by Howie Howard
previewed on PC
Tools of the trade
Weapons in this game are numerous; they are of the standard variety of lasers, machine guns and missiles. Before you go on each mission or fight you will need to decide on the type of weapons to take into battle. In the beginning your choices will be limited but as you advance in levels you will be able to stock your machine with more expensive and powerful weapons. While on each mission you will find power ups and other goodies that you can add to your machine on the spot. Be aware however that if your enemy gets to these power ups or ammo stocks before you do then you will be out of luck until you can find other stocks.
I already mentioned that you would be fighting against various opponents from other clans. In fact these opponents will be either a very capable computer AI or an opponent of the human variety in an online match. The games artificial intelligence is quite good. Computer controlled opponents will not just charge in and try to destroy you outright. They will follow different tactics according to the type of Mech the computer pilot is using and the level of experience the pilot has. All in all you will be in for the fight of your life because the opposing pilots seem to behave in a very logical and smart way. Not like the dumb AI of Mech Warrior games from the past where the enemy single-mindedly concentrated on one objective and ignored everything else that was happening around them.
Eye and ear candy
Game graphics are surprisingly good. There are several maps in the game that you will eventually learn to master. Once you memorize the layout of these varying maps, you will be able to adjust your tactics accordingly. If you have a favorite hiding place or a location that will make for a good ambush spot then you can return there in following missions. The effects that appear when you're firing your weapons are crisp and detailed. You will be able to distinguish between the various weapons from their appearance on the screen. If that weapon is appearing to be heading directly at you then it would be advised that you duck or find some form of cover because your game may abruptly end and your character will be mailed home in a body bag.
Game sounds aren't anything out of the norm. They are adequate in that they sound good for this type of game but they're not going to blow you away. Explosions sound like explosions and the bullets or missiles hitting your Mech sound realistic. I wouldn't suggest that you go out for a stroll just to hear these effects, mainly because your walk may be quite short. Remember, this is a brutal war torn world. There is some background music does it's job. Nothing special. It is just there.
Game controls are simple but very effective: a mouse and a few keystrokes are all you need to learn to pilot your machine. The learning curve is short and once you know what keys control the shields, thrusters and the few other systems that are mounted on your robot, you will be ready to go to war. Since this is a shooter and not a Mech sim there is no need for a wheel, pedals or other such equipment. Controls are easily user configured to each pilot?s tastes.
I am a veteran Mech pilot having fought in numerous campaigns and wars in the Mech Warrior universe. This game is a welcome addition to the genre. Although there isn't a deep plot or storyline, all of the Mech principles hold true and will feel very familiar to other veteran pilots. Those that like to blast things while piloting a giant robot, will have their wish granted as this one will provide you with an overflowing amount of action. Just watch out while you are competing in the online arena because the black knight sometimes known as Blackbeard just may ruin your day! That would be me...