| The Final Say!|
reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 26 November 2002
Mechassault is the first game of it's type on XBox and I was certainly looking
forward to it, being a fan of the Battletech series. This game has
significance for a variety of reasons, other than quite frankly it's ass
kicking status of great game.
Mechassault is also important for another reason that doesn't affect us
Aussies just yet: It is the launch title for XBox Live, the online games
service launched by Microsoft in the USA this year. Microsoft will have two
hurdles to get over for this to work: Availability of service and quality of
launch titles for the Live Service. Fortunately Mechassault is a great game
that should do well with that service. This review is going to cover the
single and multiplayer aspect of the game and not delve into the Live section
as that service is not available in Australia at this time and is therefore
irrelevant. Once Live is fully implemented, we'll see about adding to this
review that aspect of gameplay.
- Players 1- 4
- Rating: M15+
Third Person Action Shooter
- Easy to pick up and play
Fully destructible worlds
- 5.1 Dolby
- 20 single player missions
XBox Live compatible (in future)
For those not in the know, a mech is huge
weapon of mass destruction piloted by a human controller inside the mech.
Quite often constructed in a humanoid form, the mech is the killing machine of
the future and you get to drive one! Mechassault features a variety of
machines that you can access throughout the game and every one of them has
features that set it aside from others available. From the light and fast
Cougars to the slow an lumbering 1000 ton machines, Mechassault has it all.
The term mech actually derives from it's
proper name of Battlemech and follows a storyline line of a power struggle
that took place all over the galaxy. Whilst this is the story in a nutshell it
does give you a very basic outline. And with that said, it doesn't matter if
you know nothing of any of the back story as Mechassault doesn't dwell on it
too much which is a welcome thing.
Fans of the Battlemech series who loved the
PC series and it's ultra realistic sim type configuration and gameplay should
be fully aware that this is a straight forward action game and there is no
over the top piloting needed to control these machines. Being a console title,
the game needs to appeal to a wider market and I think that developer Day 1
have done the right thing in making this a title that can be immediately
picked up and played with little difficulty.
Essentially the only
controls that need to be used are the triggers and the analogue sticks. L
triggers swaps weapons and weapon types, R trigger fires them and the Left stick
moves the lower half of your mech. The interesting part is that your Right stick
moves the upper torso independently of the lower which means that you can fire
at your foes even whilst running away from them. Pressing down on the L sticks
button will see your mech take briefly to the sky via a jetpack if it has one.
Viewing a battle with two mechs skybound is certainly a sight to behold.
There are many kinds of
Mechs for you to pilot, however initially you will have the choice of nineteen:
Mad Cat - Timber Wolf - Atlas - Prometheus - Owens - Hackman - Cougar - Puma -
Uziel - Belial - Vulture - Mad Dog - Catapult - Bowman - Thor - Summoner - Uller
- Kit Fox - Elemental. There are others to unlock throughout the game as well.
For those of you wanting a
true challenge, try piloting an Elemental mech. These machines are really just
powered armour that the pilot wears. Small, light and agile, Elementals pack a
serious punch once you become accustomed to the way the machine can fight. The
downside is that they can be swatted down pretty quickly by most other mech
Further adding to the
greatness of this title is the audio. I am lucky enough to be be able to run my
XBox through a 5.1 system and it is amazing the way you can hear battle all
around you. Everything sounds so defined and credible, there has been a lot of
thought put into this game and that is evident throughout.
I did find that the game
would chug a little bit in some areas however rarely and this also occurred
during split screen action. The game looks spectacular and the effects used
during gameplay are great. The game's engine allows for an amazing draw distance
and the outside scenery is detailed to look at. Another great feature of the
game is quite simply, if you can see it, you can destroy it! Many of the
missions actually involve the destruction of entire enemy bases and after a few
missions, you will find yourself wasting everything out of habit. Use the
environment as a weapon, but use it wisely as whatever you can use, can be used
against you. For example, if you take down a building and a mech is near it,
then the mech will take damage as surely as if you had blasted it yourself.
It is staggering the
amount of detail that Day 1 have packed into this game and the way that these
huge machines interact with each other and the environment. Your mech looks
'real' and also moves exactly the way I would imagine one of these machines to.
They look used and the texturing work is out of this world. Weapons effects will
light up your screen and explosions are brilliant. This is where we get the
slight slowdown every now and then.
Therein also lies the
strategy beyond the simple move in and blast anything that moves, especially for
pilots of lighter mechs. Think smartly and by using these natural resources you
can conserve ammo and in a heavy melee, not even give away your position.
Therein my friends, lies the clever beauty of this awesome game!
A number of times early in
the game I started using my Cougar as a battering ram, without realising that my
mech was taking damage. I can tell you now that it is a lot of fun and I would
recommend you having a bit of fun with your machines, unless you are in the
middle of some intense action.
By carefully surveying the
rubble of your destruction, you will on occasion find powerups for your machine.
These will come in the form of weapon upgrades and mech upgrades. They will
increase the amount of damage done by your mech and also increase the actual
firing rate which is invaluable. Most impressively, by contrast your default
weaponry will afford you infinite ammo although the reload and fire rate is very
slow when you run out of conventional ammo. The upgrade weaponry is reliant upon
finding ammo to use.
In summary, all I can say
about this title is simply this: Get it! Of course if you don't like high
quality action games with superb multiplayer capability through split screen or
system link then give it a miss. But for the rest of you, you could do far worse
than have Mechassault in your games collection! Highly Recommended.
- Tory Favro
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