For the purists, it’s been four years since the last true MechWarrior title, MechWarrior II, was released, although there have been some spin-off games in the intervening years that also featured large metal battle bipeds. After the initial flurry of bundling the last game with various 3D graphics cards, things went a little quiet. Now the clumping great mechs are back, and in fighting form.
Basically, MechWarrior 3 is more of the same, but since what was offered last time was so outstanding, there are no complaints here. The improvements range from the graphical – detail such as dust clouds, footprints, shrapnel and dangling wires – to the gameplay, which is very direct and immersive. The developers seem to have taken note of the successes of Quake II, so that it’s now very easy to configure the game for left hand direction control and right hand mouse aiming (or vice-versa if you’re left-handed). This, along with some tidy work on the various campaigns and scenarios, makes the action more frantic and immediate, elevating MW3 entirely out of the battle simulation category and placing it firmly in amongst the other 3D action titles.
Some of the weaponry on offer is fantastic. There are beam lasers, projectile weapons and missiles a-plenty, with which you can equip and upgrade your mechs. As usual, the mechs themselves also vary in size, speed, power and armour, with the extremes now more enormous than ever – cackle evilly as buildings are crushed underfoot.
Of course, there’s still strategy involved in the game. You have the support of your comrades – Lancemen – and base, but the focus of the game is you, in your big metal mech, waving your guns in the air and shouting ‘come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough’. Which, thinking about it, they probably are, being metal an’ all.
Company: Hasbro Interactive