Jul 122009
 

Je suis geek! That’s because I thought the Mechwarrior 5 trailer was cool:

 

I just hope the gameplay this implies is realised…

I’ve played a few mech games over the years and without exception they all boil down to one thing: a daft circle-strafing competition, as giant machines dance unfeasibly quickly around each other at a distance of about 50 feet.  This is boring. It is also unrealistic, but let’s not get into the pointless (but nonetheless long-running) argument about what constitutes realism in the 31st Century, whether mechs would be obsolete as tanks are becoming today, why these long-range killing machines are so close you can see the colour of the enemy pilot’s eyes, and so on.

It’s just boring because it’s unimaginative: a slightly slower fps, Quake with different graphics. But if we’re talking about taking cover in a city, using effective recon, worrying about building strength and mech weight, weapon range, smoke, spotting nice visual clues about weapon overheats and all the other stuff suggested by this video… then that’s more likeee.

I remember, years ago, when I saw in White Dwarf  an advert for Citytech, an expansion for the original Battletech game.  That was when the whole mech thing made sense to me. If you’re going to make enormous killing machines to traverse and fight over vast empty plains, I think you’d probably make them have wheels, or wings, or hoverjets or tracks or something. You wouldn’t make them walk.

If, however, you need your enormous killing machines to cope with an environment that’s basically designed for bipeds – a city, say – then legs make a lot more sense. The boardgame, of course, was always about terrain: it’s the earlier releases in the computer game dept that let the side down somewhat.

Anyway, I will believe in Mechwarrior 5 when I see it for myself (actually it’s just Mechwarrior – a ‘reboot’ apparently, not a sequel). Meanwhile it seems these guys are gonna give away MechWarrior 4 in the near future to drum up interest in giant walking robots, as if that were a concept no-one had heard of  recently. Can’t complain though.

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