So... my free time has been taken up with a new obsession. Between photo shoots and working at the game store, my availability has been few and far apart. And with such little free time you would be thinking that I would process more images or work on this site. But noooo, instead I have been BATTLEing with rather large TECHnology, smashing three story war machines together on distant worlds.
In other words, BATTLETECH!
I have a long history with this franchise, as in I played back when the game was younger. But I stopped back in the late '80's only to recently start up again with the more recent versions made by Catalyst Games. And now the tabletop game of old is a video game. One it seems I can not stop playing. Battletech: The Addiction.
But what I have found to be interesting is reading some of the reviews for this game. And the continual reference to these war machines as robots. At the risk of being pedantic, and do to my fascination with Artificial Intelligence, I get rubbed the wrong way when people misuse the word "Robot". For me a robot is autonomous. Battlemech's are piloted vehicles. Just ones that walk over buildings.
But for now, a quick look at the game that seizes so much of my time. In other words, a video game review.
I am not a video gamer reviewer. Plenty of them already out there. But there is one thing I can say about this game that will ring true for anyone. If you liked and played the original tabletop Battletech game, you will like this. That is possibly the best thing I can say about the game. It really brings home the old school game play on the computer. The game IS slow paced. Yes, damage IS applied randomly. But for those of you familiar with that, so what.
For a video game player new to the game, these might be a real issue. I might not fully recommended it if you want fast paced games. Battletech is the...thoughtful blowing-things-up game. It's not just firing at the enemy and seeing who does more damage. What is your
facing? Can you get a superior angle on your target? Can you afford to fire all your weapons at once? And arguably the most important, how much damage can you apply to one location.
One of the great strengths of this game is the fact that mechs are not a big pile of hit points. There are 11 sections that get hit individually for every shot fired. What location it is and what is stored there matters greatly. Fire 6 SRM's and that is 6 individually calculated target locations. Getting the right angle to maximize you chances of hitting what you want is paramount, in addition to positioning yourself to minimize damage. Damage will be your friend.
One thing all the reviews I have read have compared this to X-Com. X-com-this is not. Yes, they are both 4 unit, turn based tactics games. Both have a home base that can be upgraded. But that is really the end of it. In X-Com, you try desperately to not let your troops get hit. Often, if you do, it's the end of them. Clearly that is not so in Battletech. Managing how you absorb hits is key to victory here, because you WILL take damage. In essence, you are driving a multi-story tank . Not Mr. Stealth.
But one key decision to make is if you are going the evasive route, or suck it up and soak those hits. Having light, fast mechs can really give you a huge advantage on the battlefield. But the slower, heavier mechs have the firepower to simply blow apart the smaller stuff with one good salvo. Choices, choices.
And there is such satisfaction in watching things get blowing up when you land your shots. Boom.
But is the game for you. I am biased since I am an addict. Other reviews have been telling of the appeal and issues of the game. But one of the most telling reviews was from Rock, Paper, Shotgun. The original review was scathing in it's condemnation of the slow pace of the game. But as they played it more, they kept writing updates to reflect their growing appeal of the game. Eventually growing into a love of the big stompy game-play of blasting apart massive war-machines.
I can think of few better ways of displaying the appeal of this game. For some, it's an addiction.