AMD Athlon II X4 650
AMD Radeon HD 5830
PC gamers and Mech fans are going to be spoiled this year, with two major titles to sink their teeth into. Hawken and Mechwarrior are two games that are based around mech combat, but they feel different from each other in significant ways. If you have played either game it would be apparent what the differences are. Hawken plays more like a Call of Duty mech game and is not as difficult to get involved in the action. Mechwarrior Online is a completely different story, if you have not played a complicated mech sim before, be prepared for a baptism by fire!
As a rookie to mech games in general, playing MWO for the first time made me feel dizzy. There is so much going on at one time it is difficult to know how to do anything. MWO is in open beta so not everything is finished yet, but there are things that need to be added in order to make the game more accessible while maintaining depth. Examining the start menu there is a button that looks like a tutorial lesson. Looks can be deceiving because clicking that button takes players to the main website. The only tutorial is a video! While the video is informative it does not come close to actually piloting a mech.
Have you seen a better looking exploding town?
Before talking about the gameplay, it should be mentioned that MWO is a free to play game. Games that have a free to play model have been a mixed bag and MWO falls under the not so great category. There is not much that is actually free in MWO. There is a rotation of trial mechs that anyone can play until the next cycle. The catch is that you are only given those mechs for free but you cannot customize them in anyway! There is an XP system in place but you can only use that to customize your mech if you own it. Like any free to play game hopefully Piranha Games listens to the community and adjusts payment options. If you do buy one of the mechs you will be able to customize every facet of your walking tank!
MWO uses Cryengine 3 to give you eye popping mech candy! The mechs look cool, and the environments are pretty to behold. Running alongside my teammates I was looking at the beautiful desolate cities or forested areas, the lighting effects are mesmerizing and you will often find yourself staring in awe. When you hit someone with one of your laser beams you can see them visually get hot by the redness of the metal. The cockpit view is restricting, but not in a way that is unfair, since it is a mech sim. The player needs to be aware of their surroundings in order to survive. Lasers are appropriately bright and menacing. If you see them firing out of the trees you can flank them and begin to take them down. Running in face first is certain death! Mechs animate in a mechanical monstrosity sort of way and just look cool. Textures look detailed, but there are no real destructive items in the world. If you shoot a laser through the trees it does not cut them down which is weird considering how realistic everything else reacts.
Through the fire and the flaming mechs.
The sound is immersive, and it sounds like you would want a mech to sound. Laser beams, rockets, gauss rifle, etc sound muffled slightly because you are in a mech suit. The effect is convincing and it feels realistic. As you shake the very earth running into battle, the sounds of the battlefield heighten the experience. It is also difficult to communicate in battle because there is no voip in game. Most PC gamers use a third party service, but it would still be nice to have when playing with random players.
The Mechs in MWO move different than I was expecting, and took some getting used to. You accelerate your tank to move forward while moving your torso and legs separately. This gameplay style was not easy to pull off at first, but after some practice it felt natural. I was still getting my ass handed to me however, but small improvements are beginning to happen. It is very satisfying to get a kill or help your team. The game type in the beta currently has only one respawn per round, and tasks you with capturing the other teams defensive position.
Once the full game is released there will be more game types, such as Community Warfare. This gametype will consist of faction warfare where you can either pledge allegiance to a faction, join a mercenary corporation, or stay neutral. Community Warfare will happen in real world time, so if it is November 12th on Earth, it will be the same time in game only in the year 3048! This is the real meat of the game where players battle over resources and gain loyalty with different factions. It sounds amazing.
Personalise your armoured death machine.
Mechs feel different from each other, and have different weapon groups. I found enjoyment in the faster moving mechs, but they are more difficult to master. The faster mechs are gonna be in the fight and take the most risks. Playing as the heavier mechs your role can be slightly less chaotic because I just sat back and targeted mechs to shoot rockets at. Every role is important in MWO which makes team cooperation essential. I felt bad when I let my team down more than in most multiplayer games.
I will certainly check back with MWO once it is finally released. Since it is still in a beta phase a lot could change once it is done. More than anything I would like to see the free to play model become more flexible, they should stop calling these types of games free to play because most people that are serious are going to buy stuff. It is nice that PC gamers have two different mech games to choose from and you cannot go wrong trying out either one, now start up your engines and blow some stuff up!
If you are interested in suiting up in a walking tank, then download MWO here.