When I finished installing MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, I shut the lights off, blasted the sound and said, “warp speed Mr.”….. You get the point. While I yearn to rejoice amid my building stomping, laser-blasting, missile launching, market negotiating romp around the galaxy in a giant mech, I have to temper my fandom with some reality. I want to absolutely love this game but at least for now I can’t. Let’s talk in more detail about some giant robot vehicles and all that MW5 offers and doesn’t.
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries starts off with a somewhat similar beginning to its predecessor standalone from MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, where you lead a mercenary company through missions in hopes of taking your faction to victory. In MW5, you are a pilot being trained by his father when you are ambushed and your father is killed saving you. Thus the game begins after that initial controlling your mech tutorial. It’s a fairly generic story plot with some poor voice acting to it. This is nothing to mech games that are typically more concerned with the setting and scenario and getting you into the mech to run your missions.
I haven’t gotten past reputation 4 due to time constraints but here’s what I’ve experienced so far. The game has a new feature that switches you from the cockpit to the first-person narrative between missions. This shift normally might seem like a nice break from the action, but sadly it just shows the lack of polish In MechWarrior 5. The transport ship’s hangar is mostly empty with a mechanic who can’t even turn to face you if you choose to talk to him while standing behind him. The model rendering is also poor compared to the models in the bridge. The soundtrack is decent guitar rock but again very forgettable. The lack of multiplayer is a downer though co-op mode allows you to play with friends instead of AI pilots which can be a blast.
The issues with MW5 are its lack of features specific to MechWarrior and its ilk. There is no part-specific target lock. You free aim like typical FPS when part lock targeting is a prime feature of the Mech games period. Armor customization is also gone. There’s just one type of armor and you can only increase or decrease it. You can’t add more weapons by decreasing the mass of the armor or change armor types to tailor fighting against specific weapons that might be found during said fight.
The lack of part diversity is grossly apparent. Heat dissipation is always a huge factor in these games. Biomes also affected combat and your mech. It usually is easier to fight on cold climate worlds because the temperature would help heat sinks but if you found yourself on a planet with molten activity or desert climate in the day your fight strategy and/or load-out would be different. In MW5, Biomes not only doesn’t affect your mech but they all start to look similar in short order. That’s not to say they are ugly, but repetition is another one of the flaws in MW5.
While there are more things including mission difficulty scaling that jumps very quickly without being able to be adjusted, it’s not all bad. The number of mechs in MW5 is pretty high with more apparently on the way. I was able to finish missions that I probably shouldn’t have at times from luck, but also from trying different mechs and working out my rust. Paying attention to my AI team and being more focused on them by giving them a mix of heavy and lighter mechs and not keep all the major pew pews to myself help.
I like earning the reputation points which allow you to negotiate to get better salvage. I know that in the older games you kept all salvage. To me, it adds at times a strategic element. For example, I can take a launcher and sell it for 250k but if I take this laser instead that I always seem to end up getting destroyed then I’ll have a backup and won’t need to try and buy it again. This a hidden gem of challenge. Now you have an economic front and the obvious battles to manage. My first day playing noticing the many flaws of the game still had me playing it for 7 hours straight 3 pots of tea and looking for all mech games I haven’t touched in years.
Just to recap, here are a few of my likes and dislikes for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
- Mech Combat and Controls
- Economic/Reputation Gameplay
- Environmental Destruction
- Mech Diversity
- Potential of Fixes and Updates With Patches to Come
- Lacks Basic MW Sim Features
- AI Combat and Spawning
- Lack of Mission Diversity
- Initial Story Seems no Different Than Previous MW Title
- Game Still Feels Rushed
MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is out now on PC. Are any of you playing it now? If so please feel free to let me know what you think of the game in the comments section below.