We go hands-on with the next MechWarrior game from FASA Interactive.
There's nothing quite like bringing a gigantic 80-ton robot (or "mech") onto a field full of enemy vehicles and other equally large robots and blasting them all to smithereens. You could say that mech games really came into their own with Activision's classic 1995 mech simulation, MechWarrior 2. And you could also say that for some fans, it doesn't get much better than being a one-mech army--strutting your stuff in a heavily armored combat mech bristling with autocannons, particle projection cannons, and missile racks--except when you've got a lance squad of teammates in mechs that are just as big and packing just as much firepower as you are. Large-scale team-based campaigns are where the really big fights happen, and for serious mech fans who regularly compete in matches online, that's where the real fun is.
But the next game in FASA Studio's long-running series, MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, won't just be for die-hard fans. In fact, the next game won't require you to have followed the previous MechWarrior games, won't require you to play them first, and won't even require you to own them. Instead, this stand-alone game will combine the improved graphics and gameplay of MechWarrior 4 with the intriguing mercenary-hiring mechanics of MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries, the 1996 expansion pack for the now-classic mech simulator. MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries let you play as the leader of a lance, a squad of mech pilots, but in that expansion, you played as a team of mercenaries that was more interested in getting paid for their jobs (and scavenging valuable mech parts from fallen enemies) than in participating in the complex politics of the MechWarrior universe.
Piloting a mech in MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries will be surprisingly simple, at least to begin with. Mercenaries has the same sort of general control scheme as the previous games: Your mech can accelerate forward or backward with the throttle, it can turn in any direction, and it can also swivel the top of its chassis (where most of its weapons are stored) independently of the direction in which it's moving, which is handy for locking onto tougher enemies while continuously moving to avoid incoming fire. And you tap the Enter key on your keyboard (or press the trigger on your joystick, if you're using one) to fire. Mechs essentially handle like tanks with legs, but choosing a relatively agile one, like the Cougar or the Uller, can help you get into and out of skirmishes quickly.
But there's a lot more to MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries than pointing and shooting. MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries will let you equip your mech with up to six different types of weapons, including short-range weapons like mounted machine guns and more far-reaching weapons like particle beams and long-range missiles. As in previous MechWarrior games, the most effective way to fight enemy mechs in Mercenaries will be with finesse and precision. Smacking an enemy Vulcan mech right in the torso with a Gauss cannon will be a great way to put it out of commission quickly but will also turn it into a pile of smoking rubble. A much more profitable, but more dangerous, approach is disabling an enemy mech by shooting out its legs so you can salvage its parts later to add to your own mechs, or you can sell the parts for C-bills on the black market. Since MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries will eventually let you command two full lance squads, it'll be in your best interests to make sure you can grab at least some salvage on the battlefield to augment your income. Fortunately, MechWarrior 4's single-player campaign will have numerous optional side missions that you can perform for extra cash.
- Player Reviews: 24
- Game Universe:
- MechWarrior 2: 31st Century Combat Arcade Combat Edition (PS, SAT),
- MechWarrior Online (PC, X360),
- MechWarrior 4: Vengeance (PC, ARC),
- MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries (PC),
- MechWarrior 4: Clan 'Mech Pack (PC),
- MechWarrior 4: Inner Sphere 'Mech Pack (PC),
- MechWarrior 4: Black Knight Expansion (PC),
- MechWarrior 3: Pirate's Moon Expansion Pack (PC),
- MechWarrior 3 (PC),
- MechWarrior 2: Titanium Trilogy (PC)
- Number of Players: