Shepard will loot and purchase tons of gear across Mass Effect: Legendary Edition, and, thanks to some combat tuning, will be able to choose any loadout they want regardless of their class and specialization. In the Mass Effect trilogy, Shepard and their squad primarily fights aliens, Cerberus operatives, and Reapers with traditional guns. They also have the opportunity to use various tech and biotics abilities to fend off enemies and create devastating combinations. In the original Mass Effect series, weapons were often restricted based on a player’s class, with ability-heavy classes only able to use a few more lightweight weapons. Mass Effect: Legendary Edition changes that, removing all class restrictions for weapons and giving Shepard a wider range of proficiencies.
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Now that there are no restrictions, it can be difficult to know exactly which weapons to choose. While playstyle and comfort will ultimately dictate a player’s unique loadout, each weapon type has strengths that may suit it for specific combat situations and allow the weapon to combine well with the tech and biotic abilities of certain classes over others. Here are all the weapons classes in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition and how to choose between them.
How to Choose Between Weapons Types in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition
The weapons classes in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition appear below:
- Pistols/Heavy Pistols: Close- to mid-range weapon designed for mobile shooting; low rate of fire; moderate accuracy even at long range; deals moderate damage
- SMGs: Close- to mid-range weapon with fully automatic and burst-fire options; rapid-firing; low accuracy; deals low damage
- Shotguns: Close-range weapon that fires up to eight projectiles per shot; low rate of fire; great accuracy at close range that gets progressively worse at farther distances; deals high damage
- Assault Rifles: Mid-range weapon that can have high recoil; rapid-firing; good accuracy; deals moderate damage
- Sniper Rifles: Long-range weapon that includes a scoped mode in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 for enhanced vision and accuracy; low rate of fire; excellent accuracy; deals massive damage
- Heavy Weapons: Any-range weapon best reserved for difficult bosses and able to deal damage through any kind of protection, including some cover; various firing rates; various accuracy, deals massive damage
Players should note SMGs and Heavy Weapons do not become available until Mass Effect 2. Heavy Weapons are also far more situational and have fairly limited use before the Power Cells run out.
The following classes were traditionally restricted to the following weapons:
- Soldier: All weapons types
- Engineer: Pistols, SMGs, Heavy Weapons
- Adept: Pistols, SMGs, Heavy Weapons
- Vanguard: Pistols, SMGs, Shotguns, Heavy Weapons
- Infiltrator: Pistols, SMGs, Sniper Rifles, Heavy Weapons
- Sentinel: Pistols, SMGs, Heavy Weapons
With tech and biotics powers, heavy firepower often becomes less important. This is especially true in Mass Effect 3, when carrying capacity affects power cooldown times. For Adepts, Engineers, and even Infiltrators wanting to spam their abilities in combination, keeping a lighter load only for dangerous situations may be the best option.
Players will want to consider how far away they want Shepard to be while fighting. This is not necessarily class-specific. There are Vanguards who prefer to fight with Assault Rifles from moderate range, and Adepts who would prefer Sniper Rifles and long-range attacks. This should help narrow down the weapon type a player selects.
Next, players will want to consider their role in their squad. This does tend to tie to class. If their Shepard will be more of a support, controlling crowds and creating opportunities for heavier-hitters, selecting Pistols and SMGs to focus on using powers may be a good option. If their Shepard will lead, charging into battle, they will often want the heavier firepower afforded by a Shotgun or Assault Rifle, which often deal significantly more damage up close. And, if their Shepard is a tactical fighter, they may want a combination of Sniper Rifle and Pistol or SMG to be prepared for any situation.
It is also important to consider the weapon’s features. Accuracy, fire rate, and damage output are especially important, and weapon types that excel in one area will typically have a weakness in another. For example, Assault Rifles fire effective, damaging burst shots but require several upgrades before they are more accurate. The same is true of Shotguns. Meanwhile, Pistols can be more accurately aimed, and SMGs can fire quickly, but both deal less damage. Players will need to decide whether they want to focus on higher damage or deadlier accuracy and faster firing when selecting their weapons and deliberate the tradeoffs.
Ultimately, a player’s optimal weapon type in Mass Effect: Legendary Edition will depend on their personal preferences, priorities in combat, and playstyle. As long as players build their Shepard’s class well and select appropriate squadmates for each combat situation, they can’t really go wrong with whatever gun is most comfortable to them.
Next: Mass Effect: What Gear to Keep (& What to Sell)
Mass Effect: Legendary Edition launches May 14 for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, with forward compatibility on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
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