MechAssault (Microsoft Xbox, 2002)
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|An offshoot of Microsoft's MechWarrior series on the PC, which in turn is based on the FASA-licensed BattleTech universe, MechAssault is an action-oriented mech combat game designed specifically for the Xbox. Rather than strap players into the cockpit for a simulation style of game, MechAssault is played from a view behind the 30-foot mechs as they lay siege to anything foolish enough to stand in their path. In total there are 12 upgradeable mechs to guide across 20 combat missions set within fully destructible environments.
As a mercenary from the Wolf Dragoon clan, players are in the dangerous position of infiltrating an enemy planet to prevent a war. Negotiations on this world are not forged with the pen but with firepower, and strategy will play an important role in the outcome of a mission. Certain mechs are more agile than others, so the environment becomes a key factor in which to choose. Objects within the scenery can also be used to an advantage. Tanks coming out of a tunnel can be neutralized by focusing firepower above it, collapsing the entrance and trapping the enemy inside.
Trees can also be set ablaze to smoke out infantry lurking behind them, and a missile to an oil refinery, fuel drum, or even a skyscraper can have a devastating impact on enemy mechs nearby. Each mission can thus be completed in several different ways since players are given the freedom to destroy anything and everything they see before them. A mech can squish soldiers underneath its massive feet, blast the glass out of windows and watch as the shards blanket the street.
The single-player game follows a campaign format complete with mission briefings and cinematic cut-scenes to further the story. Once the campaign is over, the game can still be enjoyed with some friends (or would-be enemies). Players can challenge up to three competitors on a split-screen or take the combat online via the Xbox Live broadband service. The latter option includes voice communication support and downloadable content such as maps, mechs, and more. Multiplayer games offer a selection of team-based missions as well as deadly free-for-alls.
MechAssault was one of the first games on the Xbox to feature the ability to be played on the Xbox Live service. "MechAssault" included many of the basic Live services that are now considered standard on any Live-enabled video game. These features included options for finding and creating online matches, such as the common 'Quick Match', which enables a player to find an online match quickly regardless of qualifications. For players who wanted to join a specific type of online session of MechAssault hosted by another player, 'Optimatch' allowed the player to specify the criteria for the session they want to join. The player could also create and host an online session of MechAssault. Once the player defined all the characteristics of a game, they could invite other players from their friends list or leave slots open for any online player to join the battle.
MechAssault had several modes of combat in which players could engage, often based around by-now-common forms of online competitive gaming. In Grinder mode (local play only), the player tries to survive as more and more 'Mechs are spawned into the battle. This mode can played with one or two players. In Destruction mode, the player can choose a 'Mech and fight to the death in deathmatch or team deathmatch. The player or team with the most kills wins. Last Man Standing is a free-for-all with no respawning as a mech. Once a player dies, they respawn as an unarmed infantryman. Gameplay can be either deathmatch or team deathmatch. Capture the flag is a team based game where the opposing team spawn on opposite ends of the map and try to 'Capture' the enemy flag without giving up their own.
By July 2006, MechAssault had sold 750,000 copies and earned $26 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 85th highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. Combined sales of the MechAssault series reached 1.1 million units in the United States by July 2006. MechAssault received positive reviews. Metacritic gave the game a score of 87 out of 100. GameRankings awarded it a score of 86.92% IGN awarded the game 9.2 out of 10. Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot gave the game a rating of 9.0, indicating that "If you're going to buy one game with your Xbox Live starter kit, MechAssault is the one to get."
|Publisher||Microsoft Game Studios|
|Genre||Third Person Shooter, Mech Combat, Simulation|
|Number of Players||1 - 4 (System Link 2 - 8)|
|ESRB Rating||T - Teen|
|ESRB Descriptor||Violence, Blood|
|Game Special Features||
|Game Series||MechAssault Series|
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