One of the things that I really liked about ME3 was the addition of the firing range in the Spectre office on the Citadel - it's a good opportunity to test out weapons and mods without having to save and reload a mission. Gives you a good idea of how things will behave in the field, although I wish they had an option for you to fire from cover rather than just standing up. I never had much use for the Vindicator either - it really needs the recoil damper mod to be effective at range and the ammo's limited. Before I went crazy on DLC guns I stuck with the plain vanilla Avenger until I got my hands on the Phaeston. I still upgrade the Phaeston even though I hardly touch it - not the best punch, but that's about it's only vice. Maybe it's because I have the PC version (actions spread out over a keyboard rather than a controller, could never work those things worth a damn) or my preferences in a shooter are a bit different, but for me combat was the one area where ME3 definitively blew the rest of the series away. The cover mechanics, the combat moves (I get frustrated replaying ME1 and 2 about being unable to roll), the weapon mods, the weight capacity system, power combos, and the enemy AI are pretty good. The grenades are my main complaint since I generally can't throw them worth a damn. If enemies are using cover, either use a precision weapon to hit their exposed bits or equip a piercing mod and shoot right through obstacles. Spec a Javelin properly and there's no cover in the game that can stop that bad boy. As for the smoke screens, my best counter to that is a sniper rifle with a scope mod - peek-a-boo, blam you're dead. The Raptor is a glorious gun for that - it's less of a pure sniper rifle than a scoped semiauto battle rifle, two weapons for the price of one. My advice would be to try and get the hang of the combat system before progressing too far in the game. Some later opponents (especially Phantoms if your aim is at issue) may well make you scream in rage. I'm fairly good with the guns and I still prefer to fry those biatches with hitscan powers where available. Nemeses are also slippery as hell and about the only time you can line up a good shot on them is when they're scoping you down. Brutes and Banshees aren't hard to hit (well, Banshees can be when they're teleporting around), but they require a LOT of firepower to bring down. The Atlas also can take a beating, but I don't find it that difficult - easier than the YMIR from ME2, since the fire rate is slower and it doesn't move as fast.