Fact: you’ll enjoy Mass Effect 2 a lot more if you’ve played Mass Effect 1. Going by early reviews, at least. Reportedly, the brawniest of the game’s strong points is its carrying-over of plot dynamics and characters, filling in the picture between the destruction of the Sovereign and Shepard’s reanimation at the hands of shadowy pro-human organisation Cerberus. New allies (and new enemies) are doing the rounds, but you’ll also reunite with former comrades and adversaries, now scattered across the galaxy, visit familiar locales and find answers to some of the original’s pressing questions.
I don’t know about you, reader, but I don’t intend to start this sequel – perhaps Bioware’s best title to date, and a definite GOTY candidate – on the back foot. LevelSkip’s most advanced survey probes have been trawling the ether, scooping up choice Mass Effect haxploits (“Mass Exploits”?) to hasten your progress to the end credits, and thus to a thoroughly well-informed first playthrough of Mass Effect 2.
Don’t read on if you’re a goody two-shoes, or you’re happy to enjoy Mass Effect’s charms at leisure. Do read on if you’re anxious for a glimpse of Miranda Lawson’s underwear.
1 – Print your own credits (infinite cash)
This lucrative work-around is a bit laborious. First, complete the Citadel side-mission involving Dr Michel and her blackmailer. As thanks, she’ll give you a store discount. Avail yourself of it, selling her all your expensive gear. Then trot over to the merchant Expat in the Wards, buy all your gear back at a lower price, return to Michel and sell it again. Rinse, repeat, recline on a bed of cash.
2 – Instant White Knight/Lord of Evil (infinite Paragon or Renegade points)
When you get to the part of the game where Lorik Quinn is deliberating whether testify against Anoleis, it’s possible to chat your way up the morality ladder. Simply approach Lorik once, convince him to testify via fair means or foul, then walk away, walk back, ask him something unrelated, then pick “answer another question” and steer the conversation back to the case. Each time you get him to testify, you’ll bag another 25 Renegade or Paragon points.
3 – From greenhorn to veteran (infinite experience)
In a hurry to bump up your level? Simply chat with Liara the Consort for around a thousand EXP (depending on your progress up to that point), then reload your save and chat to her again. Before long Shepard will be swimming in skill points.
4 – All the armour you can eat (wear any gear irrespective of class)
The most complicated slice of Mass Effect code-trickery of all, but worth doing if only to see fragile pretty-boy Kaiden style some Krogan heavy armor. So here we go: fire up the equipment screen and pick the character you want to equip. Count the pieces of armor from the bottom of the inventory up to the desired item (inclusive). Make a note of the number. Then press X to go to the upgrades screen, and – very quickly – hold Y and press A in succession. If performed correctly, you’ll hear the salvage sound and be prompted to reduce the armor to Omni-gel. Hit B to back out.
You’ll be returned to the upgrades screen, which should now contain duplicated data. Count up from the bottom by the same number of places as before. Now press A to equip the upgrade you’ve lighted upon. Voila, the character should be wearing the “unequippable” armour. Tricky one to get right, this, but persevere.
All these tips apply to the Xbox 360 version – PC users may reap different results. Hope you enjoy Mass Effect 2.