On December 10, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries , the highly anticipated new game set in the BattleTech universe, is released. Agree, this is a great occasion to remember the best entertainment about how pale and not sleeping at night gamers, sitting at home behind blue screens, enthusiastically control huge combat robots.
MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries, 2002
The BattleTech desktop universe was invented and launched by FASA in 1984. And already in 1989, the first computer game based on MechWarrior appeared , which largely determined the main focus of the entire series. Namely – an emphasis on detailed elaboration of mechs, which can be upgraded and customized, a fairly realistic simulation of the physics of combat vehicles, a full-fledged and sometimes even dramatic storyline – and even with moral dilemmas. Plus, of course, mercenaries, control of an entire battle link and almost complete freedom, allowing you to freely travel between the planets of the Inner Sphere, sign contracts with the five main factions (Great Houses), hire pilots, customize and buy new mechs.
All this, in one way or another, was present in other issues of the series, among which the fourth part has become the most popular and commercially successful to this day (and we still do not know anything about the results of the fifth part). It was originally released in 2000 under the name MechWarrior 4: Vengeance and in addition to the “single” with a plot of three dozen missions, it offered a dashing multiplayer with “desmatch”, capture the flag and “King of the Hill”. For the first time since the second part, it was allowed to play as a mercenary unit, choosing between Gray Death Legion, Kell Hounds, Wolf’s Dragoons and Northwind Highlanders, which affected the balance. There was also a choice in the plot, which tells about the confrontation between two hereditary houses: working for one, we spoiled relations with others. This led to different endings.
Two years later, the game was updated to the best version of itself and became known as MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries – new missions, mechs and new flight control capabilities were added to it.
At E3 in 2000, MechWarrior 4: Vengeance was voted the best simulator ever by critics.
MechWarrior Online, 2013
MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries turned out great and collected awards from the gaming media, but it was after the release of the fourth part that the series practically died – or, as it now turned out, fell into a prolonged coma. Work on the fifth part was carried out for almost a year, but then they were stopped for many years. And only the efforts of fans who sculpted amateur network additions to MW4 (for example, NBT HardCore , which brought the game closer to the desktop original), kept this de-energized iron body alive.
This is largely due to the fact that FASA just at the turn of the millennium (namely in 2001) sold the rights to its BattleTech and Shadowrun systems to WizKids . Jordan Weisman, the creator of the Battletech universe and founder of the FASA Corporation , could not look long and calmly at the leapfrogging that began with the rights . After some time, he, along with the president of Piranha Games, began to develop the idea of an online game based on the BattleTech universe. MechWarrior Online was announced in 2009, for the 25th anniversary of the franchise, and it was released in 2013.
Despite the fact that this is a rather difficult game both in terms of technical performance and the threshold of entering it, it managed to gain popularity and find its audience. The main dish in MechWarrior Online is 12v12 team battles on huge maps where you need to destroy all opponents or capture an enemy base. Although there are also one-on-one or two-on-two duels. In this case, team tactics are of great importance, as well as your own brains.
“I blinded him from what was.”
This is a leisurely shooter about bulky mechs, in which you need to constantly keep in mind a lot of nuances: speed and inertia when moving, distance to the target, level of overheating, type of terrain (we cool down faster in the snow), the ability to turn the body against the direction of travel and use a weapon fixed on hands. Plus, of course, attention is paid to the customization of combat vehicles in the hangar. Other obvious advantages are the storyline events canonical for the universe and the tactile sensations from piloting, when, sitting in the cockpit, you literally feel the heaviness and power of your mech with your skin.
Yes, there is a “donation” in MechWarrior Online , but if your hands grow from the right place, then you will be able to play and win without too much loss for your wallet.
In such conditions, overheating is not terrible.
The same Jordan Wiseman, the founding father of BattleTech, now heads the Harebrained Schemes studio . And that in 2012 released Shadowrun Returns – a tactical RPG according to the rules of Shadowrun . A few years later, according to the same scheme, Wiseman and his comrades decided to transfer the world of BattleTech to virtual reality. The tactic of the same name with a strong role-playing bias, released in 2018, became the first game in this universe in many years.
I talked about it in more detail here. In short, this is a proprietary BattleTech combination of very detailed, detailed tactics (overheating on the spot, and taking into account the type of terrain, and a point system of damage), many hours of vigils in the hangar and a rather interesting plot. On the spot and travel between the planets, and hiring / pumping pilots, and work as mercenaries for various Great Houses. Despite some shortcomings, the game overall was excellent. And the best confirmation of this is the constant release of add-ons, the last of which ( BattleTech: Heavy Metal ) came out quite recently, in November. We are waiting for a full-fledged continuation.
Combat in BattleTech is really tactical.
MechCommander 2, 2001
Not long before FASA sold its rights to the BattleTech universe, and Microsoft froze the release of games on it, another cool thing came out – the tactical strategy MechCommander 2 . It was a sequel to the classic RTS from MicroProse released in 1999.
As in the first part, in the sequel we take on the role of the commander of a mercenary squad, mech pilots. And the plot, as usual, revolves around the confrontation between different Great Houses – this time on the planet Carver V. Three campaigns, including more than 20 missions, stretch the passage for a long time, because before each task of finding, destroying, escorting or defending (classics of the genre! ) we must sit in the hangar and correctly form the squads, selecting the right pilot for the right mech, installing new weapons and modules. At the same time, as usual, it is necessary to take into account the restrictions on the total weight of the vehicles and even on the level of heat release from each of them. Interestingly, the opponents have tougher mechs, but they can only be captured as trophies.
For success, you have to think about pumping pilots and the need to complete optional missions that bring bonus rewards. The time for completing some tasks is limited in time. In general, the gameplay game has changed little compared to the first part, but in terms of graphics it has grown by a head. Thanks to this, as critics wrote then, it turned out to be even more like MechWarrior than MechCommander – to be more precise, these series united here.
Each of the pilots here has four skill levels, up to ace.
Supreme Commander, 2007 год
This is also a real-time strategy about robots, but on a completely different, gigantic scale. Chris Taylor took his own Total Annihilation with its epic battles as a basis and moved the scene to the original setting.
In Supreme Commander, factions of humans, robotic symbionts and religious fanatics fight among themselves. Each has its own missions, campaigns, tasks, units and features. But everyone is united by the main “feature” of the game – the scale, the need to fight in the air, on land and on the water almost simultaneously, controlling not squads, but entire armies of land, air, sea and stationary equipment. Plus, do not forget about the inflow of resources, the need to establish automatic release of reinforcements, pump up our troops, seize foreign territories and defend our own.
In such a situation, you need to think no longer tactically, but at the level of a global strategy, so the dynamics of battles here is completely different when compared with MechCommander . Especially for fans of robots, we note that the sizes of units in Supreme Commander are very realistic, so huge walking machines here can easily crush smaller ones.
Do you feel the scale? Why would such a colossus need reinforcements?
Armored Core Series
The Japanese from FromSoftware in their homeland are known not only for Dark Souls and others like them, but also for the Armored Core series of robot simulators . These are the same MechWarrior , but accelerated at times and with an inevitable bias in the anime. In terms of the robot constructor in Armored Core, everything is very hardcore and detailed: in the hangar, you can spend hours choosing which legs and chassis to attach where, which weapon and aiming system to choose, how to set up not only your mech, but also your partners / mercenaries. And how to fit all your wishes into the limit on the weight and energy consumption of each machine.
New modules, weapons and other equipment can be obtained as trophies or bought in the store as we conquer, conquer new territories and raise our rank. But in battles, everything is much more dynamic – the mechs in Armored Core are not as clumsy as in MechWarrior , so what is happening is more like a bright and dynamic third-person shooter. However, in battles, as you already understood, it is not only the “skill” of the player that decides, but also the technique, then, whether he competently conducted the preparation before the battle.
The series has existed since the shaggy 1997, and for a long time the third part was considered a classic. But the fifth and its sequel Armored Core: Verdict Day , released in 2013, are also good. Yes, there are problems there – outdated graphics and monotonous tasks. But it was the fifth part that became more accessible for ordinary gamers – it removed some too fine settings and lowered the entry threshold, still remaining a complex game that requires a thoughtful approach. In addition, special emphasis is placed on multiplayer – you can fulfill contracts in a squad with other players. And in Armored Core: Verdict Day there is also a free battles mode, where users are the ones who sort things out among themselves.
Already from this harsh, gray picture, it is clear that solid hardcore awaits us in Armored Core.
Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner, 2003 год
Even more dynamic battles between combat robots could be seen at one time in the sci-fi action game Zone of the Enders . The first part was released in 2001, but the best is the 2003 sequel Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner , even if it is not so non-linear. It was produced by Hideo Kojima himself and directed by his colleague and co-creator of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater.Shuyo Murata. With such creators, the game, as you understand, could not have turned out to be a pass-through – also due to the fact that the battles between robots (or rather, orbital frames) have become more interesting, difficult and spectacular. In battles, it is allowed to attack several enemies at the same time and interact with the environment, grabbing objects and using them as weapons. Leveling up your frame, the ability to collect additional weapons, defeating bosses, duels with both bots and other players – all this also attracted me.
The game had its own loyal audience, waiting for the continuation of the banquet. Kojima made threats at one time, but then left Konami . And that last year released Zone the Enders: The 2nd Runner MARS , a remake for modern consoles and virtual reality helmets. In addition to new graphics and other modern miracle technologies, the re-release boasts more convenient controls that allow you to quickly select weapons; the appearance of the simplest level of difficulty for those who only need a plot; training modules and mini-map.
Even the mechs in the game from Kojima look somehow human, perhaps, emotional and alive.
Front Mission 3, 1999
Front Mission is a Japanese tactical RPG series from G-Craft and Squaresoft (the future Square Enix ) that has been around since 1995. The action in them takes place in the future, where the fancifully named analogues of the USA, China and Russia (the Republic of Zaftra) are at war. At the same time, which is not surprising for the Japanese, a lot of attention is paid to the plot. For example, in Front Mission 3 , which is considered the benchmark for the series, we are given the opportunity to look at the history of the confrontation between the USN (United States of the Nation) and the People’s Republic of Da Han Zhong from two different sides: for example, in a mission for one hero we must capture a mobile fortress, and in the other, on the contrary, to protect it from the partisans.
But the main thing in the classic games of the series is, of course, the combat robots themselves, who participate in turn-based battles. True, they are called here not furs, but Vanzer. But in the same way, these combat vehicles lend themselves to fine tuning and customization before the battle: you can change parts, weapons, give consumables, then move your four Wantzers around the cells, save allies, attack enemies and destroy bosses.
Front Mission 3 was a great success, and the series lasted long after it. Classic tactical RPGs ended in 2008 with the release of Front Mission 2089: Border of Madness on the Nintendo DS . And then, it seems, the agony began. Two years later, the coolly received shooter Front Mission Evolved was released , somewhat similar to Lost Planet , and nine years later, Square Enix for some reason revived zombies and released a nightmarish cross between a shooter and a “survivor” Left Alive .
Whether there will be new Front Mission releases is a big question.
Titanfall 2, 2016
It was Titanfall in 2014 that made a certain, if not a revolution, then certainly a blast wave in the genre of AAA-class online action movies – the authors of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series introduced large combat robots into the game. Players in the role of pilots basically run, shoot and hurt each other – much like in Battlefield or the same Call of Duty , only adjusted for the capabilities of the jetpack. And only after a while they can call their fur, or titanium. Some of the features of vertical gameplay were borrowed by the authors of subsequent releases of Call of Duty , but Titanfall itself did not reach superpopularity.
Attempt number two happened in 2016. The sequel has a full-fledged story campaign, new gadgets like a grappling hook have been added. We were also allowed to freely customize and equip our pilot – you can choose from many different types of weapons, power-ups and super skills. And most importantly, instead of three titans in the sequel, six are available at once, and each one differs in equipment and corporate style of combat. However, an unfortunate release date, exactly between the new Battlefield and Call of Duty , as well as a number of other nuances (including a higher entry threshold compared to competitors) led to the fact that Titanfall 2 sold worse than planned. This is all the more insulting that the game is gorgeous, it just turned out to be not quite for everyone and did not appear quite at that time.
With the help of special knives in Titanfall 2, you can quickly hack not only people, but also equipment.
SD series Gundam G Generation
Gundam is one of the most popular, iconic, ancient and still-existing anime franchises in Japan. Mobile Suit Gundam had a revolutionary influence on furs.
Yes, Gundam is dedicated to huge combat robots, which are called mobile weapons here. The latter is subdivided into non-humanoid flying mobile armor and humanoid mobile warriors (mobile suit). Both those and others are piloted from the cockpit and are not immortal: they have a limited supply of energy and ammunition, and if the mech is destroyed, the pilot also dies. It is to mobile warriors that the titular “gundams” belong – the most technologically advanced ‘Mechs, around which all the main stories are twisted.
Well, the central theme of such stories, as a rule, is the horrors of war and how they affect the psyche of the characters. The heroes here personify different philosophical and political positions, but do not turn into common slogans: on the contrary, they appear very alive, and even often grow up and change in front of the audience.
Mobile Suit Gundam at one time, it seems, was watched by everyone.
Naturally, Gundam has released and continue to release tons of games. And perhaps the best among them is the SD Gundam G Generation tactical RPG series . Regardless of what era the events take place, who the hero is, these are excellent turn-based tactics almost every time, offering fascinating stories and a lot of opportunities for management and pumping.
More recently, SD Gundam G Generation Cross Rays was released on Steam , immediately becoming one of the most popular in the RPG section. Here, four eras merged together, so your squad of SD Gundams can be assembled from the characters Mobile Suit Gundam Wing , SEED , 00 and Iron-Blooded Orphans (whatever that means for those who do not know). Also, a bunch of new mechs appeared and the Ability GET mechanic was added – during the battle, special characters (Ability Holders) appear, the destruction of which gives us unique abilities.
One for all and all for one?
Iron Brigade, 2011 год
Tired of Japaneseism? And here’s a robot game from the most American American – Tim Schafer and his Double Fine Productions . It’s a dynamic and naturally ironic mix of third person shooter and tower defense. Here, in the setting of an alternative World War I, we are fighting on the fields of Africa, Europe and on the Pacific front against television monsters, adherents of monovision (after their death, … kinescopes are falling out of them). In general, Schafer’s usual surreal irony, and the plot is presented in the style of category B films.
To withstand and protect important objects, we move on our mech (here it is called a mechanized trench), firing at enemies, periodically placing turrets and other fortifications. The trench can be upgraded in every possible way and made stronger, but the more powerful the robot, the weaker the fortifications will be, because the resources are not unlimited. But the possibilities and details for customizing and customizing the fur are just a lot (new ones open as you progress through missions and a set of levels).
It is important that complete creative freedom reigns here – which hull modules and how to use, which weapon to choose, what color to paint your favorite trench, and so on. Also, during the break between missions, we pump our equipment. Iron Brigade looked especially profitable and fun in a co-op for four, where you need to think about the specialization of your fur.
Even from the design of the enemies, it feels like a game from Double Fine Productions.
Hawken , the Transformers and Sakura Wars series , Strike Suit Zero , Brigador – there are many good games about fighting robots, and it is clear that I have not named all of them. But, I’m sure you will correct me, if anything, and suggest your options in the comments. …
Source: The Verge