Mechwarrior 4: Vengeance
After a few weeks of playing I finally got to finish Microsoft’s latest title, Mechwarrior 4:Vengeance, and I must say that I had a great time playing it.
The ultimate goal is to conquer Kentares IV, and get rid of the evil forces of Steiner that have killed the whole of your family (except for your sister and you).
The game is divided in 6 operations, each operation containing 4 or 5 missions. Between each mission you get detailed information on what needs to be done by ways of communication movies that are being displayed on the left top corner of your screen, while you can check out the map of where you’ll be having battle. Also you can assemble the crew and equipment you want to have on your mission. Missions vary from attacking hardly protected Steiner bases, over search and destroy to escorting convoys and attacking Steiner drop ships.
Graphically the game is the best Mech-game ever. You get large landscapes that look absolutely fantastic, mechs are pretty realistic, and even the way your lasers or rockets are being fired is great with nice-looking lightning around the beam of a laser and plenty of smoke when rockets are launched.
The sound adds up very good to the atmosphere. While walking with your mech, its footsteps really pound through your speakers (defenitely a reason for buying a surround speakerset :p) and lasers and rockets don’t sound like a beep coming from some 1960’s synthesizer but like real heavy weapons.
The game’s AI is pretty well-done. When you encounter heavy mechs, they start firing on you with the heavy weapons they have, and when you try to escape, they’ll continue to hunt you down. Lighter mechs don’t have heavy artillery, but they are faster and will use that advantage against you by constantly running in circles around you which sometimes makes them hard to destroy.
The only downside to the AI is that your co-ops are not always listening very clear to what you are saying. Instead of attacking the nearest target for instance, they keep waiting until you engage (are they scared or something ???). Ofcourse this is not always the case, and most of the time they pretty much do what you ask them to (unless you start saying that they should cease fire in the middle of a heavy combat)
One of the things that people like to have these days, is the option to play against each other over the internet, and Microsoft knows this. Therefor they included the multiplayer option with an in-game server browser where you can select several game types like free for all, teamplay or capture the flag.
I played it for a while and multiplay is nice, but there’s not much difference with the single player part. The maps are the same, but you don’t have a mission to complete.
It’s like playing a normal first person shooter (or, if you want, you can choose for 3rd person view)
So as you can see, Mechwarrior 4 has a lot of good things to offer, but unfortunately no game can be perfect. There’s a nasty bug in MW4 that makes your computer hang or go back to windows with a Stack Overflow error. Fortunately this seems to only occur with Intel P3 600-800, but this should get resolved anyway (there’s no patch available yet)
Another thing that I found to be pretty sad was that there’s no possibility to save a game while playing. Missions are saved automatically when finished, but since several missions are split in different parts (destroy base, and then destroy all mechs) it would sometimes come in handy that you could save when one part is done to avoid you having to start the whole mission from scratch (especially in the last mission where you have to fight your way through an army of heavy mechs to a drop ship, destroy the drop ship, and then have to face your cousin in a last fight while he has a brand new heavy mech and you are severely damaged already).
Although real sim-fans might not like Mechwarrior 4 because it’s pretty straight-forward shooting (with some stealth-possibility in it) I find Mechwarrior 4 to be the best game that Microsoft has recently released, and the best Mech-game ever. Even though I had alot of problems with my pc crashing due to the bug that is in the game, I couldn’t stop playing it, and it takes a GREAT game to have me start over and over again just to finish a game when there’s a severe bug like that in it.