Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries
Fifty missions ten planets, 35 Meehs, four gameplay styles, 19 new multiplayer maps, and something like 11 squillion weapons. If you've played MechWarrior4: Vengeance, this new stand-alone expansion pack offers a banquet of fresh, ground-shaking, robot warring action, complete with deliciously colourful explosions and a whole gigabyte of new content.
Gameplay is just as before, meaning a short, steep learning curve followed by hours of second-nature hulk-to-hulk fighting - although the need for an aide-memoire for the mad array of keyboard commands will never fully leave you. Revised multiplayer styles and a better Mechlab for all your customisation needs mean Mercenaries feels a smidge more accessible than its predecessor, and in the mighty multiplayer mode, you can now have up to eight Meehs stomping into battle alongside you. There's something deeply satisfying about engaging an enemy unit, hollering out an order to attack, and then having 200 gross tons of friendly machinery darken your cockpit as team-mates step in to defend you. Multiplayer is where the game excels and is where most players stay.
And, well, there we have it. Crunching into battle across fields, through lakes and down streets in something the size of a five bedroom house is an unusual experience - the psychedelic blast of lasers and the lurid fog of rocket swarms only adding to the game's unique feel. The saw-tooth graphics do detract a little, and you'll need a joystick for the best experience, but if you've not sat in the driving seat of a Meeh before, it's about time you tried.
Download Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
Somehow, even when I think I've found the Mech game that'll end my need for these silly action games, providing me with a title that really, really sucks, Microsoft manages to whip up yet another in it's never ending chain of Mechwarrior 4 games, and entertains me yet again. For those of you not yet introduced to the series, know that this title is, for the most part, the same as MechWarrior 4: Vengeance, which I reviewed at its launch.
The differences between the two are where Mercenaries stands out and shines. I tend to think of follow-up or expansion titles as a little less of a game then their original, as they're using old material or relying on old gameplay. It's the ones that update well that refresh the game for new players. Mercenaries offers more mechs to play with, along with a more streamlined mech customization system, an excellent campaign setting, and a good tie in of salvage and upkeep for your mercenary detachment.
Mercenaries is most certainly a step up from Mechwarrior 4: Black Knight which was a great example of how not to build a story-based expansion pack. Naturally, as a new version of the same game, there isn't much more to look at graphically, but Mechwarrior 4 had nice graphics to begin with, so'h. I have no doubt that I'd immediately recommend this game to anyone who enjoys mech games, or even a good action title now and again.