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Mass Effect’s Mako made me quit the game. Now I can try again

The notorious vehicle has been ‘calibrated’ differently in the remaster, Electronic Arts says

Mako in snow in front of a tunnel Image: BioWare/Electronic Arts
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

I tried to play Mass Effect when it was first released in 2007. And I almost immediately turned off my Xbox 360 as soon as I had to get into the M35 Mako — Mass Effect’s divisive, horrifying-to-control space vehicle. The memory of it, struggling to steer as I flung my vehicle off cliffs, is still embedded so deeply in me that I never even tried a Mass Effect game again.

I was excited and weary when I first heard that BioWare was remastering the Mass Effect series; the controls wouldn’t stay so goddamn awful, would they? But somewhere, there is a community of people who liked the six-wheeled vehicle. I thought BioWare might keep it unchanged, like some horrible legacy. But on Tuesday, BioWare and publisher Electronic Arts quelled my fears. They’re “calibrating” the Mako. The developer published a series of descriptions of “gameplay calibrations,” detailing combat adjustments, gameplay improvements, and a general modernization of some old systems. But most importantly, they’re finally fixing the dang Mako.

“This legendary vehicle from the first Mass Effect has been ‘calibrated’ to perform better than ever. In the original game, the physics tuning for the Mako made it feel too light and bouncy, even at times becoming uncontrollable, but it’s now a much smoother ride while still being ‘loveable’ like before,” BioWare wrote. Alongside the general tuning, BioWare added “faster shield recharging” and additional thrusters for extra speed.

Mass Effect has always seemed like a game that I would like, but I’ve been holding onto my terrible memories of the vehicle so, so long. I’m glad that I’ll finally be able to give the game a go, unhindered by the ghost of the Mako’s controls.

Here are the full notes on the calibration, from BioWare:

Improved handling

Physics tuning improved to feel “weightier” and slide around less

Improved camera controls

Resolved issues preventing the Mako from accurately aiming at lower angles

Shields recharge faster

New thrusters added for a speed boost

Its cooldown is separate from the jump jets’

The XP penalty while in the Mako has been removed

Touching lava no longer results in an instant Mission Failure and instead deals damage over time

The rest of the performance notes are available on the Electronic Arts website. Earlier this year, BioWare released new details about the remastered games — noting that it’s adjusting some questionable camera angles, like the way Mass Effect 2 featured a lot of Miranda’s butt.

All three mainline Mass Effect games will be packaged up in Mass Effect: The Legendary Edition when it’s released on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One on May 14. PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X users can play it on those consoles using backward compatibility.

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