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Thread: [PC] BattleTech

  1. #1

    [PC] BattleTech

    The final version finally hit the general public and all Kickstarter backers just a day before my flight back home, so I had plenty of time to play with the game.

    The single player campaign takes plenty of ideas from XCOM, or if you really want to keep it within the franchise, MW2/4 Mercs, and all the extended campaign rules available. This means that repairing or refitting 'Mechs take (a lot of time), so does MechWarriors recovering from injuries, and travelling between star systems. And every month you have to pay upkeep expenses. So far money hasn't really been a problem but other resources have been, and when travelling random events might pop up that might require extra expenses or lower the crew's morale.
    The first thing to do in the 1P campaign is to create your own characters and decide his/her backstory, that will also dictate the starting stats and will also unlock different dialogue options during the story segments. It's very nicely done although the lack of voice acting in some segments does cheapen the presentation a bit.

    Battles follow the same structure shown in the two beta versions. Until you meet enemies movement is free, then the game switch to the initiave phase where lighter 'Mechs will act first; 'Mechs can be reserved to act later in the turn, and forces with a lower number of enemies in a movement phase will act first. If you know how the tabletop game works you'll be almost immediately at home, it's easy to adapt to the changes. Gone is the "reverse" button from the beta, 'Mechs will automatically engage in such movement action if the spot they have to reach and facing they have to turn meets the requirements. I still find a bit difficult to understand if a 'Mech will be able to cross some terrain, but terrain effects (more than shown in the beta) are clearly represented on the battlefield, by coloured spots, and an info box.

    The campaign starts off rather easy, with only vehicles and one or two 'Mechs per mission as opposition. Most mission allows you to complete the primary objective(s) and then flee if the odds are against you, and when lances of enemies 'Mech start to show up, it's often a good thing to do as you won't have a lot of 'Mechs or MechWarriors, and having one or more of them out of action for two or more weeks it's quite the blow.

    The game runs well on my Surface Book at 1280x800 and medium details, although the interface is a bit small on a 13" screen. Loading times are a bit long, but battlefields are quite detailed and missions rather long.

  2. #2

  3. #3
    I've been playing this a lot, I don't really know how much but since I'm going around the Inner Sphere with enought 'Mechs that would make a Steiner heavy company envious, my guess is "too much but not enough".

    The game is not wearing thin, it's the closest thing to a computer-based trasnposition of the tabletop game without all the math required to calculate a to-hit roll and enough rule revision to keep the game flowing well even when there are 12 units (or more) on a map.
    Battletech does strike a nice balance between weapon classes: energy weapons are more accurate but relatively low power; ballistic weapons inflict a bit of stability damage in addition to good damage at good ranges but suffer from accuracy penalities when fired continuously; missile weapons can't be aimed at a specic portion of a 'Mech and single missiles don't do much damage, but allocate a lot of stability damage and LRMs can be fired indirectly.
    I'd say that LRMs and SRMs fired en masse are a bit too effective in dealing stability damage, and one of my favourite tactics is having a 'Mech with large missile batteries shatter an enemy's stability, have it fall down, and aim for its center torso by all other units with AC/20s and large lasers.

    Missions can be divided into story and random missions. Story missions are of course the most interesting, with varied objectives, map design, and enemy placement. Random missions are very samey no matter the terrain you're on or enemies you're fighting, but are useful to gather salvage to build 'Mechs.
    Only an handful of planets sell complete 'Mechs (in fact, make it one so far), some more sell incomplete 'Mechs, so all your 'Mechs are built after gathering three parts of the same.
    When entering a contract you can push for more money and less salvage or vice versa. Lowering money and salvage thresholds will give your little mercenary unit reputation with that faction, and reputation is used to get discounts at stores, or during events occouring during travel.
    Travel events aren't many and always offer the same solution over and over, those could have been more or at least with partially randomised resolutions.

  4. #4
    Back on the GBA, when Fire Emblem The Blazing Sword first hit the west, I coined the term "critical bandit". During an advanced mission only two or three enemies stood between me and the victory, all of them axe-weilding bandits. I had this swordmaster advance towards them, and a bandit engages. Swords hold an edge over axes in Fire Emblem, and in Blazing Sword swordmasters are also very agile making them difficult to hit; plus the swordmaster had full HP, so I was confident I had the mission essentially done.
    Only that the bandit performs a critical hit on the swordmaster, killing him in one fell swoop.
    Reset the game, start mission from the beginning.

    Ever since then, whenever a game kills you/your units against all odds I recall this accident and curse against the local critical bandit.

    Today I had my first critical bandit experience in BattleTech. I mean, I had 'Mechs destroyed due to damage to the center torso, but this one was different.
    Time-limited mission, 16 turns to destroy 3 generators. The briefing suggests heavy/medium 'Mechs with jump jets, I only have one Highlander with jump jets the other 'Mechs are three Orions configured for different purposes (missile support, long-range direct sniper, close-range brawler). I destroyed one generator but I'm running out of time. I split my lance to have the Highlander jump its way to one generator while the Orions push through a medium lance of enemy 'Mechs in order to reach the third generator.
    By the time the Highlander reaches its generator the Orions are done with the enemies and rush towards the last one; it's the second to last turn, meaning that the next turn I'll have to destroy the generator or the mission will fail.
    Only one Orion was able to get within range of the generator, only two automated turrets are the remaining opposition.
    The Orion standing in front of the last generator is pilot by Glitch, one of my most veteran MechWarriors; Glitch suffered one wound from a stray missile earlier in the mission; the 'Mech's head was only slightly damaged.
    The Orion rushed to its current position and has the maximum evasion bonus possible.
    Turrets act last in the turn, and the first takes its shot with a Large Laser and...hits the head. Dead center. Head completely gone, MechWarrior killed in action.

    Critical bandit indeed.

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