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This question is similar to How soon do I have to change difficulty levels to get the Mass Effect 3 insanity award?, but for Mass Effect 1 instead.

When you begin a new game in Mass Effect, there is a period between the opening cinematics and the first combat mission where you get to roam around the bridge of the Normandy. During this time, it's possible to enter the settings menu and change the difficulty of the game.

If I change the difficulty from a lower level to Insanity, and leave it at Insanity for the rest of the game, is it possible to receive the Insanity achievement?

I ask because I have a high level character that I used to beat the game at a lower difficulty, and I want to import that character into a new game so that I don't have to start an Insanity playthrough at level 1, but when I do the import, the new playthrough starts off using the lower difficulty, the game doesn't give me the option to begin the new playthrough on Insanity. As far as I can tell, the only chance I get to increase the difficulty is right after the opening cinematic.

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According to an identical question on Gamefaqs, there seem to be 2 likely scenarios:

I know you can get the achievements from New Game+ if you change the difficulty before leaving the Normandy, and others say that as long as you change the difficulty level before you leave Eden Prime you will get the achievement.

Which is from the top voted answer. The other answer says

You have to change the difficulty to insanity BEFORE examining the beacon on Eden Prime. You might want to do it once you take control of your character just so you don't forget, but if can remember, do what I did.

So you're basically safe if you do it as soon as you gain control of your character. Free roaming around the Normandy also seems like a safe time to change difficulty.

As Ryan mentions in a comment below, he confirms that you can set the difficulty as late as just before the beacon activation.

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  • Thanks, I'll upvote and accept as soon as I can confirm in-game that this is correct (basically, I have to go beat Insanity :P). – DarthPizza Oct 2 '15 at 3:20
  • Good luck @DarthPizza! – Broots Waymb Oct 2 '15 at 13:25
  • I can confirm from personal experience that you only have to have the difficulty set properly before the point that you activate the beacon on Eden Prime. – Ryan Oct 21 '15 at 14:56
  • i guess they never beat insanity... – Kevin Fischer Dec 28 '16 at 22:03

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