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The Mako

The M35 Mako is your IFV, mobile turret, emergency cover, and all-round best friend when exploring hostile areas. It can travel over almost any terrain, no matter how steep or rough. The Mako is also environmentally sealed against EVA hazards.

While the Mako is a match for almost every enemy in the game, you only get half the XP from enemies killed in the Mako on Normal and 40% XP on Hardcore and Insanity combat difficulty, making it much harder to reach level 50 or 60. See the Experience Guide for more.

Legendary Edition: There are several changes to how the Mako operates in Mass Effect Legendary Edition, including removal of the XP penalty for killing enemies while driving it. For a full list of changes, see the section below.

Controls

PC

  • Left click mouse to fire machine gun
  • Right click mouse to fire the mass accelerator cannon
    • Left "Shift" button to zoom view. Keep hitting it to cycle through
  • Spacebar to jump jet
  • "Q" to disembark
  • "F" to Repair

Xbox360

  • Right trigger to fire the machine gun
  • Right shoulder button to fire the mass accelerator cannon
    • Hold left trigger to zoom in
    • Once zoomed in, click right stick to zoom in further. Clicking the right stick again will zoom in even further.
    • The third click or releasing the left trigger will return to normal view
  • A button to jump jet
  • B button to disembark
  • Y button to repair

Playstation 3

  • Press R1 to fire the mass accelerator cannon.
  • Press R2 to fire the machine gun.
  • Hold L2 to zoom in.
    • Once zoomed in, click R3 (right stick) to zoom in further. Click R3 again to zoom in even further.
    • A third click or releasing L2 will return the view to normal.
  • Cross button to jump.
  • Circle button to disembark.
  • Triangle button to Repair.
  • Square button to return to the Normandy.

Driving the Mako

The Mako sometimes wonders where Shepard learned to drive

The side-to-side driver controls on the Mako are very sensitive, at least in the PC version. This is because pressing the turn button makes the vehicle go forward as well as turn, attempting to make a circle about the side of the vehicle, rather than turning the vehicle itself about its center axis.

Suddenly pressing the button can overcompensate, especially on mountainous terrain. This can have consequences that appear to be comedically dramatic, although usually harmless. One solution to this problem is to keep pushing the "forward" or "back" button and tap the "left" or "right" button repeatedly as needed. If you have a lot of space, it makes the turning effect relatively small compared to the forward movement.

You will always return to the same drop off point on a planet, even if you recall to the Normandy. Additionally if you drive far outside the map, or what Joker calls the operational area (i.e. into the red zone outside of the square map), Joker will eventually recall the Mako back to the initial landing zone. You can use these as time-saving shortcuts to move about the planet if you are far away from points of interest.

Systems

Cannon

The Mako cannon vaporizes a Geth Rocket Trooper

The primary weapon and the Mako's heavy artillery, the mass accelerator cannon is extremely powerful and will make a mess of anything it hits. The damage it inflicts also partially bypasses shields. If fired into an enclosed space full of smaller enemies, the cannon will clear the room very effectively. On lower difficulty settings, it will instantly vaporize large groups of smaller enemies in one hit; yet on all difficulties, against larger enemies like Geth Armatures or Geth Colossi, or against stationary targets like turrets, there's nothing to compare with it.

The cannon takes several seconds to recharge after each shot, so plan to dodge or use the machine gun in the interim; the cannon and the machine gun can be used in any order against the same target for maximum damage.

The cannon can be zoomed twice for eliminating enemies from afar with precision. The double zoom is easy and intuitive to accomplish on PC but easy to miss on Xbox and PS3 because it requires clicking the right stick after holding the left trigger. Learn how to do this and you'll easily crack those pirate/merc/geth bases on unexplored planets - you can often arrange to inch around from behind an obstruction eliminating one sniper at a time rather than facing a full onslaught of Assassination.

Machine Gun

The Mako fires its machine gun

The Mako's secondary weapon is a machine gun that handles like a massive assault rifle. While not as powerful as the cannon, the machine gun allows for a lot more precision. It is much better against smaller or individual enemies since it will knock them over rather than blowing them away, which is especially useful if the player does not wish to kill enemy infantry with the Mako. The machine gun's other major advantage is against your opponent's shields. The cannon can take out two shield levels (depending on the difficulty) at once but then takes time to recharge, whereas the machine gun's small projectiles will shred them very quickly.

The disadvantage of using the machine gun is that it overheats with prolonged firing, but careful handling and alternating the machine gun with the cannon should take care of this.

Propulsion Jets

The jets allow the Mako to survive air drops from great heights

These are useful as well as fun. The propulsion jets enable the Mako to jump, making it easier to negotiate rough terrain. In combat they can be a lifesaver against well-armed geth and turrets. An Armature's Siege Pulse or a Geth Juggernaut's rocket moves slowly enough for the Mako to lift over it harmlessly - and you can keep firing the machine gun at the same time. Timing the jumps correctly means you can take out an Armature while dodging everything it throws at you. More importantly, using the propulsion jets messes up enemy targeting. As noted above, enemies will often aim at where you were rather than where you are, and careful use of the jets can ensure their missiles go wide. A good technique is to take cover behind wreckage, use the "jump jets" to pop up, fire on a target and fall back down behind cover.

Tip: Holding down the jump jets is also the most effective way of righting the Mako if it flips over completely, which, while rare, can be deadly if it occurs in the middle of a fight.

Rear Thrusters

Rear thrusters allows the Mako to drive faster on land.

In Mass Effect Legendary Edition, the Mako has rear thrusters available as a speed boost for short periods of time (left bumper button on console controllers or Shift on keyboard). Unlike a similar feature implemented in Mass Effect: Andromeda's ND1 Nomad, there is no GUI indicator on boost expenditure or cooldown. The boosters do not apply a constant force in every situation, but rather are more or less effective depending on the Mako's current forward momentum and contact with the ground. Thus, if your attempt to climb a mountain has already stalled out they won't help, but if you can gain some forward motion further down you can sometimes use them to build enough momentum to get you over the top.

Tip: The rear thrusters have a cooldown that works similar to Shepard's sprint, so it is possible to sustain a slightly higher speed by avoiding the "exhaustion" period.

Shields and Hull

This Mako took a heavy hit after losing its shields

The Mako can take a lot of punishment even on higher difficulty levels, but once the shields are down it can take them a long time to recharge. Though the Mako's hull is sturdy even when unshielded, on higher difficulty levels enemies can inflict heavy damage very quickly; once the hull is gone while Shepard and the squad are inside, it's game over.

Damage to the Mako's hull can be repaired in the field:

  • Repairs cost 15 omni-gel.
  • Repairs always take 10 seconds, regardless of how much damage has been taken.
  • Repairs can be performed once every 30 seconds.
  • Similar to how First Aid works for healing the squad, the team's combined Electronics level adds to how much hull can be restored per repair, and with a high enough combined score the Mako can be fully repaired from almost destroyed.
  • While repairs are in progress, the Mako is stationary and unable to fire. It is also impossible to exit the vehicle. If the vehicle is heavily damaged and there are still enemies around, get some distance between them first and stay out of their line of sight while repairs are ongoing.
  • The Mako's hull and shields can be instantly restored by returning to the Normandy and then returning to the surface, though that isn't always an option.

Tip: Retreating out of combat, saving and loading the save will instantly fully recharge the Mako's shields. Also, disembarking from the Mako once you're a moderate distance away will contract the alert range of enemies and allow you to end combat without having to drive as far away.

Tactics

Cover

The squad making good use of the Mako as cover.

Though fighting in the Mako results in a smaller XP reward, a good compromise is to soften tougher enemies up with the Mako's armaments, then disembark and use the tank as cover to finish them off. Quite often the enemies will focus their fire on the Mako, allowing you to take them on while they're distracted. This works nicely against Thresher Maws (unless you park too close) and Geth Colossi. The Mako can take heavy damage when being used as "portable cover". Although it can only be destroyed if you're inside it, once it starts "sparking" that means it is so heavily damaged that it has no hull points left and you could be instantly killed if you reenter it. In this situation you must either avoid getting in Mako until all nearby enemies have been eliminated or, on an unexplored planet mission, you can return directly to the Normandy from the Map menu.

Warning: The Mako takes damage from your own shots and attacks as well as the ones from your squad members, so watch your aim and move your squad members in order to have a clear line of fire.

Tip: Re-entering the Mako will revive any downed squad members at a low level of health.

Ramming

Mako vs. Juggernaut: a contest in momentum

Ramming is one of the simplest and quickest ways to disable opponents that are isolated, or in small groups. Smaller enemies are crushed for heavy physical damage. Larger enemies like the Geth Armature and Geth Colossi are knocked down and disabled. Note that the Mako can take damage when ramming into large enemies such a Geth Armature.

The primary purpose of ramming enemies is to keep them off-balance and from retaliating in case of large units, or outright heavily damage or kill the smaller ones. On Hardcore and Insanity levels, ramming damage is severely reduced, though that should only mean switching to other viable tactics like doing it again for smaller units, or disembarking and continuing the fight on foot, in close range, which also negates the experience penalty if playing on original Mass Effect.

A "Drag and Drop" can effectively disable a medium-sized enemy such as an Armature which is defending other foes. This maneuver involves ramming the target and dragging them away from their allies, then backing up and shooting them if they survive the impact. This works well on the skyways of Feros, where there is sufficient distance to isolate targets. With terrain hazards, the Mako can also carefully push an the enemy into molten lava or over a bridge or cliff for an instant kill.

It is possible to park the Mako on top of a medium-sized target such as an Armature, trapping it and letting the squad disembark to engage it with impunity. However, check before you disembark and be careful: do not attempt to park on larger enemies such as Colossi, as these titans will only be temporarily disabled, and will be able to throw the Mako off; additionally if smaller enemies are trapped under the Mako they may still be able to damage it.

Hex shields deployed by geth act as speed bumps to the Mako. Ramming them can cause the Mako to tilt upwards and lose momentum upon collision especially at high speeds. Destroy them with guns if possible, unless you deliberately intend to do the action in order to avoid incoming rockets or the like.

Firing on the Move

Why not use "complex" tactics and ram an enemy while firing on it?

Movement can be used to evade enemy fire. If you move directly toward or away from your target, the opponent has to aim less, and you risk being hit more. However, if you move from one side to the other the opponent has to turn and you can be very difficult to hit, as long as you keep moving. AI does not predict your position and tends to fire at where you were, not where you will be as the shot arrives. Another advantage of going side-to-side is that you can get away from the scene if you are hit, make repairs at some sheltered or distant spot and come back.

Thresher Maws and targets in unfavorable terrain require this evasive action, so you will be firing on the move. This will usually require snapshots or tracking shots. With a little practice, you can learn to pre-aim a snapshot: place your sight slightly to one side of the target as you move and then fire just as your sight crosses the target, hitting it reliably. That's what fighter pilots do. It is much more difficult to keep a tracking shot, which involves holding the reticule constantly and consistently on the target and firing.

Dodging

This Mako moved directly toward its target.

Against slow moving projectiles, such as Armature pulses, rockets (from turrets or troopers), and acid spit, it is only necessary to move in order to avoid shots. There is a horizontal dodge, known as rocking back and forth, and a vertical dodge, known as jumping. The rocking technique is preferred against multiple enemies such as the geth as it's easier to avoid multiple projectiles, but the jump technique is best for avoiding acid splash damage.

Rocking back and forth

Begin by turning your Mako perpendicular to your target. In this case you now inch forward and back. This technique combines advantage of the defensive benefits of staying on the move with the easier aiming job of staying in one location.

Tip: Missiles and other projectiles from enemies are always aimed at the front of the Mako at the time they are launched. So, if after aiming and firing you pull back just a tad, any projectiles launched at you in the meantime will miss even if you don't move much.

Jumping and Thresher Maws

Jumping is the vertical version of rocking back and forth: you stay in one position but use the Mako's jets to "jump" in the air avoiding the incoming projectiles. It makes a good "emergency escape button" as it makes a quick shift in position.

For fighting Thresher Maws the jumping technique is much more responsive, and avoids most or all of the splash damage from the acid blob. Because of the quick response time it is actually quite forgiving against a single enemy – you will only take damage while if you get absolutely bullseyed in the moment you are on the ground. Against a Thresher Maw the jumping technique also prevents the Maw from diving back underground and changing position, since you're staying above the same piece of ground. You can stop as soon as the Thresher Maw appears and start shooting it immediately. As soon as the acid spittle appears, hit the jump button to avoid it.

Using Terrain

The Mako isn't afraid to get wet.

The Mako can defeat numerous enemies safely by using the terrain as cover. You can poke the turret in and out of cover such as a cliff or building, and pull back as a projectile approaches much like the dodging techniques. Alternatively, there is a technique that tank soldiers call hull down. Find a small depression in the terrain or a small, gradual rise in it. Hide from your enemies there. Move forward slightly to "peek" over the top. Fire your cannon and go backwards slightly to a position of safety. Repeat as needed. If you happen to get hit, you can stay down and let your shields recover.

This may not be as much fun as running and gunning, but it requires less active effort and can be more reliable. It is also easy to disembark while in the dip in order to gain extra XP. Remember to hide the nose of the Mako. However, it has disadvantages too: the Mako has poor gun angles and sometimes can't aim up or down at the target. Additionally, favorable terrain isn't always available. Notably this technique cannot be used in Thresher Maw nests, as they are flat, and if Shepard leaves the flat area to go hull down they will go back underground.

Glitches and Bugs

  • On Therum, it is possible to take the Mako through the narrow gap in between the two rocks leading to mine shaft where you find Liara. Drive in to the gap, then from inside the gap drive up the left rock until you are completely on your side, wedged between both rocks. Slowly inch forward and use boosts to slide through the gap. The geth will not attack the Mako, and they die after only a couple of cannon shots. Do not try to boost up the walkway in the Mako, since this causes the Mako to disappear and you can not get out. Also saving and loading doesn't fix this; the only option is to load your last save since you can not return to the Normandy, and you can't Save/Load to fix it.
  • It's possible to repair the Mako shields and hull damage by saving and then loading your game. Sometimes, you need to save/load twice. So save/load to restore shields then do it again for hull repairs.
  • When entering the Mako during combat, sometimes the Mako will rocket in the air erratically while acting as if it is colliding into random objects, while slowly taking damage every time it touches the ground, and you cannot control it anymore. There is generally no way to stop the Mako after this occurs except for returning to the Normandy or saving (where you will drop straight down upon reloading). It is unknown what sort of attacks causes this to occur.
  • It is also possible to turn the Mako upside down, after which you will be unable to move it or exit it. This can be done while attempting to climb objects. In both versions, the Mako can be righted again by firing your jets once the vehicle is completely stationary.
  • Sometimes, under extremely rare circumstances, a Thresher Maw can flip the Mako upside down by bursting out of the ground next to the vehicle without destroying it in the process; however, this is a death sentence since the Thresher Maw will almost certainly attack the vehicle again and finish the job before the player can react. This may also have the effect of flinging the Mako across the landscape away from the Thresher Maw.

Legendary Edition

There are substantial changes to the Mako in Mass Effect Legendary Edition, the overall effect being to make exploring uncharted worlds a bit faster and more convenient—for instance the rear thrusters decrease the overall time to traverse planet surfaces and the removal of the XP penalty means the Mako's cannon and gun can make quick work of many enemies even for completionist players. A list of the known changes:

  • The Mako no longer takes falling damage.
  • In the original Mass Effect on PC, the Mako is steered using the WASD keys and the turret and camera are controlled using the mouse. In Mass Effect Legendary Edition, a settings option is added to steer the Mako by camera direction. When this is turned on, the W key moves the Mako in whatever direction the camera is facing. This makes general navigation easier by forcing the Mako to continue in a straight line even if terrain knocks the body out of true. Strafing targets is done by using the A and D keys to move left and right respectively from the perspective of the camera. When playing using a console controller, the left thumbstick controls the direction of the Mako and the right thumbstick controls the angle of the camera.
  • The physics threshold of the Mako is much higher, making it handle more like a tank and less like a dune buggy. Terrain does not redirect or raise the Mako off the ground as much.
  • Moving the Mako does not interrupt or prohibit repairs.
  • The Mako now has rear thrusters that fire for a short burst (left bumper on console controllers) to help push the Mako up hills and over navmesh edges. The prior jump jets remain and the two thruster sets have independent cooldown. The rear thrusters increase the momentum gained from current forward motion (rather than applying a constant force), so they are useful in building momentum to get over the top of a hill but are entirely ineffective once the Mako's motion has stalled out. The rear thrusters also play a key role in battles with the updated Thresher Maw, which can now both lead its targets and chase them around.
  • The experience point penalty for kills while inside the Mako has been removed, removing the need to "mostly kill" a target and then jump out of the Mako to finish it off for the bonus XP.
  • The cannon fires where the reticule points. This allows for targeting enemies below the cannon's pitch.
  • Some of the sound effects have been changed.
  • Mako status bars are visible at all zoom levels.
  • The Mako's shields regenerate faster.
  • The rear lights do not turn off when the Mako is moving.

References


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