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MechWarrior 4: Vengeance

Moby ID: 2795

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 85% (based on 34 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 25 ratings with 4 reviews)

Change in combat tempo and mechlab hard to adjust, but otherwise a fine game

The Good
The detail graphics, as there's a lot of things moving about you. Walk through a forest and scare up a flock of birds. Walk through a town or a base and see people running about (sorry, you can't squish them or shoot them). You get a lot more camo paint jobs. The towns and terrain elevation details are a lot more significant, as you can stand on top of a hill and snipe at other mechs. The LRM salvo now looks absolutely gorgeous as they arch into the sky in white contrails and rain down upon your enemies... Good variety of terrain (coastal, swamp, moon, urban, desert, and more). Good variety of enemies (there's a mission where you need to engage two naval ships!) Some new equipment available (like laser anti-missile system, ECM, flare launcher and light intensifier), ability to choose day or night missions (in most cases)

The Bad
The damage to the mechs are much simplified, as the parts are just "charred". (compared to MW3's broken bits trailing sparks). The combat tempo is faster, and mechs seem to be more resistant to damage or the weapons are weaker. The new mechlab is MUCH more restrictive on what you can or cannot put on a mech compared to previous Mechlabs in MW2 or MW3, as the mechs now have different types of hardpoints for different types of weapons (hints of Starsige!), lousy mission briefings as they don't tell you about the mission itself.

The Bottom Line
MW4 is a step in a different direction for the Mechwarrior series. The game came on two CDs. The install is either compact (at 450 megs) or full (1.1 gig). The game also installed DX8, which is required.

The backstory is improved, as the intro movie, a combination of CGI and live action / blue screen, sets up the struggle quite well.

The initial control scheme is quite strange, as they use three of the buttons to control the 3 fire groups, but you COULD remap the keys to what you like (strangely, there's no way to simply LOAD another control config or to save your config).

You get a lot of "video-mail" as part of your mission briefing, which is surprisingly UNDETAILED, with NO discussion of the nav points what's at each location, etc., at least when compared to MW3.

Once you got into the game, the in-game engine is used to render most of the cut-scenes. The graphics are good, as the weapons effects are a bit over-the-top, but looks good. The PPC weapons effect, however, looks quite bad, and the gauss rifle now has the standard "Eraser/Quake" backtrail. The mechs are quite nicely detailed, and they now walk with a bit more "bounce" than before. However, the graphics seem to be designed for 1024x768, as they look fuzzy at lower resolutions.

The combat tempo, however, is very different from the previous games. It used to be that an assault mech can destroy a scout mech in one or two salvoes. Not any more! Even a small mech like Cougar takes a dozen PPC bolts to destroy. While this look good, I'm NOT certain it a step in the right direction.

There is ONE branch in the campaign tree (yep, just one). I'm not going to spoil the surprise, but it's a big decision, as you must choose between winning, and the cost of winning.

There's no bugs that I've noticed. The game did not crash even once from all the hours of play of finishing the entire campaign (on easy mode), which is good. However, in the "End Game" final mission, the game resolution did NOT take into account the possibility of "mutual annihilation", thus rather "duh". I call that a design error, rather than a bug. Also, the gauss rifle appears to be a bit too powerful, as a few shots of those will take out any mech.

Overall, MW4 is a good intro to the Mechwarrior universe, but it's a big change from the previous MW's, and a lot of veterans will be yelling. I'm not certain those changes are good, but I can understand them. If you like your MW the old fashioned way, then MW4 may not be for you.

Windows · by Kasey Chang (4591) · 2000

A big step forward in the MechWarrior series; a great, great multiplayer game

The Good
Technically, MW4 is an awesome experience. The graphics and sound are a huge step up from previous 'Mech games; experienced with a half-decent 3D card and a force feedback joystick, the your-are-thereness of the game is stunning. Smoke and lighting effects are excellent; the only oversight was the lack of persistent damage on landscape, but you can live with that. The maps provided are terrific, and Microsoft releases new ones every now and then.

MW4 is basically two games, the campaign game and the online multiplayer game. The online multiplayer game is one of the thinks I like about MW4; it's a load of fun. With sixteen 'mechs duking it out over a big map, you've got the potential for major combat fun, especially if your teammates display at least some level of cooperation and tactical knowledge. Online sessions are missile-launching, cannon-shooting explosion-creating fun at its best.

Mech design has also been changed, IMO vastly for the better. Previous Mech games made mech design essentially a pack-as-many-weapons-on-the-mech-as-you-can exercise, so that all mechs were more or less the same as other mechs of equal size. MW4 limits the type of weapons a mech can carry on each appendage, however, so some mechs are severely biased towards being missile duellers, while some are best suited for close-in whompfests, while others are better at carrying lasers. While thsi sort of limits mech design option, in a way it expands them. In previous games, a mech that didn't adopt the load-em-up-with-everything stretegy was overmatched, but MW4 rewards specialization and experimenting with mission profiles. This, of course, helps multiplayer immensely. Far better to have a team with a mix of scouts, missile mechs, brawlers and assault mechs and have to work as a team than just have everybody driving the same vehicle.

The Bad
MW4's main drawback is the campaign game, which is simply an uninteresting series of missions (and not that many of them.) The backstory is colossally stupid and totally irrelevant to anyone who doesn't much care about the intricacies of the Battletech universe. For what it's worth, you play a guy claiming his birthright (it's always about birthright in Mechwarrior) against a family called "Steiner." Fighting a bunch of "Steiners" over a jerkwater planet does not strike me as being a terribly interesting or epic conflict, or really fitting a game involving driving 100-ton robots into apocalyptic battles; it's like flying jet fighters in combat over the rights to a dry-cleaning business.

There is absolutely nothing different, innovative, or even remotely interesting about the campaign. Why they have not yet implemented an improved "mercenaries" single-player game is completely beyond me; it defies explanation.

The Bottom Line
Cruddy single-player, but the multiplayer's worth the price of the game twice over!

Windows · by Rick Jones (96) · 2001

Excellent Mech game

The Good
But I wouldn't really know since this is my first mech game! I was weaned on old-school adventures and first-person shooters. Anyway, the game is pretty good. Graphics are great, and damage is pretty realistic. The mechs are incredibly tough (as 100 ton metal monstrosities should be) and damage is shown well with smoke and sparks and stuff flying off the mech, and limbs getting shot off. One thing in the other reviews I noticed was griping about no limping. I'm not sure if it's the detail level or what, but the mechs limped for me! I think it has something to do with the tougher mechs in this game (but again, I wouldn't be the best to ask about that) since a leg must be destroyed before the mech limps. Terrain is very nice, houses, trees, just about anything can be blown to bits, but I can't shoot the people or the deer!

The Bad
It had a very high learning curve. The mechs (or is it mecha?) aren't very responsive, and getting the hang of the torso-twist took a while. If you haven't played earlier games in the series and don't want to have to learn new movement skills, and/or have a crappy joystick or one with out a twist axis, then you might want to pass on this game. Also, the acting was kinda cheesy, but I didn't really mind that too much. The biggest problem is that the sound effects are loud. My neighbors would complain if I turned up the game too much (thin walls), and if someone was talking (in the game or in real life) during a battle, I'd have a hard time hearing them.

The Bottom Line
A great game for those who are fans of the series, or who don't mind trying to get used to the controls.

Windows · by Ryan McAndrews (61) · 2001

The improvements and regressions balance out to make this an average game

The Good
The graphics are pretty good. They're better than the previous MWs and better than Starsiege, but this is to be expected as technology advances. The story is actually pretty good. Instead of fighting in some impersonal military action, as the box says, "this time it's personal". I thought the acting was particularily good, as the actors actually show emotion. This is so hard to find in games, and particularily in 'Mech-type games. So often it sounds like the actors are just sitting there looking into a teleprompter and reading from a script. Towards the end of the campaign the acting is excellent.

The opening movie is awesome. It makes me wonder how far we are away from a MW movie!

I thought the sounds and music were also pretty good. I was impressed to see that they practically had a symphony orchestra doing the music.

They made it so that collision damage occurs. This is something I'd wanted to see for a long time. Now you can ram enemies! Also, you can step on those annoying tanks and other vehicles and crush 'em. That's great!

The Bad
What are they thinking?!?! Why is there no indication of which weapons or weapons group you have selected??? How did this make it out of beta testing? Did those beta testers have a different version of the game? Every previous version of MW gives a clear indication of which weapons group you have selected (they are hilighted or rectangled or something), but in this version there's no way to know. There's also no way to know which firing mode you're in. Previous MWs had a female voice that would say something like "Chain fire selected" or "Group fire selected". In this, there is no voice, and no visual indication! I absolutely can't fathom why they didn't include this.

The next big thing is, of course, the concept of designated hard points they introduce. Now I've never played the BattleTech RPG (the paper version), but I've played through MW2 and 3 and all the add-ons for them. I'm sure the paper version is the same as those two: you can customize your Mech however you want. Each Mech location (head, right arm, etc.) has a certain amount of critical spaces for which to put whatever you want on.

This game completely changes this fundamental part of BattleTech, and reduces it to the miserable level of Earth/Starsiege, by not only limiting the amount of critical spaces available, but by designating most of them for a specific class of weapon (Missile, Ballistic, Laser). Like so many other games, they are slowly dumbing-down the players. Why did they put these restrictions in? Did it make it easier to program? It certainly does not benefit the players. The best thing about MW was the ability to have complete freedom over how to design your 'Mech, and they have taken this from us. Thanks, Bill Gates.

In MW3, when you would blast an arm off, you'd see it go flying and it would land somewhere. In this one, it just disintegrates. Also, they had made it so that if you damaged a leg, it would limp. This, too, is gone. These little details added to the realism, but for some inexplicable reason, they removed them. It's neat that lasers will burn the paint off, and the 'Mechs spark, pour out smoke, and burn (nice effects!), but I'm still waiting on bullet holes!

The combat in general takes forever. It takes a very long time to destroy even small 'Mechs. You and your 3 lancemates can pound an enemy 'Mech, and it can take several minutes for it to go down. I like it challenging, and it's not so bad that it detracts from the game, but they should make the weapons do a little more damage.



The Bottom Line
If you've gotten the previous MW games, you should get MW4. It has some small problems and those 2 inexcusable problems I described above, but hopefully these will be fixed in patches or player MODifications. Overall it isn't that bad.

Windows · by Raphael (1245) · 2000

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Plok, Wizo, Patrick Bregger, Jeanne, Cavalary, Kabushi, Scaryfun, Tim Janssen, Cantillon, Big John WV, Sciere, Emmanuel de Chezelles, vedder, Alsy, CalaisianMindthief.