515th played so far


Genre: Action/Strategy
Platform: PC/Saturn/PlayStation 1
Year of Release: 1995
Developer: Activision
Publisher: Activision

MechWarrior 2 is a game I’ve been eyeing up for quite some time – I owned it even though I didn’t necessarily get around to playing it. It’s not quite my typical game, but I remember the fun of customizing a mech and playing around with all of that.

Even so, it’s on the list, and it should be fun to play a mech game – not as memeorable an experience as Steel Battalion, but something to still play with.

Our Thoughts

Dated. It’s not a word I want to use too much here – of course every game is of its time, and plenty of them are still worthwile, so it doesn’t matter (or even looks better). For some games, however, design and control feel outdated and put you nto – or rather out of – that mindset. MechWarrior 2, for example, was an old and ddated Windows 95 game, using a very early version of DirectX and not quite working as a Windows game.

Mech customization abilities are huge even in your first mission, with several chassis options, which control allowed weight and attachment points, and plenty of weapon loadouts. Options increase as you get further in the campaign as well. Not much of what’s what is explained in the game, leaving you to experiment for what works.

Walking around is done in an early 2D world, somewhat sparse. Mech controls as they usually do, sluggish, slow to turn and using full-on tank controls, where you even regulate the speed to ten different levels. I’m not sure why you’d use anything but full speed most of the time, with notch 2 or three on approaches, but this is a genre that thrives on its own type of simulation.

The tutorials work okay, except for it just failing if you miss out on one part. Using just voice prompts meant that I occasionally missed out on instructions, making it slightly harder to continue. In the end I decided to just jump in.

The game is hard from the start, the first mission being tricky for me to complete already. It’s partially because I’m no longer used to the controls, but the game certainly expects you to bang your head against it a few times to really get the controls. It unfortunately makes the whole thing a bit impenetrable.

The story didn’t seem to get told much up to the point where I played to, but the idea of different factions is at least vaguely promising. It is mostly down to the source material – the pen and paper game this is based on describes it further – but at least makes it feel like there’s more of a story going on. That would be something to explore further.

Final Thoughts

The game’s controls were likened to a flight simulator, and I can see that point. There are a lot of things to do, further enhanced by the customization of your mech. It’s what makes the game great, but also the downside for casual gamers who, like us, only just start on it – you need to be willing to dedicate time to it. That’s probably the most dated thing about it – now it’s so much easier for us to find other games that we want to play that you don’t necessarily dive in as deeply as I would have done twenty years ago.

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