I confess I spent some time as a child playing the pen-and-paper Battletech games. My friends and I would spend hours fumbling over our mechs and all of their loadouts; which gun goes where, what type or types should I use, how to balance my heat sinks, and so on. I think we went so far as to have laminated grid boards to play on. You know, stuff the ladies really go for. But because of this experience I have a very specific idea of what a Mechwarrior game should be, at least in my opinion. This is why I’m pretty psyched to see that the new Mechwarrior Tactics looks a lot more like my laminated board and a lot less like its predecessors.
That’s not to say I don’t like any of the old Mechwarrior games, I do, but I don’t think any of them really captured the strategically nuanced elements that existed in the pen-and-paper version. However, it looks like this is something that the creators of Mechwarrior Tactics, A.C.R.O.N.Y.M. Games and Infinite Game Publishing, are trying to do.
The first giant piece of awesome I noticed is that the game functions as an almost identical, albeit digital, version of the original pen-and-paper version. The game is turn-based and players engage each other on hex-based maps. Also players may place units and execute turns much in the same way they did in the non-digital version, by each placing a unit one at a time until all units are placed.
Purchasing new content works much like it did in the original as well, with separate individual purchases. In lieu of buying new combat sheets and plastic figurines like in the physical version, here they take the form of virtual booster packs called STACs, or “Surplus Technology Armored Containers.” While using real cash to buy in-game goods may give some players more options initially, all players have access to the same gear with in-game currency that is earned by playing the game.
Having more stuff than everyone else, whether purchased with real money or in-game currency, doesn’t give you an oppressive advantage. Much like the original, the player’s customization options are restricted with a point system. Each piece of gear, each upgrade, costs some amount of points. Both players have the same amount of points with which they can use to upgrade their mechs. So while spending a lot of money on the game may give you more options, it doesn’t give you more power.
The core gameplay itself however is free-to-play. The monetization of Mechwarrior Tactics will be all about the previously mentioned STACs. Also, since it is turn-based, players will have the ability to play more than one game at a time, much like in Words with Friends.
I think the Mechwarrior franchise needs a core turn-based flagship game like Mechwarrior Tactics. Like I said before, it’s not like I don’t like the old Mechwarrior Games, but I think if you’re looking to carve out an action based mech experience then I think games like Hawken are the way to go. Some of the more specific and refined mechanics that exist in Mechwarrior, or should I say Battletech, don’t necessarily transfer very well to action oriented combat, they’re based in strategy not reflexes. Either way, it’s time to dust off the old PPC cannon and get stoked for the digital remake of this pen-and-paper classic.
Source: The PA Report