If you haven't noticed, mech games are still a big thing in the video gaming industry. And with recent releases like STEEL BATALLION and MECHASSAULT for the Xbox, there are a wide variety of games to choose from on the system. And luckily for gamers, MECHASSAULT proves to be one of the better mech games released on any system so far.
MECHASSAULT has a pretty simple storyline (doesn't it seem that all mech games do?). Basically, you have landed on the planet that is under the control of technological zealots known as the Word of Blake. Your job is to create confusion, disrupt their defenses and take the world back.
MECHASSAULT is probably one of the best looking Xbox games on the market right now. The mech designs look great and the animation is superb. The mechs are extremely detailed, too; you can see the pivots move on the feet, and when you are on uneven ground, you'll see the pivots shift to keep the mech balanced. And when you jump into the air, when you land, you'll see your mech crouch because of the weight that is coming down. Now that is attention to detail. Day 1 also put in beautiful smoke, dust and explosion effects.
Unfortunately, all this beautiful stuff can be hindered by slowdown. And this isn't just in multiplayer mode as you'll find times where the game slows down in single player modes. Most of the time this happens when there are more than four or five mechs onscreen at once, along with tanks, ground troops and the like. But it isn't enough to make a big hindrance to you enjoying the game.
Unlike STEEL BATALLION which could take months to learn how to play, you can learn how to play MECHASSAULT in just a matter of minutes. There are three different weapons categories for each mech, and while each category has different weapons, every mech will only have one of each. And the control is fairly easy to learn and you won't find yourself asking which button does what.
There are over 18 controllable mechs in MECHASSAULT and multiple unlockable mechs. And each mech is different than the rest. Each mech has a different weight, armor and firepower. The heavier the mech, the more armor and firepower they have. But the lighter they are, the faster they are. So basically, it is up to you on which strategy you want to use. And the lighter mechs sometime have an advantage over the heavier ones. They may be light on firepower, but hey, when you're facing off against a mech that can barely move, it gives you a bit of an advantage (unless you're facing an Atlas, which I don't think can be hurt).
Also, nearly everything in MECHASSAULT can be destroyed. Buildings, vehicles, rocks; everything can be destroyed. And the cool thing about this is it is actually realistic. When a building falls on your mech, it actually hurts your mech. When you fall off a bridge, it hurts your mech. And don't be too close to a mech when it explodes, because that blast radius can go pretty far and will wreak havoc on your own mech.
As you know, the game supports Xbox Live, but we haven't actually been able to test it on Xbox Live as Microsoft has yet to get us starter kits (one of the reasons this review is late getting up is because we kept waiting on kits that never got here). But from what we hear, it is awesome. You can play against up to seven friends, and there is even downloadable content like maps.
MECHASSAULT is one of the better Xbox games on the market right now, and if you have broadband and don't mind dishing out the cash for Xbox Live, the game is well worth your cash. A definite buy for those holiday shoppers who have some last minute shopping to do.