Harebrained Schemes developers have previously demonstrated their ability to build compelling and substantial products with the Shadowrun series. This is also how BattleTech feels, even if the designers’ concept might have been better realized. It’s all about the mech combat being consistently satisfying.
After a dull introduction with a mission to escort a specific princess and a horrific coup, we are cast in the position of the commander of a private military group – we are mercenaries. We perform future tasks to earn money and acquire some of the defeated ones’ pieces. We also have access to narrative tasks on a regular basis. The tale isn’t extremely compelling, and the main surprise is revealed in the prologue. The conversations of the mech pilots provide the majority of the exposition, but they can slow down the action – sometimes we cannot issue the command to proceed before a certain hero finishes his line. It is, however, not especially irritating.
The economic component is critical. It distinguishes BattleTech in its own right. It costs money to keep our firm running. As a result, we can’t afford to defy commands; fans who cling to a set of plot tasks must adjust their ways. We need to pay our employees and fund repairs. All of this means that we are always concerned with winning while causing as little damage as possible. Sending a mech in for maintenance means it will be unavailable for up to twenty days, and time is money. This maxim is as applicable in few games as it is in this one. The most essential aspect, however, are the fights, which need you to somewhat alter your approach to fighting, especially if you are coming from the XCOM series. Mechs are strong machines, not bullet-proof humans. Sometimes we can safely install some units on the open field. However, you must remember a lot of stuff – the fights are rather intricate, which is good. Different sorts of weaponry, picking components of an enemy mech, taking advantage of the chance to evade or knock down an opponent, or keeping an eye on the heating condition of our own troops – all of this may keep you riveted to the screen for an extended period of time. It helps that the automobiles are visually appealing.
We battle on several planets. We’ve got traditional European, desert, and winter scenes – a rather ordinary variety. It’s a shame there aren’t any usual urban maps to help vary the fighting. At times, it may appear that the locales are nothing more than a huge wilderness. Mechs in the city, on the other hand, would be like elephants in a china shop. We have heavy, medium, and light mechs available. Importantly, each has a distinct purpose. Despite their modest firepower, even light ones can be effective for distracting the opponent or highlighting them for the rest of the squad and similar reconnaissance efforts. Aside from fighting, we have a tiny RPG feature where we may interact with crew members and make simple decisions. Of course, we can spend a lot of time customizing machines, selecting any weapon and armor combinations we like. There is also a simple pilot development, although it isn’t really fascinating because everyone has access to identical skill trees. The game’s main flaw is that it doesn’t explain anything. Some nuances turn out to be incredibly essential, such as the fact that right-clicking on an adversary to view its weak places is always worthwhile. For some reason, we occasionally receive misleading notifications while the game plainly indicates the need to repair mildly scratched mechs.
Those unfamiliar with the MechWarrior world may struggle with weapon control as well. Even with something as clear to aficionados of this brand as deactivating certain weaponry or decoding shortened designations like LRM or putting launchers and ammo in different places of the mechs. Of course, as we gain experience, we are able to enjoy the game more.
BattleTech, on the other hand, is an excellent choice for fans of mechs and turn-based strategy. It is true that it does not impress at first and may put off newcomers, but the compelling nature of tactical fights compensates for the majority of the drawbacks. In terms of battle mechanics, it is one of the most comprehensive methods of its kind, and, contrary to popular belief, you can just relax with it, dedicating hundreds of hours to learning the art of war.