the year's highly anticipated games now sits before us. From software
giant Microsoft comes MechWarrior 4 - Vengeance. Does it live up its
anticipation?? I'd have to say yes. And there are some statements i've
heard passed around that sound like complete bull. One being that this
game was to be more friendly for FPS gamers than it's predecessors.
But, nuh-uh. FPS my ass. It's a simulator as much as it's ever been.
If you don't know much about the Mech-Verse let me get you up to speed.
A "mech" is a huge robot controlled by pilots with an enormous assortment
of firepower. In the not so distant future…3000 A.D. (give or take a
few hundred years). The human race has expanded to far off planets with
colonies, almost all of them at war. MW 4 has everyone wanting control
and power, and instead of governments at war, its Families and Clans.
In this particular episode, the character you play receives a transmission
from his father saying how your home world is being taken over and everyone
is being killed-including your family. Instead of carrying on with life,
vengeance must be taken!! So starts another war to recapture your fallen
my opinion has improved greatly from the others. Lots of full motion
video sequences which bring detail to the story. During mission briefings
you get little video transmissions in the top corner, outlining your
mission or giving you advice as to what kind of weapons you should put
on your mech, or what to target first in the missions. Also the acting
and blending of "Real People" with the mech universe is done very well.
The FMV I felt could have been a little cleaner, but it was still decent.
Another improvement is the graphics - and good for that. Gone are the
days of bland one-colour terrains, skies, and buildings. Now you have
details and textures, like trees and starry skies. But as good as the
details and textures are (and I do like them) some of the really up
close (and even some distant views) are still kinda bland-they're just
missing something from completing the scene. But the details you get
when you blow something up are well worth the other minor discrepancies.
Unfortunately, the lots of different weapons look the same when fired,
but hey...still good.
would think that controlling such a vast array of weapons and at the
same time controlling the maneuvering of your mech would be hard. Well
that's not too far from the truth. Being a sim there's a lot involved
(there goes the FPS audience i'm sure). Throttle Control uses the 1
through 0 keys, allowing you to move slowly to aim appropriately or
to go a runnin' after that fleeing APC and just stomp it with your foot!!!
There are up to six controls for the weapons groups. Each weapon can
be fired by itself or you can group them together, for example, having
all machine guns or lasers in one group and missiles in the others.
Having this option also allows you to hit all the groups at once and
you can fire everything you've got in one massive barrage…..YEEEEEAH!!!...but
it does take some getting used to.
the mech can be complicated but fairly easy once you have down which
button do what. Once the throttle is set you go forward and can use
the mouse to move to the left or right but only slowly. You're able
to pivot the torso of your mech in order to run in one direction, and
look/fire in another. This can be very confusing sometimes, especially
if you forget to center your torso, you'll think your running straight
but you're not. It would have been nice to have this tweaked in a way
that would line you up automatically at times.
want to know where your enemies are, there are map and radar controls
so you can have a blank green field with dots on it to show you the
enemies and positions. Or you can use the map version which shows a
terrain detail and the enemy locations. A cool control is the jump jet,
which allows you to jump more than fly. It helps to get yourself out
of some tight situations fast as well - but the jump is limited due
to a necessary recharge. The 'zoom in' function is useful for those
hard to reach bastards on the hill above you. And camera control in
general is limited to cockpit view and an external view behind your
mech (either from the left, right or center). All these controls can
be configured to your liking in the options menu. You can also configure
a control pad although I found the keyboard and mouse more to my liking.
progresses through a story line where you do mission after mission.
Upon completing each mission there is a stats page afterwards that lists
all of what happened during and afterward-salvage operations occurring
afterward. So you can see what weapons and other mechs you have collected
into your growing army. Then before beginning the next mission you can
customize your mech with whatever you want. I found this to be a really
good feature to use in the 'Instant Action' section because you can
go through all of the mechs and weapons and see what does what, change
your colours and armoring etc..
on the subject of the instant action mode, this is Mechwarrior's version
of a skirmish mode. You can setup what mech you want to use, how many
lives you have, how many enemy mechs, what types they are and what setting
you want to play it in--either reenact missions or do battle in suburbia!
A really great learning tool. Just make sure you put a few enemy mechs
on the screen. I found it extremely boring with only one. Oh yes, and
there is a tutorial - past readers may know I'm pretty adamant about
good tutorials. And this one is pretty decent as it goes through all
your mech's capabilities except a few little features like lance mates
(wing men) and stuff such as customizing your mech. The best part of
the tutorial had to be when I shot my instructor and she sneers, "if
you shoot me, I WILL shoot back"…uuuuuh...oops.
also mention the sound in this game. The voice acting is pretty much
on the mark. Although I found when you were in a briefing and listening
to the transmissions your replies were mostly "duh…Ok" type responses
- WTF?. But, sounds from the mechs like movement and weapons fire, were
prime and realistic. If you have a good sound system setup, you'll definitely
a few times, this game IS a simulator. So for most gamers I find, you
either like sims like this or you don't. I think it's the time required
in order to learn everything, people just want a faster paced game.
The pace of the game play (which is faster than other games in this
series/genres) is still much slower compared to Quake types. If you
like sims and especially the mech series then this will definitely tickle
your gaming bone though. At any rate this game deserves some attention.
good-a little disappointing in places, but no big deal.
sound, great tutorial and some very cool abilities for the mechs.
exactly allow FPS gamers to all of a sudden enjoy this part of
the series like many expected, but...it's good for what it set
out to do.