MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries Review – The Wait Was Worth It

    Title: MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries
    Developer: Piranha Games
    Release Date: December 10, 2019
    Reviewed On: PC
    Publisher: Piranha Games
    Genre: Action / Shooter / Simulator

Originally supposed to be launched back in 2018, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries was delayed for further optimization and improvements. Thankfully, it finally launched for fans who are eager to jump into their Mech once again. With the success of MechWarrior Online and thanks to the great community feedback, the future of the series depends significantly on this new chapter.

MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries seems to have one single goal: please its fan-base at all costs. Well, I can safely say the mission was a success. The year is 3015, under the late Succession Wars era, where players take the role of a rookie pilot under his father’s guidance, a man recognized by his achievements and someone to look up to.

Unfortunately, things don’t always remain the same, and sometimes sacrifices are made, which fuels the base of this adventure. Players will find themselves out of the training grounds to make a name for themselves, but more importantly, begin their career as a commanding mech pilot. I want to keep this review free of spoilers, so let’s say the story follows exciting events that fans will appreciate, along with many story elements that don’t hinder the pacing.

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At first glance, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries could pass as a straightforward action game, but there is a huge focus on the story and worldbuilding. Taking jobs is mandatory, but there’s a sense of freedom as you can decide which assignment to complete. If you don’t like to work for a particular company, well, take your business elsewhere. However, those with short funds and resources can’t be beggars, but working on the reputation will help you decide your future.

The career mode allows you to feel responsible for your Mech, almost as if it were the true main protagonist. The developers did a fantastic job of making players feel united and close with a machine that will keep you alive on the battlefield. Improving it comes in many different forms, such as with updates and new implantations. Choose the weapons you can afford or salvage them from assignments, customizing them as you see fit for the mission ahead.

With more jobs comes more responsibility, but you don’t have to fight alone. Although a co-op mode is included, players can set up their team of pilots and Mechs, making this game entirely single-player orientated. Each contract is listed on the hub. During each job, players can ask for an increased payment, which can be accepted or declined, which makes the composition of rank highly important, especially when some missions don’t reward you enough. It’s interesting how well developed this mechanic is, forcing players to make what they think are the right choices while taking into consideration the state of the galaxy. Seasons for peace are prospered, but war changes things, as funds become scarce, and prices quickly rise. This mechanic will make you think ahead and keep a backup Mech as a plan B.

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MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries delivers a robust and sharp gameplay experience, although newcomers may feel overwhelmed, as the controls do take some getting used to. That said, the gameplay is fantastic. Torso and Legs have two distinct directional movement patterns, delivering more accurate movement. Walking towards goals and still rotating your aim without affecting the direction will come in hand while under the wave of incoming enemy fire. It’s vital to learn how to control your Mech properly. Thankfully, the more you play, the more natural it becomes, making it a great experience even with the learning curve.

It’s essential, if not imperial, that we talk about optimization. It’s pretty much clear Piranha Games will keep updating their game for a better experience, along with additional features. The minimum requirements for the GPU are either a GTX 770 or Radeon R9 280X, which is going as low as you could go. The GTX 1060 and the AMD counterpart, RX 570 and 580, will provide a stable experience at 1080p. Textures can be maxed out, but shadows and post-processing effects take the biggest hit, as it’s common with other Unreal Engine 4 titles. Anti-Aliasing goes from Low to Maximum, and when on Low or Medium setting, the game has a strange effect. So we highly recommend to keep it at least on High. Unfortunately, we couldn’t test NVIDIA’s RTX even if we had the hardware, as Mr. Russ Bullock (President of Piranha Games) stated that support for RTX and DLSS isn’t ready al release, but an update is being developed. Until then, another great way to improve the performance is by using an SSD, reducing loading times.

Currently, Epic Store does not support Mods, but that will change soon, which will ultimately be a turn for MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries and the community will have an even more significant role in the evolution of the game. Visually, this new entry in the saga is everything you could hope for, with outstanding attention to detail, and incredible Mech construction and development with scrutiny on every component and accessories. Players can roam freely and admire their enormous Mechs, which look different when you bring them in the battles.

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On the field, Mechs show their true potential across all sorts of environments. There are plenty of different places you’ll visit, as you destroy and conquer nearly every planet you visit. Mechs are split into different categories, such as Light, Heavy, and Assault. Their models change their size and their base attributes. Some move quickly through the arid sands of the desert, while others can take a lot of damage.

Intense battles typically end in awesome explosions with metal debris everywhere. Damage to your Mech is represented as a sign of the struggle. However, even the environments show signs of wear and tear, and everything around you can be destroyed — rocks, trees, industrial compounds, you name it. Unless your Mech is not big enough, everything will become destructible. The effects and particles look good, and the presentation when using the first-person cockpit view is fantastic. Sadly, the attention put into the great mech designs aren’t found in the character models who are displayed mostly through avatars as the story is delivered.

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MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries ends up being worth the wait as it presents everything a fan could have wanted in a MechWarrior experience. The game is well optimized and fine-tuned with the fan feedback being the fuel for this excellent new adventure. With the inclusion of a co-op mode to play with friends, it’s tough to overlook such an action-filled titled, but if that’s not enough for you, the single-player campaign full of player choice might be what makes this game worth checking out. While not everything is perfect here as the game lacks proper difficulty tiers for players and some assets appear to be overlooked, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries is packed with great moments of mech action gameplay.

A review copy of the title was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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