Soldiers drop the fancy biotic and tech powers in favor of the best weapon based powers and weapons in the game. Insanity difficulty throws the hardest Reapers, Geth and Cerberus ops at you, so there’s no skirting around the truth – it won’t be a cakewalk. I suggest making any Insanity playthrough at least your second one, since you’ll have your previous Shepard at your disposal. This means more powerful weapons (ten upgrades instead of only five per weapon), and keep your points you’ve put in your powers, and for your squadmates as well.
The biggest rule to surviving Insanity – pick your squad well! Don’t load up on weapons specialists – make sure you’ve got a nice mix of all fields. My go to team tends to be Garrus and Liara, though I did switch from Garrus in favor of Tali when you get her later in the game. Liara’s Singularity power is extremely helpful when facing unarmored opponents, and Tali’s Sabotage ability can take control of Cerberus Atlas mechs, and all types of Geth, which is extremely helpful to bide your time with. Also, if you have Javik, the Prothean, highlighted in the DLC From Ashes, I highly suggest you use him. His Dark Channel power can wipe the floor with low level enemies in a blast, while you’ve got your head down. Combine the power with Liara’s Slam ability, and you’ll deal crippling damage to annoying Cerberus turrets. I tended to stay away from characters like James and Ashley because I found the other squadmates to be so much better. EDI isn’t a bad choice if you’re facing Cerberus or Geth forces, either, though I found Tali more useful in that field.
Make sure you cover all of your bases when choosing your powers, first and foremost, because you’ll need as many of them as you can at your disposal. In terms of what kind of ammo you’re going to run, I suggest Cryo ammo above all else. Max that power out, and unloading on your enemies will leave them frozen for a long while, leaving your squad to clean up the mess, or for you to finish the job. I find the power more effective than Disruptor ammo or Incendiary ammo, due to their lackluster effects. Don’t leave Disruptor ammo in the dark, though. It’s very helpful when fighting Cerberus operatives and the Geth in general, stunting shield recharging and temporarily stunning them.. Another key power is Adrenaline Rush. While sort of nerfed from Mass Effect 2, it’s still extremely useful for being able to keep your shields up, and to slow down your enemies while you get in a more powerful shot. Concussive Shot isn’t a bad power, but Garrus has that power, as well, so you don’t need to invest heavily in it, since everyone’s favorite Turian has it covered.
Weapons and Mods
Soldiers have the most weapons readily at disposal, and have the most weight capacity, to boot. I tend to leave out SMGs and pisols, just to keep the powers in check, because the more weapons you have, the more time your powers will take to recharge. I mainly use a maxed out Viper sniper rifle, the Mattock assault rifle, and most of all, the Geth Plasma Shotgun. The Viper will do plenty of damage at a steady fire rate. Combined with ammo powers and it’ll do brutal damage. The Mattock is a great semi-automatic assault rifle, and with a modded scope, you can do some massive damage in one clip. The Geth Plasma shotgun is easily the best close quarters gun in the game, you’ll be blasting your enemies to bits in no time. Upgrade that mofo and watch body parts fly, because it’s a very good mid-range weapon, especially if you charge the blast first.
As far as mods go, you’ll have a lot to work with. For assault rifles, I always add an ammo capacity boost and a damage proficiency boost, as well. For guns like the Mattock, it really adds the extra bump you need to destroy your enemies. For snipers, I add an upgraded scope, which can see through Cerberus smoke grenades, and keeps it more stable, as well. Shotguns get a damage boost and a bayonet. When you’ve got Husks breathing down your neck, nothing beats shotgun blasts and enhanced melee attacks.
Armor and Health
Mass Effect 3 has a lot of armor types to offer, with full suits or parts of a whole, as well. The default gives you a nice health and weapon boost, but if you want to experiment, try going all out with melee damage. Combine it with the aforementioned shotgun bayonet will make husks one hit away from extinction. If you want to play more safely with shields and health, keep a look out for the Collector armor, which offers a boost to health, shields, and shield recharges. Definitely nice when you’re doubled over some cover clinging to your last sliver of health. Speaking of health, make sure you buy up those medi-gel upgrades found on the Citadel and on the Normandy. A medi-gel recharges your health, and your squadmates health. Having 8 medi-gels ready when Cerberus has a price on your head comes in handy, especially when bogged down by an Atlas mech or a group of Engineers with turrets in hand.. Health tends to go down…fast on insanity, so keep that in mind if you try to rush a group of Centurions. Be cautious and concise with movements, and you should have no trouble staying alive.
Keep Your Head Down!
This goes without saying, but you really need to make sure you are attentive for higher tiered enemies, like Cerberus Atlases and Reaper Brutes and Banshees, as they will take you down if you even hesitate for a second out of cover. Lesser tiered enemies like Geth Hunters and Reaper Marauders are still worth keeping an eye on, as they’ll tear you a new one as well. Also, when you discover Reaper Banshees later in the game, make sure you completely unload your whole squad on it, because those creatures will mess you up. Because of Mass Effect 3’s simple refinement to Mass Effect 2’s battle system, cover is a lot easier to go in and out of, so keep under cover as much as you can. You’ll be sidestepping (and rolling) Cerberus and Reaper infantry grenades a lot, so don’t let one of them get close, they’re an instant death if you’re too close. Also, say your prayers before you take on Grissom Academy. You’ll need plenty of them.
Being a soldier isn’t for the weak of heart, but with the right guns, you’ve got what you need to take on a dozen Banshees. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, so keep your wits and don’t use your tactics sparingly. Follow this and you’ll be able to live up to Commander Shepard’s name.
Video credit goes to YouTube user Xairia88. The video shows exactly how a good Insanity run though works. Lots of roll cover, good uses of Adrenaline Rush, and appropriate spray and pray tactics. Also there isn’t an incessant annoying voice behind the gameplay, so that’s a plus. The video contains spoilers for the plot, so watch at your own risk. Now go out there and kick some Reaper ass, Soldier.