So I got Mass Effect to clean up some achievements, and remembered why I hadn’t gotten the Hardcore achievement the first time. Last time, I started with Hardcore, but Lady Benezia kicked my butt. Seriously. So I figured, if I’m just playing for story, and I give up on the Hardcore achievement, I’ll just go all the way down to Casual. So I did. This time, I was stuck on Benezia again… but I figured it out.
How to Kill Matriarch Benezia
First, as soon as you see you are entering her room, save the game. You’ll still have to go through her cutscene every time, but it’s better than having to go through from wherever you were. Saving frequently is something I’ve had to re-learn since the autosaves in ME1 are horrible. So, first you’ll have a couple Asari commandos- all biotics. First thing, move to the right into the corner so Benezia can’t hit you. Her weapon is extremely powerful. Use singularity, stasis, lift, whatever you can to try to slow/ stall/ hold the first commando while you position yourself. It may not be a good idea to get into actual cover since those commandos like to run up to you, and you’ll be stuck. When you get a chance, preferably after you’ve taken down one of the commandos, sprint to the next platform to your right. This will get you completely out of Benezia’s range, and set you up for the next wave. Take out the commandos any way you can. I was playing as a biotic with Tali and Ashley. The commandos are highly resistant to biotic attacks, so make sure your squad has good weapons/ammo (phasic may be worth a look since the commandos use Barrier a lot). Use overload and damping to bust barriers and make the cooldowns higher, as well as overheating their weapons. When squad one is done, she’ll call a couple more commandos and some geth. As soon as you can, hit RB and take stock of your immediate surroundings. On the bottom left platform from the door where you came in, which is where you should be now, I had a geth sniper or commando spawn at least half the time. Take that one out ASAP. Commandos will try to rush you from the right and geth will be down below, under the Benezia platform. When it looks like you’ve cleared out the room, keep going to the other ‘back’ platform to your right. You’ll still be mostly out of Benezia’s range, and you’ll see another geth or two on the next platform. When they are dead, you’ll be at the “last” squad. Several geth and commandos will pop on the two platforms- one to the left, one to the right. Toss a couple grenades at the one to the right. You’ll be relatively safe from the left because of the stairs. Take out the ones to the right, then send your squad forward to the left. Don’t be afraid to use your squad as sacrificial pawns and distractions. (You should pick up Unity as soon as possible though.) Toss a couple more grenades if you have them, and take down the ones to the left. You’ll have another cutscene. As soon as the cutscene is over, sprint up close to Benezia, against the wall. This is to get you out of range of the commandos. Benezia should go down relatively easily, then take out the commandos as they come to you. This is the only way I’ve ever actually succeeded in finishing this fight. Hopefully it will work for you too.
Summary- Phase 1- come into door, sprint right when you can. Phase 2- kill everything, then go right to finish them off. Phase 3- Kill stuff to right, then to left. Phase 4- sprint to Benezia’s wall, kill her, kill others as they come.
So part of the achievements I never earned were the “complete most of the game with XXXX.” Alliance sentinel (Kaiden), Krogan (Wrex), Quarian (Tali), and Alliance soldier (Ashley) all require 45 missions/assignments complete. Asari (Liara) and Turian (Garrus) require 50. Pick up the character you want as soon as possible and take them everywhere with you.
Planets with missions on them (not all are unlocked right away, sometimes you have to do another mission to unlock it, and some are shortened mission names):
Argos Rho– Gorgon- UNC Depot Sigma-23 (UNC Depot Sigma-23)
— Hydra- Metgos (Distress Call)
— Phoenix- Tuntau (Wrex: Family Armor)
Armstrong– Gagarin- Rayingri (all in this system are for Geth Incursions)
— Grissom- Solcrum
— Hong- Casbin
— Tereshkova- Antibaar
— Vamshi- Maji
Artemis Tau– Athens- (Geth Incursions)
— Knossos- Therum (mission world)
— Macedon- Sharjila (Asari Diplomacy)
— Sparta- Edolus (Missing Marines)
Attican Beta– Hercules- Eletania (Lost Module)
— Theseus- Feros (mission world)
Exodus– Asgard- Asteroid X57 (Bring Down the Sky DLC)
–Utopia- Eden Prime (mission world, only accessible in first mission)
Gemini Sigma– Han- Mavigon (Hostile Takeover)
— Ming- MSV Worthington (Lost Freighter)
Hades Gamma- Antaeus- Trebin (Missing Survey Team)
— Cacus- Chohe (Beseiged Base)
— Dis- Klensal (Hostile Takeover)
— Farinata- MSV Ontario (Hostage…)
–Plutus- Nonuel (Negotiation…)
Horsehead Nebula– Fortuna- Amaranthine (Hostile Takeover)
— Pax- Noveria (mission world)
–Strenuus- Xawin (Privateers)
Kepler Verge –Herschel- MSV Fedele (Garrus: Find Dr. Saleon)
— Newton- Ontarom (Dead Scientist)
Local– Sol- Luna (Earth’s Moon) (Rogue VI)
Maroon Sea–Caspian– MSV Cornucopia (Derelict Freighter)
–Matano -Chasca (Colony of the Dead)
— Vostok- Nodacrux (ExoGeni Facility)
Pangaea– Refuge- Ilos (Mission world)
Sentry Omega– Hoc- Virmire (mission world)
Serpent– Widow- Citadel
Styx Theta– Acheron- Altahe (Listening Outpost Theta)
–Erebus- Nepmos (Listening Outpost Alpha)
Voyager– Amazon- Agebinium (Espionage Probe)
–Columbia- Nepheron (Hades Dogs)
–Yangtze- Binthu (Cerberus)
So if you are going after the “majority of the game” achievements, do two of the three initial Spectre missions- Feros, Noveria, Find Liara T’Soni, then do as many side quests as it takes to unlock the achievements. You will have some time between the rest, but the pace tends to pick up, and I always get anxious to finish at that point, so I tend to forget to do side quests.
So where am I right now? 29 of 49 achievements for 670 GS.
Today I earned Singularity Mastery (use biotic Singularity 75 times). This is one of the more useful biotic abilities, along with Barrier, lift, and occasionally throw, so not too hard to use regularly. I still have to use Stasis 75 times, and other than freezing powerful enemies to take out minions or toss a grenade onto them for a terrible wake up call, I don’t find myself wanting to use it in every fight.
I still need to complete the game on Hardcore and Insanity, reach 50th and 60th levels with one character, complete the majority of the game with all six characters (this playthrough is Tali and Ashley), complete two playthroughs (already have one done), kill 150 with a sniper rifle, and use the following abilities 75 times: AI Hacking, Neural Shock, Stasis, Damping, Overload.