In Mass Effect 2, what changes as you go to higher difficulty levels? For example, does the enemy AI get better or do they just have better armour and damage? Do the hacking and bypass minigames get harder? Are there any other changes?

4 Answers 4


The biggest change is that many enemies get additional armor, shields or barriers. This means you'll have to far more often wear those down so that your powers will work on the enemies. On higher difficulty levels you won't find many unprotected enemies that just have one health bar, most will have at least one level of armor, shields or barriers.

The damage the enemies cause is also increased, staying out of cover is very deadly on the higher levels.

The minigames are not changed by the difficulty level.

I haven't noticed anything really resembling some kind of AI, so I don't think that changes either.

  • Oh god, the insanity of insanity. To go along with this answer, almost every enemy in the game gets a second level of protection above their normal health (shield, armor, and barrier). Some of the tougher enemies and bosses get an extra layer. As you go up in difficulty, you will have to make effective use of both yours and your squads powers.
    – nimbus57
    Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 22:24

In addition to the above, the Geth Pulse Rifle is available for pickup on harder difficulty levels.

  • I did not know this - I was planning to replay anyway, this is another reason! thanks! :)
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 4, 2011 at 10:43

Along with the additional armor, shields and barriers mentioned in the other answer, on insanity the enemies REALLY seem to hate you. From my experience, they target you almost all the time and ignore your squad mates. You will need to make the extra effort to put your squad mates in the line of fire so that you can get some breathing space.

  • Yes on higher difficulties the enemy targets Shepard more often but beyond that the AI is still really stupid and easily exploited. Commented Oct 2, 2013 at 7:47

Mass effect 2 is one of the best series. Yes the armors get tougher for the enemy which means you have to shot more and waste more bullets.

  1. this is what you have to do to save you a lot of time. Take with you AI that are heavy hitters such as Jack and T'Soni why i mentioned T'soni is because of her stasis ability, that is usually useful in a fight.

  2. You have to make sure you weapons are not too heavy and have all upgrades. This way your shield and power recharge is good enough.

  3. Try to combine abilities where necessary, it does a lot of damage.

  4. Always use the freezer mods, freeze the enemies as they come this way it gives you time to shot them but for enemies with tougher armor you have to change to deflector mods instead to drain their armor then shot again.

Using a combination works effectively.

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