Mass Effect 3: How to Unlock the Gunsmith Achievement/Trophy

This guide will show you how to earn Gunsmith, the only trophy or achievement in the Legendary Edition of Mass Effect 3 that can't be earned through a single playthrough. If you've ticked off every other accolade on the achievement list, this will be the last one you need for that Platinum trophy, or to be an Xbox/PC completionist.


Mass Effect 3: How to Unlock the Gunsmith Achievement/Trophy

For those organising the way they earn trophies and achievements in Mass Effect 3 (Legendary Edition), hoping to complete each list of accolades at the end of the campaign, there may be some disappointment. Playing through the trilogy, all three games once each, it’s possible to earn all but one achievement or trophy – Gunsmith. Unlocking this feat requires you to upgrade any weapon to level 10 (X). Although Gunsmith requires you to access Mass Effect 3’s New Game Plus mode, it only requires around an extra hour of effort. 

This guide tread over some Mass Effect 3 spoilers. So, if you’ve yet to play the game at all, proceed with caution. In the meantime, you can try one of my other essential ME guides. For example, find out what happens if you destroy or rewrite the Geth Heretics in Mass Effect 2, or perhaps you’d like to know how to get the best Mass Effect 3 ending where Shepard lives.

Why New Game Plus is Required

To earn the Gunsmith trophy/achievement, New Game Plus is needed because in your main playthrough of Mass Effect 3, you’ll be only able to upgrade weapons to level 5 (V). Along with Reputation, body armour, credits, fish, and models, all your owned weapons and modifications will be carried over. However, in New Game Plus, whilst you have your full arsenal, you’ll find that many a weapon can only be upgraded to level 7 (VII). In order to purchase those last three upgrades for one of your guns, you need to acquire it once again in Mass Effect 3’s campaign, as you did the first time.

In your first playthrough, before you start the final Priority: Cerberus and Priority: Earth missions, be sure you have enough credits to be carried over to New Game Plus. Doing this ensures you can afford those last few upgrades far quicker than having to go out and earn more.

To start New Game Plus, select

To start New Game Plus, select “New Game” then “Import ME3 Character”

Luckily, all the guns you can upgrade to level 10 include all starting weapons. So, as part of unlocking Gunsmith as quickly as possible, you should choose from the M3 Predator pistol, M-8 Avenger assault rifle or the M-23 Katana shotgun. Also ideal, is the M-92 Mantis sniper rifle the M-9 Tempest SMG, two guns you’ll find on the Priority: Mars mission, which you’ll have to play through before you can start upgrading weapons. 

The Walkthrough to Unlocking Gunsmith

As soon as you’ve completed Mass Effect 3’s campaign, you should have the option to start New Game Plus after returning to the main menu. Select “New Game”, “Import ME3 Character”, and begin your Commander Shepard’s customisation before jumping in. If you don’t see the “Import ME3 Character” option available, that’s because when you completed the story in your main playthrough, you already ran out of ME3’s cap of 40 save files. No matter; instead, choose “Load Game”, and you’ll find the autosave for the final mission, Citadel: The Return. Select that option. Doing so will return your main Shepard back on the Citadel with the Catalyst, ready to make your final decision.

Go into your menu and delete a couple of old save files. Next, commence the slow walk to make your final choice again and watch the cutscenes and credits roll. Now, you should have the New Game Plus available.

Skipping through as much cutscene dialogue as you can, speed run through Prologue: Earth and Priority: Mars. As you have all your skill point-buffed powers and stats carried over, tearing through combat encounters should be a breeze. To make it even easier, change your difficulty setting to “Casual”. 

It's quickest to focus on one of the weapons unlocked early in the game, like the M-92 Mantis sniper rifle

It’s quickest to focus on one of the weapons unlocked early in the game, like the M-92 Mantis sniper rifle

Now, let’s go into the earliest opportunity you’ll have to start upgrading your weapons again. This will be after your initial return to the Citadel following Priority: Mars. Sprint through the Embassies to initiate and skip through your mandatory talk with the Council. Then, head right back to the Normandy. Dialogue-skip through your intro talk with Specialist Traynor, and you may finally head down to the Shuttle Bay. Walk to the weapon upgrade table, and you’ll be able to upgrade any weapon you’ve acquired again in your New Game Plus playthrough so far to level 10 (X). At last, the Gunsmith trophy or achievement is yours. 

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