As a kid who grew up surrounded by Gundam and Transformers, few games hold as much promise as those that put you inside a gigantic mech suit and send you into an arena to fight.
Override 2: Super Mech League does exactly that. You choose from a myriad of different mech suits and enter into an arena to duke it out amongst other giant robots to find out who is the best. It’s a simple concept that assures countless hours of fun. Unfortunately, this one manages to fall flat.
Aesthetically, Override 2: Super Mech League is a major win. It boasts solid graphics and a cast of memorable characters. There is Pescado, a giant fish-like mech who is slow and cumbersome, but ultra powerful. Sparkles, an effervescent robot who is no doubt inspired by a gumball machine. Everywhere you look, Modus Games has managed to create a memorable character. And, to bolster an already killer roster, they managed to secure Ultraman himself to join in the fun. If only the creativity extended beyond the appearance of the characters.
Not even Ultraman can save the game from stale, repetitive mechanics. Despite looking vastly different, the characters all operate in more or less the same manner. Sure, Sparkles shoots orbs at a character during her power attacks, and Pescado swings wildly from his waist, but there is nothing truly innovative here. Remember Voldo from Soul Calibur with his ridiculous movement patterns? That’s sort of what I was expecting. I wanted each mech to feel unique and effective in their own right. Instead, they end up feeling a bit like a reskin of one another, primarily with changes to their speed or damage capabilities.
Let’s address the main problem in Override 2: Super Mech League. The mechanics are absurdly exploitable. Without seeking it out, I was able to find an unbeatable combo on nearly every single character. Nya is the most overpowered of all. As a lithe, cat-like mech, Nya is one of the quicker robots on the roster and is nearly unbeatable as a result. No matter what opponent I faced, I could simply left click and right click (a simple punch combo) my way to victory. Seriously, I beat the entire campaign in this manner. I’d always get the first shot off, and then my opponent would be stun locked for the entire fight. If I managed to get them into a corner, forget it.
The items on the map only compound this issue. They could have been useful to add a little diversity to the monotonous mechanics, but instead they stand as another aspect to be exploited. Again, they did a great job designing multiple unique items from a pulse rifle to a spear to a giant hammer, but they are all ludicrously overpowered. The AI had basically no idea what to do if I picked up a spear. They would just run forward endlessly, getting knocked down, until the item broke.
In fairness, Override 2: Super Mech League actually tries to match you with human players before every match. This might have remedied most of the issues I was running into, except it never happened. Despite letting the search timer expire every time, I never encountered another human player. Instead, I was forced to battle my way through the woefully ill-equipped AI. It was the same old thing, time and time again. Start the battle, get the first hit, and force my opponent to the edges of the level where they would be locked in a combo. Within a matter of hours, I had beaten the entire League mode (the equivalent of career mode).
I need to talk about the stages. When you compare them with the effort that was put into the characters, they feel downright sloppy. First, they are too small across the board. It takes, at most, a few seconds to cross the majority of the maps. And, they are all littered with pointless obstacles and elevation changes. When you’re controlling clunky, gigantic mechs, you aren’t going to be able to perform precise platforming. They only serve to get in the way for a moment before your character naturally moves around them. Also, with a notable lack of destructible features or interactable objects, the stage always feels kind of empty.
Override 2: Super Mech League is currently wasted potential incarnate. It looks good, and it has all the aesthetic bells and whistles one could ask for, but the heart of the game is lacking. The mechanics are stiff, clunky, and all too exploitable. The levels are unimaginative and feel even more unusual when compared to the wonderful character design. As it is, the game looks great, but is a glorified button masher that is in desperate need of innovation.