The first time I was exposed to any sort of mech-on-mech combat was with Battletech, the pen-and-paper version of the game that would eventually inspired the PC Mechwarrior franchise. It was an incredibly detailed and intricate game for a kid with all sorts of subtleties that weren’t replicated in most of the PC titles. While some of the Mechwarrior games did their best to capture the chess-like combat of the original pen-and-paper version, many, even my favorite Mechwarrior: Mercenaries, fell short in executing many of Battletech’s strategic nuances. That was then however, while it may have been difficult to replicate the original’s intense mech combat back in the 90s, these days anything is possible, especially with a dedicated developer. I wasn’t able to weasel my way into the Mechwarrior Online’s closed beta, but from what I’ve seen it looks like the first Mechwarrior game that accurately represents what the original pen-and-paper version was all about.
Next week Mechwarrior Online’s open beta begins, meaning we’ll be able to pilot a mech and head on out to the battlefield to see if the game is as good as it looks. Like most open betas there will most likely be limitations as to what we can and cannot do, but it should give a pretty good indication as to whether or not the game is worth investing time in. The game is free-to-play meaning Piranha Games will have to make sure that content is monetized properly to keep it afloat. Too often free-to-play games simply become pay-to-win and I hope that isn’t the case here as the game is highly competitive.
They’ve already been showing off all sorts of professional-level matches to help show that the game does have the potential for competitive play. Recently they showed a match between two teams of eight that show just how strategic it can be. At one point one of the pilots is forced to keep his entire right side facing away from his enemies at all times as it had taken critical damage in an earlier engagement. I’ve linked the videos below for anyone who is interested, and really, who wouldn’t be? At some point everyone has daydreamed about piloting a giant mech with six lasers attached to it.