MechWarrior 2 Review

Other mech games may claim to be a great combination of simulation and action, but only MechWarrior 2 comes close to the mark.

Have you ever wanted to pilot a huge metal suit armed with lasers, particle cannons, and homing missiles? You will - and the company that will bring it to you is Activision. Other mech games may claim to be a great combination of simulation and action, but only MechWarrior 2 comes close to the mark.

MechWarrior 2 on the PC was an incredibly intense and detailed game. There were controls for just about every function imaginable. The game featured numerous missions, many taking a lot of time and skill to complete. The PlayStation version is different from the original in many ways: The controls have been tailored for the system, and the game has been retooled, with a more intense focus on action. The result is game that will receive decidedly mixed reviews. Fans of the original will likely feel the game has been watered down to appease the younger-skewing console demographic. While this may be true, fans of video games will discover a truly fun shoot-em-up.

MW2's graphics are nice from a distance, but up close the moving polygons (especially the parts of a mech, which scatter when destroyed) look pretty pathetic. The fiery explosions look good, but usually result in lame-looking mech parts flying about. The in-game music is just plain bad, and the rest of the game's sound effects are merely adequate.

The control is a bit strange at times. But after little use, control becomes second nature. The default settings are nowhere near what the game can truly do, however, as they don't allow targeting or torso twisting. This means the default setting forces you to line up your shots by hand and always face the direction you wish to shoot. After messing with the default setting for ten minutes, you'll want to configure your controls to one of the full-featured settings. Suffice to say that without torso twists and targeting, you probably won't make it out of the first few missions.

The game features 16 new missions and 32 re-worked versions of popular PC campaigns. From the main menu you can choose between the Wolf Clan and Jade Falcon squads or use the "instant action" feature to get right into battle. Either way, expect to spend a lot of time blowing stuff up - each mission revolves around destroying something (regardless of whether your mission is offensive or defensive). This is a very good thing.

If you were a serious fan of the PC version, you might want to check this out for the new missions alone. Just keep in mind that there isn't as much strategy involved in this "Arcade Combat Edition." For those of you who want a quick-and-dirty combat simulator with a lot of things to shoot, and can get past the uninspired graphics, MW2 fits the bill nicely.

The Good

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The Bad

About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.