• Battletech Heavy Metal DLC review by Rick Moscatello

    A necessary addition for fans

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    Battletech is the big daddy of all big robot fighting games, with many imitators falling short in gameplay (Titans of Steel being the notable exception), and none able to come close to matching it in terms of backstory and game universe.

    The main game does the license justice in both ways, with a fine campaign as well as a “mercenary career” game where you travel around the universe, looking for big robots to destroy or capture to add to collection.

    The Heavy Metal DLC adds eight new mechs to seek out and destroy/acquire, a mini-campaign, and a host of tweaks to the game (available to anyone who has the main game, and that also includes two new mechs). This is the third DLC, and probably the last. While the first DLC, Flashpoint the weakest, the developers have been steadily improving, finishing with the best.

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    Each new mech has its own artwork, and often a hardwired piece of new equipment which makes the mech just a little bit better in its primary activity. For example, the phoenix hawk comes with a bonus module granting it superior jump speed and bonus damage when it performs a “death from above” attack. While this absolutely adds something to the game, it detracts a bit from the “build your mechs your way” aspect of the game—you’ll never take the jump jets off the phoenix hawk, after all.

    On the other hand, the standout new mech is the Bull Shark (a mech unique to this game, and not drawn from the extensive Battletech lore), the most customizable mech in the game. This thing has a ridiculous array of weaponry, with lasers, rockets, and cannons. While the standard loadout is a bit too much, causing the mech to critically overheat if it dares to fire everything at once, the many hardpoints means you can customize this mech into just about anything you want it to be.

    There are also a few new weapons. One weapon is a game-changer: a mortar. One weakness to the tactical combat of the game is you’re generally best off keeping your mechs in tight formation, forming a squad which can easily focus fire enemies into oblivion. The mortar is a long overdue “area of effect” weapon, adding a small aspect of risk to this “one true strategy.” I honestly thought they’d add grenades before mortars, but I’ll take anything which makes things a bit less predictable on the battlefield.

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    Since at this point in the game’s life cycle, most everyone interested has completed the main campaign, it’s a little disappointing the DLC doesn’t add much to the mercenary campaign aspect. The Argo, for example, gets nothing new, still serving as the equivalent of an aircraft carrier shuttling your mechs from system to system, and your drop ship (actually landing mechs on a planet) likewise is unchanged. Your pilots also develop all the same way, and I still wish pilots didn’t die or take so much damage when the mech takes damage or has its center torso destroyed (even when the mech has taken no headshots). Convoy missions (where you escort vulnerable vehicles to an extraction point) are often bugged with poor path AI the convoy—saving early and often gets around this, but it’s still an annoyance (and I don’t know how Iron Man players manage avoid this and other comparable issues).

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    I’m hardly the only one that’d love to tweak the game, and this DLC finally allows for more convenient mods, so hopefully it’s just a matter of time until someone puts the little things in which would make this game ever more complete.

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    Bottom line, any Battletech fan will find this DLC a “must-have” addition to the game, and there’s as much play value here as I’ve seen in full games for the (somewhat high) price of this DLC.
    Overall Rating: 90 (if you’re into Battletech, 82 otherwise)
    This article was originally published in forum thread: Battletech Heavy Metal DLC review by Rick Moscatello started by Doom View original post