New Player Help for Mass Effect 2 features information revolving around the basics of the game and the mechanics for a better understanding of Mass Effect 2 gameplay.


Useful Links

  • Commander Shepard: Information regarding the main character and protagonist, Commander Shepard.
  • Character Creation: A detailed guide that includes Difficulty, Class selection, Pre-Service History, Psychological Profile, etc.
  • Builds: Here are some recommended Builds for your character.
  • Controls: A complete list of the controls of Mass Effect 2 for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360.
  • Weapons: For a detailed guide on all the Weapons and weapon types that can be acquired in Mass Effect 2.
  • Armor: For a detailed guide on all the Armor and armor types that can be acquired in Mass Effect 2.
  • Classes: Information on the starting classes and the advanced classes.
  • Combat: Information regarding the combat phase of the game.
  • Powers: Information regarding the progression of Powers.
  • Walkthrough: A guide on how to complete the game, including all items, NPCs and Locations.
  • FAQs: A detailed guide regarding the most common questions regarding Mass Effect 2.

Beginner Guide



Mass Effect 2 New Player Help


General Tips and Combat

Health, Armor, Shields and Barriers

Health and Shields of Shepard and the squadmates regenerate after a little delay of time of no damage received. Default Health is 200 and shields are 250. Armor reduces damage received in percentages depending on the Armor Set. Damage receive will (generally) first consume the shield bar, then, after the shields are knocked down, damage will consume the Health bar. By depleting the health bar, Shepard will die and the player will have to start again on the last save point.

Another layer of protection is given by the Barriers, which are a biotic Power.



The game HUD is your window into the world. The HUD displays your squad’s status, your enemies’ resistances, your equipped weapon’s current amount of thermal capacity, and which objects in the world are useable. At certain times during combat, the player may want to pause the game, take stock of what is going on around, and issue specific orders to the squad by using the two command radials. The squad command interface allows switches between Shepard’s and the squad’s Weapons. The squad bar is located at the bottom of the HUD and gives information.


The squad command interface allows you to focus specific powers on different enemies. Each class has a list of powers that can be viewed and upgraded from the Squad screen. Highlighting a power shows its description in the lower left-hand part of the screen. By bringing up the command interface, the squad mates’ images appear in the left and right sections. Each squad mate can have up to four powers.When a power is marked red with a downward arrow, it means it is already in use or should not be used.

Starship: Normandy SR-2

After the destruction of the SSV Normandy, Shepard is given a new starship that will serve as a base of operations, the Normandy SR-2. The starship has 5 decks.

  • Deck 1: Captain's Cabin. Where the player can keep track of the Achievements, check basic information about squadmates and check emails. There's also an armor locker.
  • Deck 2: Combat Information Center. Player can access the research and tech labs, armory with stored weapons, the room for comms and mission briefings, and the main airlock. Galaxy Map can be found here.
  • Deck 3: Crew's Quarters. The crew spends most of their time here. Miranda Lawson, Mess Sergeant Gardner, the AI core, Doctor Chakwas, Garrus Vakarian, Legion, Thane Krios, Samara and Kasumi Goto can all be found here.
  • Deck 4: Engineering. Other crewmates can be found here, like Jack, Grunt, Tali'Zorah, and engineers Kenneth Donnelly and Gabriella Daniels. Zaeed Massani can be found here too if downloaded.
  • Deck 5: Hangar. It's the lowest deck and it's not accessible for Shepard, a Kodiak and the M-44 Hammerhead tank can be found here.


The reticle highlights objects you can interact with in the world. Targeting an enemy or combat object gives you context-sensitive information about what types of powers could be used on them. Zooming in on a target greatly increases weapon accuracy.

Galaxy Map

The Galaxy Map can be found on board of the Normandy, in front of the entrance of Combat Information Center (Deck 2) at the center. It's an interactive holographic tool used for navigation. Player can switch between scales of the map, the available scales are: Galaxy, Clusters, Systems and Planets.


During the course of the game, the player will be notified of certain events, like acquiring objects, finding or losing resources, or earning Paragon and Renegade points. Notifications appear in the lower right-hand corner of the screen. Watch for these events to understand your interactions in the game.

 More Information at Combat.


Character Creation

Character Creation

At the creation of a new character, the player will be given the opportunity to choose their Pre-service History, Psychological Profile (Reputation), Class and the appearance of their character. In Mass Effect 2, the player is able to Import their character from Mass Effect 1, this will affect the story in Mass Effect 2, or they can create a New Character by previously acquiring and completing Mass Effect: Genesis, a short interactive digital comic DLC, which will allow the player to make the important decisions of Mass Effect 1 that will determine the storyline in Mass Effect 2.

Character Creation includes the choice between 5 game difficulties, 6 classes, 3 pre-service histories, and 3 psychological profile. It also includes facial customization and additional bonus powers.

More information at Character Creation.


There are six base classes, Soldier, Engineer, Adept, Infiltrator, Sentinel and Vanguard, with variable strength in up to three areas for the player and two squad members. Some classes concentrate all their strength in one skill area; others divide it between two areas to balance tactics: Combat skills deal maximum damage to enemies. Tech skills allow decrypting security systems and weakening enemy weapons. Biotic skills enable brain impulses to manipulate the physical world.

Commander Shepard

Commander Shepard in Mass Effect 2 is the main protagonist and playable character of the game. He is a male (default) Alliance Military Soldier named John, with the Earthborn/Sole Survivor profile. Shepard is classified N7 by the Human Alliance Military, being the hardest and best training for a Human soldier.

Shepard can be a male or female, named John or Jane depending on the chosen gender. That only affects who will be in the romance subplot of the game. The player can customize the first name, which is never spoken aloud in the game, to their pleasure, while the last name cannot be altered for purposes of dialogue.

More Information at Commander Shepard.


Powers can be used to attack enemies or to defend you and your squad. As you gain experience, you acquire Squad Points that you can spend to improve aspects of your character. The Powers available to you and your squad are determined by the Class selected in Character Creation. All Classes feature the Unity Power which allows you to use medi-gels for healing purposes. Furthermore, each Class features a Unique Power that is not available for the rest of the Classes.

More Information at Powers



Shepard's Background.

Commander Shepard was born on April 11th 2154 and is a graduate of the N7 System Alliance Special Forces Program. After graduation, Shepard was assigned to the SSV Normandy as an Executive Officer. 

As Commander Shepard of the Systems Alliance Military, aboard the spacecraft Normandy, you represent humanity’s first and last line of defense against the strange wonders of a vast and often dangerous galaxy.

Morality System

Shepard actions and decisions will influence the interactions and reactions of the characters in the universe towards Shepard. In Mass Effect 2. Actions and decisions in the game are measured in "Paragon" and "Renegade" points, being it, the Morality Score. The Paragon meter increases when your choices are noble, cooperative, or self-sacrificing. Paragons achieve their goals by doing the right thing in the right way. The Renegade meter increases when your choices are aggressive, selfish, or ruthless. Renegades achieve their goals by any means necessary.

Some decisions, like some dialogues require a certain Morality score, otherwise the choice would be unavailable for the player. Some other decisions, like Interrupts, don't require any Morality score, instead, they grant points to the score.

More information at Morality System.


While in a conversation the player will be given dialogue choices in text, but the spoken response will be presented paraphrased from the displayed choice in text. For example, the dialogue choice may be displayed as "Blue Suns?" but the spoken response would be "What do the Blue Suns have to do with this?".

NPCs can be influenced by the use of Charm or Intimidate depending on the Morality score, Charm dialogue options will appear in blue and Intimidate dialogue options in red, if Shepard does not meet the Charm or Intimidate requirements then the option will be greyed out and unavailable.

Mass Effect 2 introduces Interrupts, where Shepard can act during scenes or other characters dialogue. Interrupts are triggered by button prompts, displayed by Paragon or Renegade icons at the bottom of the screen. Interruptions do require Paragon or Renegade points, instead points are given by choosing to interrupt.




Weapons in Mass Effect 2 are divided into 6 different weapon types and are the main way to inflict damage to Enemies and Bosses. All Weapons have 3 different attributes and level (I through X). Higher levels, imply a more damaging weapon, greater accuracy and longer firing periods before overheating in comparison of lower level Weapons. There are many conventional Weapons Shepard can use in battles, but not every squad member can use all the Weapons. When the player choses their Class, they can see that they were limited to specific Weapons (although it is posible to acquire Weapons training while on a specific mission near the halfway point of the story). Team members must follow the same rules.

Types of Weapons in Mass Effect 2.

Assault Rifles Useable by Soldiers: These automatic weapons strike a good balance between stopping power and accuracy. 
Sniper Rifles Useable by Soldiers and Infiltrators: Sniper rifles combine long-range killing power with lethal accuracy.
Sub-Machine Guns Useable by Adepts, Engineers, Infiltrators, Vanguards, and Sentinels: Submachine Guns benefit from a fast rate of fire that can chew up a target's armor or shields.
Shotguns Useable by Soldiers and Vanguards: Shotguns are brute force Weapons that deal tremendous damage at close range.
Heavy Pistols Useable by all Classes: These handguns are all-purpose Weapons that are effective even at long range.
Heavy Weapons: This class of weapon delivers incredible firepower, but ammo is very limited.


When Shepard begins their mission, they are given standard-issue Cerberus Assault Armor. While it's effective in battle, there are better pieces of armor Shepard can acquire while traveling across the galaxy.

Each piece of Armor, such as a Helmets or Gauntlets, offers a special benefit. These benefits include special protection from incoming fire, increased accuracy for head shots, or extra health. The effects of the armor are only available when that piece of armor is in use. It may not be posible to stack multiple pieces of armor in the same category; for example, it is not posible to wear two chest plates at the same time.

Armor in Mass Effect 2 are divided into five categories which are Helmets, Chest Armor, Shoulders Armor, Arms Armor, and Legs Armor.


Upgrades are inventory items of single-use, placed in the upgrade slots for Armor, Weapons, Powers, Squadmates, and the Normandy SR-2. Obtained by research or purchased from merchants.


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