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XBox Reviews: Mechassault


Mechassault Screenshots

The Final Say!

 - reviewed by Tory Favro
Review Date: 26 November 2002
Review Score: 9.0/10 
Distributed By:

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.


Mechassault Features

  • Players 1- 4
  • Genre: Action
  • Rating: M15+
  • Third Person Action Shooter
  • Easy to pick up and play
  • Fully destructible worlds
  • 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • 20 single player missions
  • System Link
  • 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 types.

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

Copyright 2002 www.impulsegamer.com