Mass Effect 2 Advanced Weapon Training - what to choose
There's a good amount of player choice around character progression scattered throughout Mass Effect 2, and part-way through the game you'll be faced with a particularly interesting branch: a choice of different Advanced Weapon Training options.
Essentially, this option will do two things. Firstly, if your class doesn't already have access to the weapon you choose, you'll be given the chance to use that weapon at last. This is a great way to deal with some of the deficiencies of several of the classes in Mass Effect 2; by giving them a weapon that covers an area of weakness, you can help raise your choice of class up to the point where it's one of the best classes in ME2. Being prompted to choose specialization here is the closest thing to choosing a specialization in the original Mass Effect. You might even find that after a few hours your advanced weapon training choice ends up your favorite and best weapon in ME2.
You can, however, also choose a weapon type that your class already has access to. In this instance, you'll gain access to an all-new and exclusive weapon in that class. This choice is given to the player around halfway into the Mass Effect 2 mission order, during a mandatory mission to board a Collector Vessel. Once it pops, you'll have a tough decision to make...
Mass Effect 2 Advanced Weapon Training: which is the best option?
The first and most important thing to note here is to say that just like choosing a class, there is no absolute answer to the best advanced weapon training in Mass Effect 2. For one, it'll depend heavily on your class - but it'll also depend deeply on your play style and what you're comfortable with. For instance, if you're not much of a shooter gamer, the sniper might not be attractive to you.
We've left our suggestions of the best advanced weapon training choices below - but please just use them as a guide, not the be-all, end-all. You should consider all variables that matter to you, including things like which bonus powers you have or plan to choose.
Note that this is a one-time choice - even if you play ME2 a second time on new game plus, you will not be able to choose a second or different advanced weapon training. It's with you forever, so consider the option carefully. Your choice will likely deeply impact the way you battle through the ME2 suicide mission, but it isn't a choice that carries over to ME3, as changes to that game's mechanics make this choice irrelevant in the next game.
Soldier - Assault Rifle or Sniper Rifle Advanced Weapon Training:
Because the Soldier gets access to all the basic weapon types as default, there's less at stake for them with the Advanced Weapon Training choice. Really, you're not choosing between bonus skills here - instead, you're choosing to get a special weapon. If you enjoy sniping, the Widow Anti-Material Sniper Rifle that you get for picking sniper is hands-down the best of its class in the game.
Meanwhile, the M-76 Revenant is a great assault rifle that's very powerful and is entirely exclusive to the Soldier making the choice of the AR here. The Shotgun you can get is the M-300 Claymore - which you can also research for Grunt to use. It's good, but we don't think it tops the other options for the Soldier class.
Adept - Assault Rifle Advanced Weapon Training:
Ultimately, the Adept is a spell-slinging mage-like class, and they don't have the strength to survive too long at close range. While some Shotguns do have the range, generally speaking they're not a great pick for this class. Sniper Rifles don't fit very well with the spell-slinging nature of Adepts - so by default, it's Assault Rifles. This gives you more ammo, and it's a versatile weapon - but your number one weapon will naturally remain biotics and your own body. If you feel particularly confident, and have the Locust SMG, you could swap the AR for a Sniper Rifle and use it to keep enemies at bay early on in encounters before letting your skills rip later on.
Engineer - Sniper Rifle or Assault Rifle Training:
The Engineer is one of the more difficult classes to pick an Advanced Weapon Training bonus for, but here's our logic. If you use the combat drone a lot and are comfortable aiming a sniper without the time dilation effect Soldier and Infiltrator classes enjoy, you can pick off enemies from afar and use the Sniper Scope to trigger your skills on enemies that are much further away - including your combat drone.
Otherwise, your best choice is definitely the Assault Rifle - the engineer is just too squishy close-quarters to use a shotgun well, unless you play a very cryo-heavy build.
Infiltrator - Sniper Rifle Advanced Weapon Training:
While the Infiltrator already specializes in Sniper Rifles, choosing to eschew that obviously very tempting shotgun or assault rifle training will get you the Widow Anti-Material Rifle, which just happens to be the best and most powerful Sniper Rifle in all of Mass Effect 2. Stick to the weapon types you already have access to and take the Widow.
If you for some crazy reason play Infiltrator and don't use snipers, go for the Shotgun - you can then use the cloak to close in on enemies and the shotgun to one-hit-kill them.
Sentinel - Shotgun or Assault Rifle Training:
Your choice here will depend on exactly how you play the Sentinel, but the idea is the same: the Sentinel's tech armor makes it one of the most survivable classes in ME2, but its lack of up-close weapon options means that while it can duke with the best of them at close range, you rarely do. Getting a good AR or Shotgun changes that. Generally speaking, we advise going for the Shotgun - if you complete Kasumi's Stealing Memory loyalty mission, you should've picked up the Locust - the best SMG in the game, and good enough to rival several assault rifles. The Shotgun gives you that true close-range oomph that'll pair well with the stun explosion when the Tech Armor gets depleted.
Vanguard - Assault Rifle or Shotgun Advanced Weapon Training:
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, surprisingly. The Vanguard is built to be a class that gets in the face of enemies, which means you will not want the Sniper Rifle. Then you have a choice: the assault rifle or the shotgun. Vanguards can use shotguns already, and the M-300 Claymore Heavy Shotgun you can get exclusively here is powerful... but it must be reloaded after every shot, which makes it high risk/reward. If you can nail a shot after a biotic Charge, it's a beautiful combo.
However, the Assault Rifle is far more versatile and generally better for the vast majority of players, as it opens up a wide variety of assault rifles, including some that have decent range and can function as strong mid to long range combat options for when you can't get into close range.