With Mass Effect 3 launching in North America today, many people, including myself, will be playing it for weeks to come. So, I’ve decided that March is going to be Mass Effect Month here on Top 10 Tuesdays. Each week in March, I’ll do a different Mass Effect related Top 10 list, kicking things off this week with the Top 10 Mass Effect Powers. Because I’ve played a significant amount of the Mass Effect 3 multiplayer demo, this list could still be complete even though I haven’t yet finished the single player campaign, which is why Top 10 Powers is first up. In my opinion, the use of powers in the Mass Effect series elevates the combat above your typical third person shooter. The powers give the combat a much more unique and strategic feel than the average third person shooter, and also help maintain the RPG feel of the game, even during some of the more action heavy moments. Be sure to check back in a few days for my review of Mass Effect 3, but in the meantime, here are the Top 10 Mass Effect Powers.
Be warned, there are very minor spoilers for Mass Effect 2.
10. Throw (Biotic)
Throw is the bread and butter of any biotic, and is also one of the more satisfying powers to use. When you hit enemies with throw, they go sailing through the air at devastating speeds. If you level it up a certain way, you can even send whole groups of enemies flying with a single throw, either killing them outright from the force, or giving you and your squad an opportunity to finish them off while they’re reeling from the impact. Where throw gets really awesome, is when you use in combination with other biotic powers. If you use throw on an enemy or group of enemies that were rendered weightless by lift, pull, or singularity, you can send them flying even further, often completely out of the level. It doesn’t get much better than hearing your enemies’ screams growing fainter as they fly off toward the horizon.
9. Warp (Biotic)
Warp isn’t the flashiest of biotic powers, but it is certainly one of the most useful. Warp is very effective at taking down enemy barriers, it does significant damage to heavily armored enemies, and even causes organic enemies to steadily lose health. Warp is particularly effective against Krogan, as it stops them from regenerating their health, which can be huge help, especially on higher difficulty settings. In addition to the normal effects of warp, it also has addition effects when combined with other biotic powers. From Mass Effect 2 onward, if you use warp on an enemy that is already being affected by certain biotic powers, it will initiate a biotic detonation. In addition to dealing massive damage to a wide area, the detonation also generate significant force, sending enemies flying in all directions.
8. AI Hacking (Tech)
AI Hacking is one of the most effective means of dealing with the Geth and other synthetic enemies, and I always make sure someone in my party can use it whenever I take embark on a mission against the Geth. AI Hacking does exactly what it sounds like, it temporarily turns a synthetic enemy to your side, forcing it attack its teammates. This is not only useful for adding more firepower to your side during a fight, but also at creating a distraction. When an enemy is turned, the rest of the enemies will focus almost exclusively on their former ally until they either kill it or the hacking runs out. This makes AI Hacking very useful when you’re getting overwhelmed, and can give you those extra few seconds you need to heal up and let your shields recharge.
7. Tech Armor (Tech, Sentinel)
In both Mass Effect 2 and 3, Tech Armor is the Sentinel’s unique class specific power. Being a mostly defensive power, it is by no means the most glamorous of class powers, but it is very effective nonetheless. At its highest levels, Tech Armor doubles the strength of your shields, meaning you can take a lot more damage before going down. Even better, you can activate it when lose shields, meaning you can basically recharge your shields on command. Another great thing about it is that it doesn’t ever wear off; meaning you can activate it at the start of a mission, and it will stay active the whole time, only going down if it takes too much fire. The final aspect of Tech Armor is that you can manually discharge it, creating a shock-wave that will stun nearby enemies and do limited damage to enemy shields, giving you a last ditch means of crowd control if you get overwhelmed.
6. Dominate (Biotic, Morinth)
Out of all the powers on this list, Dominate is probably the one most people have never used or even knew existed. Dominate is the unique power for Morinth in Mass Effect 2, and can be assigned to Shepard with advanced training once Morinth joins the party. The only way to recruit Morinth in Mass Effect 2 is to betray Samara during her loyalty mission, killing her and taking her serial killer daughter instead. Because Morinth is an Ardat-Yakshi, a rare genetic condition among Asari, she has unique mind control abilities. Dominate is basically AI Hacking, but instead of only working against mechs and the Geth, it works against any organic enemy. All the tactical benefits provided by AI Hacking apply to Dominate as well, but Dominate can be used in many more situations than AI Hacking can, including against the Collectors, making Dominate one of the most effective powers in the game.