Day 1 Studio’s produced one of the most anticipated games associated with the early days of the X-Box; MechAssault. This original game captured gamers with in depth gameplay, excellent visuals and great sound. What’s not to like about jumping in a 40 ton carnage dealing machine and blowing up everything in sight? The only drawback to the first one was a lack of multiple modes of online play. Day 1 has returned with the sequel to the highly successful MechAssault with MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf and …ives the fans everything that they asked for. Let the online devastation begin!
MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf surpasses it’s predecessor in almost every way. Of course fans wanted the appearance of new mechs and Day 1 came through with 35 new units and allowed players to specialize in different roles. The one player game while simplistic is really just a training simulation for the main event: online clan battles. In the single player campaign you will be given the opportunity to master the new abilities and weapons: stealth, shields, and the all-powerful Alpha Strike.
Playing the single player campaign gives the player insight into the nuances of each type of mech – their strengths and potential vulnerabilities to different weapons or attack strategies which will be essential knowledge for the multiplayer games. For examples, using the tanks allows you to use the zoom feature to pulverize enemies long distance without any real fear of retaliation. Use of the turrets allows you to control a first person perspective missile which you can guide with accuracy into the heart of the enemy camp or to an objective target.
VTOL (Vertical Take Off Landing) craft have tricky controls but once you learn to master them, you can have a lot of fun providing support by picking up and dropping supplies. The other large addition to the game is the use of the BattleArmour. The BattleArmour allows the pilot to essentially run commando missions. The BattleArmour is a protective exoskeleton for the mech’s pilots and is very limited with weapons and armour, but does have edge when it comes to speed and agility. But most fun of all is the ability to throw other players out of their vehicles while wearing the BattleArmour. There is little in the way of character development in the single player mode and the missions lead you in the battle against the fimilar foe from the first game: The Word of Blake. The single player mode is limited in terms of story but once again this is really just training grounds for the online mayhem.
Online play is where it’s at. This game comes very close to reaching the same level of addictive online play as Halo 2. It essentially has all of the basic online game modes that we have all come to expect: Survival mode, Deathmatch mode, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, Team Last Man Standing, Capture the Flag, Team Capture the Flag, Guarding Check Points, and trying to destroy the enemy’s base while defending your own. One of the skills that is very useful to learn in the single player campaign is how to use the VTOL. In the multiplayer capture the flag, a player who knows how to pilot a VTOL combined with a BattleArmour player can make for some very quick games as the VTOL can scream in, drop off the BattleArmour to capture the flag and them race back to the base without a lot of resistance.
Day 1 has done a very impressive job on the visuals of this game. While the environments may not be the most detailed around, the attention to detail during the battle are nothing short of outstanding. The sheer number of special effects that occur simultaneously is fantastic. In the midst of battle you will see explosions, fire, heat distortion from the fire, smoke, and trailing smoke from damaged mechs. While it’s not great to see a teammate get trashed, it is impressive to see his mech progressively take damage, smoke, slow down, catch fire and then explode in a fireball of glory. The level of detail on the mechs is also very impressive including numerous moving parts and intricate body detailing. There is a little bit of frame rate slow down when the action is getting really intense, but it does not detract from the experience in any way.
If you have a 5.1 surround system – plug in and get ready for an immersive audio experience. The separation of sound is excellent and all of your speakers will get a real workout here. You will hear near miss missiles sail by via your right and left surround speakers. Your sub-woofer will rumble as your mech powers up and starts lumbering on its way to accomplish whatever objective is in your path. The soundtrack is exatly what one would expect from heavy metal engines of destruction – Korn and Papa Roach are featured here to give the action yet another level of intensity.
The single player mode doesn’t really offer much in replay value and there really isn’t any reason to go through the game a second time. It was very clear that the intention here was to produce an excellent multiplayer online experience which succeeds on nearly every level. As you join a clan and get involved, while your tactics may be similar, no battle is the same.
Day 1 studios have knocked one out of the park with MechAssault 2. While the single player game may be lacking the online play is nothing short of outstanding in terms of the options and fun factor. Highly recommended.