Reviews: Mech Warrior

The epitome of Western Humongous Mecha

BattleTech and Mechwarrior as series are marked by energetic combat and Byzantine intrigue, and it's probably no surprise that both have so many fans even to this day. As a mech-sim series, Mechwarrior spans no less than 25 years and ten games—eighteen if you include the mods, standalone fangames, and older multiplayer-only titles. The premise is somewhat simple, a Space Opera featuring a diverse and contentious number of star-spanning empires vying for control of known human space, with storyline shakes-up occuring every decade or so to complicate matters, advance technology, and keep the conflict fresh.

As games go, they're solid examples of their craft. Several of the games are notable for single-player campaign arcs that grant the player a central starring role in events without necessarily being presented as a superstar hero—Ghost Bear's Legacy is one example, casting the player as a typical Ghost Bear Mechwarrior, tasked to avenge a slight against the Clan's honor and the theft of genetic samples belonging to the Clan. Those who are in for a more open setting can find that the various Mercenaries subtitles be more suited to their tastes, providing both a diverse variety of 'Mechs as well as interesting branching missions and campaigns to experience. Those who just want to enjoy battles in giant robots will find offerings such as Living Legends and Mechwarrior Online good fun.

Mechwarrior is a good series to go to for blazing Humongous Mecha action with a somewhat more measured pace than the more modern iterations of the Gundam or Armored Core simulation games. Copies can often be found for cheap and even its 20-year old titles hold up surprisingly well in the face of increasingly modernized gameplay from competitors like the more first-person oriented Titanfall or Hawken. The series' main strength so far has been a solid single player experience, and it's an enjoyable series that can still be picked up and played easily enough today. Newcomers can cut their teeth on just about any game in the series (save perhaps the primitive first one) and have some fun reliving battles from the Clan invasion onwards. A bastion of Humongous Mecha on the PC and a solid franchise to this day.
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