Wasted. MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Review

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MechWarrior 5
MechWarrior 5

Since the second part, the recipe for making MechWarrior games has not changed – mix, but not shake up the MechLab workshop, an interesting story campaign in the Battletech universe, an endgame network game. The developers from Piranha Games, with MechWarrior Online in their portfolio, decided to try their hand at a single player game and failed. Everything that attracted players in the previous parts was implemented very badly, and a few innovations did not have a significant impact on the gameplay.

For example, in Dispel magic 5e, for some reason, the developers made a base where the player gets every time between missions. A similar solution has been present in many games since ancient times. The cosmosims born in the 90s – the Wing Commander and Star Wars series (including the base in the last Squadrons) immediately come to mind. In both, the base works not only for the atmosphere, but also allows the authors to competently present and develop the plot, stitching disparate levels into a single narrative, developing the game universe.

Piranha Games didn’t do it. An empty, huge, non-interactive and ugly hangar, in which two non-player characters are imprisoned, occasionally giving out plot monologues in a clumsy translation, does not work for the atmosphere. However, what a game, such is the atmosphere.

It was in MechWarrior 4 that the writers prescribed several storylines, the authors of the dialogues correctly and humorously revealed the characters, the film crew shot high-quality videos, and the game designers were able to combine all this with a combat robot simulator. And they didn’t need a base to create a 21st century atmosphere in the Battletech universe.

It is clear that the MechWarrior 5’s budget was small. But, for example, in the inexpensive Deep Rock Galactic, the authors implemented a hub with cabins, computers for distributing skills, pumping equipment, choosing a mission and a wardrobe, as well as an Abyss bar where dwarves drink beer and dance to fiery tunes. The limited budget did not prevent them from doing their job with quality and love.

By tradition, before you bring your mech to the battlefield, it is advisable to tinker with it in the workshop in order to customize it for yourself and your style of play. At least this was the case before the release of this part. In MechWarrior 4, you could spend hours poking around in MechLab, fine-tuning the configuration of the mech and testing it in gladiatorial battles on Solaris 5. The basic configurations were well balanced, but the configuration made it possible to change a large number of parameters and was a great pleasure. Moreover, the Omni ‘Mechs of clans and some’ Mechs of the inner sphere allowed changing the configuration of weapons, and this seriously affected the gameplay.

In MechWarrior 5, clan mechs are absent (old fans will not find the Timber Wolf / Mad Cat mascot here and What dinosaur has 500 teeth), and the developers deliberately castrated MechLab, arguing that such flexibility would be redundant for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries. Now the number of slots for installing weapons is fixed, and regardless of the size of this slot, only one cannon can be installed in it. In fact, this means that the balance of the custom fur will not differ much from the stock one. Why such a MechLab is needed ?!

Such simplifications could still be understood if the gameplay were simple. But no! It is primitive, but not simple, and the inability to adjust the mechs available in the arsenal for pilots and your own style of play turns into additional difficulties.

Having chosen another hot spot on the map of the Inner Sphere and having bargained with the customer for the value of the contract (the number of bargaining points depends on the relationship of the customer’s faction to the mercenary squad), the dropship lands the ‘Mechs on the battlefield. In the previous parts of the series, the landing was provided by the customer, so the limitation on the total tonnage of the unit looked logical. In MechWarrior 5, mercenaries have their own dropship right from the start of the game. What prevents him from throwing as many ‘Mechs as fit into the landing modules? Does the customer care? What nonsense! It is clear why this is needed, but could this limitation be somehow entered into the ENT games?

The maximum number of mechs in a unit is four like lego piece 26047, that is, one link (spear, in Battletech terminology). Compared to the previous part – a step back. In MechWarrior 4, the player commanded up to 7 ‘Mechs (two spears). The number of orders controlled by the wards has also decreased – to attack the selected target, get in line, cease fire.

Remembering MechWarrior 4, where there was a shelf, a jungle with a river valley, a colosseum flat as a table on Solaris 5, a mountain road, a battle with a clan on the beach, a battle on a planetary satellite in an airless space, a huge metropolis and palaces of the rulers of the Great Houses, you are surprised. To match the variety of landscapes, a variety of missions – convoy protection, robbery of “Korovans”, protection of key points, night raids with stealth elements, Battle Royale on Solaris 5, destruction of a key object (dropship), escorting a VIP person! How could such a legacy of the series have been so ineptly profiled and exchanged for dimes of a bad online battle simulator?

Diagnosis

MechWarrior 5 is not fun. The basic simulator mechanics copied from their predecessors work, but it’s not enough. Previous games in the series did much more. They carried away with an interesting plot, atmosphere, graphics (modern for those times), but most importantly – well-tuned gameplay. None of this in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries.

Pro

  • Universe Battletech with difficult person test
  • The basic mechanics of the Mech Simulator work

Contra

  • A step back in gameplay relative to previous games in the series
  • Primitive plot (in story game)
  • High level of difficulty
  • The same type of tasks, delaying the passage
  • Mediocre graphics and music
  • Silly AI

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