reviews\ Nov 12, 2002 at 7:00 pm

MechWarrior 4: Mercenaries - PC - Review

MW4M is the newest version of the MW franchise.  Loaded with 40 new missions, 19 multiplayer maps, some new weapons, and mechs, this is a must have for any MW fan.  Those new to the game will find a easy to follow tutorial that will have you up and running in no time. 

MW4M is a little different from the MW series in that instead of following a storyline following a fairly linear campaign, your objective is to obtain wealth at whatever means necessary.  You will have certain orders and goals that you have to follow from the missions you choose, and eventually you will complete them all.  What's different as you pick when you take the challenge and how many lance mates you bring along with you.  Some scenarios may allow only a certain number, but others allow up to 8 lance mates to bring on the destruction.

Not only do you acquire money from successful missions you can also salvage weapons; you can grab some Mech chassis' as well.  What you cannot find or you just want to trade in can all be done at the free market.  Here you can get everything you need to build the ultimate fighting machine.  In addition to that, this is where you can hire some new mates to aid you in your battles.  Keep in mind you have to pay their salaries.  As you can imagine the more skills they have the more you have to pay them!  No  $10.00 /hr employees here.

Ok so now you have the all the toys, now its time to put them together.  This is where configuring your Mech couldn't be much easier.  The Mech lab allows you to drag and drop weapons on your Mech chassis with ease into their proper spots.  Each Mech does have a maximum weight allowance so you may have to give up armor for more firepower, long range for short, etc.

There are lots of diverse maps that you will do battles in within the campaign offering both day and night missions. You will encounter both armored vehicles and many different enemy mechs. You will be on search and destroy missions, guarding vehicles, or defending friendly units, and much more. There is also an arena world you can battle in a gladiator style of play.  This is a good way to get trained up for multiplayer games.

I have played just about all MW games, not to mention the old paper pencil games of BattleTech (not to date myself here).  This title is another must have for any true fan.  The missions are fun and challenging and the arena games are a lot of fun.  My only complaint was in the gameplay.  The interface was real nice but with my computer I should not have had any gameplay issues.  I noticed serious choppy play at the ultra high graphics setting.  I followed all the instructions to try and remedy the situation with the only workable solution being to bring down the detail to medium.  The game played much smoother and I did not notice a real difference in the visualizations, but kind of a drag nonetheless. The sound effects and voiceovers were quite good and actually all the other elements had me immersed in the game.  I used a ForceFeedback2 joystick and really enjoyed the experience. 

I feel that this is a must have and would make a great stocking stuffer this Christmas. Check out my preview of the game to see all new goodies in the game or checkout the MW4M website for more details.  Happy hunting.

Reviewer's Scoring Details

Gameplay: 8
The interface is real easy and designing your Mech is a breeze.  My only complaint is that even after I downloaded the latest drivers, and followed some other instructions in the read me file, I still had choppy gameplay at even at 800X600 at maximum detail.  After I brought it down to medium the game played much more smoothly, but given my test computer's specs, I should not have to have done this.

Graphics: 8.5 
The graphics were nice, nothing really different from MW4 Vengeance, but still quite nice just the same. 

Sound: 9
Good sound effects, music and voiceovers.

Difficulty: Medium
Veterans of the game will be up in seconds.  If you're new to the game, a nice tutorial will have you blasting away the enemy in no time.  There are different difficulty settings to toggle between, but expect the real challenge in a multiplayer arena.

Concept: 8
Nothing really different here compared to earlier MW games.  Instead of a big story line it's more of a getting paid to waste the bad guys and collecting salvage to later equip your mechs, or sell for better weapons.  All in all still a great game for those MW fans.

Multiplayer: 9 
Is available through LAN and Internet play through Playing online is a blast. You will definitely find challenge here playing against other Mech Jocks.  If you have a router or firewall you may have some issues to contend with, but once you're on it even more addicting then the campaigns.

Overall: 9
Definitely a must have for any true MW fan.  There is enough here to keep fans happy until the next expansion or title is released.


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