This game finally had the NDA of its closed beta lifted, letting those of us who have been lucky enough to have had access for months have a chance to talk about the epic mech battles that were taking place. For those who have never seen a MechWarrior title before, you are in for a treat with this game, and they won’t even charge you a penny. That’s right: There is a finally a quality* MechWarrior game on the PC (not counting modded titles) and it does not even cost to play.**
MechWarrior Online breaks mechs into the same four categories as Battletech did, with the mechs being separated into these categories by weight. Whether you are running around in a scout mech finding the enemy for your team or plodding along in an assault mech ready to lay waste to someone with a whole array of weaponry, MechWarrior Online has something for everyone. Although there are plans to do matchmaking with teams matching weight, as of right now this is not implemented so expect to see a whole lot of heavy and assault mechs staring back at you from your reticule until they work some form of team balancing into the game.
As the game stands right now there is honestly still a ton of work that needs to be done before I would personally suggest spending money on it. And on the subject of spending money on the game, it is quickly seeming like their business model of letting players buy the mech they want immediately with cash will lead to the “I bought my skill” type of business model that free-to-play games need to avoid. Even after months of closed beta testing and weekly updates to ‘solve the issues,’ there is still gross imbalances in the weaponry of the game with certain weapon types being completely unfeasible to use, with large lasers and SRMs being the main culprits I have seen.
For those who have watched trailers of the game that were rendered from actual gameplay, the game really is as beautiful as it looks. It’s a shame though that this beauty is practically wasted on the three maps and one game mode we have been given. The maps are pretty generic with only one map having a noticeable piece of terrain in the form of a wrecked craft. The system the game currently runs on, cryengine, is a resource hog that makes even my desktop run hot but caps at around 30fps. (8 gigs RAM, AMD 6-core Phenom II, Radeon 7850) After scouring the forums I’ve seen that 30fps is about the most anyone can get out of the game and while those 30 frames are pretty to look at it, it is almost insulting to expect people to play a FPS on the engine.
With limited multiplayer, a system that is approaching pay to win, and an engine that makes even a good gaming set-up look like trash this is a game that I recommended saving money on. Play it while it’s free, reward them with your cash when they fix their game but for right now keep your wallet closed and your computer cool.
*system requirements are higher than many other current games on market
**unless you want to win