Mass Effect 2 Teammate Combat Profile: Jacob Taylor
Posted on Thursday, February 3 2011 @ 12:16:12 PST
This is the first post in my GR-exclusive series of Mass Effect 2 squad member profiles. Over the course of the next several entries, I'll be breaking down the unique combat abilities of each of Shepard's teammates in the order they appear in-game. In addition to in-depth analysis of each character's weapons and powers, I'll also discuss the effectiveness of each teammate in specific situations, rating their potency against organic, synthetic, and heavier boss-type enemies.
Name: Jacob Taylor
Becomes available to player: Initial Cerberus Station
Favorite Food: Probably something boring....like tuna salad.
Weapons of Choice:
Shotgun: This SHOULD be the weapon that Jacob is using most of the time. In my experience, when Commander Shepard's squadmates die in ME2, it's typically because they've gotten bum-rushed. They'll get evicted from cover by robo-dogs, husks, varren, or some other cover-ignoring enemy, and die from either enemy fire or a close-range melee attack. The shotgun, devastating at close-range, is a decent protective measure against that eventuality.
If you've got all the DLC's, you'll have several shotgun options with which to equip Jacob right from the start. I recommend the Geth Plasma Shotgun for synthetic-heavy missions; and the Eviscerator for everything else.
Heavy Pistol: I almost never allow Jacob to use the heavy pistol. Don't get me wrong, it's a passable weapon, but since Jacob's power setup (especially after he gets Barrier) lends more towards close-range combat, I find that the shotgun is a better default. However, if you find yourself up against an armored target that won't let you get close (YMIR Mech, Scion, Geth Prime), feel free to let Jacob pull his shootin' iron. Heavy pistol plus incendiary rounds will slice through armored opponents quite nicely.
Which pistol should Jacob be using? Again, you'll have a few pistols to choose from if you have the DLCs, and I recommend either the Phalanx Heavy Pistol or the Carnifex Hand Cannon. The Phalanx is slightly better at close range, while the Hand Cannon is the superior long-range option.
Incendiary Ammo: I covered this briefly in Jacob's gun section, but Incendiary Ammo makes Jacob one of the better pure gunfighters in the game. Unfortunately that's not saying a whole lot, since I typically value teammates more for their biotic/tech options. However, if you're using Jacob, you might as well have him equip this on every weapon. It's probably the most universally effective ammo power in the game, good against both armor and exposed flesh/metal. Plus it's free, so why not?
How far should you upgrade this power? Well, unless your Shepard has zero ammo powers of his/her own (only the Engineer, I believe), I'd probably stop putting points into incendiary rounds at level 3. That way, Jacob gets the power at near-max level, and you can focus on maxing out his other options.
Pull: Biotic Pull is Jacob's one and only offensive biotic power, and like its owner, it's good, but not great. Don't get me wrong, Pull is fun when it works, but until you max it out, it only affects one enemy at a time, and it ONLY works when you've already punched through that foe's shield/barrier/armor. It's effective, no question, but only situationally.
However, since Pull IS Jacob's only real offensive biotic power, you might as well max it out. That way you can give him Pull Field, which makes Jacob a nightmare for tightly packed groups of unshielded enemies.
Outside of its use for crowd control, Pull is what I like to call a "setup power." It's fairly unlethal by itself, but if you can have Jacob pull an enemy out of cover, then hit that enemy with something like Concussive Blast or Warp, the results can be devastating.
Barrier: If you ask me, this is one of the better unlockable powers because it makes Jacob nearly unkillable. On lower difficulties, this means that in most fights, you don't even have to be anal about sending Jacob to cover, because he'll usually manage just fine on his own. Max it out if you can, I guess, but Barrier at any level seems to have the same effect.
Sometimes, just for fun, I'll select both Jacob and Grunt for the "all tank squad." Between Barrier and Fortification, the two are pretty much impervious to enemy fire. If I'm playing as a Sentinel (or using a shield bonus power) the three of us can bum-rush the enemy almost at will. Not advisable against melee-enemies like krogan, but incredibly satisfying when timed correctly...
Organic-killing: Jacob is a decent choice against most organic foes. His incendiary rounds make his gunfire especially effective against both armor and unprotected flesh, and Pull is a useful countermeasure against hard-charging organics like varren and krogan. Jacob will have trouble taking on well-protected organics by himself, but you shouldn't be sending him into those situations alone, anyway.
Synthetic-killing: The one thing Jacob definitely has going for him is versatility; as he's just as effective (or ineffective?) against synthetic foes as he is against organics. Lots of robots have armor, too, and his incendiary rounds work just as well on them. Pull has the same effect on both kinds of foes, as well. Again, if he's your only option against larger, better-protected synthetics, you might encounter some problems; but against the standard-fare foot soldier robot, Jacob does just fine.
Giant-killing: Unfortunately for Jacob, this is where his talents are really lacking. Jacob simply doesn't possess the killing power to be useful against the heavy-hitters. Since most boss-level enemies ARE armored, his incendiary rounds mean he's not completely useless against them, but he's not going to be taking big chunks out of anyone's life bar anytime soon. Pull is fine for knocking down YMIR mechs and Geth Primes, ONCE you drop their defenses, but it's totally useless against other types of large enemies.
My suggestion for using Jacob against heavier enemies: keep him out of the way and hope you and your other squadmate can handle the fight without him. Maybe have Jacob focus on the boss's minions (if there ARE any) while you and a better-equipped teammate whittle down the boss.
Overall Usefulness: When it comes to overall combat effectiveness, Jacob Taylor is unspectacular in every way. He's far from terrible, but doesn't really have any standout qualities, either. He's okay against organics, okay against synthetics, but next to useless against heavier foes. Thanks to the incredible versatility of incendiary rounds, Jacob's gunfighting is well above average, but since his best weapon choice is the shotgun, his potential in that realm is limited, as well.
If I HAD to place Jacob in a category, I'd call him an All-Rounder; but only because he's not really great or terrible against any type of enemy (except heavies, which are rare). If Jacob were a condiment, he'd be ketchup. Sure, he'll suffice adequately in most any situation, but there's almost always a better choice .