BATTLETECH - PC Review


Brief History of BattleTech

In the beginning there was a little company called FASA corporation which created a franchise that has carried on through decades. The BattleTech franchise they created was originally inspired by a Japanese animation called Macross (a great anime if you haven't seen it) and it released in 1984.

BattleTech is a turn-based strategy game where war torn military and political factions vy to rule. It is set in a science fiction universe and the only sentient life within it, is human.

As with any popular genre of game, BattleTech created a legacy through video games, CCGs, Television spin offs, game spinoffs like Mech Commander – one of my favourite games, a MechWarrior Online spinoff, and has over 100 books written in the universe. It also produced a widely played table top miniature game. Needless to say, this new BattleTech video game has a reputation to live up to and oh boy does it ever.



Graphics/UI

The graphics in this game are phenominal. Upon loading, it's default setting is ultra and certainly showcases the stellar graphics. Sadly, I had to drop it down a notch because my system is not as OP as I'd like it to be. That said, even at high settings, this game is nothing short of breath taking.

The cinematics are gorgeous and pulls players right in to the conflicts that cause the factions to fight. Even the art style at the beginning presents a gritty and raw aesthetic befitting of the war that has been raging for years.

For the most part, BattleTech is much like any other strategy game in that it is a top down third person perspective. However, it has a unique feature that demonstrates the finer graphic details. Every now and then, when a player moves their mechs, the player is given an upclose perspective. It's very satisfying to watch a mech punch another, causing it to fall over. This upclose perspective can be toggled or altered in the options menu, though I find it adds to the games' immersion.

The UI itself is easy to understand even if it seems weird at first. A player moves their mech and then must click a second time to face the mech in a particular direction. This a key element of BattleTech. If an enemy mech moves in behind yours, your mech is likely to take increased damage because there is less armour protection.

BattleTech's UI is very clean and the options menu gives a good amount of latitude for a perfect player experience. In my opinion, this game has an excellent UI that doesn't clutter the screen with needless information.

Sound/Music

The music in BattleTech perfectly complements the game. It is composed by Jon Everist, an award winning composer in both games and films. He has worked on such titles as Shadowrun: Dragonfall, Shadowrun: Hong Kong, Necropolis, and Planetstorm: Fallen Horizon.

The soundtrack contains 60 tracks totaling over three hours of amazing music. Mr. Everist captured the essence of human emotions in his compositions which serves this game well.

In an interview with Original Sound Version, Mr. Everist said the following in regards to the BattleTech music:

"My approach to music is always about treating characters with empathy and seriousness, and highlighting their arcs in a way that can reflect their faults and virtues in ourselves. Your crew in BattleTech is a motley crew of complex people, all with different hopes and dreams, all struggling. Nothing is easy, and they feel like futuristic frontiersman and women just trying to survive. It's that age old idea of the more things change the more they stay the exact same sort of thing. I knew I needed to do a true orchestral hybrid with soloists and vocalist to really capture this feeling correctly."
Check out the full interview.

Also, Mr. Everists' YouTube channel contains behind the scenes footage of the BattleTech music during its development. There are only four videos but, I particularly love this piece:



The Technology/Weapons

Of course, one of the fun things about BattleTech is the ability to outfit your mechs. Having a nice complement of short ranged and long ranged weapons will serve a player well, but as with any BattleTech game, you are restricted by weight.

Light mechs are often outfitted with jump jets, lasers, and SRMs in order to serve as scouts for the group. As such, these mech are not great combatants, but help to discover threats in the nearby area. That said, jump jets will allow certain mechs the option to execute 'death from above', which can cause some serious damage to enemy mechs.

Heavy mechs can hold a lot more firepower but don't move quickly. The good news is, long ranged missles (LRMs) will often be outfitted on these mechs. Taking out turrets and enemy mechs from afar can be super handy to gain an advantage in the map. And nothing is more satisfying to me than launching a shot from a PPC, which delivers a satisfying thud and hopefully causes a large dent in the enemy.


Of course, progression through the game allows players to salvage or purchase different weapons and technology to suit the mission type. And, if history has anything to say, the clan special technologies will be fun to experiment with, assuming those are available in BattleTech.

Gameplay

Let's talk about the gameplay.

BattleTech starts with an informative cinematic that takes you through the history of this tumultuous war. You are then dropped into the action and are immediately sucked into the story. This is the point where players learn the basics of mech piloting. And because of the mission you end up on, you will awake to converse with a stranger. At that point, you get to make decisions about how to proceed.

Players get to character creation quickly, and thankfully, it's not time consuming – just descriptive of background options. Each faction gives the player certain stat increases that will come in handy. And while in other games, backgrounds are mostly filler, in BattleTech, a player also receives specialized dialogue responses.

The initial story arc was enough to hook me, but what kept me in was the two different types of strategies used. The first is mission strategy and the second is financial strategy. I'll cover them both below.

Mission Strategy

During the individual missions, a player has all the time in the world to make decisions. Since BattleTech is a turn based tactical strategy game, players can save at almost any time during a mission. Not only does that allow players some freedoms that were not afforded in previous titles, but it makes strategizing easier when it's not done on the fly.

Don't get me wrong though, players will still have to consider movements without knowing what the opponent will do. Failure to do so will cost you. If you set up incorrectly, the enemy will exploit your weaknesses and ultimately require you to use more C-bills than intended.

Additionally, a player has to consider best hit percentages because of the overheating mechanic. If on every turn a player unloads everything, their heat is going to cause internal damage. To make things worse, if a part of your mech overheats with ammunition inside of it, that explosion will outright kill the pilot and the mech. Trust me. I made this mistake once!

When fighting the enemy mechs, targeting strategy is just as important as placement strategy. It's not enough to gang up on the mechs, a player has to be thoughtful in targeting weak areas. That means one can use the jump ability to get in behind mechs for a solid shot. Players can also execute called shots to disable certain deadly weapons or destroy ammunition. No matter what type of strategy you go with, the game requires players to think critically about their actions.

Financial Strategies

The challenge of the game doesn't simply come from the individual missions, but comes in the form of finances. Part of the big struggle in the game is getting out of debt so that you can seek out bigger contracts with bigger rewards.

At first this is daunting because the debt owed is large, players have salaries to pay, and must upkeep mechs. To compound the problems, the starting missions aren't worth much, which makes the beginning portion of the game the hardest. There is a constant balancing act between taking contracts that pay and being able to execute missions successfully.

You are the commander of a small mercenary group that expects to be paid each month. If you pay alot, the squads morale bonus increases. Conversely, if you pay less than the standard, morale will decrease. Both cases affect mission performance. It is another consideration a player needs to make during gameplay.


The good news is that players can negotiate their contracts by either increasing the money or increasing the salvage, depending on which is more important to the player. Basically, if you want more money for a mission, you lose salvage options. If you want more salvage gear for your mechs, you will lose money. You get to decide.

In short, BattleTech is full of complexity and gives players a ton of things to do, making gameplay very immersive and enjoyable.

Final Thoughts

BattleTech is everything I expected and more. It delivers a fantastic story, a high level of complexity, and a strong sense of urgency. It has epic weapons and allows a lot of flexibility when it comes to mech builds. Players can beef up their mechs armour and customize each mech as they see fit.

I've easily sunk over 20 hours playing this game and I have looked to free up more time to keep playing it!

I love BattleTech and have nothing negative to say about it. For the first time ever, a game is going to get a perfect 5 out of 7. I KID!

BattleTech gets a straight 10 out of 10 for me. Haters be damned.

Although, I have heard some players have had issues with crashing. I did not have this issue during my review playthrough and I truly hope that they resolve quickly. Should anyone have issues with the game, please post on the forums!

Do you love BattleTech? Have you played it yet? Have you followed BattleTech), Harebrained Schemes, and Paradox Interactive) yet? This company is KILLING IT, in my opinion. Anyways, let us know what you think in the comments!

Game Information

Platform:
PC
Developer(s):
Harebrained Schemes
Publisher(s):
Paradox Interactive
Genre(s):
Action
Adventure
Strategy
Mode(s):
Single Player
Multiplayer
Other Platform(s):
NA

Source:
Provided by Publisher




Article by Susan N.
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