Battletech - A review in one part

Discussion in 'Games: Member articles & research.' started by Gavor, Nov 29, 2019.

  1. Gavor

    Gavor Well-Known Member

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    Battletech was always going to be my thing. A game system I've owned (though not played a lot) since the early 90s, purchased with money from my first job. When I discovered the digital games, Crescent Hawks Inception/Revenge, I played the hell out of them. Mechwarrior (1,2,3,4) rocked my world, particularly Mechwarrior 2 Mercenaries. Turn based tactical games in particular are my jam, going way back to Empire on the C64 (I realise this was a strategy game, but it is the first turn based game I remember playing) and then moving through XCom and on to more modern games like Divinity: Original Sin.

    In spite of the above, I waited for a long time to pick it up and play. There are a lot of games on my to-play list and I try not to bump them just to take up the latest thing that grabs my attention. Even after purchasing it sat on my desktop for another month or two before I decided it was time to have a go. I'm not going to lie, it was a bit of a let-down initially. The first four or five hours feel pretty generic and after levelling the pilots for a while I had this feeling that combat wasn't particularly complex. A though sat in the back of my mind for some time, when I reach the 100T mechs this is just going to turn into a toe-to-toe slugfest. Never fear, it didn't.

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    I don't want to go over the top in word count so let me summarise the game as I played it. I focused quite heavily on doing non-story mercenary missions to build up my lance tonnage and level my pilots, only recruiting and maintaining 6 mercs. The dropship by the end of the game supported 3x this number and I have no idea why. Perhaps on higher difficulties (I was one notch above normal) you take a lot more casualties. Combat, starting out fairly simple, did eventually flesh out to require some more lateral thinking when I found my 4 mech lance taking on 8 or more mechs coming at me in waves. Using mobility and terrain became imperative to success and rarely did it devolve into the toe-to-toe slugfest I feared. When it was a punch-up, it was only because I loved initiating melee combat (stomping on a ground vehicle never grew old). In general the turn based ruleset worked great, though it is highly recommended you disable most of the combat cinematics and animations to speed things up.

    There are enough mechanics away from the combat to keep you occupied. Mechs need to be repaired and refitted and you can modify their weapons, armour and equipment. Pilots need to be trained across 5 (?) attributes which add bonuses and unlock new skills, both active and passive. I trained each to have a particular speciality like indirect fire (using a catapult with many many missiles) or long range with autocannons, or melee. The dropship itself can be upgraded in many different areas such as medical facilities, mech repairs/bays and so on.

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    I won't go into the story too much as it's fairly generic fare. Someone loses their position of power, you used to work for their clan, now you're a mercenary. That person engages your mercenary group to help take the power back. After a bunch of thingsā„¢ happen, you come to a bittersweet conclusion involving guns and explosions. Tidy, but unremarkable. When the story ends you can embark on an endless series of randomly generated mercenary missions picked from locations all over the galaxy (or at least the portion the game is set in).


    VERDICT: I really enjoyed it. A definite recommendation for lovers of stompy robots, science fiction, or turn based tactical combat games.


    Final Word: RECOMMENDED

    (game link)

    Originally posted at: https://belligerentoldergamers.blogspot.com/2019/11/battletech.html (Belligerent Older Gamers: Battletech)
     
    Rukus308 likes this.
  2. Ninja Gizmosis

    Ninja Gizmosis Communications Manager Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    I played the board game before the first of the games came to my old 286.....
    Have played almost all of them since, but the old Cresent Hawks was my favourite.

    I also have Battletech, and also have pledged / paid for the new board game as well.
     
  3. Gavor

    Gavor Well-Known Member

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    I have second edition from 1985 and the Intro Boxed set from 2013 (can't remember what edition that is). Interesting seeing the evolution from the 1985 boxed set to the newer one.
    I loved Crescent Hawks Inception as well and finished it twice, once on the C64 and once on PC. Never played Revenge though, I just found it on an Abandonware site and if I get to it I'll do a play through and review.
     

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