Powers in Mass Effect 2 are divided into four categories: biotic, combat, tech, and newly introduced ammo powers that can modify weapon damage (for more on ammo powers, see the Weapons page). The category a power belongs to will determine which upgrades apply to it.
In Mass Effect 2, many powers now do large amounts of damage and can be used as an ammo-saving alternative to weapons for defeating enemies even on higher difficulties. Most damage powers are capable of doing bonus damage against various types of enemy protection (i.e. shields, barriers, armor, and health). Biotic powers will generally do extra damage when used against biotic barriers, while tech powers will generally do extra damage against shields. There are also many powers useful for other effects on enemies besides pure damage, but in most cases enemy defense layers must be neutralized before these effects can apply. For example, as in Mass Effect, many biotic powers are capable of levitating enemies or flinging them around the battlefield, but in Mass Effect 2 enemy protections such as shields must be destroyed before they are vulnerable to these effects.
Most powers in Mass Effect 2 now automatically lock on to enemies and either hit home instantly or fire seeking projectiles some of which are capable of arcing around cover. Enemies cannot evade powers unless they move into cover, something else blocks the power, or they have a higher than average movement speed. Powers used by squadmates almost never fire actual projectiles and instead impact targets instantly.
Each power, with the exception of Unity, has 4 ranks. When the player levels up, each character is awarded 'squad points' that can be used to unlock each rank. Each rank costs the same number of points as its rank. Unlocking all 4 ranks requires a total of 10 points. Many powers will gain additional effects at higher ranks. Upon unlocking rank 4 of a power, the player will need to choose between two powerful final evolutions of the power.
Commander Shepard can earn up to 51 squad points to assign to powers. 2 points are automatically assigned at the beginning of the game and 2 squad points are earned each time the player levels up until level 20 is reached, after which 1 point is earned per level for levels 21 to 30. An additional point is earned when acquiring a bonus power.
The following is a list of powers available to each class. Powers available from the very beginning are marked with a ✓, while powers that need to be unlocked by levelling up are marked with a •.
In addition to their 5 active starting powers, each class has a passive class power that increases health and Paragon/Renegade points as well as granting other unique bonuses, depending on the class.
Each player class is able to learn one additional bonus power. After obtaining the achievement for earning a squadmate's loyalty, the player can use the Advanced Training research project at the research terminal to choose that character's unique power as their bonus power. The bonus power can be changed at any time by using Advanced Training again. Training a bonus power sets the new power to rank 1 by default. The only way to allocate this single default point to a non-bonus power is by researching Retrain Powers.
Available bonus powers are unlocked by obtaining achievements. Once a required achievement has been earned by the player, then any of their characters will be able to learn the associated power from that point on. If the player starts a new game after earning any of the achievements, they will be required to choose a bonus power as part of the character creation process; the character will be created with the chosen bonus power at rank 1. This is true even of characters being imported from an existing Mass Effect 2 save file (New Game+); if the Mass Effect 2 character being imported had more than 1 squad point allocated in the bonus power, those squad points will be reset to "unspent" and will be free to reallocate how the player chooses at game start. Any of the unlocked bonus powers can be chosen at the character creation stage with the exception of Stasis.
- Requires Downloadable Content.
- Either Dominate or Reave will be unlocked depending on the player's choices in the associated mission.
- See also: Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 2)
Squadmates can earn up to 30 squad points each, with the exception of Miranda and Jacob, who can earn up to 31, and Liara, who joins the squad temporarily in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, who can only earn up to 29 points because she lacks a loyalty mission. One of these points is automatically assigned to the character's loyalty power when it is unlocked.
2 points are automatically assigned at the beginning of the game to Miranda and Jacob, while the rest of the squad gets 1 point. Your squadmates earn 2 squad points each time the player levels up until level 5 is reached, and starting from level 7, they will earn 2 squad points every two levels, which is reduced to 1 squad point starting from level 21, and making an exception to the rule at level 30, gaining 1 final squad point.
The Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC adds the ability to reassign a squadmate's squad points at any time by using the Advanced Training console in the Shadow Broker Base.
Each squadmate has 3 active powers, comprising a starting power, a second power unlockable and a loyalty power that becomes available if the character becomes loyal.
Unlike Shepard's bonus powers, it is necessary to earn the characters loyalty in each game to unlock the power, as they will not become unlocked by simply having the associated achievement.
|Squadmate||Power 1||Power 2||Loyalty Power|
|Garrus Vakarian||Concussive Shot||Overload||Armor Piercing Ammo|
|Grunt||Concussive Shot||Incendiary Ammo||Fortification|
|Jacob Taylor||Pull||Incendiary Ammo||Barrier|
|Kasumi Goto||Shadow Strike||Overload||Flashbang Grenade|
|Legion||AI Hacking||Combat Drone||Geth Shield Boost|
|Mordin Solus||Incinerate||Cryo Blast||Neural Shock|
|Tali'Zorah vas Neema||Combat Drone||AI Hacking||Energy Drain|
|Thane Krios||Throw||Warp||Shredder Ammo|
|Zaeed Massani||Concussive Shot||Disruptor Ammo||Inferno Grenade|
In addition, each squadmate also has their own unique passive class power. All of these powers grant varying bonuses to health and weapon damage, with many offering additional bonuses.
|Garrus Vakarian||Turian Rebel|
|Jacob Taylor||Cerberus Operative|
|Kasumi Goto||Master Thief|
|Liara T'Soni||Asari Scientist|
|Miranda Lawson||Cerberus Officer|
|Mordin Solus||Salarian Scientist|
|Tali'Zorah vas Neema||Quarian Machinist|
|Thane Krios||Drell Assassin|
|Zaeed Massani||Mercenary Veteran|
- Biotic Cooldown (Smart Amplifier)
- Provides +20% faster biotic cooldowns.
- Biotic Damage 1 - 6 (Hyper-Amp)
- Provides +10% biotic damage for all biotic powers.
- Biotic Duration (Neural Mask)
- Provides +20% biotic power duration for all biotic powers.
- Tech Cooldowns (Hydra Module)
- Provides +20% faster cooldown on tech abilities.
- Tech Damage 1 - 6 (Multicore Amplifier)
- Provides +10% tech power damage for all tech powers.
- Tech Duration (Custom Heuristics)
- Provides +20% duration for all tech powers.
- Subject Zero Power Boost (Multicore Implants)
- Provides Jack with a +20% biotic damage boost.
- Mordin Tech Damage (Custom Tech Upgrade)
- Provides Mordin with a +20% tech damage boost.