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MechAssault Preview (Xbox)
game: MechAssault
posted by: Jason Frank
publisher: Microsoft
developer: Day 1
date posted: 09:10 AM Mon Sep 16th, 2002
last revision: 01:05 PM Thu Nov 17th, 2005

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When I was a kid I had a real Battletech obsession. I got my hands on virtually every FASA spin off. I even had a copy of their Last Starfighter game because it worked on the same principles as the Battletech universe. I read the novels, collected the little figures, and I wondered what it would be like to pilot one of these things for real. My dream wasn\'t realized until Activision came out with Mechwarrior (the franchise has since moved to Microsoft) for the PC about eight years ago. I was aghast at what the game was able to accomplish, but the limitations of my Pentium 75 and hearty 16 MB of RAM were made all too apparent. The graphics were choppy and the landscapes incredibly sparse. For as good as it was, it couldn\'t touch my imagination when playing the board games.

Since that time, my gaming has migrated from the PC to console. I found that as my leisure time dwindled, my gaming would be better served by the episodic nature of the console rather than the prolonged narratives of the PC. Unfortunately, there hasn\'t exactly been a dearth of Mechwarrior games assaulting the consoles. The only one that I can think of is a Mechwarrior port for the original PlayStation.

Sure there\'ve been a good number of big robot games on all of the consoles, and this fall will see a ton of them like Gun Metal and Robotech: Battlecry, but it\'s just not the same as an honest to goodness \'Mech game. I\'ve enjoyed games like Armored Core and even Zone of the Enders was a lot of good fun, but it just wasn\'t the same.

Microsoft is going to rectify the absence of true \'Mech games this fall with MechAssault for the X-Box. I only had a little time with the game at E3, but what little time I had was enough to make me salivate. Playing this game was what I always thought it would be like to really pilot one of these things. Not only were the effects impressive, but the interaction with the surrounding environments did a phenomenal job of actually placing you in the midst of the battle. We finally have a system that can do justice to our imaginations. From what I saw, Microsoft isn\'t going to squander the opportunity.

Microsoft promises an intricate single player storyline featuring missions that change as they progress. They are also keen to deliver a Battletech experience, so expect a lot of the pen and paper game universe to make it into MechAssault. There will be a dozen \'Mechs to choose from, not at all the full roster of Battletech offerings, but not a bad slate. We know favorites like the Catapult and Atlas are among the \'Mechs you can pilot. Perhaps the most exciting detail about MechAssault, however, is its online multiplayer. You can play with a friend in local splitscreen, or you and a friend can take on competitors via the Xbox LIVE network.

MechAssault promises to bring the success of their PC MechWarrior games to the console experience in the best possible way. The super-easy arcade style controls mixed with a load of variety and online multiplayer could make MechAssault one of the biggest games of the season.