Mass Effect: Legendary Edition - How To Pick The Best Class For You

Each class in Mass Effect is a mixture of combat, biotic, and tech abilities. Here's what that means and how to make sure you're prepared for any encounter.


Mass Effect--the first game in the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition--lets you choose from one of six classes, each with its own skills and special abilities. Finding out which one is right for you will depend on how you plan to approach the game, both in combat encounters and exploring derelict space bases and seedy cityscapes.

It will also depend greatly on your team composition because you'll almost always want to select your teammates to make up for any deficiencies in your own character. If you know what teammates you want to have in your regular squad, you can craft your own character build around whatever they're missing. If you're going in fresh and just getting to know your companions, however, you might need to plan for a more all-around character build, so you aren't constrained by the limitations of your teammates.

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The classes essentially break down into three key strengths: combat, tech, and biotics--aka space magic. Combat abilities focus on enhancements to the general gunplay. Tech lets you hack into systems, including the enemy Geth. Biotics let you manipulate objects in the world, like throwing objects through the air via telekinesis. In the original release of Mass Effect, certain classes came with weapon penalties. That has been revised for the Legendary Edition, which allows any class to equip any weapon. However, some classes do still have weapon specializations, so you can enhance your skills in certain weapon types.

Three of the classes specialize exclusively in one of those strengths, and three others that mix them together, as follows:

  • Soldier (combat) - can specialize in any weapon, use medium armor, train in heavy armor
  • Adept (biotic) - can specialize in pistols, limited to light armor
  • Engineer (tech) - can specialize in pistols, limited to light armor
  • Vanguard (combat/biotic) - can specialize in pistols and shotguns, use medium armor
  • Sentinel (tech/biotic) - no specialized weapon training, limited to light armor
  • Infiltrator - (combat/tech) - can specialize in pistols and sniper rifles, use medium armor

All of the classes in Mass Effect are at least semi-capable fighters, so you don't need to worry too much about being hopelessly outgunned. However, many missions will offer locked doors and chests with extra gear, and to unlock them, you need the engineering skill Decryption. That means that either you or someone on your team should have some engineering skills. If your Shepard doesn't have that skill, make sure you bring along Kaiden, Garrus, or Tali on all your major missions so that you don't miss anything important.

Essentially, you should think about how you want to play Mass Effect before you start customizing your character. If you want to approach it like a cover shooter with plenty of weapon versatility, you should be a Soldier. If you'd like to toss enemies around with mind-powers, you should be a Biotic. If you want to balance shooting and tossing, try being a Vanguard.

Eventually, you can unlock up further specializations. Those options open once you've completed the UNC: Rogue VI mission, which will grant you more ranks to unlock for your class-specific talent. Each class has two possible specializations, which overlap between classes. For example, both the Infiltrator and Soldier get access to the Commando specialization. Those subclasses are:

  • Commando (Soldier/Infiltrator) - combat specialist with improved marksmanship and weapons damage
  • Bastion (Adept/Sentinel) - defensive biotics specialist with a Stasis ability
  • Medic (Engineer/Sentinel) - support specialist with healing bonuses
  • Shock Trooper (Soldier/Vanguard) - combat specialists with high damage resistance
  • Nemesis (Adept/Vanguard) - offensive biotic specialist with improved Lift and Warp abilities
  • Operative (Engineer/Infiltrator) - tech specialist with improved Overload and Sabotage abilities

Those sub-classes allow you to further specialize into particular areas. For example, if you prefer to hang back and let your burly teammates mop up the enemies, you may want to be a Medic. If you want to be in the thick of the action, you might want to become a Shock Trooper. If a particular subclass catches your attention, make sure to choose one of the two classes that will be able to select it once the time comes.

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