What class should you choose in Mass Effect Legendary Edition?
If you, like me, are looking forward to the upcoming Mass Effect Legendary Edition then you’ll have to accept a simple fact — in order to play the game, you will have to, well, play the game. That means picking a character class out of the game’s six options — Adept, Soldier, Engineer, Vanguard, Sentinel, and Infiltator. You may well be wondering which of these classes is the best. The answer is unfortunately dependent on a lot of factors — which of the three games you’ll be playing, your personality, or if you’re playing Mass Effect 2 and therefore the answer is always Soldier because Soldiers get the M-76 Revenant, the best weapon in that entire game which just does oodles of damage, and if you just can’t live without using your own body as a projectile.
Look, we all know me. I’m the guy who recommends Barbarian every Diablo 3 Season. I’m the guy who has played the same class in World of Warcraft since 2004. So if I tell you to play Soldier when you get the Mass Effect Legendary Edition, well, it’s not going to be a surprise. It might honestly be more shocking when I say Vanguard is a solid backup option, but the thing is? You’re getting three separate games here, and not all the classes in ME play the same across all three of those games.
Every class has its perks, and each changes as Mass Effect progresses
Vanguards are a remarkably fragile class for someone who literally throws themselves at the enemy, and it doesn’t really get good, in my opinion, until Mass Effect 3, which has the best and tightest gameplay of the trilogy. If you go into this release intending to play the same Shepard across all three games, Vanguard might just be my favorite class. But I loved Soldier in Mass Effect 2, because only Soldiers got to use the Revenant in that game, and the Revenant in that game is a firehose of bullets that makes it unnecessary to even equip a heavy weapon — it can kill heavily armored boss encounters against horrible Reaper monsters by itself. I had a blast as a Soldier in ME2.
But I played Adept in ME1 and thought that was crazy fun, and it didn’t really get any worse across the three games — it’s just that other classes, like Vanguard and Sentinel got better. Adept was probably the best class in the original game, just for the fun of throwing stuff around with biotic powers without getting yourself killed by Biotic Charging into groups without any real way to defend yourself once you got there — something that only really got fixed in later games. Yes, I’m still salty at the missed potential of Vanguards for two whole games.
So, what class should you play? Let’s look at what your Shepard might be.
Let’s give a quick rundown of the six classes, and then we’ll go into more detail.
- Adept –If you want to focus on biotic powers, which are basically inherent mass effect fields you can use to do the kinds of things we’d call psionics in another sci-fi setting, the Adept is the primary choice. They can lift, push, and pull enemy soldiers and even entire squads with higher levels, and they gain Singularity, which allows them to make a small black hole that grabs hold of entire squads and can then be exploded with another biotic power. Play an Adept if you’re less interested in shooting and liked the game Control. Sadly, Adepts can’t fly.
- Soldier — If Adepts are the caster class of Mass Effect, with their biotic powers, then Soldiers are the brawlers, with the greatest range of options for shooting people with guns, and expanded options for ultraviolence as the series goes on. Bland in Mass Effect, they become awesome in Mass Effect 2 and remain so in Mass Effect 3, even without the super awesome version of the Revenant from ME2. These are your meat and potatoes damage dealers, but they get the ability to slow time with Adrenaline Rush, which makes them practically unstoppable shooty machines. Plus, in ME3 you get an Omni-Blade for up close takedown attacks and that’s so very sweet.
- Engineer — the world of Mass Effect is one with a lot of robots and high tech weapons, and the Engineer is a master at hacking, usurping and controlling that technology. Their mastery of tech lets them drain enemy shields, set people on fire, and even gain a drone to help them in combat. Think of them as the technological wizards of a future where everywhere is wired and everything has a sophisticated virtual intelligence running it.
- Vanguard — Take the Adept’s biotics and the Soldier’s love of combat, and you get the Vanguard. Biotic self-propelled missiles that use their biotics interchangeably with combat focused skills and heavy weapons like shotguns, they get stronger as ME2 and ME3 roll along, and I’d actually put them ahead of Soldiers as my favorite class in Mass Effect 3. Biotic Change is a very fun ability but careless use of it will get you killed until Mass Effect 3 introduced the Nova ability, which blasts everything around you and clears a space so you don’t get swarmed.
- Sentinel — Just as the Vanguard combines a Soldier’s combat skills with an Adept’s biotics, the Sentinel takes the Adept’s biotic abilities and mixes in some of the Engineer’s tech wizardry, creating a mix that may well be the ultimate crowd control in the ME series. Be it drones, heavily armored aliens, Geth invaders, Reaper Husks — whatever you’re fighting — the Sentinel has a way to give it a hard time.
- Infiltrator — You enjoy the Engineer’s ability to control and manipulate machines, but you also like the idea of shooting people. The Infiltrator does that and it sneaks around with specialized technology that lets it use Tactical Cloak, making them the stealth specialists of the ME games, and they’re great with sniper rifles, letting them line up shots from a distance while hiding from enemy senses. Play an Infiltrator if you prefer stealth gameplay or coming up with clever ways to catch enemies unaware before dropping the boom on them.
Now, the Adept, Soldier, and Engineer are better at their specialties — Biotics, Combat, and Tech abilities — than the Vanguard, Sentinel, and Infiltrator. What these classes lose by mixing two specialties in terms of focus, they gain in flexibility — An Infiltrator isn’t the master of tech an Engineer is, but they have more options in combat. My suggestion is to give them all a try in the first mission on Eden Prime in Mass Effect when you get a chance, and see which one works best for you and your playstyle. But if you know you prefer stealth or using your mind to move enemies and objects around, that kind of tells you what classes to look at.
There are six classes, with various subclasses unique to each game in the series, so whatever you prefer (the Revenant, get the Revenant, only Soldiers can in ME2 and it’s so awesome in that game) there’s a class for you.
Originally published 4/29/2021
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