Mech combat in a frigid wasteland has some upsides and some downsides.
Even the greenest mech driver can tell you that fighting on ice planets is a hectic business. The frigid temperatures keep heat down; less heat means more shooting; and more shooting means you won’t always have the option to back off, clean your pants and have another go. More than any other environment, frozen planets encourage run-and-gun combat that’s both wickedly fun and and wildly dangerous.
But unlike previous games, Mechwarrior Online promises to simulate some of the less-fun aspects of fighting on ice, too. Unpredictable weather can almost instantly reduce visibility to zero, forcing pilots to rely on instruments and each other to track and engage the enemy. And ice is slippery, as anyone who’s ever walked across a rink or frozen pond can tell you, so maneuvering 80 tons of steel and polymer on it will be a tricky business; light mechs will have a distinct movement advantage.
Environment has always been a big part of the Mechwarrior experience. Deserts, swamps, thick forests and high-density urban landscapes all offer up unique battlefield challenges, but the limitations of technology meant that previous Mechwarrior videogames could only simulate them in the most rudimentary of ways. Maybe Mechwarrior Online changes that and maybe it doesn’t, but if it does – and this video certainly suggests that it’s a pretty good possibility – it’ll be a very big draw for Mechwarrior fans.
The free-to-play Mechwarrior Onlines is set to come out later this year, exclusively for the PC.