The closest mechs came to making a comeback was Steel Battalion. That didn’t seem to help. The controller was huge, and many thought it a titch unnecessary. however, if you’re driving a mech — you’ve got a cockpit ready to go. It was exactly what enthusiasts wanted. It’s been a long time since Mech Warrior was purchased by Microsoft, and even longer since it was popular. The laser designation and light-saber lines merging on your target from either side of the cockpit just never felt that visceral.
Mech games are back – Hawken was announced and Mech Warrior started dusting off some old levels.
At first glance Mech Warrior looks like they just dropped in a couple high res textures and Hawken put a lot of effort into level design and play-ability. Mech Warrior looks more like a simulation, and Hawken reminds me of some more brutal first person shooters. I have yet to play either, so here comes some comparison graphics and gameplay.
Wow they are different. Imagine not having to control the bottom half of your mech. You simply strafe and turn like an FPS – that’s Hawken. There’s no shield management or individual parts other then putting it together. Mech Warrior has more management but I also didn’t notice the bottom-half control. I have a 3D force controller on the way from Ebay in anticipation. It would be a shame if they’ve eliminated the need to keep track of leg direction.
I only had a few minutes in each to make sure they were working and try and tweak the settings. Hawken launched in DX9, Mech Warrior looked much more polished right off, but was very Microsoft. It’s an engineer’s game. Very precise, but it doesn’t feel like anyone refined. There are shading techniques you can apply to textures to make objects feel more rounded. Everything in MW is very polygon, sharp edges, Tress made by two intersecting planes that are oblivious to the giant mech walking through them.