Guide on playing the infiltrator in Mass Effect 2. Strategies for hardcore/ insanity, as well as some gimmicks for casual players having a rough time getting through.
The infiltrator is the sniper class in Mass Effect. I have played through 'insanity' in both Mass Effect 1 and Mass Effect 2 as an infiltrator. In this guide I will be discussing the abilities and strategies I used during my Mass Effect 2 Insanity play through.
Bear with me, as this is my first guide. :D
I have found this to be the number one key ability while playing the infiltrator. Tactical cloak gives Shepard a short duration of invisibility paired with an increase in damage. Investing in this ability will give you the option to choose Enhanced Cloak or Assassination Cloak. Enhanced Cloak increases the duration of your cloak by 8 seconds, while assassination cloak will give you an additional 35% damage increase (75% total.) I personally opt for the assassination cloak just because I found that managing cloak time is relatively easy, and I rarely need more time on it in life or death situations.
Tactical Cloak has several uses, including buying you time to grab cover when necessary, giving you time to reach a more desirable sniper's nest during a fight, and extra damage. If you are in a position where you are not needing tactical cloak to maneuver around the battlefield, activating it will give you precious seconds to free-shoot at your enemies alongside the inherent damage bonus granted by the skill. It is also important to note that if you are the last member standing in your squad during a fight, cloaking will force the enemies to 'freeze,' giving you time to grab several easy head shots or run for better cover.
This is another essential skill, especially when tackling the harder difficulties where you run into more defenses on your enemies. Incinerate is great against armored targets and does a decent amount of damage to barriers and shields. Another perk to note is that it will stop enemies from regenerating health (yes blood pact, looking at you). Incinerate may be shot at an arc to damage enemies in cover. Incinerate may be upgraded to a high damage single target or an aoe.
AI Hacking allows you to briefly turn a synthetic enemy on its allies. This skill is meh. It will not work until your enemies shields and armor are down...at which point they are as good as dead anyway. HOWEVER, I did invest one point into this ability for those situational uses when you may need a distraction/ cannon fodder. I would not advise using more than 1 point. Keep in mind that there are many missions where this ability will be about as useful as a dead cat.
Cryo ammo is great on the normal/ lower difficulties. And I would say it is a necessity for casual players (veteran difficulty and below). This ammo will freeze targets that are not protected by armor, barrier, or shield. Soooo....you are shooting at still targets. That paired along with the chance that shooting a frozen target may cause it to shatter, which is always fun to watch, makes the easier modes substantially more...well...easy. Once you start hitting hardcore and beyond, when enemies have more defenses, it loses its luster. I have played through the game with and without cryo ammo. I will go into disruptor ammo next. Some players swear by cryo ammo, but I have found disruptor to be more beneficial on insanity. At its highest rank, you may choose for a single more powerful version for yourself, or squad-wide cryo ammo.
Disruptor ammo is great for sniper-rifle-bearing-infiltrators. It is effective against shields and synthetics, and given that our sniper rifles tend to be a little on the weak side against shield defenses, this ability is a great supplement for us. As you rank this ability up, you gain the ability to disable synthetic and overheat weapons. At its highest level, you may choose to have a devastating disruptor ammo for yourself, or a squad-wide ammo. I invest in this ammo type, because of its shield strong bonus paired with a decent cc.
Operative is our class-enhancing talent. Health/ cool-down/ reputation bonuses are all encompassed in this talent. It also gives us a neat 'slow down time' as we aim with our sniper rifles. This is awesome. Makes head shots ridiculously easy, and with every bullet counting, its a great infiltrator insurance plan. This ability splits into “agent” and “assassin” at the end. Agent provides us with a blanket increase in stats and decrease in cool downs while assassin grants us more damage and an additional 'slow time' bonus when using our sniper rifles. I always choose assassin. The increase in damage is great, and it also effects our incinerate and ammo powers. Like I said when I talked about tactical cloak, I rarely need more time to get out of a sticky situation going all out damage, so I am not going to change it.
I build my infiltrator with sniper rifles in mind. I have heard of people playing an infiltrator focusing more on the other weapons, but why would you play an infiltrator if you didn't want a badass sniper rifle?
That being said, I am also a glass cannon. I found this to be ok, even on insanity, because of tactical cloak, our godsend.
Even with tactical cloak, we want to be aware of our surroundings and find a suitable area to fight from. We want to be able to see the battlefield with minimal paths to reach our Shepard. We are not a run up and shoot class. I like to use my squad mates to cover the paths to Shepard. This provides me with extra time, should they reach my nest, to dispose of them while my squaddies are “tanking.”
At the same time, we want to be aware of a secondary area, if our first becomes compromised. It's usually not hard to do, and I am probably writing too much and making it sounds difficult, but we want to quickly scout for another area with sufficient cover that we can reach preferably in the time of a tactical cloak. Never assume you will be in the same spot for each battle. Of course, many times you will be, but don't get caught with your pants down.
Volley Ball with Melee
Ah...this is an amusing strategy I found on my first insanity play through. This involves placing your squaddies a decent distance from you, still in good shooting range of course. 9 times out of 10, enemies will go after Shepard. Even if you are making cookies while Garrus slams them with a concussive round. They hate you. Pair this with the fact that melee enemies can really be a pain. Using tactical cloak will default the enemies to your squaddies, forcing the melee ones to change their course and run over to them. I guess it makes sense to them that people can just disappear. Anyway, you buy time here two ways, first being the time of your tactical cloak. Nothing will go after you while its up. Secondly, the enemy has been running away from you while you were cloaked. This gives you the time it took for them to run from however close they were to you, to your squaddie, and back. This will be sufficient to kill most anything.
You Have Other Guns Too
Even though the sniper rifle is the superior weapon in all regards to everything ever created, there are situations where you don't want to floor your enemies that bad. Ok. Maybe there are some situations where sniping isn't the preferred method. For example husks. Yes, you can run back and snipe all 20 or so that come at you, but that's rather silly. Especially when you have quicker guns that you can shoot on a run. Throwing an incinerate while running and shooting with say, a pistol or assault rifle will probably take care of those pesky husks much more efficiently than sniping them.
Remember grenades. I have seen many great players forget about the simple things.
Know the encounter before you go in. Will you be facing armor? Shields? Barriers? Make sure you adjust your heavy weapon to the more difficult parts of the encounter. Nothing makes you feel quite as bad as going into an encounter against a barrier boss with a barrier weak heavy weapon. They are there to be used! Don't horde your ammo on the tough stuff!
I don't want to put anything concrete here. Yes...there are combos that work great together. But the truth is, there are so many.
I will generalize it though.
You want a variety of skills. You also want to know the encounters ahead of time. If you know that you will be facing a majority of X defenses, build a team to counter that.
I usually run with the combo of Thane and Garrus. This allows us to dispose of enemies quickly at a distance. We have overload, warp and incinerate, which gives us a good variety of ways to dispose of multiple defenses. The drawback of this team is low survivability. We're all glass cannons. If you have difficulty killing enemies before they get to you, you may want to swap for Grunt or Zaeed.
There are tons of great combos. Miranda and Grunt are another that I would highly recommend.
First, I want to thank bioware for creating the mass effect world and making this guide possible. I also want to thank my boyfriend who is just awesome and supportive, even when it's something he isn't in to.