After completing the core mission Reaper IFF, the final mission in the game will begin… although there are some significant caveats here. First, this final mission doesn’t begin immediately after Reaper IFF nor will it start whenever you please. Instead, like Horizon it’ll begin after a variable number of missions following Reaper IFF. This final mission is comprised of several distinct parts (each of which has its own walkthrough page) and while you’re only locked-in to the first of these parts, after it starts you’ll be on a different sort of timer; you can still ignore the rest of the final mission to complete outstanding missions and assignments, but if you do so you risk the survival of your crew.
Ideally, then, you heeded our advice following the Collector Ship core mission and completed all outstanding missions and assignments - particularly recruitment/loyalty missions - before starting Reaper IFF. Having fewer squadmates and squadmates whose loyalty you haven’t secured will negatively impact your operational effectiveness, perhaps resulting in undesirable outcomes during the endgame, the consequences of which will carry over to Mass Effect 3.
If you followed our advice, the only mission you should have left following Reaper IFF is Legion’s loyalty mission A House Divided, which you should be able to complete before this final mission begins. If not, focus on completing any loyalty missions you have: Mordin, Tali, Samara and at least one of either Jacob, Miranda and
Garrus should be priorities, as they can all play important roles during the final mission, and their success and survivability will be improved if they’re loyal.
In addition, you should ensure you get the following upgrades:
- Speak With Tali to upgrade the Normandy’s shields ( Multicore Shielding ).
- Talk to Jacob for a research project to upgrade the ship’s armor ( Heavy Ship Armor ).
- You should also talk to Garrus to upgrade the Normandy’s weapon systems ( Thanix Cannon ).
Make what preparations you can with whatever time you have left; you’ll know the final mission is starting when you interact with your Galaxy Map and an excuse is contrived for Shepard and their squad to disembark the Normandy on a shuttle. After Shepard is gone and the Normandy is left in the hands of Joker and other anonymous and/or non-combatant characters, you’ll find that the Reaper IFF came with some… complications.
Don’t scratch the paint, indeed.
After the scene ends you will be in control of Joker, charged with getting to the AI Core room on the Crew Deck. Joker’s disability, lack of weaponry (and presumably training) and a ship full of Collectors all serve to make this trek dangerous. Leave the Bridge, stick to the left as you pass through the CIC and enter the Lab, where you’ll find a ladder in the far corner taking you to the Crew Deck.
Once on the Crew Deck, continue past an elevator, ignoring the carnage around you, and head into the Medical Bay, through which you’ll find the AI Core. Give EDI the control she wants, then you’ll descend another ladder, finding yourself in Engineering.
Thus far, keeping your head down and pressing onward has been the winning strategy, but on this level, you should remain stationary until EDI tells you the coast is clear - being too ambitious and heading upstairs before the Collectors have moved on is a good way to end up with a critical mission failure. Once EDI announces the way is clear, head upstairs and interact with an “Engine Controls” terminal, ending this sequence.
Point of No Return
Watch some scenes and following Joker’s heroics, the rest of the crew will return and be understandably intent on discussing their next course of action. What you say here doesn’t matter; just like with the Reaper IFF core mission, actions speak louder than words, and even if you have Shepard express a desire to head through the Omega 4 relay immediately, it’ll still be left up to you to actually do so. That aside, you shouldn’t delay matters too much, as the longer you leave your crew in the hands of the Collectors (read; the more missions you complete between now and passing through the Omega 4 relay) the less likely you are to recover your crew intact. Of course, not having recruited and earned the loyalty of various squadmates and upgrading your ship will also negatively impact your odds of survival, so… hopefully you did all that before now.
The actual point of no return, story-wise, is using the Omega 4 relay, but in practical terms, the last chance you had to complete missions and assignments at your leisure - and with no consequences - was before starting the core mission Reaper IFF.
Anywho, it’s too late to fuss over it now. You can, however, still fly around and scan planets for resources (in case you need to complete some research projects) and visit various ports to do some shopping. Doing this shouldn’t imperil your crew, so take care of any last-minute shopping and researching, then head through the Omega 4 relay. You’ll be prompted to confirm this decision by EDI, and we’ll follow suit by providing our own warning…
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