Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Free to Mech!

I've been in a little gaming slump lately so I decided to check out Mechwarrior Online again after my graphics card update.  My first try at it was disappointing since I wasn't able to finish one match due to FPS and lag issues.  This time however I'm happy to say it was a better experience.

If you're a fan of the Mechwarrior franchise then I highly recommend checking out this game.  I was a big fan of the franchise and disappointed when it was sold and stripped down.  The complexity was gutted and it turned into a vehicle for arcade shooters.  A sad, dark time.  Now it seems they've turned back the clock and given back some of it's classic feel.

I should be careful though and not give you too much hope.  It is after all a free to play game and not the best.  It's not horrible but it could some polish, some tweaking and of course less pay only options.  Lag is still an issue and for some reason it will throw you on European servers which gives everyone insane pings.  Graphically it's nice but can cause some problems if you're not running a beefy computer.  I would imagine there's some optimization that could be done to clean it up but I wouldn't count on them focusing their attention on it.  At least it runs and is playable despite these issues. 

The good things about this game are the options that have been given back to the players.  You'll notice right away this is not a pick-a-mech and start blasting type of game.  Weapons can be swapped, heat must be managed and of course you always have to keep an eye on it's tonnage.  It's that great classic formula where you spend more time configuring your load-outs than you do battling.  This might sound odd to some of you youngsters out there but it's something we loved back in the 80's and 90's. 

Other than the customization that's returned there really isn't much to praise.  Battles are chaotic, unorganized and usually consist of two groups of mechs slugging it out in the middle of the map.  I think this would be a great game for organized clan matches but I would imagine the time or money investment to get to that level is considerable. 

Buying mechs is of course expensive and they tempt you into buying premium credits to unlock the money only ones.  You do earn a decent amount of free credits as you play but it's not as generous as other free-to-play games.  The World of Tanks or Warthunder model is far better at keeping the non-paying player interested and they have better polish on their games. 

If you're an old Mechwarrior fan I say give it a shot.  You'll have some fun and enjoy bolting a million lasers to a mech just to watch it shut down from heat.  If you're not a big fan of the franchise then I'd recommend trying out something else.  World of Warships is out right now and a much more rewarding free-to-play experience.

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