Techwars II is an online 5v5 MOBA set up in an isometric viewpoint. You and a bunch of others (including bots, if need be) pilot mechs that are traipsing through the environment, blowing up as much stuff as they can, while doing their best to acquire and hang on to all of the maps’ three control points. Your weapons don’t really run out of ammo, but you do have to worry about overheating, which will leave you without offence for a few precious seconds. Both teams’ point timer counts down constantly as the game plays out, and the more control points your side holds, the slower your timer goes. First team to drop to zero points loses.

In between fights, you can buy new mecha and gear, choosing from a variety that you unlock over time – scouts are quick but weak; stormtroopers are middle-of-the-road, but they capture control points much more rapidly; destroyers break stuff real good…You get the idea.

THE FLOW AND THE STORY:

Kato (aka the Americans) and The Dominion (the Russkies) is the last major political powers left after a long-past global apocalypse. The latter folks have been dominating the world, and Kato has decided that they want their fair share of the mechs and techs. Cue big ol’ metal behemoths duking it out at long range with Gatling guns, missiles, and bombs, or at close range with swords and grappling hooks.

Dominion units, who are going all-out offence, all have access to the ability to call in short-range air strikes once every couple minutes; properly-placed and times, these can end a battle in a real hurry. Meanwhile, the more defensive Kato mecha all have a “Clod” unit that grants them 10 seconds of immunity to conventional weapons, to be used as needed, once it’s off cooldown. They also get an armour-piercing buff, as well.

All troops start out dropped in at their side’s repair station/hangar and must spread out from there. Each one must then decide: Do you run out with a speedy unit and try to snag an unclaimed control point? Or do you tag along with the two big bruisers who are headed to the point the opposition just claimed, knowing that the enemies can just respawn right there shortly after being terminated?

CONTROLS:

WASD+Mouse and controller are both supported. That being said, both are a bit clunky and could use some work. Swapping between weapons by hitting 1 or 2 almost never works, but spinning the mouse wheel works more often than not. I found it practically unplayable on a controller, and navigating the menus using a gamepad is frustratingly difficult.

GRAPHICS:

Not bad. Mechs look good up close, even if your view is always scaled way out in combat.

SOUND:

Not much to write home about, but it works. Presumably one of the things which will be addressed in the full release.

OVERALL:

Pretty good, and a noble attempt at combining the idea of the classic Mechwarrior with the modern MOBA.

Pros:

  • This brings to mind a modernized, if simplified, version of the old Mechwarrior games from decades ago. Better graphics here, though, even if you’re seeing them from much farther away.

  • Simple and straightforward gameplay. Walk in one direction, shoot in another, take cover as needed, blow stuff up. Rinse, recycle, repeat.

  • Ability to (indirectly) target specific body parts is a nice touch; if a mech loses its main arm, it can’t fire its primary weapon; if it loses a leg, it’s immobilized.

  • Kudos for including a much-needed tutorial that explains the basics of mech control, even if it is rudimentary.

  • Nice long list of things they will be implementing for final release up on their store page – Weapon and gear upgrades, 50 on 50 battles, more destructibility, new mech classes, and more

  • Devs very responsive to users on Steam message board

Cons:

  • Mecha tends to get hung up on small bits of the environment, rather than simply stomping them into the ground or knocking them over. Many environmental objects can be destroyed, but you need to smash them with your weapons; simply walking into a car 1/5 of your size won’t do more than pushing the vehicle out of your way. Walking into a tree will either stop you cold or allow you to clip right through it.

  • It is seldom clear where you can enter/exit certain hills, and worse – rivers.

  • The view is zoomed out so far, which makes perfect sense for a MOBA, detracts from the “weight” of the mechs. The game could just as easily have used little cartoon dudes as models, and it would feel the same

  • No first-person nor over-the-shoulder view option for folks who really want to get into the action and target specific body parts directly (as opposed to simply shooting when that part is facing your way)

 

 

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