BATTLETECH - Flashpoint - PC Review

The new Flashpoint DLC for BattleTech added over 30 hours of content, a tougher mission set, new mechs, and a new planet type. In my opinion, this DLC has made the game much harder and extremely satisfying to go back to.

First, I'd like to point out a couple of things about the Flashpoint DLC which changed from the base game. The most notable of those changes was how the skill Bulwark functions. When the content first launched, many people were disappointed in the changes, claiming the game was unplayable. I'm not among those people because the change forced players to be more mindful about where they place their mechs as opposed to sitting in one location and taking a barrage of damage.

In the base game, Bulwark would give players -50% damage from the front and the sides, which allowed for mechs to hold or defend a position on the map. Once Flashpoint released, Bulwark became a skill that only grants 40% damage reduction, making it harder for mechs to take an alpha strike. If players use both cover and guarded modes, mechs will have 60% damage reduction over all. And I think this is a great change.

Since Harebrained Schemes changed the Bulwark skill, all players with the DLC had to reassign their characters experience points in case they wanted to change their specializations. This is the only time that players would be able to freely re-spec without having to reload an older save or restarting the game.

Players with the Flashpoint DLC can also see the road map for other content that will launch. There are two other DLC's planned for BattleTech. The first will be called Urban Warfare, which will launch in the Summer of 2019. The third DLC is currently untitled and the launch date is also unknown, but at least there is a game plan.

New Mechs and New Map

There are three new mechs: the Crab, Cyclops, and Hatchetman. I tried all three of these mechs in one lance during a single player skirmish mode and what I found is that the Hatchetman does not suit my style of play. It is 45 tons and is meant to rip apart lances when at medium or short range. The reason for that is because of its specialty, a hatchet that can be repaired. And while this concept is a neat idea, as a ranged player, it was not as useful as other heavier and longer ranged frames.

The Crab is a medium mech weighing at 50 tons which suits me just fine. Since I was playing in skirmish mode where mechs cannot be altered, it was outfitted with lasers only. I've never been a huge fan of lasers in BattleTech mainly because the RNG gods hate me. Anyways, that said, the Crab is great for medium range. I say that because it has small, medium, and long ranged lasers, giving it the best chance to have about 50% chance to hit if you hit that sweet spot. At least, that's how I would play it. Relying on one laser to shoot an enemy lance does not work well in my experience.  

As for the Cyclops, it is a nice in between mech weighing in at 90 tons of pure destruction. It was outfitted with a couple AC20's and SRMs which works well as a mid ranged mech, suiting my gameplay style quite well. In skirmish mode, it comes complete with a battle computer adding to a lances' total initiative rating. The Cyclops is not designed for close combat, nor is it great for taking on a barrage of hits. In other words, positioning is key when using this particular frame.

Introduced in the Flashpoint DLC is a new tropical biome which features spore clouds. These can work for or against players since it adds a +4 difficulty to hit mechs in the spore cloud. Consequently, if a mech is damaged while standing inside a spore cloud, they will take 20% additional damage from the shots fired at it. So, this new map can be quite interesting to play, but it will require some forethought. However, each time I've played in the new biome, I've enjoyed the experience.  

Flashpoint Missions

So let's look at the Flashpoint missions. There are a couple of different types which adds more challenge to the game. If you are successful, you are rewarded for your efforts. Now, it's important to know that these missions pop up at random times, and they are hard enough that players must know their mech's capabilities.

These missions will remain active for an extended time limit. Upon starting a new campaign with Flashpoint downloaded, players have plenty of time to build up their lance before attempting the more challenging missions. Information such as the engagement length, consecutive deployments, bonus rewards, and tonnage requirements, are all displayed clearly. Therefore, players can make informed decisions when considering entering a Flashpoint. And even if players don't accept the mission right away, they will still appear under the contracts tab. In other words, players know exactly what they are getting into before accepting the mission.

Every mission has a certain number of skulls. If you have completed the game, then these missions will start likely start at four or five skulls. Normally that wouldn't be a problem but depending on the type of Flashpoint, it might not be ideal to use your heaviest mechs because certain missions require the quick recon mechs. Anyways, once finished the first mission part, players are immediately pulled into another mission without the option to repair their mechs or assign experience. This is part of what makes BattleTech much harder with the DLC.

By adding Flashpoint missions, not only does it add to the replayability of BattleTech, it also adds a higher level of complexity. These missions also allow smaller mechs to be used outside of the base game, because let's be real, players stopped using the light mechs the further they progressed in the campaign. In other words, Flashpoint adds some more variety to the game.

Another thing I really enjoy about the Flashpoint missions is the dialogue options given before entering a mission, which may help or hinder players. The first Flashpoint mission I received was fairly easy and gave me two options, either take on the first team sent to destroy the patrol or join after that first team had already left the field. I chose to drop after Sentry Team Alpha had left so that I could properly set myself up for any attacks.

Overall Thoughts

I love the new missions and the new planet type. BattleTech has more of a challenge with the addition of the new Flashpoint missions and I already found it to be a challenging game (in my opinion).

With respect to the new mechs, I wasn't too enthusiastic with them. There are already plenty of options in the game to successfully complete missions so, I didn't find it necessary to add more mech. However, I know that the Hatchetman was highly anticipated and think for players that use a close combat style of gameplay, it's a great option.

Overall, I think Harebrained Schemes did a fantastic job adding hours of content to the game, and allowing players more diverse options when it comes to their lance. I love that they added a much more challenging game mode (not that I wasn't already struggling through the game, but that's part of the appeal.) So, I give the Flashpoint DLC a 9 out of 10 since it adds a lot of replayability and challenge.

Don't forget to follow Harebrained Schemes and BattleTech!

Game Information

Harebrained Schemes
Paradox Interactive
Single Player
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Provided by Publisher

Article by Susan N.


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