Now, Imma be honest guys, I have no experience with the MechWarrior franchise or games. My friend, Nathan, has been a huge fan of it for as long as I can remember, and he’s been trying to get me to play one of the games for as long as I remember. I usually take game recommendations, especially if they’re free games, but for some reason, the fact that it was a detailed simulation game turned me off of the idea for quite some time. Eventually I caved and enlisted myself in the Closed Beta (soon to be Open Beta) MechWarrior Online thanks to the closed open beta code from the recent PCGamer magazine. I entered my code, downloaded the game, and started training.
For starters, it’s a simulation game. This means mech weight, heat management, independent torso and leg movement, weapon placement, parts destruction, and mech upkeep are all common things. Having a lot of things to keep up with means a big learning curve, which is a nice throwback to when game developers didn’t try to hold your hand through the entire game. With plenty of mechanics at your disposal coupled with a first person cockpit view, it definitely gives you a feeling of piloting your very own mech. And speaking of your very own mech, there are plenty of models of mechs to choose from, each with their own variations for an even more in depth customization of play styles. From speedy mechs covered in lasers that function as skirmishers, massive beasts covered in long range missiles that support from the rear, and new mechs constantly being released by the devs, the choice in mechs is constantly expanding.
While feeling clunky to a new player, in-game combat eventually evens itself out while you grow more proficient with it. Keeping track of where your legs are taking you while you’re aiming at an enemy takes a bit of practice to get used to. Knowing your hotkeys is simply practice too, and that’s really the only thing that’s difficult about the controls. They’re a lot easier to get a hang of that I thought it’d be, so asides from the actual maneuvers and game do-hickeys to learn, the mechanics of the game can be comfortably learned in about an hour. The game, while currently being in closed beta, looks very impressive graphically and is constantly being worked on for better support, although, from what I can tell, the game doesn’t offer much in music besides the startup theme. This was kind of a disappointment to me, as vidya soundtracks are some of my favorite parts about vidya. Even though I’m praying for more renditions of older music from the series, or even some original music just for MWO, I’m content with raining missiles to the tune of some good house music. Or even Red Hot Chili Peppers. RHCP with giant mechs is a cool combo, yo.
A major feature about MWO is group coordination. It’s simple: the better the coordination, the better the chances of winning, which I see as one of the games problem areas. If you manage to get a group together and practice your positioning and maneuvers, there won’t be much to stop you except a better group; however, if you drop with randoms, you’ve got a high chance of losing against a group. The matchmaking system is very unbalanced at the moment, but hopefully it’ll be refined before official release.
One last thing that I’d like to comment on is the lore surrounding the MechWarrior/Battletech universe. Yeah, there’s fucking tons of it. If you’re a lorehound, you’ll definitely have enough on your plate to keep you satisfied. Even the individual mechs have a surprising amount of lore that details how they developed to famous battles involving them to current day uses. There’s literally gigabytes upon gigabytes of lore, perfect for the old time fans, or new players who want to delve deeper into this very detailed universe. Also, the game devs are very impressive. They respond well, if not supremely well to player feedback and input, and seem extremely passionate about bringing the MechWarrior franchise back from obscurity. The devs get my seal of approval for programming a marvelous game, and loving every tedious second of it. Keep it up, guys.
Well, that’s all I really have to say about MWO. It’s a very enjoyable experience, especially if you like simulations or mechs, and besides some small issues (no music, matchmaking, graphics incompatibility, etc.), this is definitely a good game to add to your library, especially since it’s free to play! Hey, if it’s free, alright by me. Here’s the homepage if you’re interested in registering for closed beta (with the PCGamer code from PCGamer magazines), or to just keep under a watchful eye until official release. See ya on the field, and remember to keep your lock-on and watch your heat!
Special thanks to Nathan “JazzySteel” for the pictures, being my personal trainer, and forcing me to get my closed beta code. You’re an asshole and I love you!
Also, spreading the link to my blog helps me more than you know. If you like my material, send it to some friends! Your support really helps me stay motivated and not slack off! I’ll still love you if you don’t but not as much as people who DO share the link! <3