Mechwarrior 2: 31st Century Combat
A 1.5 Dollar Million Marketing campaign. Activision is spending a mere 1.5 million dollars on advertising and promotion for MechWartior 2 and will I see a penny of it in potential review bribe money? Hah! Will I buggery. But why not? Surely they can count me as legitimate promotional expenditure? I'm perfectly willing to swallow my moral compunctions for a share of the pie. f can be bought.
The game, pinhead
Sigh. So whexe is the money going and why is it warranted, you ask? It seems Activision is going all out on this one television campaigns, magazine and newspaper advertising, competitions, on-line conferences with the game's creators. It's confident that Mech Warrior 2 is going to be the biggest thing ever, but you have to wonder. I mean, when has the thought of two large Robots beating each other up worked in the past? It didn't work for Terminator 2, did it? (Yes. Ed.) Okay, bad example, but what about Rise of the Robots? Still, the BatfleTech phenomenon seems to have gripped the United States by the short and curlies, so I guess we're along for the ride on this one. Let's face it, it's not as if Activision is expecting to make a profit based on UK sales alone, is it?
Anyway, the game. It certainly looks impressive, I'll give it that. Activision has teamed up with a Hollywood special effects company called Digital Domain to produce the (very) impressive sci animations and has blended them with a brand new 30 polygon engine to create the game's look. This look is bolstered by plenty of smaller touches such as a "virtual cockpit" that rocks, rolls and shudders depending on what's hitting it. real-world dynamics such as weather and gravity affecting the performance of your Mech, and three-dimensional surround sound effects produced by the Oscar-winning Soundelux Media Labs.
And this is all used to do...?
The concept behind the game is simple and should be familiar to anyone that's played any other Mech-based title. Life in the 31st century is dominated by several ruling clans, who settle their various power struggles by battling it out inside huge warrior robots on alien planets. Your task is to join one of these clans and work your way up through the ranks, at the same time battling for honour and survival. Eventually you'll take command of the clan and battle it out with opposing clan leaders to gain total dominance. MechWarrior 2 is basically a first person perspective shoot 'em up with killer robots.
There is talk, though, of an eight to sixteen player network add-on being delivered further down the line. Providing the gameplay lives up to the impressive graphics, it could mean a whole new pastime to envelop our gamesplayers' lunchtimes. Well come on, being strapped into the seat of a 30 foot killer robot with your friends certainly sounds a far better proposition than cowering and quaking behind an explosive barrel with an empty pistol as you hear Macca getting closer with his chainsaw.
I'm NOT playing Macca
Whichever way you approach it. MechWarrior 2 looks and sounds impressive enough to bolster new interest in the whole Battletech genre. Activision is certainly going for the full immersion experience, making the game compatible with virtually any combination of control devices, from sticks and mice to foot pedals and vr helmets.
Along with the rumours of a new BattleTech virtual game centre opening in London before long (see Internet panel), we could be looking at the start of a whole new entertainment craze. "Strike while the iron's still warming up" would appear to be Activision's motto.
Download Mechwarrior 2: 31st Century Combat
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP