Review: MechWarrior 2 (PC/PSX/Saturn)

Posted: February 9, 2011 in PC, Retro, Reviews
Tags: , , ,

MechWarrior 2

…All Systems Nominal

Those words are burned into the brain of everyone who played MechWarrior 2. Taking place in the BattleTech universe (which reaches from a tabletop wargame, a tabletop roleplaying game, to numerous novels and electronic games), MechWarrior 2 puts you in control of a BattleMech for one of two warring clans – Clan Wolf and Clan Jade Falcon.

The game is functionally a simulator rather than a simplistic action game, allowing you to take full control of your Mech. You can choose your weapon loadout, as well as your shields and engines, and, perhaps most importantly, your heat sinks. Managing your Mech’s heat in battle is one of the most important aspects of the game, as an overheated Mech is a sitting duck.

You can choose how hardcore the simulation is – as simple to control as a typical first-person shooter, or as intensive as being able to independently control each leg of your mech. The game does a good job of simulating these fictional war machines – the only real comparison I can make is to LucasArts’ X-Wing/TIE Fighter series (in the general sense of both simulating fictional vehicles).

MechWarrior 2 GameplayThe missions range from simple seek and destroy missions to recon and base destruction. Your chosen Mech and loadout will affect the difficulty of the mission. The possibilities (try taking on the later missions with just your Gauss Rifle) add up to a lot of replay value.

The music also deserves special mention, comprised of ambient industrial tracks. They work well as background for piloting your bipedal tank. The music is composed of CD quality music, and it’s strong and atmospheric without overtaking the immersion. The tracks never go over-the-top; sometimes limited options are superior to a full orchestra.

The PlayStation/Saturn Version

There is also a separate edition of MechWarrior 2 which, although largely based on the PC original, was more focused on straight-up action rather than simulation. However, you can still choose your Mech model and loadout, and the missions and controls are streamlined to be friendlier on the more limited console controls and hardware.

How much you like either version will depend greatly on whether you prefer a more technical experience versus a more arcade-like experience – if you prefer harder sims like Falcon 4.0 or TIE Fighter, then the PC original is right up your alley; otherwise the friendlier PlayStation/Saturn version is probably a better choice. In any case, the PlayStation version requires the least effort to get up and running, as either a PS2 or PS3 will run a copy. However, it’s not hard to track down either version, and I haven’t had much trouble getting the PC version running on my XP system (there’s a patch to get it to work).

The PC version is a full-fledged classic, and the console version is a minor classic. It’s worth getting a copy, especially if you enjoy games like the Armored Core series. So choose your side, hop in your BattleMech and get a taste of the 31st Century.

BNBGAMING Recommended Award

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  1. Curt Stace says:

    Video games is still the king of children’s pastime.

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