The topic of this week’s Why We Love may well be a divisive one, so let me start off by saying it’s not how the Mako was used that I love because lets face it the planetary exploration in Mass Effect was incredibly repetitive, but that doesn’t stop the Mako from being a vehicle that I love. I realised this whilst playing through Mass Effect yet again at the end of last year as a ‘bad’ version of Commander Shepard, and when I dragged my new character into Mass Effect 2 I couldn’t help but sit back and feel slightly disappointed that I no longer had the little tank at my disposal; yes you get to pilot the Hammerhead but it’s just not the same.
If getting your own ship to romp around the universe wasn’t enough to bring a smile to your face when you first start playing Mass Effect, you quickly discover that lurking within its depths is a heavily armoured beast, otherwise known as the Mako. Of course you find this out as soon as you take a trip down to the lower decks of the Normandy or, failing that, when you take your team down to the surface of one of the many planets featured in the game.
Housed within the confines of the Mako your team are safe and sound because it’s virtually indestructible. The six big wheels have always made me compare the Mako to a lunar rover and they’re perfectly suited for dealing with almost any sort of solid ground that you come up against. However, there are times when certain topography hinders your progress, which is what the Mako’s micro thrusters are for, in fact they’re particularly useful for quickly climbing up steep rock faces, or jumping out of the way of enemy missiles. The thrusters will also save you if you fall from a height and need to slow your descent in order to prevent your early demise.
The Mako is anything short of defenceless, in fact the very sight of it should strike fear into the hearts of your enemies because it can take them out in no time whatsoever. It has two main weapons; a mass accelerator canon and a machine gun. The machine gun will cut practically any foot soldier to pieces as well as unshielded structures and vehicles. However, should you come up against something a little bit tougher than the average mindless Geth, you’ll probably want to break out the canon, which will well and truly destroy anything after a couple of direct hits. If the unthinkable should happen and you take too much damage, then you can take cover and sacrifice a bit of omni-gel in order to patch up the plucky little tank before you charge back into the fray. Also, it’s incredibly unlikely that you’ll find yourself running into an encounter with a group of enemies by surprise thanks to the Mako’s radar system, which displays hostile ground troops, vehicles, turrets, and mines.
I think the biggest problem with the Mako by far is its targeting system, which can be a tad irritating at times and you’d expect it to be a tiny bit better considering that the events of the game take place in a far more technologically advanced age. When you’re sitting still, moving the target reticule over an enemy is incredibly easy and you’ll land a hit pretty much 100% of the time, however this is completely impractical when you’re facing a heavily armed force, or a phenomenally pissed off thresher maw. In these situations you need to keep moving and dodging out of the way using your micro thrusters, unfortunately this is where the problems start to set in. Any sort of motion greatly reduces your accuracy, especially with the canon, which prolongs battles and gives your enemies a much better chance of sending you to your grave. In fact in some cases your only option is to keep as far away as possible and slowly wear down a hostile force by bombing them from afar before you zip in to finish off any stragglers.
One last reason I enjoy riding around in the Mako is that it reminds me of the small shuttles that would occasionally ferry away teams around in the numerous Star Trek series because they too appear to be nothing to worry about at a glance, yet you crew them with a few experienced officers and they become a challenge to even the deadliest of enemies. I freely admit that the Mako has its problems, but despite these you have to admire its overall design and I for one genuinely missed it in Mass Effect 2 because with a few tweaks here and there it would have certainly been an asset to Commander Shepard once again, so it’s a real shame that it wasn’t resurrected as well. Whether you loved it, or hated it, the Mako played a large role in Mass Effect and we’d be more than interested to hear what your experiences of it have been.
First published on Dealspwn (15 January 2012)