Official Name: MechAssault
Recommend this product?
Developer: Day 1 Studios
Release Date: November 2002
Rating: Teen: Blood - Violence
Also Available On: Xbox Only
Live Enabled: Yes
Of the few Xbox-Only games that exist, Ive been running to catch up and try as many as I can, and see what type of library makes the Xbox what it is. MechAssault, to me, is a game that seems multi-platform for some reason: maybe its because of its appearance, genre, or game design, but its an Xbox-Only game nonetheless. Now that I have tried it, I cant imagine this game running on any other console. The real kick that the game delivers comes from its amazing graphics engine, awesome sound, and kick-Ass gameplay. It is this type of game that stands out in the action/shooter genre, and it is this type of game that makes you craaave the Xbox Live Started Kit. Even a year of free service couldnt fully convince me to pay 10 dollars a month for online play, but this game motivates me to do so more and more each time I play it.
I owe it to a shortage of Halo copies at BlockBuster (yet again), and MechAssault was a wonderful find. I think there have been previous installments called MechWarrior or something, but Im sure Ive heard something of the sort. You basically control a machine called a BattleMech. The pilot of this machine, called a MechWarrior (thats you), is trained and armed to tackle the most dangerous of missions during the 31st century. The elements of these missions include death, explosions, implosions, weapons of mass destruction, explosions, collapsing structures, and did I mention explosions? Mass destructions and kick-Ass machines are aplenty in MechAssault, so buckle up.
MechAssault is, simply enough, one of the most beautiful games Ive played. The graphics are Xbox natural, which is to say they level the playing field. The main element in the graphical capabilities of MechAssault is the destruction, explosions, implosions, and infantry squashing, which is the main element of the game as well. The game looks beautiful. I know its unnecessary, but every time I play a level, I have to flatten everything for the pure beauty and fun of it, and most of that comes from simply watching it. In games, I love doing evil things, chaos and mass destruction to be exact, so the games visuals are top notch in my book. Fiery mess, and buildings crumbling are aplenty here, so good mechanical graphics had to be set in motion: grade A+. Not only are the destructive visuals amazing, but kick-Ass ships with awesome mechanics, bling-bling, and firepower out the yin-yang are something to think about.
The graphics in MechAssault are run by as much power the Xbox can give, which is saying a lot. The mechanics and movements noticeable to the naked eye are nothing short of miraculous. In destruction games like this, Im used to seeing lame, boring visuals which dont enhance the gameplay at all, so they get sent down the crapper faster than you can say weapons of mass destruction. Not many will pay attention to it, but I realize how visually violent this game can get for a T rating. Destroying huge buildings, splitting bridges, stomping people, smashing vehicles, downing aircraft, shooting trees to a burn, and Asses flying before a very large gun are all guaranteed fun-factors is one of the most kick-Ass games on the Xbox! Okay, sorry to sound like those morons on the Nintendo videos, but I had to do it.
Graphical Capabilities: 9.5/10
In games like MechAssault, my standard for sound is simple: good music. Without good music, the excitement in the game disappears, the destruction is not exciting, and I simply drop the game like a warm sack of crap: MechAssault does not do this in the least. The music in this game is great. Mostly computer-generated music, its just the thing for a game like this. As the destruction in MechAssault is visually beautiful, so is it with sound. The sound is fantastic: explosions, screams, and weapons blasting.
The whole thing is a bombarding sound stage, and I cant put it any better: it rocks my world. Youve surely heard of the Dolby 5.1 sound Xbox can bring you, which can result in one of two things: youre deaf and you can hear it clear as a bell, or you can hear and it will make you go deaf...deaf or not, the games sound is a blast. In most games like this (good sound and music) the voice is what ruins the whole point of turning the sound up, and to my surprise, it didnt happen in here at all. There are really only 2 voices in the game, one from a woman commander, and a briefing boy, as the commander puts it. The voices arent annoying and rambunctious, which can ruin an entire sound category.
Sound Capabilities: 9/10
Whats neat about the gameplay in MechAssault, is that it is highly complemented by graphics and sound so greatly that it makes the gameplay step up to a whole new level. The main objective in the game is to choose the right BattleMech or Mech for short, and use it to rain fiery havoc upon the Word of Blake (the bad guys). There are many different ways to use your Mech, so the game doesnt feel like youre repeating the same things over and over again; it takes some strategy. Controlling the Mech is fairly easy. You move around with the joysticks like you would in any other game, and camera is the turret control: wherever you look, in that direction you will shoot.
Each Mech has 3 weapons: machine gun, the missile, and the pulse. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as; the machine gun is fast, but weak-the pulse is slow but powerful. In the game, you find weapon enhancements for each of these, to make them more powerful and proficient. Firing weapons, and controlling them is easy work, so it does not intrude the gameplay, but rather enhances it even further. During gameplay, your weapons never run out, per se, but you will run out of their enhancements. Each weapon goes into different strategies, so learn them well.
In most levels, the objective is to search and destroy. Selecting the proper mech is crucial. If its a mission that requires you to move quickly from one face of the level to the other, choose a fast Mech, or if its a mission that will pummel you into the ground with firepower, then its best to stick with the slow, but sturdy Mechs and so on. Once you have the correct Mech for the mission, you need to know how to navigate quickly.
Use the radar on the bottom left corner of the screen, which almost always has a nav point. Once youve found your target, youll need to destroy it quickly and swiftly, because you will surely be met up with heavy resistance. In some levels, however, search and destroy isnt always the proper way to tackle a mission, even more so if doing this will fail your mission. Sometimes, protection, and sneaking is more part of the gameplay than anything else. Learn the simple and fun tactics of MechAssault, and youll have a ripping good time...literally.
How Should I Play This Game?
MechAssault is not a confusing game at all, which is extremely important, because in hard-action games like this, looking at a guide constantly can leave a bad taste in your mouth. I rented this game for a party (yes, even I host parties), and I found that this is a nice game for an audience to watch, if not join in. Im not an online player as of now, but I can tell you that this is probably one of the most engrossing Live titles on the Xbox.
The great graphics, sound, music, and gameplay make for one of the neatest action games Ive played. I found a wealth of replay value, and if I had Live, I can almost guarantee that I would have bought this game for myself.
A problem with MechAssault would be the crowd that tries it out. Im worried that many will find this game far too repetitive and rambunctious to try for very long, but Im probably just being paranoid. Ill admit that the game is slightly repetitive, but the awesome visuals, gameplay, and nature of the game are enough to entertain me for hours on end.
A BattleMech is just what one needs after a bad day at the office, but since you wont be seeing anything like this outside of Metal Gear Solid and MechAssault, itll be quite interesting to see what these machines are capable. An arsenal of BattleMechs, great graphics, sound, and rewarding single/multiplayer rewards, MechAssault is a definite 5 star recommendation, and gets the unofficial title #5 - The Top 10 Xbox Library.
While Im said that Hope-err...Blockbuster didnt have Halo again, I am glad that I ran into this great action game. On a final note, I think Im just gonna buy Halo right off, because its pretty obvious that Im not gonna be able to rent it...ever. Oh well, until Halo hits my Xbox, MechAssault is there to keep me company.
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