ReviewsReview: MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Review: MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

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As usual, mankind ruins the peace and harmony it has created. Greed and the desire for power bring the harmonious balance crashing down. Instead of fighting human vs human, we use hulking machines to do our bidding. This is the basis of the MechWarrior franchise, and this is the core concept in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries

Developed by Piranha Games and published by Piranha Games and Sold-Out Software, this is a robotic shooter with a resource management twist. Like its predecessors, you must leap inside an enormous overpowered machine. You will go head to head with other Mechs, tanks, aeroplanes, and military vehicles. The battles are hectic and the tactics are in-depth. The gameplay is friendly to new players in the series but offers enough to keep veteran gamers happy. 

Fear the enormous Mech.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has a touching story. 

Like all great action films MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries has a wonderful heartfelt story. I won’t ruin it for you, but it’s a roller-coaster of emotion that binds the many elements. You control Commander Mason, a young and strong-willed Mech pilot. He steps into his father’s shoes after his untimely death and is determined to find out the truth about who killed him. With two machines to their name, this small bunch of mercenaries must complete contracts, earn respect, and hire veteran pilots.

The year is 3015, and the game stretches to 3049, just before the clan invasion. The Inner-Sphere, a collection of star systems has been split among five factions. You are loyal to none and work for them to earn money, reputation, and knowledge. The central story takes you on a path of discovery where you’ll expand your fleet, explore new locations, and uncover the truth.

Rogue-like elements and plenty of repairs.

Everything that happens in MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries forms a rich tapestry for your experience within the game. Victories and losses are to be expected as you battle enormous robotic beasts. Your Mechs become damaged, lose parts and require maintenance. If your weapons are destroyed, they are gone forever, thanks to the rogue-like elements. Losing your best equipment was never easy and the threat of losing it all forced you to think tactically. Repairs cost money and time, and rarely could you afford either. I loved how this slowed down the gameplay, making it a gigantic game of chess.

As you progress and your reputation builds, you’ll create a Lance of warriors, each with their heavy-duty robot. Your band of Mechs will work together with you at the helm issuing commands. It was great fun moving your troops, barking orders and creating tactical advantages. Sadly though, it didn’t always go to plan. Your troops weren’t always as intelligent or responsive as you’d hope. You get barged in error or destroy your team as they strayed into your path during the dog fight. It was comical, but in a game where errors matter and loss is permanent, it had grave ramifications on your company.

A nice clear view from inside the Mech.

It’s not perfect, but it offers plenty of options.

With its obvious issues regarding orders and the subsequent losses, it isn’t perfect. Don’t worry though, as you can simply restart the action. Yep, a rogue-like game where failure isn’t punished. It was a little weird and removed the fear factor which tainted the experience for me. Yes, no one is forcing you to use it, but who wants to lose their best gear to an NPC error, not me, that’s who.

Other than this, you’ll find there are plenty of choices available. Different strategies can be taken with an array of weaponry, unique Mechs, and a selection of pilots. You adjust your ride however you see fit and send in the team that has the best chance of success. The ability to mix things up with weapons you had salvaged was fantastic. It created an RNG element to the gameplay as you never truly knew how each combination would work out. 

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries looks good, but was a little dated and slow to load. 

I was impressed with the overall package that’s been delivered. The scaling of the Mechs to the surrounding world makes them appear massive. The level of details on their armour and moving parts were good, and the destruction of structures was enjoyable to watch. However, I couldn’t get away from the dated look. Even on the Series X, the lines weren’t as crisp as I’d expected and the shading failed to add depth. Then you consider the long loading times. Each mission seemed to take an age to be generated, and this broke up the flow of the gameplay. None of these things breaks the game, I just expected it to be smoother. 

All-action films and games all have a similar style of soundtrack. You experience a mixture of lighthearted upbeat tunes and banging aggressive songs. When each is used at the right time it helps to set the scene and MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries uses its music perfectly. Add in the ear-splitting sound effects and you have a loud and wonderful cinematic title. 

That’s some laser show.

Controlling your Mech isn’t always easy. 

With separate controls for; legs and torso, options for abilities, camera, leaping and flying, this takes some getting used to. In the heat of the battle, it’s tough to remember everything you have been taught. Your legs are one way, your body the other, and your teammates are positioned way off. Unless you are an expert on the series, you’ll need plenty of practice to master this. However, once you understand the basics, you’ll have great fun stomping around the landscape. It’s really rewarding when it all comes together, and this is when you truly enjoy it.

Though the core story doesn’t alter, the extra missions and the enemies you face do. With plenty of tactical approaches and the chance to play couch or online multi-platform co-op, there is plenty to keep you interested. No traditional multiplayer modes will frustrate some players but I liked the single-player approach. The game feels richer and more in-depth as the developers focussed all their efforts on the main campaign. If you like achievements you’ll be tested with a challenging but small list.

MechWarriors 5: Mercenaries is your classic all-out action game.

The game plays out in many ways, but whatever route you take, it always boils down to a classic all-out action game. You’ll study your enemies, pick the right team for the situation and hope to win each battle. Defeat is hard to swallow, but it doesn’t stop you from progressing. You must take the rough with the smooth, build your reputation, and avenge your father’s death. I enjoyed my time, and recommend you try it here! If you are a Gamepass subscriber, you can try it for free. Run your company, take on contracts, and become the best MechWarrior the galaxy has seen.

SUMMARY

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is a wonderful addition to the franchise. Take control of a young rookie pilot, build your reputation, and attract the best talent. Earn money, collect new weapons, and find out the truth about your father's death.

+ Good graphics.
+ All-action soundtrack.
+ Lots of custom options.
+ Plenty of missions.
+ Ample replay value.
- Shading is off and load times are too long.
- The restart button removes the fear factor.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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