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Time to decide the fate of TWO races

The Reaper base controlling the geth has been located, but jamming towers prevent conventional orbital bombardment. Land on Rannoch and use a prototype targeting laser to enable the Normandy to destroy the Reaper base.

Acquisition

To acquire this mission, you need to do either of the two planetside missions to trigger Admiral Raan informing you of the Reaper Base. To start the mission, orbit Rannoch and select the Reaper base.

Note: If one of the aforementioned missions has not been completed, it will become unavailable once this mission is started.

Preparation

Signal transmitter catwalks

If Tali is alive, she will be a required squad member for this mission. As such, it is a good idea to bring someone who can combo with her Energy Drain and Sabotage powers to create Tech Bursts, which are devastating to the geth you will be facing. Overload and Disruptor Ammo are particularly favored abilities in this fight, since they are effective against all the shields you'll be encountering. A side-helping of anti-armor abilities will also come in handy, as you will be facing several Geth Primes.

Note: This walkthrough assumes that Legion and Tali survived Mass Effect 2. If Legion died or was given to Cerberus in Mass Effect 2 or the player did not import a Mass Effect 2 save, its place is filled by a Geth VI. In addition, if Tali died in your imported Mass Effect 2 game, you may choose your second squad member freely and Admiral Xen will support you.

Walkthrough

Coming in Hot

Upon arrival at the Reaper base, your squad will be attacked by several geth hostiles: five initial Geth Troopers and a second wave of other Geth Troopers. Eliminate them and proceed down the hill. Once you near the bottom, the large blast door will close and three more Geth Troopers will drop down to impede your progress. Make short work of them. Check near the inside-right of the blast door for a SMG High Caliber Barrel upgrade.

Move to the right of the blast door near the tubes and vault up them. Climb the ladder on the right and eliminate the Geth Trooper waiting at the top. Vault onto the pipe and move forward. Eliminate the two Geth Troopers and Geth Rocket Trooper, and move along the right side to their position. Eliminate the Geth Rocket Trooper on the catwalks in front of you. Pick up an Assault Rifle Piercing Mod and Kassa Fabrication Gauntlets along the way before proceeding to climb up to the next level.

Eliminate the geth patrol below you consisting of two Geth Troopers, and find cover. Four Geth Rocket Troopers will drop in, and once they have been eliminated another four Geth Rocket Troopers will siege your position. Once all hostiles have been eliminated, press forward and through the doors. Salvage the Reaper tech on the right for 10,000 Credits.

Fight Your Way In

Expect heavy resistance

Proceed up the ramp and destroy the lone Geth Trooper. A blast shield will expand over the Reaper tech broadcasting the signal. At the junction, go to the left to pick up an SMG Ultralight Materials mod and then head back towards the right. As you move along the linear path, numerous hostiles will attempt to impede your progress. Fight your way through the geth forces: two Geth Rocket Troopers, eighteen Geth Troopers. Near the start of the walkway, look for an Assault Rifle Stability Damper upgrade on your right. Once all hostiles have been eliminated, Legion will ask if you need assistance. Grab the Geth Plasma Shotgun and salvage the data worth 5,000 Credits on the left of the door.

Move through the door and salvage more data for 10,000 Credits and a Med Kit. Proceed through a second door and a nav-point will be marked on your heads-up display. Hostile geth will filter in from the left and the right. Eliminate all hostiles before activating the Door Override. Geth will filter in from the left side; once all hostiles have been eliminated, you will be informed that a manual override is needed and will mark a console on your heads-up display with a nav-point. Proceed to the nav-point and activate the Door Override. Legion will inform you that the path behind you has been sealed, but you can use the elevator marked on your heads-up display. Move towards the elevator, but be ready. When the elevator lowers, a Geth Prime will be riding it; eliminate it, and the two Geth Rocket Troopers that drop down, before boarding the elevator. There's a Med Kit to the right of the elevator.

Triple Prime

Three towering monstrosities

Ride the elevator up to the next level and be ready for a fight. Three Geth Primes will be standing with their backs to you: one on your left, one on your right, and one straight in front of you. If you don't have weapons effective against heavily armored targets, grab the Geth Spitfire in front of you, but be aware that this weapon has to "spin up" with sustained fire to do maximum damage, and Geth Primes are very good at stunning you with their various abilities and attacks. If the first Spitfire runs dry, there will be two others to your left and to your right.

Get quickly into cover, which initially is basically limited to right in front of you coming out of the elevator. It's a good idea not to bunch up too tightly with your squadmates as both Primes and the drones they summon have stunning area-of-effect attacks that can hit you if they hit your squadmates in close proximity. Tip: Using Tali's Sabotage ability on one of the Primes will give you a brief lull during which none of the Primes should be able to hit your squad. Use that opening to unload everything you've got into any Prime in sight even if it's the one you just hacked, as eliminating even one Prime will make the remainder of the fight much easier to handle. Be ready to use First Aid to revive any squadmate that goes down in this fight, and keep using Tali's Sabotage to reduce the amount of fire coming your way.

After eliminating the three Geth Primes proceed to the nav-point. Shepard will now produce the targeting laser and equip it as the active weapon. Designate the target by holding down the trigger and making sure that you stay outside of the blast zone, marked by the blue circle. Note that the target is in front and below you, and not where the objective points. Once designated, the Normandy will proceed with its bombing run. The explosion knocks Shepard and their squad off the upper-platform, and a Reaper begins to climb out of the hole.

Your teensy little mass accelerator vs space-tempered Reaper hull. Sounds legit.

Legion tells Shepard that it has acquired transport. Sprint to the geth ship. Warning: If you don't get there in a decent amount of time, the Reaper will fry you. Shepard will get on top and man the turret while the squad gets inside with Legion piloting.

With the ship on the move, target the Reaper off to the left of the ship while Shepard calls in for an orbital strike. Note that you don't actually have to target or fire at the Reaper; eventually, the vehicle will be at a safe distance and Shepard will yell that they are clear over the comm. When the orbital strike hits, the Reaper goes down temporarily while Shepard orders EDI to sync the quarian fleet to the Normandy's targeting systems. Determined to take down the Reaper, Shepard stays back while Legion retreats to a safe distance with Shepard's squad.

Deal With a Reaper, Personally

Move to the center of the plateau and aim at the Reaper. A set of rotating targeting circles will appear, approximately centered on the Reaper's firing chamber (the red "eye"). Begin targeting the Reaper by aiming and holding down the trigger. The Reaper's first beam will not be targeted at you, being directed at the sky above, giving you ample time to figure out what to do. Note: If, for some reason, you hold off from firing, Admiral Gerrel will complain about losing the fleet. Soon after, Legion/Geth VI joins him, and soon after that, the game over screen pops up and you'll have to restart.

Beware of laser: very hot

Once the orbital strike hits, the Reaper will move closer and begins to deploy its beam cannon at you. Be prepared to dodge to either the left or the right. Once the beam has sliced past you, the circles will appear again. Only during that time can you aim your targeting laser and begin to compute a firing solution. Not counting the initial strike in which the Reaper is firing at the sky, you will need to complete three additional strikes on the Reaper Destroyer while dodging its beam. It will move closer to you after each strike.

The key to surviving this encounter is to know that, rather counter-intuitively, you don't lose your targeting progress if you have to stop aiming and dodge. Pull up the targeting laser and you'll discover that your firing solution is where you left it and can be resumed. Also note that moving while using the laser pointer causes the target acquisition process to go much slower. The other key is that the Reaper's aim is based on what you are doing when it starts firing, so if you make sure you're standing still until the beam appears, it won't "lead" you as much.

Note that on Casual difficulty, you don't have to do this twice. As soon as the beam touches ground, sprint to the side, turn, and fire. The Reaper will finish the attack, recharge, and try again. It won't make it. By the time the beam reaches you, you'll finish targeting and it will be hit from orbit. You only have to move once for every beam.

On Insanity difficulty, it feels like the beam is faster, and being even close to the beam insta-kills you. As a result, you'll need to make wider sprints, giving you less time to fire. The same basic strategy still applies: run to the side to avoid the beam, then come to a standstill, fire at the eye, and repeat.

Tips: The beam only goes in the direction you're walking so walking one way when the beam is fired will cause it to head into that direction so you can just walk the other way while aiming at the Reaper. Also, it takes some time for the beam to actually reach you from when the Reaper activates it, so you may charge the firing solution during those few seconds, making the shot easier to complete after you sprint clear.

A normal hit is fiery red, a jackpot hit is colored this.

After the initial strike (the one where the Reaper is aiming at the fleet) and three dodge-and-sprint regular strikes, there will be a final super-slow-motion strike where you must hold your ground, aim, and fire. Unlike the previous strikes where approximate aim works out fine, this final slo-mo sequence requires accurate aim. Take a moment to aim right at the bulls-eye as this is the only way the targeting process will complete before the Reaper beam kills you. That being said, the slowdown lasts 26 seconds (after which you die), and lining up a shot takes only 6 if you aim accurately.

Once you complete the targeting procedure, the game will switch to a cutscene of the quarian fleet firing upon the Destroyer and inflicting fatal damage. In its final moments, the Reaper will address Shepard by name, admitting that Harbinger acknowledges the Commander as a noteworthy opponent; regardless, Shepard's defeat is inevitable. It will also allude to concepts of "order" and "chaos", claiming that the Reaper-driven cycle of extinction is necessary "intervention" for the preservation of organic races. Depending on your dialogue choices, you will get:

  • Paragon (top) choice: Paragon dialogue arguing that the races of the galaxy will unite to defeat the Reapers. A Paragon interrupt will follow where Shepard proclaims with grim satisfaction that the unknown species harvested to create the Reaper has now been avenged. The Reaper then shuts down.
  • Renegade (bottom) choice: Renegade dialogue, about taking down the Reapers and putting the organic races on top. The Reaper counters that this attitude is no different from the quarians', implying that the results of this "philosophy" speak for themselves. An ensuing Renegade interrupt causes Shepard to target the Reaper one last time, punctuating the Commander's defiant response with a final round of orbital fire.
  • Ambivalent choice (help us understand): no interrupt will occur; the Reaper will talk more about cycles of extinction but offer no real insight, only hints. It then dies of its own accord.

Once this exchange ends, Legion/VI enters the scene. Another reckoning is at hand: a centuries-old conflict is about to resolve, one way or another.

Aftermath

Depending on your choices one or both of them dies.

Now begins the final standoff between the geth and quarian fleets. The shooting has stopped, but not the yelling. Legion and Tali square off. Legion wants to upload the Reaper code to the geth collective, as it enhances their processing functionality to the point of achieving true intelligence. Tali is naturally fearful of what this might mean for her people, since the quarians have already resumed attacking the geth. Shepard must moderate the decision.

Your choice is to allow the upload, or to let the geth die. By making either decision, either Tali or Legion will protest and a second decision branch is opened: allow the upload again, stop Legion, or a Reputation check (Charm: "Rally the fleet" or Threaten: "Warn the Fleet").

  • If you allow the upload, Legion will sacrifice itself to distribute the new programming and the upload will be finalized. The Migrant Fleet will be wiped out by the newly-enhanced geth, resulting in the extinction of the quarian race. Tali will join her people, casting herself off a cliff; there is a Paragon interrupt, but even with it you will not be able to save her. Shepard will gain the geth as a War Asset, but Tali will no longer be selectable as a squadmate. If Tali did not survive the Suicide Mission or was never recruited in Mass Effect 2, Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay will be present, and will shoot herself.
  • If you choose to stop Legion, Legion/Geth VI will attack, forcing Shepard and Tali to attack it. Several Renegade interrupts will follow allowing Shepard to shoot and eventually kill Legion/Geth VI. The quarian bombardment annihilates the geth in its entirety, resulting in the extinction of the geth race. Thereafter, the Migrant Fleet joins as a War Asset.
  • After you have chosen either of the two options, you may have the opportunity to pass a Reputation Check. Passing it requires an extremely high Paragon or Renegade score, but if the option is available this leads to the quarians and geth achieving peaceful coexistence. The quarians will back down and both fleets will join the war effort, making this the most rewarding outcome in terms of War Assets. While Legion is forced to dissolve its 1183 runtimes to disseminate true intelligence throughout the geth collective, it achieves true sentience and individuality first, and is able to accept Tali's friendship before passing.


Note: The Reputation check's requirements are complex. First, there are factors which seem to be purely pass/fail; missing even one of them flunks the Reputation check:

  • Shepard must have at least four bars of Reputation.
  • Tali and Legion must both be present, which requires an imported save from Mass Effect 2. If no save was imported, Tali will have been exiled and will not be able to support Shepard with an Admiral's authority, while Legion will not appear at all.
  • The mission Rannoch: Geth Fighter Squadrons must be completed.


Additionally, there are other factors which build up Shepard's trustworthiness to both parties; if Shepard has not done enough of them, the Commander will not have the groundswell of goodwill needed to moderate a cease-fire. According to the official Prima Games guide, each factor has a certain "point" value, and at least 5 "points" are necessary for the cease-fire to occur. These factors are:

  • (+2 points) Destroying the heretic geth in Legion: A House Divided. In shipboard conversation, you can ask Legion about the repercussions of your decision, and it will mention that the absence of the Heretics made the consensus to join the "Old Machines" more difficult to achieve. Geth forces are also considerably weakened without the aid of the Heretics, giving the Migrant Fleet an edge in the battle and reducing the quarians' overall casualties.
  • (+2 points) Preventing Tali's exile in Tali: Treason without presenting evidence of Admiral Rael'Zorah's experiments on the geth.
  • (+1 point) Brokering a peace in the Tali/Legion loyalty argument. If the player did not have sufficient Paragon/Renegade points at that time, loyalty of either Tali or Legion would have been lost. In that case -- even if loyalty had been regained later -- this "point" will not count towards the five needed to pass the Reputation check (and broker the ceasefire).
  • (+1 point) Completing Rannoch: Admiral Koris.
  • (+1 point) Saving Admiral Koris during Rannoch: Admiral Koris.

If resolved with co-existence, talking to Tali afterward onboard the Normandy will reveal that the geth are providing invaluable assistance in helping the quarians resettling onto Rannoch. They set up housing and settlements in a far more efficient manner, and volunteers are having their suits loaded with geth programmes that function in mimicking mild virus attacks, which in time will help to boost the quarians' natural immune systems so they can live normally without the environment suit. Tali admits that she can't see the quarians actually ditching the suit altogether, however, as it has become part of their culture. If Shepard and Tali are in a romance, they flirt briefly, with Shepard teasing Tali about allowing geth inside her suit and Tali assuring Shepard that the only one getting into her suit will be him.

Whatever the outcome, the mission Priority: The Citadel III becomes available.

If Kaidan is present, he and James will be found playing poker in the port observation lounge following the mission.

Warning: Completing this mission will reset Shepard's equipped weapon to a default pistol, a side effect of the Commander's use of the targeting laser. Be sure to check your loadout before beginning your next mission to avoid an unfortunate surprise. This can also happen in Mass Effect Legendary Edition.

Enemies

Trivia

  • The scenario where Shepard first awakens the Reaper Destroyer was demoed at E3 2011. Cerberus enemies were used instead of geth in the presentation and it has a slightly longer chase sequence, among other changes not present in the final game.[1]
  • According to Mass Effect Legendary Edition gameplay statistics as of July 27, 2021, 80% of players achieved peace between the warring races. 11% sided with the geth while 9% sided with the quarians.[2]

References

Mass Effect 3 Navigation
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Priority: Geth Dreadnought Missions Priority: The Citadel III
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