Welcome to MechAssault for Xbox, one of the most intense robot tank games on the planet. As an elite member of the Wolf’s Dragoon you’ve been contracted to land on the planet Helios ahead of a Dragoon regimental strike force. Your challenge is to disrupt and defeat the Word of Blake forces and cause confusion so that they cannot use their orbital defense cannon. You will have a choice of one of 19+ walking tanks called Mechs which will allow you to fire huge salvos of missiles, lasers, bullets, and more at the Word of Blake forces. The Word of Blake forces won’t be a pushover though since they will be using tanks, battle armor, helicopters, boats, battle Mechs, and more to try to defeat you. Plus, when you are finished with the 20 intense and challenging offline missions you can hop on Microsoft’s Xbox Live online gaming service and play for countless more hours against your friends and enemies. Also, with downloadable Mechs, maps, and gameplay modes coming soon you may never get tired of MechAssault.
MechAssault’s graphics are just as impressive as its gameplay features in most ways, but could be better in some respects. The Mechs in the game look great with moving parts, smoking guns, missile trails, and great animation that really makes you feel like you are piloting a huge walking tank. Plus, once you get into a battle with one of the other Mechs and blow it up you get treated to a huge explosion that includes a shockwave from the blast that you see, hear, and feel. The buildings and scenery look great too with the buildings having interiors that you can see when you launch a rocket into them. When you blast out the windows smoke will start pouring out before the whole building goes crumbling down into a pile of rubble. Other small touches like bumping into a building causing minor damage to it that you can see and kicking small vehicles down the street when you run into them helps reflect that you are in a huge menacing machine of destruction. But, with all these graphical highlights there are a few problems which keep MechAssault from being perfect. First, the game seems to suffer from the same thing that a lot of Nintendo 64 games did back in the day and that is fog. In MechAssault they call it fog, smoke, rain, and snow but it is all designed to only allow you to see so far in the distance. The distance is pretty far but when playing on the big multiplayer maps it makes it hard to find people sometimes since you don’t have an area map. It doesn’t take away from the game’s fun and it is probably done that way to allow good frame rates on and offline but it is still noticeable. The second problem I have with the graphics is that the camera sometimes get stuck behind trees, hills, buildings, and other things causing you to have a hard time seeing. You can solve this problem by not going too close to those objects but sometimes you want to so you can hide. So, the graphics aren’t prefect but they do a really good job of showing off the Mechs, buildings, and other environmental objects and allow you to become part of the MechAssault world.
The sound in MechAssault is what you would expect from a battle Mech game. The music has a nice ambient sound during the menus, mission briefings, and in areas where there isn’t a lot of action. But, when a confrontation is about to occur it switches to heavy metal guitar style music which gets you pumped up for the fight that is about to commence. The sound effects in the game are also good as your huge walking tank moves across the ground with thundering impacts of its feet. Then, when battles start you hear machine guns, missiles, and charging guns cranking up to unleash huge volleys of destruction. Speaking of destruction, the buildings, Mechs, tanks, and more have realistic and believable explosions that let you know that you have either just destroyed the enemy or they have just taken you out. The voice acting in the mission briefings and in-game communication is also good and better then a lot of games that seem to have low budget actors doing the voices. They always seem to have a good reason for talking and sound appropriate for the situation just like the rest of the MechAssault sound effects and music.
MechAssault’s controls are well designed and feel intuitive especially if you have played Halo before since it uses a similar design. The left trigger is used to switch weapons while the right trigger is for firing your weapon of choice. The left analog stick controls your movement forward, back, left, and right while the right analog stick controls your upper body of the Mech and aiming so that you can be walking one way while firing another. By pushing down on the left analog stick you can engage your jump jets which allow you to blast into the air for a limited amount of time with certain Mechs. Also, if you push the right analog stick down you can initiate your defensive weapons which can range from a null signature (masks you from enemy radar) to target jamming (jams enemy radar) to chaff (deploys an object that attracts all missiles launched at your Mech for a limited amount of time). I had no problems negotiating the terrain and launching attacks at enemies with the controls. Plus, with the force feedback it really allows you to feel like you are in total control of a 40 foot tall walking machine with massive firepower.
So, MechAssault is a great Mech battle game with just enough simulation and arcade style gaming elements to appeal to both MechWarrior fans and average gamers. MechAssault also only has a few minor problems that don’t take away from the game enough to hurt it. Plus, if you have Xbox Live this game could entertain you for a long time since playing other people online in Destruction (deathmatch), Last Man Standing, and Not It (a variation of tag) modes is challenging and a lot of fun. Also, with MechAssault’s downloadable content coming soon it will just add to the game’s depth. The 20 challenging offline missions with 3 levels of difficulty will keep you busy for awhile even if you don’t have Xbox Live. So, I recommend it for offline gaming as much as online but if you have Xbox Live then the game has even more longevity. So, if you are looking for a great Mech action game, a new Xbox Live game or both, I recommend making MechAssault your next Xbox game.
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