Battletech Hands-On: The Revival of the Mech Combat We Have Been Missing for Years!

Fans of wargaming have undoubtedly heard of the Battletech franchise. It has been more than 20 years since the last tactical turn-based game of this theme appeared on PC and Harebrained Schemes believes that now is the right moment. After a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $2,500,000 the official release of Battletech is announced for early 2018. The fact that Paradox Interactive accepted to publish the game means that we might be in for an incredible treat. Paradox enabled the visitors to try the game for a bit at their event in Sweden recently, so let’s take a look what it has in store for us.

Are You Ready for Some Robot Battles?

The new Battletech remains faithful to the original concept and focuses on mechanized armor suits equipped with different weapons and designed for war. You will use rocket launchers, lasers, blasters, Gatling guns, and even jetpacks to destroy the opponents and cruise to victory. However, each fight has a lot of tactics involved.

The combat is turn-based with each of the teams on the battlefield having four members controlling different robots (mechs, if you prefer). The first couple of moves might involve scouting out the terrain and the location of the opposition machinery. Depending on the weight of the robot you chose, you might be more or less mobile.

Battletech Concept Art
Battletech Concept Art

The strategy is crucial because teams take turns in playing, with only one member having the right to act before the action moves to the opposing team. However, you can also ‘hold’ the turn and carry it over so that you can make a compelling impact later, but there are also risks that come with not acting

Destroy the Opponent!

Perhaps the full version ill diversify things a bit, but we had only one goal in the demo – destroy the opponent! The movement might be crucial because you also need to take into account where your mech is facing. He needs to be turned towards an enemy to shoot them, but when you are retreating, you might need to turn your back. That will leave your robot vulnerable for hits from behind.

Battletech Gameplay
Battletech Gameplay

Aside from moving, you can also fly or jump to the desired location. Think of the playing field as a massive chessboard with obstacles. If you come across a forest, use appropriate units to jump over it. But if there is a clear ground, lighter mechs are the perfect way to move quickly from one side to the other. There is a wide variety of mechanized suits available, which contributes to the importance of tactics and strategy.

Protect Your Limbs!

Each of the mechs’ limbs is a separate entity, and you can use the terrain to your advantage. For example, if you stand behind a bush, it might protect your legs from getting shot. Even when you are the one doing the shooting, you need to analyze the situation first carefully. Are you leaving yourself open to a counter-attack later? Is it smart to fire now or leave it for the next turn?

Battletech Graphics
Getting Hit by the AI

Each of the robots has strength and weaknesses. Targeting a limb in which the opponent holds its most potent weapon may be the decisive move in the entire battle. If a light mech is giving you trouble because of its mobility, blow off their leg. The possibilities are endless, but you need to be continuously invested in the combat.

It’s an Exciting Chess Match with Robots

The overall impression is that the new Battletech reminds of a chess match on a huge board and with mechs playing instead of regular figures. Although the concept seems intriguing, it’s evident that the developers still have a lot of work to do. The graphics aren’t anywhere near impressive at the moment, but I guess that’s understandable for a short hands-on demo.

The camera often shifts angles while the enemy moves, which prevented us from seeing the action and enjoying it properly. Also, the UI could use some enhancements because it seems a bit tricky to find your way around at this point. However, we understand that gameplay needed to be the primary focus and we believe that Harebrained Schemes will improve the design as we get closer to the release.

We also failed to see the campaign mode, but the developers promised to include one. Of course, it’s still the PvP multiplayer and exciting online combat that will be the core of Battletech, and we are looking forward to all that!

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