MechWarrior Online Review: A Free To Play Giant Mech FPS

MechWarrior Online Review

It’s all about giant mech in MechWarrior Online. Being able to shoot each other in a giant mech it’s like a dream come true when you were a kid. Though at that time, we just know it as robots. To make it even sweeter, it is free. Free to play.

Microtransaction

I know what’s going on in your head right now. Since it’s free, what’s the catch? Perhaps an in-game store with microtransaction maybe? Yes, you’re right. There are microtransactions, BUT you’re not paying to win.

You’re paying for either cosmetics or Mechs. Or a little bit of both. I myself bought the Solaris 7 DLC pack. It contains 7 hero Mech and 30 days worth of premium time. The former grants you a 30% boost in C-bills earn when using it, whereas the latter gives a 50% boost in both exp and C-bills earn. While the premium lasts until its stated time, the hero mech bonus is permanent. You can sell the hero mech for C-bills if you don’t like it, but don’t do that. It’s not worth the C-bills you get from selling it.

Mechwarrior Premium Time Bonus
MechWarrior Online | Piranha Games Inc.

Buying a mech using Mech Credits a.k.a MC doesn’t necessarily equate pay to win. You can buy a champion, hero or even a regular mech using MC, but that doesn’t give you an edge over your opponent. Because in MechWarrior Online, you’re fighting as a group.

Gameplay

I felt empty after I’m done playing Battletech. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long, as a friend of mine introduced me to MechWarrior Online awhile later. A couple of hours in and I found myself enjoy playing it. But there’s one thing missing in MechWarrior Online that I love in Battletech, melee combat.

Unlike in Battletech, you can’t punch the bolts out of your enemy mech in MechWarrior Online. And this left me slightly disappointed as I enjoy rushing up to my enemies from time to time just to punch them. But being able to perform an alpha strike – firing all your weapon at the same time – in first person mode and seeing the enemy mech get destroyed, feels so great.

The mechs are categorised by tonnage, with light mech has a tonnage range between 20T-35T and Assault mech having a range between 85T-100T. The heavier the mech, the more armor it has, along with the usage of heavier weaponry. Such as AC20 or a Heavy Gauss Rifle.

On that note, it’s pretty straightforward that the role of a light mech is generally a scout and an Assault mech is a tank DPS. But don’t let the tonnage disparity fool you, as a competent 20T light mech player can bring down a 100T Assault mech on a 1v1 fight. By making use of its speed and small size, it will dance around the heavier mech and be striking its soft spot. And a competent Assault mech player shouldn’t get caught in such situation either. Unless he is the last one alive.

MechWarrior Online
MechWarrior Online | Piranha Games Inc.

The learning curve to master in MWO is steep. It will take a good while before you get used to the basics as you got to learn heat management, optimal firing distance, which body segment to target and body movements. And not only you can walk straight, you can twist and turn your upper body to the side.

This allows you to perform damage control. Getting your healthier segment of the body to tank a few more points of damage before losing an arm. Allowing you to stay in the fight longer.

Fights are mostly 12v12 team deathmatch with a wide variety of maps and game modes. The maps have their own unique characteristics and benefits certain playstyle. The Polar Highland map is like the de_dust2 of CS: GO, and is beloved by all. Its open area snowfield and low temperature allow everyone to keep on shooting without overheating as much. It’s a paradise for LRM boats.

MechWarrior Online Map Selection
MechWarrior Online | Piranha Games Inc.

Maps such as Thera Thelma is actively being avoided as it is hot. It’s guaranteed that someone will die from overheating in this map. And map like Solaris City is a brawler haven, due to its tight corner and high rise building that serve as a giant tree sheltering you from the rain – missiles.

With a healthy amount of maps rotation, there’s a good amount of game modes to play. Each of them has their own objectives to complete in order to win, but I wouldn’t mention too much about it. Cause at the end of the day, it boils down to reducing the enemies to zero. As when they are all dead, you win.

One thing I love and spent so much time in Battletech is the customising. And I’m doing the same thing in MechWarrior Online. Looking through all the Mechs in the shop, searching for which mech going to be my primary LRM boat or a new brawler. Deciding to buy either a Locust or Mist Lynx as my scout mech, but still haven’t bought any of it yet.

MechWarrior Online, buying a mech
MechWarrior Online | Piranha Games Inc.

Going to the mechlab to outfit the mech with LRM or ER Heavy Laser, switch around the engine and tinkering with the amount of armor on the mech in order to not waste a single point of tonnage. And finally calculating how much C-Bills I need to save in order to transform my mech into the ultimate killing machine. Repainting your mech to a different colour and adding decals to make it scream,’Shoot me! I’m over here!’ is great. But these things require MC, so I don’t dabble in it too much.

Community

When I have my first couple of game, I’m like a headless chicken. Didn’t know what to do, where to go and die so very often within the first few minutes into the match. I expect there will be at least one teammate to call me out and say, I’m a noob. But it didn’t happen.

Even after 100hrs into the game, I have yet to encounter a toxic teammate. Not once I’ve seen a profanity word being use or people saying they have slept with other people mom. Even when things don’t go as they expected, they handle it maturely. Giving encouragement and a few words of advice upon a loss. Hoping to do better.

It’s an online community filled with mature individuals. I’ve played a lot of online games and encounter tons of toxic and salty players. Especially in MOBAs. And it’s this community that got me enjoying my game and coming back here from my other games from time to time.

Performance

Despite being around for almost 5 years, there’s some issue they still haven’t fixed. If you planning to play this game with a friend or two, it can take up to 15 minutes to find a game together. Or even 30 minutes. MechWarrior Online has issues in matchmaking as a team. Even when the community takes it up to the forum hoping to get it fixed, the developers ignored the issue until now.

I for one, still play with my friends. But we mostly solo queueing together, hoping that we may get into the same match at the same time.

MechWarrior Online looks good with its setting set in high. You can see the raindrops, falling snow and you can get at least a stable 30fps. But the amount of frame rate you get fluctuates on the map you get. The performance is not consistent throughout all the maps. You may get a stable 60fps on one map and a barely 30fps on another using the same setting.

Be prepared to experience varying performance, if your computer is can’t meet the recommended specs requirements.

MechWarrior Online Blackscreen
MechWarrior Online | Piranha Games Inc.

Conclusion

MechWarrior Online is a wonderful free to play FPS mech game. It’s in-depth mechanic and combat is pretty solid but its multiplayer issue is detrimental in making new and longtime players stay to play in the long run.


Platform: PC (Windows)
Publisher: Piranha Games Inc.
Developer: Piranha Games Inc.
Rating: Great (77 out of 100)
Hours Played: 134hrs


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