Online assault is a bit pricy
Mechanical Assault (xbox)
by BRUCE MORRISON
This article originally appeared in The Tiger on March 7, 2003 | PRINT

Day 1 Studio's "Mech Assault" isn't a new game anymore. Released in the fall, this game has taken hold of many X-box gamers as their new favorite game to play, and the reason lies in one fact: "Mech Assault" is the first game for the X-Box and the X-Box Live (online internet gaming) to have downloadable content. You can now download new levels and mechs for this game -- a milestone for videogameing on a console.

"Mech Assault" comes from a long line of computer games in the Mechwarrior, and Battletech universe. In the games, you pilot the future of warfare: a tank with legs, missiles, machine guns, energy lasers and other weapons of futuristic destruction.

The games have gone through many evolutions, from playing as mercenaries interested only in money to fighting for the army against different clans. The games in the past have been more focused on the simulation of these walking tanks, however "Mech Assault" takes it a different direction -- non-stop action!

In "Mech Assault," you can play either the single player campaign or multiplayer. In the single player game you are an officer in the Wolf's Dragoons. You play your way through the shifting story line, accomplishing different military-styled goals, from securing territory to protecting convoys. As you progress through the levels you can get bigger and better Mechs to use in the game. The single player game is mildly fun, and wears thin after a while, which brings you to the real reason to get this game: the multiplayer.

Not since "Goldeneye" for Nintendo 64 has there been a game with such addictive multiplayer. Using the X-Box Live network, you can go online and compete against or with players from around the world. There are several game play modes, such as "Destruction," where you kill everyone, "Last Man Standing," where once you are dead you don't respawn, and "Not It!" where you try to kill who is "it" and not get killed by the person who is "it." Soon another game type called "Capture the Flag" will be available for download. "Capture the Flag" is a team based game that will take "Mech Assault" to new levels.

In the game, you can choose from many different Mechs, and each Mech has strengths and weaknesses. There are extremely huge Mechs such as the Atlas, a gigantic walking fortress, or the Elemental, a Mech barely bigger than the person inside it.

Picking your Mech can make all the difference in a game; some are faster and have defensive abilities, and others pack more firepower but are slow and provide a big target.

Balancing a team with the right assortment of Mechs can be the difference between victory and defeat.

When you kill an enemy Mech, their fallen machine will leave behind salvage, which you can use to repair your own Mech, and upgrade the different types of weapons. There are missiles, lasers, Particle Projection Cannons and machine guns. Of these weapons, they each have variants that provide more or less firepower.

The bigger the weapon, the more heat it will generate; if you generate too much heat you can damage your machine and destroy yourself. This creates a new element in the game play, where you can use your environment to damage your opponent.

By forcing them into streams of lava, or blowing up a building next to them, you can indirectly inflict damage. Almost everything in the game is interactive, which means you can blow nearly anything up.

Graphically, Mech Assault is very smooth, running at 60 fps, the game never slows down. While there is the occasional glitch and dropped game using X-Box Live, because everyone must have broadband to play, it keeps games running smooth. If you are willing to shell out the $50 for X-Box Live, then the $50 for this game you will enjoy yourself, but if you just want the game, you will find it boring and trite. This was a game designed with the idea of online play first, and a story added on after the thought.

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