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  1. #1

    [PC] MechWarrior 5 Mercenaries

    Unfortunately this will be on the backburner for a while until I complete 13 Sentinels...but it's a single player MechWarrior game! Right now it's a timed exclusive for the Epic Game store, then it'll reach Steam and hopefully GOG as well.

    MW5 is pretty much a single-player version of MechWarrior Online with a campaign; I did play MWO while it was still in beta years ago, which coincided with my move to another country, so it was relegated into the unplayed pile. From what I remember the feel of piloting a 'Mech is pretty much the same, as are the controls: mouse for aiming, WSAD for accelleration, braking, turning, and the keys around for other actions (immediate stop, center torso to legs, ceter legs to torso, etc).

    The single player campaign opens with you controlling...your character in first person. Uh. And then you're given a surname, Mason, as you're the son of the commander of the mercanry outfit you're currently in. I don't like my last name. It's an unfortunate necessity because you can wander around your base (a Leopard Dropship) and talk to people, and all dialogues are voiced. Your mechanic is named Fahad and has a Scottish accent; name and accent don't quite gel together, as his appearance does, a perfectly fit bald guy that is the embodiment of "generic looking". But then again pretty much everyone else looks very bland, even your XO, of whom I forgot the name. Sorry, but I'm not really here to interact with people.
    The cool thing about being able to wander around the Dropship is that you get to see your 'Mech from down below, and I must admit that the environment is well done.
    Anyway, the first mission is a trial run of a 'Mech your mechanic just repaired, a Centurion. Finally a game in which you start with a 'Mech I like! Your in-game dad walks you through the basics of piloting a BattleMech, and the map is a good example on how elaborate terrain can be.
    The joy is short-lived as an hostile mercenary force attacks, and you're forced to flee...and don't even fire back at the single VTOL attacking you. The result is one less dad and one less Centurion, so you're give a Fire Javelin (a Javelin armed with lasers instead of missiles).

    The game eases you into the mercenary mechanics, because this is yet another game where you are the leader of a mercenary band in early 3000s. I long for the day where you'll be able to play as a Clansman again, maybe in a dynamic campaign set during one of the pivotal battles of the universe...what? There has been a successful Kickstarter about the Clan invasion period for the original boardgame? And MWO already has Clan 'Mechs and weapons? And BattleTech (the videogame) reuses 'Mech models from MWO, meaning that MW5 could reuse terrain from BattleTech?

    Anyway, personal preferences aside, the contract/travel/repair system is different from BattleTech (the videogame...from now on BTVG). Here you can negotiate contracts by spending chits to improve payment, salvage rights, or repair cost coverage, a step up from BTVG. Repairing things still takes in-game days, but instead of fast-forwarding time, you simply clikc "wait" and the game skips to the first event in the timeline. I think travel time is included in the contract you take, but I'm still not entirely sure.

    So, how does the combat feel? Good, I'd say. I did a couple of random scenarios and you can feel the difference between weight classes, weapons have a good feedback (except for missiles, which don't feel like salvo weapons at all), and the terrain is very varied and complex, with plenty of hills, mountains, trees, and structures. Every man-made thing is destructible, and if you pay attention, you can see that 'Mechs show the internal structure after a location loses all the armour. Combat is faster than previous games, and probably in line with what MWO is now. I'd suggest to turn on weapon recharge indicators near the crosshairs because otherwise you'll spend a lot of time glancing at the lower right side of the screen to see which weapon is available. In fact, on a 27' screen and running at 4K, I'd say that the interface is a bit on the small side and too easily lost between all the mayhem, especially when fighting in close quarters against other 'Mechs.

    Performance-wise the game runs at a constant 60fps in 4K with all details on...but then again it would be strange if it didn't with a RTX2080 and a Ryzen 3900X. MW5 is strangely quiet when it comes to voices, they tend to get overshadowed by every other sound effect, and even in quiet moments I glanced at the subtitles fearing I would miss something...only that subtitles come a second later than the voice. Oh well. The soundtrack is a collection of rock tunes that just like the voices would be a tad louder...all volume sliders are at max and the sound effects are at the right level, but in general options and interface are very sparse...probably because I need to adjust myself to it and I have BTVG's interface in mind.


  2. #2
    I enjoyed your write up of the battletech dlc packs

  3. #3
    Just wondered do enemy mechs take a ungodly amount of firepower and time to beat ? (issue i had with many mech games was that )

  4. #4
    Depends on how long your "ungodly" is. Due to the fast pacing, it's hard to always get a good shoot on light and medium 'Mechs' center torso, but combat lenght feels right in medium VS medium fights.

  5. #5
    You recorded that at 4k 60fps? Looks like itís running at 10fps.

  6. #6
    OK, with 13 Sentinels down, and before I focus on Sakura Wars (or the various shooters that came/will come out), I've been able to devote some more time to MW5.
    Unfortunately, it's a bit less than I was expecting.
    The developers are the same guys behind MechWarrior Online, so the combat is fun, the maps are well-designed, and the game's performance is solid.

    Unfortunately mission structure is rather boring. I've completed some campaign missions and a lot of randomly-generated contracts, and the only way to tell them apart is that the former has a yellow headline instead of white. All offensive missions are about going to the objective, destroy the opposition, retreat. Defensive missions invove getting to whatever you have to defend, destroy the opposition, retreat. The main difference between story and random missions is that you get a few customized lines from your XO and maybe the opposition's commander taunting you over the radio.

    This has been my main gripe with all MechWarrior games since MW2: missions are just a series of fights without too much structure or particularly different terrain. Some missions here might have a small city or outpost instead of the usual hills/canyons, but there are no "full" cities, and while fighting 'Mechs is fun, every encounter blurs with what came before and what will come next.

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