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Mechwarrior comes again - this time as multiplayer game (PC)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Mechwarrior franchise's video game history goes back as far as 1989 when the first Mechwarrior game was released for PC (Ms-Dos), Snes and Sharp X68000 developed by Dynamix. However the sequel Mechwarrior 2: 31st Century Combat (and :Mercenaries) is perhaps the most known title of the series so far developed by Activision and having great soundtrack mainly composed by Jeehun Hwang.

Now Mechwarrior is returning later this summer, after a break of a full decade, with title "Mechwarrior Online" for PC, taking place at the end of the Third Succession War like the first Mechwarrior. Mechwarrior Online uses CryENGINE 3 as it's game-engine, which is used by games such as Crysis 2,3 and Sniper 2: Ghost Warrior. That means that the visuals are quite impressive. The game has already gone through beta-stage this summer and forgive me if I'm wrong but my assumption is that it will be open for public within a month or two.

The game is free-to-play-online fps / simulation and while this may sound like a bad idea for some, the game seems to be made quite faithful to the previous Mechwarrior titles. The game has been at pen-and-paper development stage since 2008 and was officially announced to be in produced at 2009. The developer is Piranha Games led by long time fan of the series Russ Bullock. Bullock who contacted Jordan Weissman (owner of the Mechwarrior franchises rights) about possibility to make the game. While game is free to play, some premium accounts with extra mechs and such seems to cost money.

(Cockpit view with a familiar "feel")

The game really seems to hone down to the originals. One should immediately feel at home when sitting comfortably in the oh so nostalgic cockpit view and hearing some heavy metal / rock influenced sound tracks as well as those reminding the more dramatic tracks of Mechwarrior 2: Mercenaries. The mechs move like they should, little clumsily and marching heavily onward. Heat seeking missiles lock on the target and lasers cut off the arms or legs of the enemy mechs (if you're lucky) - just like in the classic games. If you fire too heavily, your systems will over-heat.

The developers say that they have put more emphasis on different roles of the different type of mechs like scout and fighter, or long range and close combat mechs, to make players take different roles to fill up team play. Piranha Games says that the emphasis is definitely on team play this time around. Gametypes confirmed are at least team deathmatch and base capturing.

(Mechlab customization with "hardpoint"-system)

The game should have wide selection of mechs (of which old fans will recognize immediately), of which each have their own variant. So how about customization? Do not worry. Mechwarrior Online uses "hardpoint-system" where you can take out and replace any weapon at any spot of your mech with any weapon you like in "MechLab" where you can customize your mechs way you like. Which means you don't have to stick with pre-customized setups.

As for a free-to-play massive online fps / simulation this game looks fantastic and should please those who have waited a Mechwarrior title to come. It's probably one of the most awaited online shooters this year. If you ever played original Mechwarrior games - made your dream mech - and thought "damn would I love to kick some ass online with this" then now is your time!

Russ Bullock also states that the advantages of making free-to-play online game is that they can and will keep pushing the game development onward after the official release.

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