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Reviewed by Raven
P2 266+ or equivalent (400 if no 3D acceleration)
Windows 98, ME, 2000
400MB Disk space for typical install, + 200MB for swap file in game
4x+ CD ROM Drive
8MB+ SVGA Card
I’ve always been a rabid MechWarrior fan, having completed all of the
Mechwarrior games, I can willing say that I have wasted many a night trapped
inside my Mech’s cockpit, attempting to blow up any and all who got in
When I first got my hands on the original MechCommander, I have to
admit I was surprised and quite impressed. The game had a feeling unlike
any other, it was a strategy game, but because you controlled so few units,
and because of the emphasis placed on developing your Mech’s and pilot’s
abilities, there were also some very interesting Role Play elements. When
I heard that Microsoft had bought the rights to develop MechCommander
2, I was doubly excited, and after seeing some of the earlier media, I
had very high expectations for this game. In retrospect, it seems my expectations
were justified, because despite a few selected shortcomings, MechCommander
2 is a wonderful title, worth adding to anyone’s CD collection. Before
I get on with reviewing the game, its probably worthwhile to quickly set
the scene story wise.
In the distant future, humanity now spans over countless planets and
galaxies. In a time of constant war and civil unrest, the threads of unity
that once bound our race together have vanished, leading to the formation
of several warring Houses within the Inner Sphere. The year is 3068, and
you are the leader of an elite group of Mechwarrior mercenaries. Armed
with your giant, forty-foot, nuclear powered, heavily equipped, walking
killing machines (Mechs); you have been hired by house Steiner to remove
the bandit problem from the planet Carver V. In the coming months, your
decisions and actions as a MechCommander will ultimately decide the political
fate of the planet. Sound exciting? I hope so.
Mechcommander 2 consists of 5 training and 24 semi-sequential campaign
missions, dealing with the Carver V incident. Sadly this is one of the
most disappointing aspects of the game, with so few missions and no split
or alternative endings there is very little replay value. Thankfully though
all of the missions are moderately long, and many, especially those encountered
later on, will require more then one attempt to complete successfully.
For those unfamiliar with the Mechcommander series, you are in control
of a squad of Mechwarriors in an RTS setting. In the game, you can control up to
16 Mechs on the field at once, although Mech tonnage limits for
each mission mean will that you will be limited to between 4-7 Mechs for each mission
. Field control consists of everything from movement,
to what part of an enemy Mech to target.
Prior to the start of each mission you are shown a briefing, depicting
a recorded video clip, as well as data on your current mission, which included
target, possible strategies and some of the enemies which you are likely
to face. The video clips are done well and sets a nice scene for each missions.
The read outs for each missions are packed with important data, that become
critical, when deciding which Mech’s to use.
As noted above, after the briefing you are then allowed to choose the
Mechs you wish to pilot. Mechs can be salvaged from the battlefield during
your mission, or purchased in the mission briefing screen. Each Mech’s
weaponry can be easily customised and added to as savaged technologies
improve. From here you then select a Mech Warrior to pilot each Mech. Mechwarriors
have the ability to specialise in different areas, ranging from Jumpjets
capabilities, to Weapon Arrays, to Mech Sizes. As your Mech pilot's gain field experience,
the will become better suited to a particular
type of Mech, making them more effective pilot and giving then a definite
edge in combat.
Thankfully the interface for doing all this is straightforward
and very easy to use. Infact, all of the interfaces in Mechcommander
2 are easy to use, and this is again one of the strong points for this game.
Once you put your Mech’s onto the field, you are set a list of Primary
and Secondary objectives to complete. For you to achieve victory all of
the Primary objectives must be completed. Secondary objectives however,
usually give very big cash payouts, so it would be very foolish not to
go for these as well. How you achieve your objectives is completely up to
you. Objectives can include, seeking out and destroying a particular unit,
sweeping a sector and eliminating all enemy forces, capturing a locating,
or defending a friendly location and protecting friendly units. The bottom
line is that all of these mission objectives involve facing a force bigger
then your own, and eliminating this force before they do the same to you.
Once the mission has started you can take control of all of your Mech’s
and issue complex movement and combat orders. On the higher difficulties settings,
I found myself using the pause function often, especially in long drawn
out battles, where the key is to take out enemy units as quickly as possible.
You are also allocated a certain amount of "Resource Points" to use for
certain options like calling for support units such as artillery, repair
trucks or scout choppers. The game is fully customisable and provides a
whole score of keys which can be used to toggle special actions, such as jump
gets, or target slot and target ranges for engaging enemy Mechs.
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An affordable, ultra-portable headphone set.