Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Video Games: The new Battletech by Harebrained Schemes

Copyright Harebrained Schemes 
We don't talk much about video games but since a lot of us are playing it, lets talk about Harebrained Schemes' new Battletech!

Oh, how my childhood is being brought back in a flood of Tab and Thundercat roars. The new Battletech was a Kickstarter by Harebrained Schemes (same people who corrupted us with a new Shadowrun video game) about a year ago. As soon as I saw it, I threw money at it so hard my credit card cracked the screen. Spoilers: I am not disappointed.

The Good!
While it isn't the old table top rules, it is very solid. Everything is scary. You know how you had that one friend who would bring SRM carriers and Strikers and you would laugh at them, blowing them off the field like nothing before they could get a shot? Yeah... They scare me now. I have had two SRM carriers kill a Medium mech without even breaking a sweat. Why is this good? Because not everyone has Mechs in this world. Pirates are limited to vehicles and "not well maintained" mechs. This means there are some missions you walk through that are simple stupid. Some, swarm you with tanks and it becomes a game of not-the-face. The game doesn't really ever make a mission overly hard or overly simple. It is always a tactical strategy.

Yes... you need tactics. No running in and smashing heads until the assaults kill everything. Nope. Flanking, approaching objectives indirectly, using terrain, getting behind people... these are all needed. The game makes you think about how to approach a target which made my heart flutter.

Pilots are no more nameless people with stats. They have abilities that are needed. You can't just max out gunnery skill and ignore everything else. Your hand to hand person needs piloting. You should have one person with high tactics to scan lock a target you can't see so your LRMs can shoot indirectly. Everyone needs Guts so they don't die from a stray missile to the head. You need to pay attention to the mech each character is assigned to. Don't drop your best gunner into the Centurion and try punching people. Its embarrassing. And you level your pilots! And pilots have morale! Soooo happy...

The story line is being placed into "the good" but is a little weak. I won't spoil it but it is a typical battletech story line. The part where you are a merc and need to support your ship, mechs, pilots, and finances is amazing! I am always running on just enough C-bills to get to the next finance month. It adds urgency to taking jobs and not going for just the easy ones. You have to weigh the risk/reward of each job. Oh... pirate has a heavy running around... sad face. Maybe not with my low end mediums and lights. Oh! Escort this cash and expect vehicles? For a thousand more? Thank you very much! During the taking jobs "phase" you can adjust during negotiations if you want more cash or more salvage. Salvage means you get to choose before they had you stuff. I always like at least one choice in case someone is running around with a boosted LRM or other weapon.

BTW... I am a LRM fiend. I love me some 40 missiles thrown downrange in a hail of death.

The Bad =(
Crashes... Oh the crashes. Not during missions but before and after during the transitions the game crashes. Recently (and has been fixed) there was an issue where if you quit the game you had to reboot before being able to start the game again.

Head shots are a thing. You will begin to hate that you throw 80 missiles (once again... LRM fiend) at someone and never a single one hits the head. The enemy walks over and shoots an SRM 2 at you and you get smacked in the noggin. Enemy pilots also have a crap ton of health. You can't kill them by knocking them down and tearing off torsos giving them wounds. You have to go for the kill.

If you kill a mech with a lucky head shot (Dragon popped around a hill and scared me. I shot and a lucky Large Laser and hit the head. One shot. My only head shot in the game by the way) you only get a "salvaged mech". You need 3 to make a full mech. So, even though I killed it with full armor and everything, I got a 1/3 mech. Much anger.

The Ugly 0_o
I really wanted a Merc mode where you can ignore the campaign and start a merc company. A non-story line mode. I feel like I have to follow the story line to keep afloat in the game. They even give you a nice dropship for it.

That's all I can think of.

So, in all, Battletech by Harebrained Schemes will suck your life away like the old Battletech games. Buy it on Steam, tell your friends goodbye, post on Facebook you are taking a hiatus, and play it for a week straight! It is that good.

Speaking of which... I need to replace that PPC with the PPC+ I salvaged from the last mission and I should have enough cash to upgrade the Argo's powerplant.... If I jump to a new sector as part of a mission that should be complete before I start the mission....



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