Look at that magnificent bastard. If you grew up in the 90’s playing games on the PC, I don’t have to tell you what that is. You already know, it’s a Timberwolf (or if you are an Inner Sphere sympathizer it’s a Mad Cat, but that’s not this guy, Clan Jade Falcon all the way baby). These games were extremely popular starting with the release of Mechwarrior in 1989 and subsequent releases up until Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance in 2002. I know that there is a current iteration alive right now with Mechwarrior Online, but let’s put a tack in that one and come back to it in a minute. For now I am talking about the original core games, that are made up of these 4. There were also a few Xbox versions released throughout the 2000’s, but none of them had near the fanbase or critical acclaim as these bad boys. They are based on the 1984 tabletop game known as Battletech that spawned a VERY popular book series that lasted throughout the 80’s and 90’s. This was a series that I read avidly throughout my middle school and high school years, I recently wanted to get back into them after talking about my favorite books to my brother in law, although I am sad to report that they are no longer being published. They are still available in Ebook form and if you are a fan of science fiction and haven’t had a chance to check them out I suggest you do, you are in for a treat. Anyways, back on topic, these games had a HUGE following up until the last decade and it is somewhat puzzling as to why they aren’t still as popular now as they were back then. If you can get your hands on one of the originals the first thing you will notice is those graphics have aged, badly. I’m talking faces of meth badly. The fact of the matter is that when you see them today in their strange blocky-polygon form they are close to unplayable. Mechwarrior 3 and 4 aren’t too bad, but they just can’t hold a candle to anything that is on the market today. Even going back to that tack about the version that IS still alive and well today: Mechwarrior Online, is lacking almost everything that made Mechwarrior what it once was, save the Mechs. Mechwarrior Online has no story and is instead a free to play 2 sided pvp game that is not anywhere near as fun as the originals. Graphics quality wise it isn’t much of a step up from the versions that were on the original xbox 10 years ago. Not only that but, and I know I am repeating myself here, but THERE IS NO STORY. That is the real crime there. With such a colorful universe and so many amazing characters, making one of these games without putting in any sort of single player campaign mode is just a goddamn crime. Seriously. The original games had wonderful stories and well thought out campaigns that made you FEEL like you were a mechwarrior, fighting in a giant galactic war over the inner sphere and the surrounding clan space. Not only that but although it is a “free to play” game it comes with a “pay to win” pricetag that so many other games do these days that makes for a VERY steep learning curve when you start playing against the guys that have dumped a few hundred dollars into their death machines and just wipe the floor with you every match. I could understand paying for visual upgrades and customizations and things, but this game lets you completely level up and upgrade your mech using nothing but money if you so choose, no XP required. It has none of the heart and soul of what made the original games so special, and hasn’t performed all that well since it’s release a few years ago. Regardless, one thing is for certain: this is not the new Mechwarrior flagship that we can all get behind, which brings me to my main point. Over the next few years, the setup is there for someone to deliver a new Mechwarrior experience using the current generation of consoles and PC’s to really bring the world of Mechwarrior to life. I have recently seen people playing a game called Xenoblade Chronicles X which was released the past month, and in it players can get into these machines called Skells, which are basically the Japanese Gundam’d up version of our American Mechs.
Still impressive, but I’m taking the Timberwolf EVERY time
I was watching the gameplay videos and I will admit, Xenoblade has that Skell combat down. It looked hella fun, although there was no footage that I saw of Skells fighting one another, it was always them fighting giant monsters which, although still badass, was not enough to scratch my Mechwarrior itch. Combine that with the fact that this is a Nintendo exclusive which means it is only released on the WiiU and the 3DS and you are still getting the graphics equivalent of the PS3 and Xbox360. Not gonna cut it. I am hoping and praying that someone sees the GAPING void that is the current giant american death robot market and decides to let a big studio just throw themselves behind it. With the graphics and memory capabilities of modern PCs and gaming systems you could make a 1 player, campaign-driven game that could do honor to the ones that came before it, while raising the bar in every way. Then you could still get your multiplayer fix with standard capture the flag and deathmatch style matches that come standard with all games these days. Hell, even if you still wanted a multiplayer-only version of the game (although I can’t think of why you would) why not make it MOBA style? At least then the gameplay would be more strategic than he who has the biggest gun wins . And while they are on it, bring back the Battletch books as well, just because. Those books were amazing and the sci-fi shelves at Barnes and Nobles are barren enough as it is. With that being said, Mechwarriors for all and to all a good night!!!
Sound off if you agree that you are missing some Mech action in your life, or if you disagree and are getting your fix elsewhere!