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Mako Guide

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Codex ME - M35 Mako

The M35 Mako is your IFV, mobile turret, emergency cover, and all-round best friend when exploring hostile areas, plus it has plenty of assets to exploit. It can travel over almost any terrain, no matter how steep or rough.

Note that 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.



  • 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


  • 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 3Edit

  • 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 MakoEdit

Mako - flying 2

The side-to-side driver controls on the Mako are very sensitive, at least in the PC version. One solution to this problem is to keep pushing the "forward" or "back" button and tap the "left" or "right" button repeatedly as needed.

Sudden turns and overcompensation, especially on mountainous terrain, can have dramatic although usually harmless consequences.

If you drive far outside 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 this as a time-saving shortcut to return to the landing zone from a map edge.


Machine gunEdit

Mako 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.


Mako - Virmire Cannon blasts 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.

Casbin geth base 1
Double Zooming Tip: The cannon can be especially effective for removing dangerous snipers and other troops from the "observation towers" around the edges of enemy bases. For maximum effect you will want to "double zoom" your aim, and you will be able to take them one out with precision on every shot. 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.

Propulsion jetsEdit


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.

In addition, when fighting a Geth Colossus or armature (or with some care even a thresher maw), the jump can be timed so that the player may fire their cannon, jump over the siege blast of the opponent, and land roughly by the time that the cannon has recharged for another shot.

Shields Edit

Mako - burning 1

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. A high Electronics stat will help, but it's still a good idea to give the shields time to recover between tough battles. Though the Mako's hull is sturdy even when unshielded, on higher difficulty levels your enemies can inflict heavy damage very quickly; once the hull is gone while Shepard and the squad are inside, it's game over. Note that the Mako shields can also take damage when ramming into large enemies such the Geth Armature. Repairing the Mako's hull with omni-gel is again made easier by a high Electronics stat; not only does it restore more hull per repair, it reduces cooldown time between repairs if the Mako is heavily damaged. Unfortunately, while repairs are in progress, the Mako is stationary and unable to fire. If it 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.

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.


Mako - squad using cover effective 1

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 reentered it. In this situation you must either avoid reentering the Mako until ALL nearby enemies have been eliminated or, on an unexplored planet mission, you can return directly to the Normandy from the Map portion of the game menu.
  • 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.


  • The Mako is also environmentally sealed against EVA hazards. Re-entering the Mako while fighting on foot will quickly reset the hazard timer.
  • Re-entering the Mako will also revive, for free, any downed squad members.


Firing on the MoveEdit

Mako - Muzzle to muzzle with heavy turrets

Thresher Maws and targets in unfavorable terrain require firing on the move and will usually require either "tracking shots" or "snapshots."

If you move directly toward or away from your target, you risk being hit more. If you move from one side to the other, however, you can be very difficult to hit as long as you keep moving. The AI tends to fire at where you were, not where you are when the shot arrives. With a little practice, you can learn to 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 call a snapshot. Holding the reticule constantly and consistently on the target and firing is the much more difficult "tracking shot."

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.

Rocking Back and Forth Edit

Closely related to firing on the move is rocking back and forth, and is highly effective against Armatures, Turrets, and other rocket-launching enemies. 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 rockets launched at you in the meantime will miss even if you don't move much.

Jumping and Thresher Maws Edit

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.

For fighting Thresher Maws the jumping technique is strongly recommended (over even rocking) because it avoids most or all of the splash damage from the acid blob and is actually quite forgiving - only if you get absolutely bullseyed in the moment you are on the ground will you take damage while jumping. 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 -- as soon as the Maw appears, preferably for the first time, stop immediately and start shooting it. As soon as the acid spittle appears, hit the jump button to avoid it, etc.

Against multiple enemies such as Armatures and Turrets the rocking technique is slightly preferred jumping because it's easier to avoid projectiles from multiple targets that way, but jumping can be effective as well. It also makes a good "emergency escape button".

"Hull Down" fightingEdit

The Mako can defeat numerous enemies safely by using what 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, let your shields recover. This may not be as much fun as running and gunning, but it's a lot more reliable and effective. Alternately, you can soften up a target, roll back into cover, disembark and finish the enemy off with hand weapons, increasing your XP.

An effective way to implement this technique is to hide the nose of the Mako, which enemies predominantly aim for, leaving you to fire at your leisure with no worries about damage. However, "hull down" won't work against Thresher Maws because they go underground, and sometimes favorable terrain isn't available against other targets.


Mako - Virmire Juggernaut 3

One of the simplest and most effective ways to use the Mako (though alas not so much on the higher difficulty levels) is just to ram opponents with it. Smaller enemies can be crushed under the tires, taking heavy damage their shields can't compensate for; larger enemies like Geth Armatures, which are easily unbalanced, can be knocked over and rendered helpless while the Mako is free to fire. This is especially effective against Geth Colossi due to their size and armaments. There is an additional advantage to this tactic when there are environmental hazards nearby. With care, the Mako can ram an Armature into molten lava or over the edge of a cliff for an instant kill.

If a medium-sized enemy such as an Armature is helping foes hold a line, one can perform a "Drag and Drop". This maneuver involves ramming the target and dragging them away from their allies then -- if they survive the impact -- backing up and shooting them. This works well on the skyways of Feros, where there is sufficient distance to isolate targets.

It is also possible to park the Mako on top of a medium-sized target, then exit the vehicle and shoot the target while it is trapped. Do not attempt this on larger enemies such as Colossi, as these titans will only be temporarily disabled, and will be able to throw the Mako off if not killed quickly.

Warning: Ramming damage is severely reduced on Hardcore and Insanity levels, and though knocking an enemy over still briefly disables it, it's difficult to achieve much advantage this way since you'll have to pull back before your guns can be aimed accurately at the victim. Therefore ramming is not nearly as useful on the highest levels of play.

Mako - Virmire ATV smaller

Glitches and Bugs Edit

  • 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.
SmallMLogo Mass Effect Guides SmallMLogo
Completion WalkthroughMoralityExperienceSystemsMakoCodex
Achievements CompletionistRich AchievementParty Member Achievements
Scholar AchievementWeapon and Ability Achievements
Classes AdeptEngineerInfiltratorSentinelSoldierVanguard
Weapons Assault RiflesPistolsShotgunsSniper Rifles
Other PC TweaksMerchants

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