Zaeed

Dossier: The Master Thief - Kasumi

Zaeed: The Price of Revenge - Loyalty

Kasumi: Stealing Memory - Loyalty


Firewalker Pack

Normandy Crash Site

Act 1 Progression[edit | edit source]

When all four of the original (non-DLC) dossier missions are complete, the Horizon mission will be activated and Act 2 will begin.


Act 2[edit | edit source]

Act 2 begins upon successful completion of the Horizon mission. At this point the Normandy is able to travel to Illium and new dossiers and missions become available. New assignments also become available during the course of Act 2 - some at Illium, some on Tuchanka, and many new N7 Assignments open up through Planet Scanning in the new systems which open up for exploration. New merchants also become available, along with new items at some of the Act 1 merchants - see the Merchants Guide for a complete list of locations and wares.

Act 2 Dossiers[edit | edit source]

Four more squadmates can now be recruited, though Legion's mission works differently in that it does not become available until after the Collector Ship mission, and triggers additional act progression. You will need at least eight total crew members, not counting Legion, to advance the plot.

Dossier: The Assassin - Thane

Dossier: The Justicar - Samara

Dossier: Tali - Tali

Reaper IFF - Legion

Act 2 Loyalty Missions[edit | edit source]

Starting in Act 2, speaking with squad members on the Normandy will elicit requests for you to perform Loyalty missions. Securing the loyalty of your squad will both unlock new powers for them and increase the likelihood that they, and indeed Shepard, will survive Act 3. All loyalty missions are optional -- they increase the power of your team but are not required to be completed for the game to progress.

Miranda's and Jacob's missions can be obtained immediately when Act 2 begins. Additional missions become available one at a time in the order listed; if the character whose loyalty mission would normally unlock is not yet present (e.g. Grunt is still in his tank, or Thane has not been recruited) then the mission of the next character present will unlock instead. Speaking with Kelly Chambers between missions will let you know which squad members you can talk to for new loyalty missions.

Gaining the loyalty of a squad member unlocks their "Bonus Power" for them to use. The first time a Bonus Power is ever unlocked, it is also added to the Advanced Training list for Shepard.

Each squad mate also has one Normandy Upgrade or research project to unlock in the research lab. Once Shepard has access to the research lab, these can be unlocked, even during Act 1, by talking to the squad members before they offer their loyalty missions and selecting the "[NORMANDY UPGRADES]" option under the Investigate heading; otherwise it unlocks automatically as each loyalty mission is complete.

Miranda: The Prodigal

Jacob: The Gift of Greatness

Jack: Subject Zero

Mordin: Old Blood

Grunt: Rite of Passage

Garrus: Eye for an Eye

Samara: The Ardat-Yakshi

Tali: Treason

Thane: Sins of the Father

Legion: A House Divided

Act 2 DLC[edit | edit source]

The following DLC becomes available for the first time when Act 2 begins. These are both large, substantial, and challenging undertakings, and offer significant rewards.

Lair of the Shadow Broker


Act 2 Progression Missions[edit | edit source]

Several key progression missions take place during the course of Act 2. Only the Reaper IFF mission may be done whenever you're ready; the other two trigger automatically.

Collector Ship - triggers a few missions after the events on Horizon. See the acquisition section on the mission page for specifics.

Reaper IFF - choose anytime after the Collector Ship mission. However, once completed, a mission countdown activates, with the possibility of significant plot consequences if the player delays much before proceeding through the Omega 4 Relay and beginning Act 3.

Await IFF Installation - triggers aboard the Normandy immediately after obtaining the IFF from the Derelict Reaper.

Act 3[edit | edit source]

Act 3, also known as the Suicide Mission, begins when the Normandy enters the Omega 4 Relay, which can be done freely any time after Await IFF Installation is complete. At this point the mission sequence is locked, and the game proceeds through to the Epilogue without any intervening break for Shepard to use the Galaxy Map, complete assignments, research upgrades, etc. If Shepard survives the Suicide Mission, however, additional missions and assignments (DLC or left over from Acts 1 and 2) can then be completed.

Before entering the Omega 4 Relay and thus launching Act 3, you will want to upgrade your ship. The important upgrades are the shields, the armor, and the cannon. Tali, Jacob, and Garrus, respectively, provide these upgrades. For each of these you do not upgrade, you will later lose one team member. Upgrades will also increase the Normandy's value as a War Asset in Mass Effect 3.

The following list shows, in order of preference, which crew member will die if you haven't upgraded a particular part:

  • Heavy Ship Armor: Jack
  • Multicore Shielding: Kasumi, Legion, Tali, Thane, Garrus, Zaeed, Grunt
  • Thanix Cannon: Thane, Garrus, Zaeed, Grunt, Jack, Samara/Morinth

Note: This tier is sorted by the characters' order of dying in descending order. Squad members on the "Multicore Shielding" list will not die if they are in your party when you fight the Oculus. Bringing Jack to fight the Oculus will not protect her if you do not have Heavy Ship Armor, nor will bringing anyone on the "Thanix Cannon" list save them from their fate.

Act 3 Progression[edit | edit source]

The Normandy Attacked - Defend the Normandy from the Oculus.

Collector Base: Infiltration - Help your tech specialist through the ventilation shaft.

Collector Base: The Long Walk - Your biotic specialist escorts you through the seeker swarms.

Final Battle - Face the truth behind the abductions and make your decisions.

Final Battle[edit | edit source]

Note: At the start of all three major segments of the Collector Base mission including this one, your medi-gel and heavy weapon ammo are given a complete refill to 100% capacity. However, there will be no further opportunities to replenish medi-gel during the final battle.

Note: While manual saving is not allowed from this point onwards, the game will auto-save at the beginning of each part. Loading an auto-save also gives you the opportunity to change the weapons loadout of your squad. If you die, you will have full ammo when you reload the game, even if you didn't have full ammo at the last save.

Preparation[edit | edit source]

You will be facing numerous Collector warriors, some protected by barriers, others by armor, and Harbinger who has both.


The team you select here will be with you for the remainder of the game.

  • Ideal: Squad members who are loyal to you and are less suited for defensive tasks such as Mordin, Jack, Kasumi, and Tali.
  • Non-Ideal: Squad members who are not loyal to you. They will die after the battle as the Collector station begins to fall apart.

The teammates you do not choose are automatically assigned to hold the line against the Collectors. A 'defensive skill' value is calculated for the 'hold the line' group as a whole, based on a defensive value inherent to each character. Loyal characters gain a bonus to this value. If the 'defensive skill' check is not high enough to ensure all characters' survival, squad members will be designated to die based on their vulnerability, with Mordin taking priority if he is present.

Leaving behind strong defenders, such as Grunt, Garrus, and Zaeed will increase the group's odds of survival. By contrast, Jack, Tali, Kasumi, and Mordin have less value as defenders and should be removed either by assigning one of them to escort the Normandy crew back to the ship or by taking one or two along in Shepard's squad. The entire group will survive as long as the combined defensive skill is high enough, otherwise the game selects one or more squad members to die based on the scenario of who was left behind and how loyal the group members are.

Squad members who are not loyal are most likely to survive here than anywhere else, provided the group's collective defense skill is high enough, although they will be the first to die if the skill is not. Leaving behind two strong defenders such as Garrus, Grunt, or Zaeed should suffice, provided you haven't lost too many people.

Note: The order in which squad members die is as follows: any non-loyal squad members, Mordin, Tali, Kasumi, Jack, Miranda, Jacob, Garrus, Samara/Morinth, Legion, Thane, Zaeed, Grunt.

When considering squadmates for the powers they bring, strongly orient your squad towards destroying barriers and mass disabling enemies. Warp, Reave, Warp Ammo, Armor-Piercing Ammo, or Incendiary Ammo, are all useful as are biotics for disabling unprotected enemies or throwing them off platforms to die. Kasumi with a high level Flashbang Grenade can be invaluable to bring along as Flashbang can disable the attacks of Harbinger and make him much less of a threat.


You will have heavy ammo refills throughout the endgame in addition to the autosave refill perk. This is the time for no-nonsense weapons so novelties like the Firestorm or M-920 Cain should be given less consideration. Your focus should be on killing/disabling enemies as fast as you can so the Avalanche, Arc Projector, Grenade Launcher, or Blackstorm are the best options, with the Collector Particle Beam being a niche choice if you lack long-range firepower.

When choosing non-heavy weapons, consider equipping Shepard with at least one high capacity weapon such as the M-12 Locust or M-76 Revenant. The Geth Plasma Shotgun works fantastically well against barriers, especially using the charged shots. If Shepard uses sniper rifles, the M-92 Mantis and M-98 Widow have substantial anti-armor bonuses which will prove important in the final battle.

Reach the Central Chamber[edit | edit source]

Harbinger and its minions will try its darnedest to kill you

You must now reach the central chamber. A series of five platforms will fly in, each carrying several Collector enemies: Drones, Guardians, and eventually Assassins. Harbinger will make repeat appearances as usual, so try to eliminate drones as quickly as possible to force him to "consume" his more powerful Guardians and Assassins when he assumes control.

Powers must be used efficiently as ammo is very scarce and must be scavenged whenever possible: watch for opportunities to advance and fill up between enemy waves. As in the similar battle on board the Collector Cruiser, using abilities to knock Collectors off the platforms can be invaluable but you'll generally need to take out their barriers first.

The sixth and final platform contains three Abominations and two Scions. After defeating them there will be a console to trigger the next section. Note that the two Scions are so far away they will usually not attack or move towards you until you approach their platform to engage them. Using long range fire or damage powers such as Warp it's possible to kill them from two platforms away before they are aware you exist. In any event, the Scions will be obstructed from advancing more than one platform due to their inability to climb down from their starting platform.

Destroy the Feeding Tubes[edit | edit source]

Failure to destroy tubes on the allotted time windows will cause the Human-Reaper to discharge a powerful blast

Your platform will now fly into the central chamber and a cutscene will introduce the final enemy, a Human-Reaper Larva. When you regain control, quickly climb to the uppermost platform on your right - until the Reaper activates it is a safe location that will give you a height advantage over arriving enemies. More fly-in platforms with various types of Collectors (and Harbinger) will now arrive. After clearing each platform, the armor covering the four tubes of the inactive Human-Reaper will open for a short period of time and they should be destroyed immediately (one of your squadmates will helpfully remind you if you forget).

Tip: Just as on the Collector Ship, using heavy weapons to quickly neutralize the Collectors while they are grouped up on the platforms is a good way to minimize the threat they pose to your squad especially at higher difficulties. There will also be opportunities to replenish heavy weapon ammo in the upcoming fight.

You should be able to destroy at least two tubes each time they become vulnerable; you should avoid using any single-shot weapon such as the M-92 Mantis or M-300 Claymore for best results. The Soldier can destroy all four tubes in one Adrenaline Rush using an assault rifle such as the Mattock or Revenant. The Geth Plasma Shotgun can also take out two tubes since its three plasma rounds take time to reach their target letting you line up your shot at the next tube. The Collector Particle Beam can destroy all four tubes in just one go before the covers come down. It is also possible to destroy the tubes or at least heavily damage them by using biotic powers such as Pull, Throw, or Warp, so having squad members with this ability can be useful. You can also instruct squad members to attack the exposed tubes while attacking a different one yourself to take down at least two tubes with standard weapons.

Destroying all four tubes will cause the Reaper to fall into the chasm below. After watching its apparent demise, Shepard will contact the ground team left behind to hold the line against the Collectors and request a status report. One of the team members will respond; who it is can vary depending on which team members remain alive and who is in Shepard's squad. Shepard orders the ground team to begin falling back to the Normandy, then orders Joker to prep the ship for departure from the hopefully soon-to-be-destroyed base.

Shepard then opens up the platform's core and prepares to destroy the station by overloading its reactor, but the Illusive Man interrupts. He asks Shepard to instead trigger a radiation pulse that will kill the remaining Collectors but preserve the facility both for use against the Reapers and to "secure humanity's future against the Reapers and beyond." Shepard will then need to make a choice: destroying the facility is a Paragon action, while preserving the facility for Cerberus to use against the Reapers is a Renegade action.

Mass Effect 3 Consequences: Choosing to preserve or destroy the facility can in certain circumstances determine which final choices are available to Shepard at the end of Mass Effect 3. Preserving the facility also adds a Reaper Brain to Shepard's War Assets, which in turn slightly increases Shepard's chances to achieve a better ending if you choose the 'control' ending. Destroying the facility adds a Reaper Heart to the War Assets and facilitates the 'destroy' ending.

Note: During this conversation, Shepard might refer to team members giving their lives even if the entire team has survived up to this point (depending on the selected dialogue option). Also, if Miranda is in the party, a few extra lines of dialogue between her and the Illusive Man can be heard.

Whatever Shepard's decision, once the call with the Illusive Man ends and the chosen sabotage of the Collector Base is complete, Shepard tells the squad that they have only a limited time to escape the station. However, before they can leave the team is interrupted by one final surprise.

The Human-Reaper Larva[edit | edit source]

Duck in cover when you see its mouth beam reach critical charging levels

As it turns out, the Human-Reaper isn't dead yet. After your decision on the Collector Base's fate it reactivates and hauls its way up to your set of platforms to do battle with you.

You start behind a good barricade spot and you can begin shooting at the Reaper's weak spots: eyes (two in the left socket, one in the right) or the large weak point on its chest. The so-called weak spots are all armor, so if you need to change your loadouts for more effective weapons via autosave do so.

Almost any weapon that works well against armor can be effective here. Despite the short range of most shotguns the size of the Human-Reaper's weak points makes it possible to still do reasonable damage. The Human-Reaper moves around a lot which can make aiming through a sniper zoom challenging. Out of all the heavy weapons, the Collector Particle Beam is probably the most ammo-efficient and effective at attacking the weak points as well as being the easiest to aim. If you are confident enough with your aiming skills then feel free to unload on the monstrosity with whatever weapon you're comfortable with. Anti-armor powers such as Warp or Incinerate also work well and don't miss unless the Human-Reaper retreats before they hit home.

At periodic intervals during your fight with the Human-Reaper, Collector soldiers fly in. Harbinger will quickly inhabit one of them as usual, though it possesses a unique property during this fight: when it dies it may drop a white colored pickup that works exactly like power cells, refilling ammo for all of Shepard's weapons including heavy weapons. Harbinger is more likely to drop this power cell pickup if you aren't at maximum heavy weapon ammo when it dies.

Tip: If you are in need of additional ammo refills, the platform to the right and forward of where Shepard starts contains one respawning thermal clip near the edge you can grab during lulls in the action. The Human-Reaper never upends this platform, however the area is quite exposed.

The Human-Reaper has a nasty charge-up attack and it would be wise to take cover until it fires. If you are caught in the beam, your shield will be knocked out and will take longer than usual to recharge (Tip: using Medi-gel or activating a shield restoring power such as Barrier or Tech Armor will counteract this). This attack can work to your advantage however as it doesn't discriminate—it will instantly kill any Collectors caught in the blast including Harbinger. If you're feeling brave, you can also take advantage of the fact that it remains still while charging its attack to get in some reliable damage; listening to the charge-up sound will tell you when it's time to get back behind cover. Note: The Reaper's glowing mouth is yet another weak point you can damage while this attack is charging.

...Or you risk getting caught in a massively-damaging beam

Warning: After your first engagement with the Reaper, it will disappear below the platform and return in a different location. It will sometimes destroy one of the side platforms when it does this, and if you are on the platform at the time you will be killed. A safer spot to camp out for this section is the barricade on the forward central platform, as it provides cover from all directions and a high wall that can be interposed between you and the Reaper when needed. Note that you can also fall off the platform you are on, so stay away from the edges.

When the Reaper's life is below 25%, it will move and attack more often. Continue shooting at its weak points and the fight should be over shortly, leading to the end of game cutscenes.

Cutscenes will vary depending on who survives the Suicide Mission. If at least two companions survive, one will pull up Shepard into the Normandy. Otherwise, Joker will vainly attempt to help the commander and ultimately cause his or her fall and subsequent death.

Note: At the end of the battle when you talk to Joker via comm link, he will tell you all "survivors" have made it back to the ship, even if you saved your entire team.

Epilogue[edit | edit source]

The Normandy rushes to escape the immense fireball emanating from the Collector base. If Shepard chose to destroy the base, it explodes in a massive blast that the Normandy barely manages to outrun. If the base was spared, the blast is blue as the radiation destroys all organic matter, leaving the base intact. After the mission ends, there are three possible endings:

  • Shepard goes to speak with the Illusive Man. If the base was destroyed, the star behind the Illusive Man is colored blue. The Illusive Man is furious with Shepard; he tells the Commander that they still have to face the Reapers and that base's technology could have helped humanity.
  • If the base was spared, the Illusive Man compliments Shepard's decision, the star behind the Illusive Man is colored red. When their discussion is finished, the Illusive Man grins in quiet contemplation at the hologram of the spared base.
  • If your actions caused Shepard's death in the final cutscene, Joker is the one to speak with the Illusive Man. If the base was spared, the Illusive Man watches as salvage ships move towards the base.

After the conversation with the Illusive Man, another scene takes place aboard the Normandy.

  • If any of the crew members died during the Suicide Mission, Shepard will be seen mourning over their casket(s). If Shepard died, Joker will be here instead standing over Shepard's casket (which will have an N7 symbol on it). The number of caskets varies depending on how many crew members were killed. The Normandy is shown flying through space, and Joker stares at a datapad displaying schematics of a Reaper.
  • If everyone survived, the Normandy is shown flying through space. Various crew members are fixing the breaches in the Normandy. Kelly Chambers can be seen walking by in the distance. Shepard is very briefly greeted by Thane in passing, before walking by Legion, Jack, Grunt, and Garrus, who nod as the Commander walks past. Joker hands Shepard a datapad displaying schematics of a Reaper.

A Reaper is shown in Dark Space as lights appear within its superstructure. As it lights up, the dark void surrounding the Reaper is illuminated by numerous pinpoints of light, revealing hundreds, or even thousands, of other Reapers. The final shot shows the Reaper fleet flying towards the Milky Way galaxy, setting the stage for Mass Effect 3.

After completion of the last mission, cutscenes and closing credits you will be presented with two options: either go back and complete any missed side or loyalty missions, planet scans, free-roam, talk to your squad/crew members on the Normandy SR-2, etc., or start a new career using the same "Shepard" with the stats carried over. Despite how the choice is framed, the options are not mutually exclusive. If you choose to continue playing, you may still start a new career with an import of your completed Mass Effect 2 character from the main menu at any time. Similarly, if you choose to start a new career immediately after completing the last mission, you can still go back to that old career and continue post final mission play at any time. You will also keep any and all armor components that you purchased from your previous game.

  • Starting a New Game+ will carry the character's upgraded Powers over. While weapons, armor, level and equipment are retained, any associated upgrades must be earned and/or purchased from scratch. The Paragon/Renegade morality bars will be completely empty, even if the character had a previous bonus carrying over from Mass Effect. No bonus credits or resources will be carried over from importing a Mass Effect character, though the bonus credits and resources that are given to all new Mass Effect 2 characters after completing the game will still be received.
  • Choosing to go back and continue the game allows you to finish off any incomplete missions, scan planets for mineral extraction, play any downloadable content you haven't played – also, if you are romancing Kelly or other crew members, you may invite them up to the Commander's cabin as well as attempt to be seduced by Morinth if you recruited her (although that results in your death). Don't Miss: Even if you have no more missions or DLC to complete, you can speak to each of your surviving squad members and hear a one-time-only comment on the decision you made regarding the Collectors' base. If you chose to keep it and turn it over to the Illusive Man, your teammates will express skepticism – surprisingly, this includes Garrus, Grunt and Mordin, who all encouraged Shepard to preserve the base as a weapon against the Reapers if part of Shepard's squad on the final mission. On the other hand, if the base is destroyed, the entire party approves, even Cerberus loyalist Miranda. You will also hear your fellow crew members congratulating you on the mission, and Kelly, Dr. Chakwas, Joker, and Mess Sergeant Gardner all have something to say if you speak to them. Finally, the locks that blocked EDI's information databanks have been removed, and she will answer questions fully instead of telling you that information is restricted. It is possible to receive this information after the attack on the Normandy, but before launching the Suicide Mission.

You can also import your character into Mass Effect 3, assuming that Shepard survived. Shepard's experience level will carry over and many decisions, both major and minor, will carry over and may affect future events.

See also: Save File Transfer
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