|This article is about general controls and mechanics for NPC party members across all major games. For information about the individual NPC party members and their capabilities in each game, see Squad Members Guide, Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 2), Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect 3), or Squad Members Guide (Mass Effect: Andromeda).|
A squad is the group of team members which Commander Shepard or Pathfinder Ryder can select to accompany them on field missions, or while visiting one of the main civilized centers such as a station or planet.
A squad is typically made up of three members: Shepard/Ryder and two non-player character ("NPC") squadmates. Although, for some specific missions, such as loyalty missions, a specific team member is required. In addition, the squad can, for some missions or assignments, be reduced to two members, or even to Shepard/Ryder alone.
Legendary Edition: In Mass Effect Legendary Edition, NPC characters from the Mass Effect trilogy that this page notes as requiring separate Downloadable Content to unlock do not have this requirement, as Legendary Edition incorporates almost all DLC that was previously released for the games of the Mass Effect trilogy.
Mass Effect 2
- Kasumi Goto1
- Thane Krios
- Miranda Lawson
- Zaeed Massani2
- Tali'Zorah vas Neema
- Samara or Morinth
- Mordin Solus
- Jacob Taylor
- Garrus Vakarian
- Liara T'Soni3
Mass Effect 3
- Kaidan Alenko or Ashley Williams4
- Tali'Zorah vas Normandy6
- Liara T'Soni
- Garrus Vakarian6
- James Vega
- Aria T'Loak7
- Nyreen Kandros7
- Urdnot Wrex8
- Miranda Lawson9
- Jacob Taylor9
- Zaeed Massani9
- Kasumi Goto9
1 Requires Kasumi - Stolen Memory DLC pack (or LE)
2 Requires Zaeed - The Price of Revenge DLC pack (or LE)
3 Temporary squadmate during the missions of the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC pack (or LE)
4 Depending on decision made during Virmire: Assault
5 Requires Mass Effect 3: From Ashes DLC pack (or LE)
6 Depending on if they survived Mass Effect 2
7 Temporary squadmate during the missions of the Mass Effect 3: Omega DLC pack (or LE)
8 Temporary squadmate in Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC pack (or LE), if alive
9 Available in the Armax Arsenal Arena in the Mass Effect 3: Citadel DLC pack (or LE), if alive
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Squadmates are chosen from a screen whenever Shepard leaves the SSV Normandy (or the Normandy SR-2 in Mass Effect 2). Shepard may only take exactly two squadmates in any "shore party," so choose carefully as Shepard cannot usually reselect squadmates after leaving the ship, and certain missions, especially major ones, may restrict Shepard's ability to return to the Normandy.
The squadmate selection screen for Mass Effect displays the six possible squadmates. If a particular squadmate is not available, their name is not shown and only a blackened silhouette of the character is visible. Below the squadmate name is a box which has one, two, or three different colored bars:
- red representing combat strength
- purple representing tech strength
- blue representing biotic strength
At the bottom of the squad screen is a box showing the total strength of the squad.
- Initially, it shows only Shepard's strength.
- When a squadmate is selected, the squadmate will become highlighted, move forward from the others, and the squadmate strengths will be tabulated in the bottom box.
Once both squadmates are selected, the option to either keep the squad, or reselect is given.
Mass Effect 2
In Mass Effect 2, Shepard can reselect the squad at the following locations or times:
- the Rapid Transit terminals on each level of the Citadel
- the airlock to the Normandy on Omega and Illium
- the Kodiak on Tuchanka
- landing on one of the hub worlds (Omega, Illium, the Citadel, and Tuchanka)
- the start of any mission or assignment, including any mission that begins while on a hub world
For example, if Shepard chooses Miranda and Jacob for the squad when landing on Omega and then starts Mordin's recruitment mission while there, Shepard will again have the option to choose the squad at the start of the actual mission.
In Mass Effect 2, the squad screen is quite different.
- Squadmates that haven't been recruited are represented by a datapad icon, while those that have been killed are colored red.
- When hovering over a squadmate, two or three options are available: select for the squad, remove from the squad, and switch outfits (if alternate outfits are unlocked).
- By selecting "Info", a box opens that shows the name, what weapons can be used, and what powers are unlocked.
- If a squadmate doesn't have a power unlocked yet, it is greyed out.
- If Shepard has not recruited the squadmate, the datapad icon in that place will be blacked out or highlighted (depending upon whether Shepard has an active dossier on the squadmate). An active dossier will allows a description of the squadmate to pop up.
- If there is a red ring around the squadmate's feet, that squadmate is loyal.
Shepard can also change a squadmate's outfit or view the squadmate dossier from the private terminal in the Normandy's CIC or Shepard's cabin. Shepard can change the weapon loadouts of squadmates at the Weapons Locker in the Normandy's armory on deck 2.
Mass Effect 3
In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can only choose the squad when leaving to go on a mission. During some major story missions, a squad member might leave the squad and will sometimes be replaced by a new member, though not always. Shepard explores the Citadel (and other environments not visited during an actual combat mission) alone but can encounter squadmates on the Citadel as well as some former crew members from the Normandy.
In Mass Effect 3, the squad screen functions are much like those in Mass Effect 2.
- No icons are displayed in the place of squadmates, however, as squadmates are only added once recruited.
- From the screen Shepard can change squadmate outfits, which have bonuses for the squadmate's individual stats (unlike in Mass Effect 2 where the outfits are there for purely cosmetic purposes), and view squadmate powers and weapons.
In Mass Effect 3, when not on any mission, Shepard can change squadmate outfits and view powers from the terminal in Shepard's cabin only. The CIC doesn't have that option.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
In Mass Effect: Andromeda, Ryder can choose the squad:
- right before leaving to a land-able planet
- at a Forward Station on a planet
- from any loadout station including the one near the exit aboard the Tempest
Just like in Mass Effect 3, Ryder can encounter squadmates on the Nexus as well as other crew members from the ship.
In Mass Effect: Andromeda, the squadmate selection screen is noticeably different.
- The background is a darkened blue and green scene which appears to be neurons inside the brain.
- Squadmates that have not yet been recruited have a dark gray silhouette that says UNKNOWN and LOCKED on it, as well as a lock symbol.
- Selected squadmates have a green checkmark in the upper right corner of their picture.
- Squadmates that are required for a particular mission have a small handshake icon in the upper right corner of their picture.
- Several buttons can allow Ryder to view squadmate statistics or bios, but not perform cosmetic changes like in previous games.
- Remember that squadmates only do about half the damage of Shepard/Ryder, no matter what weapon the squadmate is using, so use the squadmate for covering fire or to pin down enemies rather than for taking them out.
- Despite doing less damage with weapons, squadmates typically are very accurate, often more accurate with certain weapons than a human player could possibly be. They also usually have no issues with running out of ammo, though they still have to perform reloads/let weapons cool down as needed.
- Against especially difficult enemies, relying excessively on squadmates is not recommended, not just because of the damage penalties squadmates suffer from but for the simple reason that very tough enemies are designed to be a threat to the entire team and to require combined and coordinated effort to take down.
Each game is different, but some threads stay the same.
- Keep up to date with what the squad is using, in addition to what Shepard/Ryder is using.
- Keep adapting the squad based on the situation being faced in a particular fight or on a particular mission.
- Each squadmate has strengths and weaknesses as does Shepard/Ryder, so squad composition should be based on a careful evaluation of these.
- The squad is there to support Shepard/Ryder, not to do all the work.
Note: In Mass Effect, if Shepard doesn't have access to either Electronics or Decryption or doesn't have them at a high level, bring along a squadmate with one or both of those talents at sufficient rank to be able to access crates, lockers, and other secured objects. Shepard is not required to personally have those talents to do this, as anyone in the squad will suffice. Garrus, Kaidan, and Tali have access to both talents, while Liara has access to Electronics. Ashley and Wrex do not have access to either talent.
Commanding Your Squad
Each version of Mass Effect has different controls. On the PC Shepard can command each squadmate individually, while on the Xbox 360 and PS3 using any of the commands will order both of the squadmates to do the same thing.
Xbox 360 and PS3: Use the D-pad to command squadmates.
- Pressing "Up" on the D-pad will order squadmates to the position where indicated.
- Pressing "Left" on the D-pad will order squadmates to rally on Shepard.
- Pressing "Right" on the D-pad will order squadmates to focus fire on the selected target.
- Pressing "Down" on the D-pad will order squadmates to hold position.
PC: Use the HUD to command squadmates by moving the mouse over the HUD for the appropriate squadmate. The upper box functions the same way as the D-pad controls.
Reviving Your Squad
In Mass Effect downed squadmates can be manually revived in a few ways:
- The Unity ability (Shepard must have Spectre Training to unlock this).
- Getting into the M35 Mako will cause squadmates to automatically be revived inside the vehicle at a low level of health.
- Engineer or Sentinel Shepards with the Medic class specialization can revive downed squadmates by deploying medi-gel through use of the First Aid talent (defaults are 'F' key for PC, 'Y' for 360, and 'Triangle' for PS3).
Using Squad Talents
Talents are the biotic and tech abilities that Shepard and the squad have access to. The abilities have varying effects and recharge times, so use them wisely. When selecting squadmates, it is recommended that to try and keep a balanced squad of combat, tech, and biotic strength. However, each mission or assignment will be different, so plan accordingly.
All squadmates suffer a weapon damage penalty, meaning that squadmates don't do as much baseline damage with weapons as Shepard can. However, squadmates do possess a high degree of accuracy with weapons, even when untrained in a particular weapon, and they can land shots and track targets with machine-like precision and without being thrown off by recoil.
In most cases, squadmates can use the same equipment that Shepard can, including weapons, armor, and any modifications to these. Exceptions to this include grenades and other restrictions that may apply because of a particular squadmate's species (e.g. Tali can't wear non-quarian armor) and class (e.g. Ashley can't equip omni-tools or biotic amps). Even if you don't plan to use a particular squadmate, it's still a good idea to update the quality of that squadmate's gear periodically, in all categories of equipment: Biotic amps, Omni-tools, armor, weapons, and the various upgrades.
When it comes to squadmate equipment, keep in mind that while squadmates don't do as much weapon damage as Shepard, squadmates are still powerful and can save Shepard's life on the battlefield; they are also able to continue fighting in situations where Shepard has been knocked down or otherwise hampered. There should be no stigma attached, for example, to giving Ashley a better assault rifle than Shepard, especially if Shepard is untrained in Assault Rifles.
At almost any time during the game when out of combat, Shepard can change any squadmate's equipment at their respective locker in the Cargo Bay of the SSV Normandy SR-1. During missions and even in the midst of combat, it's possible to change a squadmate's equipment from the main menu, but only for squadmates currently in the party.
Mass Effect 2
One of the biggest changes from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2 is the size of the squad to select from: it effectively doubles from 6 to 12 if all DLCs installed, otherwise it is 10. This allows more options, but unlike in Mass Effect, some squadmates will be required on certain missions.
Commanding Your Squad
Xbox 360 and PS3: Commanding the squad in Mass Effect 2 is a bit less complicated than in Mass Effect. The D-pad is still used but the controls are more simplified.
- Pressing "up" on the D-pad will direct both squadmates to fire on the selected target.
- The "left" and "right" buttons on the D-pad have more options.
- Using "left" and "right" on the terrain will direct the squadmate to move there and take cover if applicable.
- Using "left" or "right" on an enemy will direct that squadmate to use an assigned power against that enemy. That power can be changed from the Power Wheel.
- Pressing "down" on the D-pad will cause squadmates to leave cover and regroup on Shepard.
PC: The defaults are Q and E for left squadmate and right squadmate, respectively. If not targeting an enemy, the chosen squadmate will go to the direction specified by the targeting reticle. If an enemy is highlighted, the chosen squadmate will attack the target.
Reviving Your Squad
Using Squad Powers
The talent system from Mass Effect underwent a massive overhaul for Mass Effect 2, most obviously with the game no longer referring to abilities as "talents" instead using the term "powers." Powers in Mass Effect 2 have a global cooldown for easier and more frequent use, as well as a different upgrade system. Squadmates have a dramatically reduced power pool: squadmates now only have three active offensive/defensive powers and one passive power, and one of these powers is a loyalty power gated behind the successful completion of the respective squadmate loyalty missions. The level cap has also been reduced to 30, meaning that there are fewer points to spend on upgrading powers. Squadmate powers generally recharge slower and do less damage than Shepard's versions of the same powers.
If Shepard specifically orders a squadmate to use a power, for targeting purposes the game treats the power as if it is "proxied" through Shepard, i.e. Shepard was the source of the power. Thus, if Shepard doesn't have clear line of sight to the target at the time of casting a squadmate power, the power will either miss and hit intervening cover, or it will fail to execute entirely. However, if squadmates use powers automatically, they aren't proxied through Shepard, so there can be definite advantages to turning on automatic Squad Power Usage. Also, the vast majority of squadmate powers don't launch actual projectiles with a travel time like many of Shepard's versions of the same powers, but instead land instantly.
- See also: Research
Like the power system, the weapon and armor system underwent a massive overhaul from Mass Effect to Mass Effect 2. All squad members generally use the same weapons, which can be upgraded through the Research system. The researched weapon upgrades will apply to both Shepard and the squad, so there is no need to go over stats like in Mass Effect.
Again, keep in mind that squadmate weapons do a reduced amount of damage to enemies. In terms of recoil, however, squadmates have a huge advantage over Shepard, as squadmates don't suffer from it at all. Squadmates are also more accurate with weapons and powers. Since there is a reduced weapon set to work with, keep in mind that some weapons are better wielded by Shepard, and others by squadmates.
The armor system has also been overhauled, or rather done away with: squadmates' outfits are now fixed ensembles without particular stats. In addition to the initial outfit, all squadmates have an outfit that is unlocked once Shepard completes the squadmate's loyalty mission. For six squadmates, a third option can be obtained with the Alternate Appearance Packs. The outfits from the packs are unlocked at the moment the packs are downloaded and installed. Squadmates still have health and shields/barriers as appropriate and that information is displayed on the level-up screen.
Mass Effect 3
Mass Effect 3 sees a return to a much simpler squad, with a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7 squadmates (with DLC or Legendary Edition). The squad is smaller, but is much deadlier than the last time Shepard met them, even if that was only six months ago.
Commanding Your Squad
Xbox 360 and PS3: The controls are the same as in Mass Effect 2. The only change is that the controls have been refined.
- Kinect Commands: On the Xbox 360, the player can command the squad using the Xbox 360 Kinect device.
PC: The controls are largely the same as in Mass Effect 2, though now the 'Z' key can be pressed to order the squad to attack a particular enemy.
Reviving Your Squad
In Mass Effect 3 downed squadmates can be manually revived in two ways:
- Downed squadmates can be manually, individually revived by Shepard kneeling at their bodies and pressing the use key ("E" button on the PC by default). This method does not work on squadmates downed by enemy sync kills.
- One or both squadmates can be revived by deploying medi-gel via the First Aid ability (available by default). This is initially bound to the "F" key on the PC version.
Using Squad Powers
Importing a save from Mass Effect 2 grants a bonus in this regard because the level in that save will carry over to Mass Effect 3. Since the level cap is now 60, but the system is the same as in Mass Effect 2, there are still more opportunities to level up squadmates. Furthermore, squadmates now have access to an additional offensive/defensive power apart from the three other offensive/defensive powers and the passive class power.
There is still a global cooldown as in Mass Effect 2, but it is not affected by the weight of squadmates' weapon loadouts. Squadmates still usually have longer cooldowns than Shepard, but the power evolutions are expanded to level 6 so squadmates can be even deadlier.
From Mass Effect 2 to Mass Effect 3, equipment changes are rife. In fact, the equipment looks more like that of Mass Effect than Mass Effect 2. Weapon Upgrades have returned, with each being different and giving different effects to the weapons. While the same system from Mass Effect 2 passes into this game, with a set amount of weapons, a new upgrade system comes in where Shepard spends credits to upgrade weapons, rather than researching upgrades. The Search and Rescue system can also help with this by getting small retrieval missions for turn in and even directly acquiring credits from scanning planets.
Like in Mass Effect 2, squadmates still suffer a damage penalty with weapons, but squadmates still don't suffer from recoil, meaning that squadmates can equip weapons with piercing and damage increasing mods rather than worrying about recoil or stability mods. Squadmate accuracy does appear to be improved by taking cover, but scope mods on weapons do not appear to have any effect.
Because of the purchasing system to upgrade weapons, keep up with what the squad is running and upgrade appropriately – especially since Shepard cannot change weapons of squadmates between missions.
Armor effects also make a return. Each squadmate has at least two outfits with different effects: some reduce power recharge time, others increase shields, and others increase weapon damage. Choosing the squadmate's armor thus has much more of an impact than in Mass Effect 2, where it was for aesthetic purposes only.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
Mass Effect: Andromeda returns to the much smaller squad size, only being matched by the original Mass Effect in terms of its six member team. One of the main differences is that the number of squadmates cannot fluctuate, as no squad members can die in this game. As well as this, combat utilizing a squad has been made much more rudimentary than in previous titles.
Commanding Your Squad
PC: The controls have been changed from the past three games, but are still customizable. The defaults are Z and C for left squadmate and right squadmate, respectively. If not targeting an enemy, the chosen squadmate will go to the direction specified by the circle with a shield atop it. If an enemy is highlighted, the chosen squadmate will attack the target. It is also possible to use the X key to select both squadmates to perform any of these actions.
Each squadmate now has an individual respective symbol to avoid confusion during a fight; this symbol is shown above a targeted enemy (or both squad members' symbols if using the X key) when selecting the enemy to be attacked.
Reviving Your Squad
Downed squadmates can be manually, individually revived by Ryder kneeling at their bodies and pressing the Use key ("E" button on the PC by default).
See: Squadmate Skills The power wheel has been completely scrapped in Mass Effect: Andromeda, in favor of letting the squadmates' AIs figure out when to use specific powers. All squadmates have three active skills and two passive skills. The third active skill is unlocked after a specific amount of skill points have been used in that squadmate's skill trees. Squadmates start off with one starting power and nothing else, unless auto-level up has been toggled in the options menu.
There is no global cooldown like in previous titles, which means that multiple powers can be used in quick succession. To learn these cooldown times, look in the skill menu of that squadmate's power and factor in the percentage boosts to diminishing recharge time.
Selecting any armor, consumables, weapons, etc. has also been completely scrapped for squadmates. This means that squadmates will always retain exactly the same equipment. This makes it easier to manage squadmates than in the past, but also makes it harder to improve a squadmate without the use of skills.
Of course, weapons, skills, and defensive bonuses can be improved by the passive skills from the squadmates' respective skill menus.
In general, the squad is designed to follow wherever Shepard/Ryder goes, engage any hostiles, and take any immediately available cover, with some differences in behavior during the course of three games.
- Trying to deliberately leave squadmates behind by ordering them to a specific place then putting as much distance between Shepard/Ryder and them, squadmates magically reappear beside Shepard/Ryder. Squadmates can never really be 'lost' unless the plot calls for it or due to a bug/glitch.
- Squadmates will only melee opponents who close in on them and cannot be ordered to do so directly, though ordering the squadmate to move closer to an enemy increases the chances of a melee encounter.
- Squadmate accuracy with weapons does not suffer from weapon recoil/muzzle climb or accuracy penalties related to crosshair dilation that the player will experience with certain weapons when moving or when firing long sustained bursts.
- Weapons fired by squadmates do in most cases still suffer from bullet spread or the random deflection of fired projectiles that is a property of the weapon itself (e.g. shotgun pellet spread).
- Skill spamming is what squadmates do best across all three games in the trilogy, especially if automatic power use is on.
- Targeting an enemy then pressing the button that tells the squadmate to attack the enemy will cause the squadmate to use an ability first, unless powers are cooling down, or the squadmate has no powers considered appropriate to the targeted enemy.
- Quirks in pathfinding and the limitations of projecting a 3D environment into a 2D screen often mean squadmates won't take cover in the position selected. This poses a danger in that the squadmate won't be able to fire back if improperly positioned.
- Squadmates do not queue up orders nor follow interrupted ones. Telling a squadmate to go somewhere, then using a skill, the squadmate will stop what the squadmate is doing and use that skill. Telling the squadmate to rush headlong at an unprotected position will cause the squadmate to remain stationary at the position even if under fire.
- Squadmates, if ordered to cover, get out of entrenched positions only after a battle is over.
- In combat, squadmates will pick a particular enemy to focus on as their target and will often remain facing towards their chosen target even when their line of sight is blocked. This can provide advance warning to the player of enemy locations.
- Squad members with weapon affinities do appear to register a marked effectiveness with the weapon than those who do not. For example, while everyone can wield sniper rifles, Liara with a sniper rifle is decidedly not as accurate or effective as Garrus with a sniper rifle (and training).
- This does not mean that squadmates lacking a weapon affinity can't be effective with that weapon type. They might miss a higher percentage of shots than squadmates with proficiency in that weapon, but they are still more than capable of landing shots that would be difficult for a human player, e.g. against fast-moving enemies or enemies hurtling through the air while under the effects of biotics.
- Squadmates will squeeze the trigger for a weapon as long as the overheat threshold is not yet reached. Giving squadmates the High Explosive Rounds will reduce firing rate due to the overheat; automatic weapons are reduced to burst fire.
- Sniper rifles drastically increase squadmates' line of sight even if the squadmate is not really trained for it. This is evident in the planetside missions where squadmates will often snipe at enemies that can't be seen yet (e.g. on a far-off hill or mountain).
- Squadmates in active combat and firing their weapon will be noticeably reluctant to switch weapons when ordered and typically won't do so until they are out of combat or no longer firing.
- Cutscenes that occur during combat situations can often end with squadmates having a different weapon selected (often assault rifles). This can be less than ideal especially if the squadmate is not trained with that weapon and also due to the above noted behavior of squadmates not immediately obeying orders to change weapons during a fight.
- Squadmates often take cover if Shepard takes cover.
- If Shepard sprints, squadmates will follow at about the same speed.
Mass Effect 2
- Squadmates never charge chargeable weapons, like the Geth Plasma Shotgun.
- Squadmates have infinite ammo, though the squadmates do need to reload when necessary.
- Squadmates will use whatever weapon the squadmate has currently equipped even if it is unsuitable under the circumstances.
- Squadmates tend not to fire semi-automatic weapons (weapons whose rate of fire depends on how often the trigger is "pulled", e.g. the M-96 Mattock rifle) as fast as the player can. For more specific information on squad behavior with particular weapons, see individual weapon pages.
- Squadmates automatically set up whatever protection skill/appropriate ammo power the squadmate has at the start of a battle. Squadmates with defensive shield powers such as Fortification, Barrier, and Geth Shield Boost will cast them automatically in combat even if Squad Power Use is disabled in game options. This can prove problematic as it precludes that squad member from using its other powers during the rather lengthy cooldown period for those powers. As these defensive powers are all trained automatically to Rank 1 upon gaining their respective squad member's loyalty, the only way to work around this in-game is to reset the squadmates' powers by using the Advanced Training terminal at the Shadow Broker Base (only available with the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC or Legendary Edition).
- Squadmates' powers will activate instantly when ordered to use them if the squadmates are not visible on the screen. If the squadmate is visible on-screen, the squadmate will perform the animation for using the power.
- While in combat, squadmates are noticeably slower to respond to orders to move than when they are out of combat, and they often move more slowly to locations even once they do respond, and with weaker pathing. They are also noticeably worse at getting out of Shepard's way, and can sometimes "fight" with the player for the same cover position. Avoid this by making sure to order them into positions well ahead of time, and before engaging enemies if possible.
- If not given specific orders to take cover during combat, squadmates will behave very aggressively and advance at enemies, especially if equipped with short-ranged weapons. This reckless behavior usually gets them killed rapidly on higher difficulties. Also, many fights in Mass Effect 2 feature multiple waves of enemies. Squadmates that have been assigned to take cover will often "forget" these orders and leave cover between waves, so it's necessary to issue new orders to take cover to prevent this. Squadmates will also leave assigned cover positions if Shepard moves too far away. Squadmates that are downed and then revived with Unity will also not remember any previous orders to hold a specific position.
- Squadmates are only vulnerable to friendly fire from three Heavy Weapons (the Grenade Launcher, Missile Launcher, and the Cain) but will nonetheless often complain about friendly fire if Shepard fires or even merely charges the shots of any weapon near them. Squadmates do block Shepard's shots if directly in their path.
- Squadmates are noticeably less good at keeping up with Shepard than they are in Mass Effect and Mass Effect 3, particularly when Shepard is storming or moving quickly through an area with lots of twists, turns, or changes in elevation.
- Squadmates do not do a good job of staying behind cover to recharge their shields and health if they are close to death and instead continue trying to pop out to shoot, which on higher difficulty settings results in them dying quite often in firefights. How often they pop out from cover is determined by their currently selected weapon: in general, squadmates will pop out for longer periods to fire rapid-fire weapons with large magazines such as SMGs and Assault Rifles and they will pop out less often with slow-firing weapons such as sniper rifles, heavy pistols, or shotguns. The only way to prevent them from exposing themselves to enemy fire at all is to keep them far back from the action or behind large cover with their lines of sight completely blocked. For more specific information on squad behavior with particular weapons, see the individual weapon pages.
- Taking damage tends to slow down or even halt squadmates that are trying to move somewhere, making it even more imperative to make sure squadmates are placed in cover before too many enemies enter the field.
- Enemies tend to strongly prioritize attacking Shepard over squadmates, even to the point of switching targets to Shepard once Shepard enters their field of fire, and even if Shepard is farther away than the squadmate that was previously being targeted.
- All squadmates will vocalize when they take damage or are downed, ranging from grunts or exclamations of pain to unique voice lines.
Mass Effect 3
Most of the above points for Mass Effect 2 apply to squad members in Mass Effect 3 as well though there have been several changes, most of them improvements.
- In Mass Effect 3 squadmates are much better at taking cover long enough for their shields to recharge, and they tend not to pop out to shoot as often if they are under especially heavy fire. As a result, squadmates have much better staying power in protracted firefights.
- Enemies don't prioritize attacking Shepard over squadmates quite as much, though enemies that throw grenades tend to throw them at Shepard.
- Squadmates are much better at moving out of the way of Shepard if Shepard is trying to move past them or take cover at a spot they already occupy.
- Squadmates only grunt in pain when their health (not their shield) takes damage, one of the only ways to know if a squadmate is injured as there is no longer a visual indicator of their health or shield strength in the HUD other than their icon turning red when they are downed.
- When Shepard sprints, squadmates will move much more rapidly as well. The player can sprint in circles as a technique to get squadmates to move into ordered positions or catch up faster.
- Certain powers with a purge function are ignored by the squadmates who possess them, like James Vega and his Fortification. This means a squadmate's power must be purged manually if so desired.
- Squadmates do not take into consideration the trajectories of bouncing projectiles. Squadmates like Javik or Liara never do trick shots with the Acolyte.
- Squadmates never use their own grenade powers unless ordered to do so, even if Squad Power Use is set to Active. The only exception is Wrex during the Mass Effect 3: Citadel missions: he will activate his Stimulant Packs whenever his shield is depleted, even if automatic power use is off.
- If Squadmate Power Use is on, Squadmates will automatically activate whatever protection skill the squadmate may have at the start of a battle (e.g. Barrier, Fortification, Defense Matrix). However, extra consideration before putting points in these skills should be taken as they reduce power cooldown speeds while active.
- Squadmates will automatically activate any ammo powers they possess even if Squadmate Power Use is off; if this occurs after the game state loads such as after a cutscene or loading a save, their ammo power will be instantly active on them without any animations. When auto-activated in this way, ammo powers evolved to be shared with the squad will not apply themselves to the player or the other squadmate if there is already an ammo power active on them. Squadmates will not automatically activate their own ammo powers if another ammo power has been applied to their active weapon by another squadmate or by Shepard.
- Squadmates when ordered to use a skill against an enemy through Q or E (the defaults for PC) will stick to their "signature" moves (e.g. Javik always uses Dark Channel first, while Liara always uses Singularity first).
- Squadmates are unfazed by Cerberus smokescreens; they will continue to target and attack enemies as normal through the smoke.
- Squadmates can perform combat rolls and they tend to do so if they come under fire outside of cover, though sometimes they will combat roll out of cover if they take damage which can actually put them in more exposed positions and get them killed.
- Squadmates take significantly less damage from enemy grenades than Shepard does, even on Insanity difficulty. This compensates for them not usually doing anything to avoid grenades that land near them.
Mass Effect: Andromeda
- Squadmates will automatically use skills to detonate primed enemies for combo explosions, as well as semi-randomly priming enemies.