Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries
You’re Shredder, a Mercenary who only cares about the cold hard cash and services whoever pays him best. Earn money by completing missions and upgrade your mechs to earn more money in harder missions.
That’s about the storyline of Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries if you take a short look. However, it’s not all that simple.
Indeed, you get to fight for money and missions that don’t pay enough will not get your interest, but after a while you’ll notice that the struggle between Steiner and Davion forces does influence you.
In several galaxies, you’ll have to choose between fighting for one of both alliances and your following available missions will be depending on which ones you choose to fight.
Of course, you start with a small amount of money and some small mechs. You can finish a couple of easy missions, or you can jump to the Solaris VII system where tournaments are held in which you can compete to enlarge your cash reserve.
Make sure you don’t get too damaged during missions because your mech will need time to get repaired and time is money. Every ‘week’ that you skip for repairs means that money will drain from your bank account as maintaining your available mechs and personnel costs, and the heavier the mechs, the more they cost to maintain.
Qua gameplay, Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries is almost identical to the original Mechwarrior 4, except for the storyline. The game plays itself as a first person shooter and the opponents’ AI is good (they’ll engage on your mech if they see it’s damaged, rather than keep firing at random or during tournament fights another pilot can join an alliance with you to destroy everyone else until you’re both the last ones standing).
Graphically, some small improvements have been made, but it’s clear that you’re still playing with the old Mechwarrior 4 engine. This is really a pitty as although it’s a good engine, it’s getting a bit outdated. Luckily, there are no bugs to be found which is something we couldn’t say of the original game.
The sound is very good with clear voices that sound just like someone should sound when communicating through a radio transmitter, while the music is not annoying at all (you hardly notice it).
All in all, Mechwarrior 4: Mercenaries is a good game for Mech fans who are waiting for a Mechwarrior 5, but I fear we’ll have to wait still a long time before that will arrive.