Custom Mech Wars - PS5 Review

Custom Mech Wars by developer and publisher D3 PublisherSony PlayStation 5 review written by Pierre-Yves with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes. 

EDF! EDF! E…D…F… what? This isn't our latest Earth Defense Force? I could have sworn… 

Welcome to Custom Mech Wars! Brought to you by the amazing minds behind the B Horror Level experience of Earth Defense Force. The world is under attack by a rogue AI picking up any and all mobile suits known as G-Mechs to lay waste to humanity. It's up to you, and potentially your friends if you have them close by, to stop them and save humanity!

If you’ve ever played an Earth Defense Force, you know what you’re in for when it comes to Custom Mech Wars. Forty stages with varying objectives against rising odds as there’s generally only one of you and HORDES of them. For everyone else, the gameplay is that of a third person shooter where you’ll be fighting against a variety of different shaped enemies in cities, deserts, lush green plains and calm looking mountain ranges.

Where Custom Mech Wars is different, is that you aren’t just a human with a weapon. You are a human with a weapon and PLENTY of customizable mechs that can be called into a mission. The Gunpla (Gundam Plamo (Plastic Models)) nerd in me was overjoyed at this as I’m also currently going through Gundam Breaker 3 (physical import as it’s sadly not on our PSN) where you get to customize your own units. Why this is relevant is that while your Gunpla is stuck to the core pieces of Head, Chest, Legs, Arms, Back, Custom Mech Wars? How many of each do you want?

Starting off conservatively and using the starting units as a base, which had your traditional human looking machine, I was soon going right off the rails. Where Custom Mech Wars differs from even that of Armored Core (VI), is that there’s only one limit. No, not imagination, but weight limit. AND imagination. So I had a core, and the core had six arms (four attached to the torso, two attached to the other arms), but this wasn’t enough armament for the foes I was facing, oh no. I continued on with shotguns in the shins, miniguns on the shoulders, and then a giant ray gun sticking out of my chest all before adding on… 16 missiles and 8 rockets to my back. 

Overkill? I wish it had been but more often than not, especially by the end game, it was just enough to get by and even then. I had to summon in my starter mech which I had kept around to pull off a finale worth Gundam 00 when Setsuna comes back in the Exia. So satisfying. Both that final fight and the game as a whole. The mech building itself is rather easy as everything you have access to contains nodes. Each node can have multiple things attached and then moved around an X, Y, Z axis.

So all those missile and rocket launchers? I had them all superimposed onto one another so that visually for me it looked like one and took up less of my screen. All of this can be done with whatever you have on hand. Whether you build new parts with money and materials, or use what you pick up on the field, as long as you have it, you can use it.

In terms of gameplay, it’s smooth. Your mech’s default speed is decent and if you need to go fast? You can boost. If you need to fly a bit, you can also use your boost but through a second button. You have one button to fire any and all weapons that are attached to arms or other body parts. Your firing all goes pretty well towards your target as long as you are aiming at it. Missiles, rockets, and grenades have their own button that can be held down for target locks. Finally, you can also attach automatic weapons that will act independently of you.

In the case of Custom Mech Wars, you’re only as good as your mechs. Yes, plural. Once you’ve built one, you can build a second and a third and a forth and a… you get the point. Each of these can be summoned onto the battlefield to relieve the previous one. Out of ammo? Lost parts? Need a different configuration? Hop on out of one mech and summon down the next. It can take a few seconds so it’s a good thing that you’ve got a bazooka that can potentially freeze an enemy machine, or if you’re not feeling lucky, use your personal boost and zip on right out of there.

If I were to have a complaint, it would be the same one as normal with games in this genre. Unskippable dialog. You can skip the main intro from the mission select and skip the outro to get back to the menu, but at the start of certain missions, especially if you've already done them or you're going back to do them on a harder difficulty, forces you to sit there and wait for the talking to end so that the mission can start. This makes re-doing certain missions a real slog especially if they have the right amount of enemies to grind for new materials. 

Now for an actual serious complaint? With all of the parts and pieces that you’ll be picking up, there’s no ability to either sell scrap gear or even break it down. It just starts to clutter your hanger’s inventory and doesn't actually give you anything in return as there is a lot of junk that you'll be picking up on this wild ride. I wish it could be used to break it down as there is an option to buy pre-built mechs like this gaudy golden wonder shown right above (and new weapons and parts like mentioned above), however, cash isn’t that easy to come by as you’re normally getting all of your new gear through the missions that you take on.

Custom Mech Wars is fun. If you like D3’s Earth Defense Force series you should find plenty to love here. If you like mechs, you should find plenty to love here. And finally if you love customizing the hell out of things and then working on custom paint jobs? You know it, plenty to love here!

Score: 8 / 10



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